Circuit Sculpture Breathes Life Into Discrete Components

We’ve probably all given a lot of thought to breathing this year in various contexts. Though breathing is something we all must do, this simple act has become quite the troublemaker in 2020. They say the best art imitates life, and [bornach]’s Astable Exhalation certainly does that, right down to the part about astability. It’s especially interesting that the end result — breathing, visualized — is so calming, it could almost be a meditative device.

There is nary a microcontroller to be found on this circuit sculpture, which uses a pair of astable multivibrator(s) to light two sets of LEDs that represent air being inhaled and exhaled. We like that [bornach] used two sized of exhale LEDs to represent droplets and aerosols in this beautiful circuit sculpture, and we love that most of the components were scavenged from old electronics and older projects.

Our Circuit Sculpture Challenge runs until November 10th, so even if you’re waiting to take the Remoticon workshop before entering, there’s still a little bit of time to whip something up afterward in the post-con adrenaline rush phase. If you need inspiration, check out some of the other contest entries or just surf through all things circuit sculpture.

5 thoughts on “Circuit Sculpture Breathes Life Into Discrete Components

  1. I have been building another type of circuit sculpture and wanted to get sequenced LED’s and did not want to use a microcontroller. I had great results using an LM3914 dot/bar display driver with a simple R/C network to drive the analog input and an opto triac instead of an LED in the chain to discharge the cap in the R/C. One advantage of this over a micro is the 3914 is designed to drive LED’s, and drives them with constant current so you can add series chains of LED’s and different colors without having to deal with dropping resistors. There is also one pin to switch to go from bar to dot mode, and the chips can be cascaded for larger displays. With just two chips (3914 and opto triac) and a few passives this circuit is pretty easy to tack solder together. This also allows you to have audio control over the LED’s. I had decent, not fantastic but serviceable results, bringing the high end of the voltage divider down to 20mv or so and driving the input with the output from an unamplified electret condenser mic.

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