This littleBits box makes environment-specific music in real-time


This interactive sculpture generates ambient tunes in response to shadows.


Designed by Caselden Studios, Sounding Box #11 is an interactive acoustic sculpture that generates ambient sound, and allows viewers to make environment-specific music in real-time through motion and changes in light. As viewers approach the sculpture and wave their hands to cast shadows, the instrument responds by vibrating strings to create harmonic tunes.

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According to Maker MJ Caselden, the sculpture was intended to provide a creative, calming experience for participants. Viewers can improvise, producing ambient sounds for their surrounding environment.

Inspired by traditional Western stringed instruments, Sounding Box #11 uses electromagnets to vibrate strings and produce sound, acting as a natural amplifier. To achieve this, the team programmed a pair of Arduino bits (ATmega32U4) so that every time a light sensor is triggered, an electromagnet begins to generate a magnetic field that pushes and pulls the strings, creating standing waves. The installation was configured so that every sensor activates a different string.

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“I wanted to give people the experience of designing their own sound in real-time in a real space. I wanted to give them the control to induce that kind of ambiance and to hear it, and to experience it directly,” Caselden explains.

Intrigued? Head over to its official littleBits project page here, and be sure to see it in action below!

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