i touched a breadboard once.

adventures of a software engineer in the land of physical objects

Final Project Proposal: Light and Sound

For my final project for 6.943, I would like to make a speaker that also responds visually to the music being played. I would like to make the body of the speaker out of white, translucent (probably 3d printed) plastic and then have the circuit board in the middle contain some LEDs, which pulse brighter on the detected beats of the music. I also might consider detecting other characteristics of the music - pitch, major/minor key, loudness - and displaying those visually as well if I have extra time.

There are a number of C++ and Python libraries for realtime detection of music beat and pitch, and if we have fairly fast microprocessors, it should be possible to use these libraries to run analysis at the same time the music is being outputted. There would be a delay, but if the processor can run the beat detection algorithm at a reasonably fast speed, it would probably be imperceptible.

The speaker will have both a power adapter and a socket for a 3.5mm audio jack, which would then let the speaker be connected to anything with a corresponding socket via a male-to-male auxiliary cable, which, conveniently, I already own.

I am also potentially interested - again, if there's time - in seeing if I could build the electronics for the speaker as well, instead of just including a pre-made part, but it's not the most important part of this project.

Figure 1: Some speaker shape ideas. Inspired by the shape of a phonograph.
Figure 1: Speaker shape ideas, vol 2.