DiY (scientic) strobe responding to sound

(Robert Richter) #1

_Tell us about your idea. Edit everything in brackets and add the tag pre-pitch

TITLE: DiY (scientic) strobe light that responds to sound.


In science and education it is common to watch fast periodic processes like a vibrating guitar string in slow motion by lighting it with a scientific strobe. (

For our projects we build our own strobe light and use it for several optical illusions. It would be super fancy if the optical illusions would be responsive to music or other sound.
This could be achieved if the frequency of the strobe is not fixed but would slightly vary corresponding to the volume of music or other sound.
Say an object spins at 36 Hz it can be watched as a still image of said object by lighting it with the same 36 Hz. One can however make it go back and forth in slow mo by tuning the strobe to 35 Hz or 37 Hz respectively. If one could manage to tune the strobe frequency corresponding to the bass of music (i.e. loud = 37 Hz, quiet = 35 Hz) the object would appear to be “dancing” to the beat of the music.
Our current strobe consists of an Arduino an Amplifier and some powerful LEDs
By attaching a microphone to the Arduino (maybe also a low pass filter) it should be possible to get a volume reading which then could be used to vary the strobes frequency.


  • people who program Arduino or similar controlers



  • Toli and Chris maybe Jörn

Please add constructive feedback, suggestions, offers of equipment or skills, and gestures of wild enthusiasm as replies below. Thanks!

(Joram) #2

This is really cool. I guess you don’t have to sync the camera to the strobe, you just need it recording enough frames per second to capture the individual flashes, don’t you?
Can’t wait to see some strobo light on the weekend!

(Jemma Woolmore) #3

This looks awesome! A colleague Johanna and I have just started working on the basics of an installation that uses similar ideas but needs more actual science knowledge to back it up. So we would be super keen to join! Together we have light/video installation, audio-visual performance and arduino and coding (Johanna) experience.
See you Friday!