Controlling Music With The Wave Of A Hand


[Thomas] created a magical music player that gives the listener the ability to change songs and alter the volume levels without having to touch anything but air. Called the LighTouch, this device puts the control in the hands of the user by interpreting input from an ultrasonic sensor and plays back tracks based on waving gestures.

It is the 2nd iteration of a prototype that he completed about a year ago and functions as a streaming radio/alarm clock. The sensor is hooked up to a Raspberry Pi with a fading LED. Everything is highly customizable including the distances used for playback features. The criteria [Thomas] put in place has the pause method trigger when an object is detected between 0-10cm from the sensor. The volume control on the next level up brightens and dims the LED light just for some added flair.


In addition, [Thomas] integrated an LCD screen to display the currently playing track. A Pi Alamode GPIO shield to act as the interface between the Raspberry Pi and the ultrasonic sensor/LCD. Custom soldered boards are used as well to ensure proper placement inside the case. Playlists can be set up too. [Thomas] recommends using MPDroid to get that working.

Here’s a video of [Thomas] demoing the LighTouch:

14 thoughts on “Controlling Music With The Wave Of A Hand

  1. Woa the functionality is great!

    Now I want to make one. We got some new options now: capacitive sensing and optical sensing, both can have even more complex gesture detection. Anyone have experience with optical gesture sensors?

    1. You know, that’s actually pretty funny. I had a random playlist going and after I was done taking pictures I thought to myself “I’m going to get some crap for that”.

    2. You know, that’s really funny. I actually thought about that after I took the picture (it was on randomly) and was about to change it until I realized that there was no one song I could show that I wouldn’t get a comment on.

      1. Perhaps. But there are plenty of tracks you could take the high road with, and tell folks to get some culture. I’m partial to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons myself. Anyone who doesn’t like the Red Monk can die in a fire.

  2. In “The Restaurant at the End of the Universe” Zaphod Beeblebrox had a radio that worked like this. He found it irritatingly imprecise. Trillian eventually turned it off by hurling something through its sensitive volume.

  3. This project falls well within the wife’s guidelines for her kitchen boombox (her ipod nano shuffle) as it would allow her to control it without her food covered hands getting things all non-worky :) I suppose it could be used as an alternate midi controller for myself in the off hours as a sort of v-beam device. All in all a nice build and highly useful :)

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