Composition : Sound Machine

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The concept behind water level and music is inspired by glass harps. The idea is that each glass is tuned to a different pitch by filling the glass with water until the desired pitch is achieved.

The futuristic hologram and reflective materials are inspired by the electronic music the instrument plays. I use translucent material to emphasize water reflection, light, and shadow.

I name is project “Composition” because you can compose your own music by playing with the water level in each container. In addition,  you can compose the 5 components in this set and place them in different environment to experience different lights and reflection effects.

Here is the video of how it works.

I have created an INSTRUCTABLES of the making of this sound machine. Please visit:

Here is the list of materials and tools I used :


– Translucent double-sided hologram acrylics thickness : 1/8″, size 12″ x 24″.

– Translucent double-sided mirror acrylic thickness : 1/8″, size 12″ x 24″.

– Clear acrylics Cylinder dia : 3 3/4″, height : 12″

– Clear acrylic Rectangular Tube dia 3 1/2″, height : 12″

– Frosted Acrylic

– One-sided mirror acrylics thickness : 1/8″

all from Canal Plastic 345 Canal Street, New York, NY 10013

– 2 plastic water taps…

– Frosted 1″ plastic tube 24″ long

– Frosted 1/2″ plastic tube 24″ long

Home Depot…

– 2 Arduino Board Uno

– Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board + 2x2W Amp – WAV/OGG Trigger -16MB

– 2 eTape Liquid Level Sensor

– 2 Small Speaker

– 16 LEDs

– Wires

– 4 nuts and bolts


– Soldering Tool

– Wire Snipper

– Utility Knife

– Plastic Cements

– Clear Kitchen and Bath Adhesive Sealant

– Hot Glue Gun

– Drilling Machine

– Laser Cutter Machine

The fabrication part begin with making outlines for laser cutting. Originally, I created 3D model in Rhinoceros and export each components to illustration outlines.

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Export all the Rhinoceros files to an Illustrator vector file for laser cutting.


Assemble the water container need extra attention. I use water proof silicone sealer for bathroom to prevent leaking. Plastic cement and acrylic solvent are adhesive materials I used. Once the LED light bulbs are put in place, you can reinforce and secure them with hot glue gun.

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​There are two parts that need to be soldered. The first part is the the LED bulbs. After putting all the bulbs in place, I solder additional 20 inches long wires to the bulbs. The second part is the sensor. I also solder about 24-inch-long wires to it.

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Arduino: The first step is to plug in eTape to your breadboard and use the following code to activate the sensor. There are two important things you need to know before we start. Firstly, since the tape detects the different distances of the liquid by the compress of hydrostatic pressure the sensor, the container dimension affects the pressure. Therefore, you should to test the tape with the container that you are using in order to get the exact reading. Second, the eTape works effective and accurately only when it is flat and straight. As a result, you should attach the tape to the container other flat and stiff material with double-sided adhesive tape, to get the tape to work properly.

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Uploading audio files to FX soundboard is very simple.

I downloaded mp3’s from open-sources. Then I used to convert my mp3 file to .ogg. When Adafruit soundboard is plugged into the computer, you can drag the files into the drive. Rename the files as T00, T01, T02, T03.

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Conceal your Arduino boards, breadboards, speakers, and the messy wires in a box.

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Panisa’s NEW Final Project Idea


This idea is inspired by musical cocktail glass. Each water level initiate different musical notes. Using water level sensor, user can create their own notes for each glasses. Then they can play a musical piece.





The second idea is related to last week concept of meditation. It is inspired by Japanese traditional device using water power to create sound. “Scare the deer” Shishi-odoshi is a A trickle of water into the upper end of the tube accumulates and eventually moves the tube’s center of gravity past the pivot, causing the tube to rotate and dump out the water. The heavier end then falls back against the rock, making a sharp sound, and the cycle repeats. 


en-light-tenment-02 The idea is inspired by color combinations in Impressionist Paintings. Soft and peaceful palettes create inner calm to the audience.  en-light-tenment-03

The diffused colorful light on the panel change. 

