Optical theremin looks way easier to play than the original

Theremins make some spookiest sounds around, but they are notoriously difficult to play. This homemade version uses IR light instead of induction loops, and if you can slide a card across a table, you can play it.

Built by Chris at Pyro Electro, the Mini IR Theremin uses IR sensors to detect the distance between the Theremin and a light reflecting obstacle like a card or your hand, and translates this into a musical note at a certain pitch. By moving your hand to different distances, you can vary the pitch up and down to play a tune.

Unlike with a real Theremin, there is no volume control, and the pitch changes are in distinct steps rather than the original's smooth glissando. The result is something that sounds kind of like a cheap synthesizer, without all of the spookiness that makes the original so cool.

Still, it looks pretty easy to build, and even easier to play.

Pyro Electro, via Hacked Gadgets

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