Impressive Laser Harp

laser harp

We stumbled onto this impressive laser harp setup after browsing random YouTube videos late at night. Besides making an awesome laser harp, [Eric] can even play it too!

If you’ve never seen one of these before you’re in for a treat! A laser harp is a digital instrument that requires a synthesizer to create music. There are two main varieties, framed and open. The framed type use light sensors at the end of the beams to create the digital signal to be converted to the various tones. The open kind is a lot more complex, but much cooler — it relies on the laser light being reflected back from the player’s hand to create the signal. This allows for varying tones depending on the distance to the sensor.

Stick around after the break to see it in action as [Eric] breaks it down, laser style.

15 thoughts on “Impressive Laser Harp

    1. Pretty sure Jarre faked his, yeah. At least for the Rendez-vous Houston show.
      Just because we can do it now, doesn’t mean they did it then.
      This one looks spectacular though, a proper Jarre-style harp.

  1. It’s a nice instrument, but it’s impossible to play without looking like you’re in a cheesy 80’s music video.

  2. Can this laser “flower” effect (not the actual playing) be copied by using a flashing laser beaming on a rotating mirror? If you would regulate the pause between the flashes?

    1. Well, just read through his project log.
      He is using a (omnidirectional) light intensity sensor to measure if there is a reflecting object within the ray.
      As the laser ray are generated one after each other over time, one sensor is enough for any number of “harp-strings”.

  3. So cool. For those who want a cheap clone:

    Rotating mirror in slotted box, with a webcam “tracking” the beams… Should be doable.

    1. I think the webcam would just make it super hard (with the vision system software) Plus the rotating mirror would interact with the framerate, unless you synchronize the motor to the webcam framerate (how would you even know when the webcam begins a new frame?).

      1. Alternating black and white marks on the mirror shaft, then program the camera to ignore frames where there isn’t a white stripe in a specific part of the picture?

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