Home SCIENCE A Kinetic Sound Sculpture By Vtol That Uses Speakers, Lights & Motors...

A Kinetic Sound Sculpture By Vtol That Uses Speakers, Lights & Motors To Generate Abstract Electronic Sounds

Kinetic sound object. The mechanism is a system consisting of two sound circuits and auxiliary mechanical and electronic elements. The first sound circuit is a speaker emitting square wave. This speaker forces copper balls, served one at a time or several at a time through a dispenser, to bounce up and down on its membrane.

image/text credit: ::vtol::

Depending on the amplitude and frequency of the sound of the speaker, the balls bounce at one of the same height or at another height. As they are confined in a pipe, they either fall back to the speaker, or jump out of it. If a ball jumps out, it ends up in one of seven collecting vessels and subsequently falls into the pipe.

An optical sensor is installed in each of the seven pipes attached to the vessels, detecting the passage of the balls through this pipe. Subsequently, the ball ends up in the collector and may, as and when the balls are used, be returned to the mechanical dispenser through the use of a robotic “hand”.


Depending on the number of times that a ball ends up in a vessel (pipe) and a particular vessel (pipe), the algorithm of the generated sound changes in the second circuit, which executes the generative composition. The frequency of the sound in the primary circuit is also affected by the number of hits.