The Project So Far

A project log for MicroKits: Theremin Electronic Kit

Let's inspire the next generation with exciting and educational kits that anyone can build. Want to create your own theremin?

David LeviDavid Levi 04/08/2017 at 19:240 Comments

Since high school, I've wanted to design my own theremin. The idea of controlling an electronic circuit just by waving my hands fascinated me. I had tried out different circuit typologies, but creating a professional instrument was daunting.

Then, late last year, I realized that theremins are not just musical instruments. They are also an amazing and unexpected way to demonstrate electric fields. I could create something for everyone, especially students, instead of focusing on professional theremists.

I looked back at my old circuit designs, and chose a design that would be simple and reliable: A high frequency 555 timer and a microprocessor. The instructions would explain the build process step-by-step, as well as the theory behind the circuit. Finally, the circuit would have to to withstand the kind of mistakes that first time engineers could make.

Currently, I have designed the circuit, programmed the microprocessor, and completed the first draft of the instructions and packaging. I've tested the kit on a dozen or so friends and family, and hope to make a batch of 100 kits within the month.

In this project log, I'll be going back and explaining some of the design decisions I've made. I'll also be sharing my progress as I try to get these kits out into the marketplace and into the hands of students and hobbyists. And I'm sure there will be bugs or feedback to respond to, too.

I'm excited to be posting on! What could be more open-source than a hardware kit that anyone can put together?