ATtiny45 drives this optical theremin

A Maker by the name of Derek recently created an optical theremin to illustrate the types of devices typically found in hacker and Maker spaces.

As HackADay’s Rick Osgood reports, the solderless Noise-o-Tron kit is powered by Atmel’s ATtiny45 microcontroller (MCU).

“Arduino libraries have already been ported to this chip, so all [Derek] had to do was write a few simple lines of code and he was up and running,” writes Osgood.

“The chip is connected to a photocell so the pitch will vary with the amount of light that reaches the cell. The user can then change the pitch by moving their hand closer or further away, achieving a similar effect to a theremin.”

According to Osgood, Derek designed a simple PCB out of acrylic, with laser cut holes to fit the components and leads twisted together.

“I learned a lot with this project and I think some other people did too. I had kids as young as 5 assemble these boards with guidance, some of them with surprisingly little help,” notes Derek.

“Everyone seemed to like them and I ran out of components for kits. I’m calling it a huge success and I hope that this project is replicated and taken to Maker Faires, expos and ‘learn electronics’ nights.”

Interested in learning more about the solderless Noise-o-Tron kit? You can check out Derek’s blog post here and the relevant Github files here.

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