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Tiny Time-of-Flight Plasma Theremin: the Plasmino

Music evolved! The Theremin for the 21st Century:
Plasma speaker, MIDI output, Lasers!

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Theremin are awesome, but designing Analog electronics is hard...

Plasma is awesome, but winding a Tesla coil is hard...

So, lets do it digitally, and use mass produced components to create a tiny, MIDI compatible, digital Time-of-Flight, plasma-speaker Theremin!

 Theremin are awesome, but designing Analog electronics is hard...

Plasma is awesome, but winding a Tesla coil is hard...

So, lets do it digitally, and use mass produced components to create a tiny, MIDI compatible, digital Time-of-Flight, plasma-speaker Theremin!

Inspired by Pode Coet (http://ultrakeet.com.au/write-ups/modulated-arc-lighter), this project will use a plasma lighter as the starting point, and with the infrared lasers in the VL53LOX distance-sensor, will measure the players hands with millimeter accuracy and generate musical notes. 

With two sensors, you can vary both the tone and volume smoothly, or stepwise in any musical key.  It will also generate MIDI data, which can be sent back to the PC via USB.

plan.jpg

block diagram of the Plasmino

JPEG Image - 75.20 kB - 09/01/2018 at 12:00

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  • 1 × Arduino Nano Clone wars is OK with me
  • 1 × Dual Arc lighter order from China, wait 4 weeks
  • 2 × VL53L0X on Breakout board Who wants to hand-solder these things!?

  • Acoustic Horn

    David10/12/2018 at 07:23 0 comments

    Time to think about Impedance matching!

    The shockwave produced by the plasma has a lot of force, but over a small small volume. So it probably is not very well acoustically matched to the surrounding air.  An Acoustic horn is a geometrical structure that helps match the impedance to get as much power into the surrounding air:

    The plan is to use a bilaterally symmetrical horn to acoustically match the approximately 1-dimensional plasma speaker to the surrounding air:

     This will be printed in PLA, and contain the Arduino Nano, the VL53L0X sensors, and in the middle, the plsma spark-gap.

  • Demo time!

    David10/07/2018 at 16:14 0 comments

    As promised, here are some demo's:

    Sorry the sound it's a bit quiet, its recorded on a phone (and in vertical)!

  • How this thing works

    David10/05/2018 at 19:38 0 comments

    OK, Go the VL53LOX sensors working. Will post a video tomorrow.

    Basically it works like this

    We generate 2 sets of square wave pulses, at ultrasonic frequencies

    1)  ⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍
    2) _⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍

    They are out of phase, and the generated plasma expands the air.

    If we turn this on and off at audio frequencies, we cause vibrations in the air, as the plasma expands and contracts.

    1)  ⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍
    2) _⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍

    We can also modulate the volume by changing the duty-cycle, but keeping the frequency the same:

    Louder
    1)  ⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍_____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍_____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍_____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍_____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍_____
    2) _⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍_____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍_____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍_____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍_____⎍⎍⎍⎍⎍_____

    Quiter

    1)  ⎍⎍⎍_______⎍⎍⎍_______⎍⎍⎍_______⎍⎍⎍_______⎍⎍⎍_______
    2) _⎍⎍⎍_______⎍⎍⎍_______⎍⎍⎍_______⎍⎍⎍_______⎍⎍⎍______

    Pretty simple!

  • PPPPLLLLLLAAAASSSSSMMMMMAAAAAAA

    David09/01/2018 at 10:55 0 comments

    OK, plasma speakers are GO!

  • More details

    David08/31/2018 at 18:27 0 comments

    Here's the rough schematic for the plasma lighter:

    Two opposite PWM signals are fed into s1 and s2 to pulse current though the coils in the high voltage transformer, at ultrasonic frequencies.

    I plan to pulse the PWM signals to generate audible tones. More to come soon.

  • Project started!

    David08/31/2018 at 10:12 0 comments

    OK, I've stripped down a dual-arc lighter, and reverse engineered the circuit.

    Seems to be just 2 mosfets, a few resistors and the pulse generator/LiPo charger that I won't be needing at this stage.

    I've started coding a Arduino Nano clone to generate the note, as done previously here:

    http://ultrakeet.com.au/write-ups/modulated-arc-lighter

    After that, I'll add in VL53LOX TOF sensor support.

View all 6 project logs

  • 1
    Buy stuff off the parts list

    Spend money

  • 2
    Wire up the parts

    VL53LOX as per google. Seriously, there are a million circuit diagrams.

  • 3
    Hack the Lighter

    Remove the microcontroller, and wire it to the D9/D10 PWM pins on an arduino nano. Soldering iron required!

View all 4 instructions

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Discussions

clae wrote 09/27/2018 at 15:04 point

You know ... an analogue audio input driver for the plasma lighter would be a cool thing, I'm just saying ;)

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esot.eric wrote 04/15/2018 at 00:50 point

the summary alone is worth a like :)

  Are you sure? yes | no

David wrote 09/01/2018 at 11:52 point

cheers mate!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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