Visual Beats

From ESE205 Wiki
Revision as of 19:55, 23 September 2016 by Ligao (talk | contribs)
Jump to navigation Jump to search


This project is inspired by Cymatics, the study of visualizing sound through the representation of physical mediums. The common method to visualize sound in Cymatics is by creating a frequency on a plate that vibrates a medium (such as sand or water) placed on top. The more in tune a frequency is to the plate, the more complex of a geometric shape (nodal lines) the sand creates. We initially plan on experimenting with an online frequency generator and a metal plate in order to see what how big of amplitudes we can make on the antinodal regions. Once we have found specific frequencies that resonate well with the plate, we hope to mix/record specific tones and develop it into an Arduino based electric xylophone. People will be able to play on the xylophone, creating their own beats that will create resonating geometric patterns in order for them to “see” what physical form their music takes on.

The Team

  • Sudeep Raj
  • Han Wang
  • Li Gao


  • Finding several resonating frequencies of the plate since stable figures are obtained the best at these frequencies
  • Achieving a consistent image will depend on the distribution of sand (or silica grains) spread on the plate since the higher density nodes will be providing the form we seek.
  • Having at the least 5 unique sets of diametric and radial node patterns that are playable on the xylophone.
    • The higher the count on both diametric and radial nodes, the better
  • At least 3 melody kits (specifically themed notes) the xylophone will be able to play
  • During the demo, anyone should be able to play the xylophone and form images on their own (although we will prepare/practice some melodies that do create designs)


Most of the hardware we will use can be purchased, but there are still many foreseen challenges we will encounter:

  • We don’t know what kind of pattern(s) a specific frequency will produce beforehand, so we will have to try a wide range of frequencies
  • We may try different mediums (sands, silicon beads etc). They may get stuck on the center of speaker and cause the damage
  • We may exceed our budget if our trials keep failing, so we need to form detailed plans on how we will run our experiments in order to prevent going over our budget
  • We must be aware of the environment we perform our project in as some frequencies might have the potential to shatter glass
  • Coming up with back up plans if our set frequencies do not form the expected shapes
  • Finding the most effective way to reuse and not waste sand
  • The high speaker and high amplifier may harm our ears, so the earplug is needed for protection



  • 10k Resistor
  • Arduino UNO
  • Breadboard
  • Solderless Jumper Wires

Est. Total

  • ~$90

Gantt Chart

VB Gantt Chart.png Xylephone.jpg