Global sound art installation. (that I need help with)


I’ve been wanting to make some art to put in the public space for a long time now. Probably since forever. Since I like sound and synthesizers that has been my focus-area.

Imagine a small box, Almost like an altoids-box, but thinner. On that box there is a string and on the other side of the string there is a weight or a hook. This box is thrown up in a tree, dangling back and forth and sounding. This would be an electronic sound, probably a pure sine or a dirty square-wave. This sound changes in pitch as the tree moves in the wind and the day dawns or set’s. The box is not alone. It has friends, and they sound together, creating a wonderful cacophony of sounds. Now imagine that there are many of these trees, all around earth. Now imagine that you could be part of that creation.

The boxes contain a speaker, a circuit to produce the sound and a solar-cell to get the electricity.

I want the circuit to be cheap to produce, real cheap, so cheap that you wont mind throwing a bunch of them up a tree.
I don’t want to put a light sensitive resistor in the circuit, I’d rather have the electricity gathered set the pitch.
I’d like this to be funded via, that way ppl will be able to contribute and get the sound-making devices and I wont have to shell out loads of cache, but most importantly I will have found people around the world that likes this idea and will be able to put it into action.
It has to be environmental friendly, in this case, it means that it wont be impossible to get the sound making devices down and recycled.
Volume should be of a 30 something while male speaking, not louder or softer. I think that is a good volume that will both be heard but not tinnitus inducing.

Why is this not already on kickstarter?
I want to be able to present a working solution and have prices on the hardware before I go on kickstarter, and right now I’m still prototyping the sound-making circtuit, these are what I’ve tried:

* 555 oscillator: (Needs amplification and does not change pitch when starved)
* A Couple (two)  LED-blink circuits changed to talk to speaker instead of a LED (could not get to work, probably needs amplification)
* Four or so Hex schmitt trigger IC’s (I really like these, cheap IC’s, very moddable but they need amplification and does not handle battery-starve as I would like them to do).

Maybe I’ll try and find some 2ohm speakers, right now all I’ve tried with are 8ohm’s, perhaps then amp would not be needed.

Prices range between 10sek and 20 SEK, without the solar-cell (witch are about the same in price). Then add casing and we’re up at like 50-60 SEK. This will lower with volume ofcourse, but not by much.

I’ve been glancing at clockwork robot’s heliophone, but the schematic is using a 1381 voltage detector that is 1.75 USD in.

I need some help, good ideas about the casing and the amplification. Also a good place to source solar-cells would be awesome. Any thought on making PCB’s would also kick ass. I’d like the circuit to be easily modifiable so that everyone putting them up can add their own artistic touch if they please.

____________________________________________ some links

555 oscillator:

clockwork robot:

One thought on “Global sound art installation. (that I need help with)

  1. Hey Johan,
    I should point you to the inexpensive micros I use for all my embedded projects. They have dacs, adcs, sensors, etc. They are very small, will run on minimal power, and of course are entirely programmable.
    This is the family here:
    Look at the C8051Fxxx family.
    They can be had from digikey for under $3 for pretty basic ones or around $5 for some with more features. (C8051F310 is one I use a here). Surely there is some low-power piezo speaker driver out there somewhere which would work nicely in your setup.


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