Tag Archives: Ex Machina Wall

This sound-reactive LED wall is groovy

Now you can install an Ex Machina-inspired, music-responsive light fixture in your home.

If you’ve ever watched the sci-fi flick Ex Machina, then chances are you’re familiar with Nathan’s (played by Oscar Isaac) infamous dance scene. The character flips a switch to transform his home’s concrete-walled lounge into a disco floor, complete with music-synced flashing lights.

For those of us not lucky enough to be billionaires and install high-tech walls inside our homes, engineer Dan Chen has revealed that it only takes some laser-cut cardboard, LEDs and a little ingenuity to devise an affordable replica of the groovy, sound-reactive light fixture of your own.

The movie-inspired project consists of two parts: sound sensing software and the actual hardware installation. To make the embedded LED strip react to the tunes, he employed a sound detection sensor along with an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) programmed to sink or provide current to the LEDs.


Additionally, Chen kicked it up a notch by putting together a more advanced version. For this, he mapped the sound in Max MSP and applied a low-pass and high-pass filter to generate different colors. This signal is sent to the Arduino (or any ATmega-based board, for that matter), which reads the number and then maps the value to the number.

All that was left was creating the geometric wall. Chen was able to reproduce this by using a still from the film to trace and cut the pattern out of cardboard. He proceeded to paint it white and bend it over a cylinder surface for some curvature. The project was then mounted to the wall with a piece of light-diffusing paper sandwiched in between.


Whenever Chen is ready to get down, he just has to sound the music and the lights will move to the beat in red, purple and blue.

Intrigued? Check out the entire project — including its code and wall pattern — on its page here. In the meantime, see it in action below!