Atmospheric Sound Lamp is a physical instrument that combines two sensations – sound and light – to bring an atmospheric experience.

It is made of three white paper mache lamps on a rack. When people touch a lamp, it will emit warm light and play cosmic sounds. More specifically, the light that comes out from the lamp case with many cuts creates many small shadows in the room. The volume is determined by the area of the touch, and tune depends on the length of the touch.

In addition the paper mache provides a crafty texture that encourage touches from people. People could touch two or three lamps, or touch the lamps in different orders to play with the sound and also enjoy the warmth. For adults, these lamps will bring a peaceful meditative warm experience; for kids, they will increase their curiosity on light and sound.

I programmed MAX MSP to generate atmospheric sounds. I took Arduino, 12 volts lamps, 12 volts DC power supply, transistors and aluminum paper to build the circuits. I used serial communication to connect MAX MSP and Arduino. We used old newspapers to build paper mache lamp case.

Atmospheric Sound Lamp is a physical computing project by Gabriel Andrade and Yining Shi made at NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program. To get in touch, email us.

Atmospheric Sound Lamp was in the ITP Winter Show 2014.

Here is a system diagram: 

                                               ↔ Serial Communication ↔ MAX MSP ↔ Generate sound 
Capacity Sensor  Arduino 
                                                Light up 12v lamp when sensor value is high enough


here are pictures of the circuits and the MAX MSP program.