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Pulse Width Modulated Light and Audio Transmission

Modulating four LEDs using Arduino and PWM.  Each LED fades at a different rate creating varying light patterns.  The fading light was then recorded using two powered photocells (one for left and one for right) which produces the rhythmic sound patterns.  As the sensors are moved further away the signal diminishes simulating interference between the receiver and emitter.


Spectrogram of audio recording:

The intent is to use the qualities of natural and artifical light, patterns of light, and movements of light to inform the building’s materials, form, and experience.  Patterns and openings in material allow light to be structured as it enters a space, creating a composition for the photocells to record.  Light can easy be interrupted and/or distorted by passing users, traffic, and site conditions.  This creates both an audio and visual composition dependent on its surroundings; one that may have missing and/or altered signals, varying intensities, or no light at all.

Transmission of sound through light:

Light is used as a speaker emitting various pulses that correspond to the sound being played.  When a photocell is amplified and placed near the LED, the pulses can be heard as the original sound.  Light is transmitting the audio signal.

Pulse Width Modulation of 4 LEDs

PWM of four LEDs at various intervals using Arduino.  Recorded with two photocells and Zoom H2.

Spectrogram of recording:

Spectrogram edited to enhance patterns:


// Fade x 4
// Fading four LEDs in and out at various intervals.

 int brightness = 0; // how bright the LED is
 int fadeAmount = 50; // how many points to fade the LED by

void setup() {
 // declare pin 9 to be an output:
 pinMode(10, OUTPUT);
 pinMode(11, OUTPUT);
 pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
 pinMode(6, OUTPUT);

void loop() {
 // set the brightness of pin 9:
 analogWrite(10, brightness);
 analogWrite(11, brightness*2);
 analogWrite(5, brightness*3);
 analogWrite(6, brightness*4);
 // change the brightness for next time through the loop:
 brightness = brightness + fadeAmount;
 // reverse the direction of the fading at the ends of the fade:
 if (brightness == 0 || brightness == 255) {
 fadeAmount = -fadeAmount ;
 // wait for 30 milliseconds to see the dimming effect

Pulse Width Modulation of LED

PWM of a LED using Arduino and recorded with Listening to Light device.

Spectrogram of recording.

Edited image to highlight frequency patterns.

Edited and inverted image to highlight frequency pattern.


Pile Driver Outside of Arch II

Vibrations created in studio by pile driver outside Arch II.

Schlesisches Tor Recordings

Various field recordings and device recordings at Berlin near U-Bahn station Schlesisches Tor.

Walking around site device recording and ambient recording.

Device recording.

Device recording.


Listening to Light

Listening to light using a two powered photocells as ‘microphones’. Recordings of multiple sources of light:  Hallway lamp, Bathroom fluorescent fixture, Light of power bar, and Chandelier.