infrared musical instrument

A cool project for all those into the electro music. Here is something that even Jean Michel Jarre would want… an infrared Theremin-like musical instrument! Notes are vibrating from speakers just by moving your hands in thin air. One hand controls the note played and the other hand controls the octave. The difference is that the sensors are not antennas but two IR devices from Sharp, the GP2D120.

Notes are predefined, so unlike a Theremin, it’s pretty easy to play it. The instrument, named Squaremin, can only produce flat notes from the C major scale, so only C,D,E,F,G,A,B within 7 octaves. However you can change these notes to your desired scale, all you need to do is to define new notes by changing the period of the pulse in the source code. The microcontroller used is the ATmega168.

The operation of the instrument is given by the two IR sensors. These sensors can determine how close an object is to them by using triangulation. A pulse of IR light is emitted and if an object is in the way it reflects the light back to the sensor. A CCD array within the sensor receives the reflected light and determines the angle of this reflection. If the angle is wide it means the object is far and if the angle is narrow it means the object is close.

Therefore depending on the distance your hand is from the sensors, you change the notes and the octaves. The Squaremin has an internal audio amplifier with a small speaker but you can easily add a line out connector so you can hook the instrument to a mixer for example. Also it provides a little light show as it changes color with every note you play, again reminding of the awesome J.M. Jarre concerts.

All in all, although the spectral composition of each note is not that rich, this principle can be applied into a real instrument project that instead of microcontroller generated sounds plays real samples.

Infrared Theremin Musical Instrument: [Link][Via]

March 6th, 2008

Infrared Radar

Infrared Radar

Improving upon typical ultrasonic systems, which are ineffective when used around sound-absorbing materials like padded furniture, the Infrared Radar uses infrared light to create a radar rangefinder. Additionally, this radar works faster than ultrasonic radars and improves object identification by measuring the range as well as reflectivity of the target. The speed and single-cycle execution of the ATmega8 microcontroller eliminate the need for external components.

Infrared Radar:

October 27th, 2007

Serial port infrared receiver


This project is really easy to build, anyone can try it. After reading this tutorial anyone can build this. You just need the tools and the parts list and you can start building it. I first build this project about 2-3 years ago when I found the schematic on a website I don’t remember which website, and I gave it a try. Surprise, it worked! And it worked fine.

The receiver it’s very sensitive, you can send signals with a TV remote from 10 m away very easy. You don’t even need to point the remote at the receiver, it’s so sensitive it picks the signal that bounces from objects or walls. And if you think at the cost of this project parts list, it’s really cheap, about $4. You can build this on a board or just connect the parts between them.

There are various modes of assembly of this project: you can build the hole circuit inside the RS232 connector so only the IR sensor comes out, or you can build the circuit inside the connector and attach a wire with the sensor at the end. You can assemble it however you want. This is the schematic of the receiver, you can see that it uses an IR detector, a resistor, a diode, a capacitor and an rs232 serial connector. Very simple indeed.

serial-port-ir-receiver schematics

If you take a look at the ir detector code the last two digits represent the frequency at which the IR detector receives signals. I successfully used different frequency ir detectors and all of them worked with any remote I had around the house. If you encounter problems with some kind of remote you should try changing the IT detector with one of another frequency(it is optimal to use the 38 KHz receiver).

After building the receiver connect it to your com port and lets talk a bit about the software part. The receiver needs a software that is going to decode the signals and control various other programs that you want to control. As a software you can use a free software named Winlirc or Girder which you can buy for about 40 $(note Girder must be use together with a plugin that recognizes signals coming from our receiver, the plugin is named Igor and you can download it from link1 or from link2 there are 2 versions available , you should try the first one and if that doesn’t works the second one will work).

I’m going to teach you how to use the receiver with girder and Igor plugin because this is what I used. After installing Girder you have to install the Igor plugin , if you encounter any problems you can check the plugin’s website for answers or you can write a comment here and I will be happy to answer you. Now after you plug in the receiver start Girder.

Now you have to go to configuration to hardware plugins and check Igor SFH-56 device and set the correct com port.(click Link to see a picture explaining configuration of Igor plugin).Now your software is ready to receive signals from the receiver. Now the small green led in the lower right side of Girder should blink every time you press a button on your remote signaling the software is receiving signals. Now all you have to do is start configuring Girder to control various other programs by learning different keys and their action. Here are some pictures of assembled receivers:


serial-port-ir-receiver serial-port-ir-receiver

And here is the part list:

  • TSOP 1738 : ir receiver x1
  • resistor 3k3 x1
  • capacitor 100 nF x1
  • z diode 5v1 x1
  • rs232 conector x1

Infrared Remote control receiver circuit

    It seems that we like remote controlling stuff around the house. So why not control your computer remotely. Many people have turned their Pc’s into multimedia centers replacing their tv, dvd, mp3 player. But a multimedia center without a remote it’s not so good. There are a few commercial alternatives, but they are a bit expensive and are not totally adaptable.

    I have build a project like this which I will present in a future post, it’s a much simpler version of an IR receiver connected to the COM port of your computer and with the help of a plugin trough a software called Girder I successfully control almost anything in my computer. The IR receiver we are talking about now it’s a bit more complicated and more advanced, it uses ATtiny13 microcontroller.

    You have the possibility to turn on/off your computer and also control anything you like from your computer. A note to this project is that its only programmed to work with RC5 remote controls. If your remote control is made to work with RC6 code, or any other IR (InfraRed) system different than RC5, you will never make this circuit work. This is a nice project with practical applications, and its easy accessible to beginners. Click the Link to go to author’s webpage for details and schematics.

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