Range finder musical toy


Instructables user [sketchsk3tch] was looking to make a fun toy for his kids using things he had around the house and came up with the Ping Organ. The organ is played by standing in front of the Parallax Ping range sensor, and moving around any which way you please. He interfaced the range sensor with an Arduino, scavenging a small speaker from an old toy for audio output.

The code for the project is fairly straightforward, borrowing most of it from the demo software that shipped with the Ping and the Arduino. He made a few small tweaks in order to get the organ to play frequencies of actual notes, as well as to allow for some flexibility when calculating the specific note to play.

While not the most complex project we have ever featured, [sketchsk3tch] reports that his kids love to spend time flailing around wildly in front of the organ, which is exactly what he intended.
Video of the organ being tested after the break.


  1. woutervddn says:

    reminds me of a wall that could do something similar. I wonder if you could use that system as a landing aid for RC planes..

  2. Kaboof says:

    landing aid for RC planes? Mounted in the plane or on the ground? As RC planes are controlled mostly manual I think it would be pretty hard to implement the “aid”.
    On autonomous it should be possible…

  3. Alex says:

    What is the range of this sensor? I think it is too small for RC pane landing..

  4. blue carbuncle says:

    I bet his kids would really like a theremin then.

  5. PhilKll says:

    You could add a rockband/simon says sort of interface to it, and make a game. Match the displayed note to how far you are away from it, add a point if you are correct, something like that.

  6. jeditalian says:

    all i want for christmas is brain cancer!

  7. peterman921 says:


    brain cancer from what exactly?

  8. Jeditalian says:

    lol i was JK i work with ultrasonic level devices all the time. Endress-Hauser, siemens, etc. ultrasonic, guided radar.. and i don’t have brain cancer, that i know of. plus ultrasound is safe for bollocks and babies.

  9. Jeditalian says:

    i would really like to hear Zelda music recreated with that device and some nimble feets

  10. Don says:

    Looks like this Toy could have a real future. I think he could actually make some money with it, if it was developed and sold. Especially with improved sound. And for me… something allot different than that typical buzzing sound. Like Guitar or even Keyboard Sounds for those less Rock Oriented… The kids look like they could dance for hours playing with that thing. I think it could encourage dance – exercise, musical sensitivity, creation and grow musical ability’s in Children. Which can lead to other types of Creativity and Learning. This could be a Toy with more to offer than just fun:) Great Invention!:)


  11. Jordan says:

    I bet his kids would really like a theremin then.
    Posted by blue carbuncle

    I would really like to hear Zelda music recreated with that device and some nimble feets
    Posted by Jeditalian

    That’s just what I was thinking… He’s made a theremin. A cheap one, though.

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