Halloween “Theremin” Ghost

I made this simple little thing for a Halloween party at my daughter’s kindergarten and it proved to be a great success with the kids. The youngest didn’t want to come near it but enjoyed watching from a safe distance while the older kids played with it.

In all it’s simplicity the ghost sings in a theremin-like voice when you approach it and the closer you get, the higher the pitch.

Under the sheet there is an Arduino board with an infrared sensor (the “eyes” of the ghost). There are also small battery powered speakers so the sound actually comes from the ghost and not from the computer speakers.

Just a fun little thing for the kids on Halloween :)

I use Max to receive data from the arduino board and simply map the data from the sensor to the pitch of cycle~. The original data was quite 'noisy', giving the sound a grainy character, so I made a patch to reduce this, resulting in a much smoother glissando. Then there is just a little bit of delay to thicken the sound and make it a bit more ghost-like. The only other element in the patch is a 'gate' so the ghost stops singing when no-one is close to it.

Anne McGowan
Apr 22 2013 | 2:53 am

I would love to be able to do this. We have just bought a basic arduino board. Could you tell me how to wire it? Any help you could give would be much appreciated.

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