Color Organ Style Analyzer
Years ago I visited a plastics molding company and saw a large piece of plastic in the waste bin. It was the result of the molder purging the system of air prior to the actual molding of clear parts. As soon as I saw it, I envisioned a light display and a few years later, created this color organ from it. It has since morphed into an amplifier with a full array of LEDs but the original design concept remains.
First test video (prior to cutting down the plastic blob)
Arduino LCD Analyzer
I have built a number of spectrum analyzers using an Arduino, a custom MSGEQ7 shield with two channels and a TFT LCD shield. Worked okay but was kind of plain.
A few years ago, I switched to the Teensy series of micros and their fabulous Audio Library and Audio Adapter board. Very highly recommended!!
Here is a hybrid - a Teensy with the custom stereo MSGEQ7 shield I built.
Glass Head Spectrum Analyzers
I built a spectrum analyzer into a glass head, primarily as an art piece and because I thought it would look cool.
Version 1.0 had 72 NeoPixel SMT chips soldered to strands of magnet wire, driven by an Arduino Pro Mini, two MSEQ7 spectrum analyzer chips clocked slightly off to create 14 channels and a capacitive sense board. Unfortunately, it was a 5VDC-only system and at some point, was plugged into a 12VDC power supply. Pretty much toasted the thing.
Sample video (Popcorn by Hot Butter).
Glass Head 2
After Glass Head 1 got roasted with the wrong voltage adapter, I decided to rebuild it and correct some issues. Version 2.0 again has 72 LEDs but I used the ones on small round PCBs to improve reliability, added a DC-DC convertor to avoid smoking the electronics, and used a Teensy 3.2 with the Audio Adapter. It has built in capacitive touch sensing and a wonderful audio library that can handle the FFT functions in software.
First LED Testing (without glass beads)
First LED testing.(with glass beads)
First full system.
Glass Head 3
For Glass Head 1 and 2, I used Neopixel LEDs soldered to the end of thin wire stalks and placed on the inside. For this version, I decided to glue the LEDs to the outside of the glass head, facing toward the inside, so the light would be beaming in.
I also added glass vacuum tubes, also lit with LEDs, to the base.
And on the inside, I created a simulated vacuum tube anode/cathode structure to help capture the light from the head-mounted LEDs. And finally, I have a circular LED array at the base of the anode/cathode structure to throw some light up into the middle of the structure.
The spectrum analyzer code from Glass Head 2 was modified to remove the user interface of the LCD module and touch sensors - it just power ups and runs!
Glass Head 3 - inside structure
Glass Head 3 - final system
Glass Head 3 - tubes
Glass Head 3 - Dubstep!
If you can build a spectrum analyzer into a Glass Head, why not glass bottles?? I saw these bottles in a store and immediately envisioned them filled with glass beads and lit from below.
I built a wooden base to hold the electronics and LEDs and 3D printed some diffuser lens to place under each bottle. The bottles are filled with clear glass beads and clear liquid. The light patterns are randomly generated, so sometimes they slow fade and sometimes blink rapidly.
I have built a lot of linear or rectangular matrix spectrum analyzers but not one out of circular arrays.
I bought an array of 241 LEDs in concentric circles and grabbed my old standby controller - a Teensy 3.2 with the Audio Adapter. The rings are wired to form a single long string.
I designed a 3D printed enclosure and used a translucent ABS. The hex fill pattern in the lid creates a really nice streaky or plasma look as the lights dance below. I also added a disk of cloth interfacing to slightly diffuse the LEDs.
The net effect is really, really nice!