The Agourdian Sends Off Halloween With A SongBy: Zach Walton - November 1, 2012
Halloween is over and we’ve had our fill of candy. Now we can all focus on Thanksgiving before the ruthless retail cycle shoves us into Christmas before we have a chance to catch our breath. Before all that though, let’s take one last look at Halloween with this amazing musical instrument made out of pumpkins.
Self-professed musician, electrical engineer and amateur designer Chet Gnegy has created what he calls the Agourdian. It’s a synthesizer that responds to hand movements and creates tones for a wide range of musical applications. What makes this invention so unique is that the technology has been built into a range of seven pumpkins that light up while they’re being played.
Gnegy explains how he did it in the video description:
Seven jack-o-lanterns are equipped with infrared proximity sensors and synchronized flameless candles. In response to a human player moving their hands in an almost percussive manner, the jack-o-lanterns light up and produce tones. The system uses 555 timers as tone generators that are then processed and filtered using analog circuitry. An Arduino microprocessor is used to control lighting and volume envelopes and to receive the signals from the IR sensors.
This year has proven to be amazing for pumpkin and Halloween related technical feats. First there was Pumpktris which recreated a playable form of Tetris inside of a pumkin. It was followed by an astounding stop motion animation that was created entirely with pumpkin carvings. Now this has topped it all of by proving that pumpkins can indeed be musical instruments.
I can’t wait to see what these guys and others cook up for Thanksgiving. It’s an underappreciated holiday that needs more amazing feats of technical wizardry.