Thursday, 13 October 2011

Technology Will Save Us

The other week I visited the London Design Show at theV&A. There I found a company who's aim is to teach the public how to do things that everyday we take for granted, called Technology Will Save Us. Practical skills like gardening, sewing, woodwork, or electronics; they teach them all in a shop on Brick Lane and now have started up classes in Budapest.

They also sell little kits, like this Lumiphone, which I bought of them for £10. It comes with all the parts, all you have to do is solder them together.

It works like a Theremin, those odd sounding instruments you hear in films like Forbidden Planet. There are two LED's shining onto light sensors; the one on the left controls the volume of the noise, the one on the right controls the pitch. All you do is vary how much you stick your fingers in between them and it makes funky noises.

What amazed me was how simple the circuit was. Apart from the 2 resistors to protect the LEDs, it only uses 6 types of components to make the noise: a capacitor, a transistor, a resistor, 2 LDR's, 2 inverters (the IC) and of course the loudspeaker.

It was easy to make and its fun to play with; a classroom-worthy project.

Check out a video of it working below.

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