Having experienced many meditation trainings, I often found myself having trouble concentrating when I try to practice at home. Therefore, I want to create the light panel that does not only keep you calm, but also warn you that you are not concentrating.


The panel goes white when the object in front of it moves. The colors movement continues when the object stays still.

EN-LIGHT-ENMENT  is not only meant for adults create inner peace, but also meant for young audience. Since many studies show that meditation is great for child’s development, children are encourage to practice in school, at home, and in temple. Each instructors have their own ways of dealing with kids. Therefore, this light panel is one of the tools that could help children concentrate and stimulate their visual sensory.

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These are some sensors I think could work for this idea.

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Working over eight hours a day is harmful for both your physical and mental health. People need ‘time’ to relax and take a break. Sometimes it is hard to find that moment of break when you are in time restrained task. Therefore, instead of taking a long forty minutes break, this hourglass encourage you to press pause for a little over two minutes. “2.09” is the time that the sand takes to go through both bulbs of this hourglass. User can meditate, close their eyes, or just watching the sand fell through the bulb.



A Force Sensitive Resistor switch is hidden underneath one of the bulbs. After the first spin, user has to empty the top bulb again and the weight of the sand will press onto the FSR switch. Each LED will turn on corresponding the amount of sand pressing. As three lights on the wrist band turned on, that indicates the end of the short break.




Finally, I made some adjustment on the design. I installed the LEDS to the hourglass itself, instead of a wrist band. This way user will be able to concentrate and focus only on the sand and the lights.


Panisa’s Ideas on Switch





This idea is my favorite. I’ve seen this magnetic hourglass before, but without electronic feature. If this design is possible, I would like to work on the form…this one is too boring!




I feel like the more challenging part of this design is not the switch but the mechanism of the balance scale (unless I buy an existing one and install a switch!) So I’m not so keen on this one.





This is a maze game. I need to work more on the rules of the game and still have to figure out where the switches are located.

Panisa’s Gravity Pendant

Gravity pendant is a soft huggable light for ceiling hang.


Another feature is there is a small gap on the lamp that you can insert things or your hand and create silhouette. Shadow play or guessing game is some suggested activities.


The light turned on and off by pulling down.

This product is made of spandex fabric, cotton filling, LED stripes and the circuit.`OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


After presenting this light to class, I decided to make some adjustment to the product, by trying to combine different materials together to see the different diffusions. Also, instead of stuffing the lamp with cotton, I tried plastic beads to give more weights to the pendant.

The result came out unpleasantly because the fabric is still not right. However, I’m happy with the weight of the new stuff material as it gives more sense of gravity.


I’m glad that I’ve tried it over and will continue developing this thing until it works! 3D fabric is my new goal!

Sketches for Light + Plush by Panisa


Start with the one I like the least. This is Huggy Muggy…a mug, bottle, cup, hugger that change color (of LED) according to the temperature


This is a light, soft, stretchy, and very versatile lamp. It’s a simple design and can be hung or tied everywhere. The overall is nylon and the weight of the ball makes the structure more fluid than ever!


“Guess what’s inside my belly!” Play this game with children or friends. Put stuff inside the stretchy opaque stomach and turn the LED on…see the silhouette and start guessing!



The first idea is a pendant that can be customized


The second idea is a huggable lamp.

Tear Down: Musical Instrument Toy

This plastic electronic keyboard toy was manufactured in China. It creates distinct sounds corresponding the pressed keys. Simple construction made it easier to dissemble. The toy also has very few components and I have indicated each ones in the video above.


As I investigate each elements, I found that one of the most interesting part is the keyboards. Eight individual pieces are made of injection moulded plastic (?) and have build-in conductors underneath. When pressing these conductors, they touch the circuit board and complete the electrical circuit which create individual sounds. I believe that the designer has to truly understand the electric circuit operation to be able to come up with this solution to sound making.