Steampunk Theremin Goggles


Lots of people build custom steampunk goggles, but most don’t implement any interactivity – they’re just an aesthetic accessory. [Sarah] recently decided to built a pair that, besides looking cool, would engage the wearer in creating sound. She accomplished this by integrating an optical theremin into their design.

To keep the build both affordable and wearable she researched simplified theremins, and eventually settled on creating a basic model that uses only a handful of components and two 555 timers. The main body of the goggles was constructed using mostly random mismatched pieces of metal and leather.  Mounted on the outer edge of each lens, there is a photo sensor and a corresponding slider control. Adjusting the slider alters the level of resistance, therein changing the pitch of the sound. The theremin will produce different pitches and octaves depending on how much light the sensors receive. So, the wearer, or a nearby friend, waves their hands around the wearers head to control it.

The speaker and volume knob are cleverly disguised as the two ‘lenses’. Rotating the volume knob lens adjusts an internal potentiometer that’s held in place by a custom laser etched piece of acrylic. To top it all off, she even designed her own PCB using Eagle.

Check out a video demonstration after the break.

11 thoughts on “Steampunk Theremin Goggles

  1. Steampunk’s never been a hotbed of conceptual rigor, but how do light-sensitive techno-fantasy hornlets count as “goggles” if you can’t even see through them? Neat noisemaker, regardless!

  2. great work, do not listen to the nay sayers,they cant think outside the box, if it isnt in a rigid structure they cannot function. steampunk is still an open form/design.there are no hard and fast rules for this yet…gears do not steam punk make, perhaps looks good and does something(anything?) are as close as i would go to a code of steam.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.