Interactive lights with sensors and such

I am currently working of my BFA in sculpture and I have a couple of gallery shows coming up and it would seem that my ideas are bigger than my knowledge base (which is okay by me, but sometimes frustrating). My current work revolves around posthumanism and I am working to blur the lines between human and machine, working with circuitry, xrays, and prosthetics. I have one set of work that I am currently a bit stumped with. I have three copper PCB boards that I am going to etch into circuits, but the lines of the circuits will resemble human faces. Each board has a character: the introvert, the extrovert, and the antagonist. The introvert will be silent, but I want the lights that glow behind it to flicker faster, or get brighter when the viewer nears. Essentially, he is quiet, but has a LED driven anxiety attack when people approach. I did this with a dark sensitive photosensor thinking that the viewers shadows would activate the light. While it worked in my living room, I realized that the gallery lighting would not lend itself to this method. So my next thought was a theremin that had light output instead of sound output. Possible? The next two will make sound and light. The extrovert needs to seek attention. I was hoping to figure out something that would talk back when something is making noise around it. So it would need to pick up the vibrations of someone talking about my work, or possibly even their footsteps, and then begin to "talk back" (lighting up and making noise). Intstead of sensing vibrations I was thinking that proximity might be easier so maybe an IR sensor. (?) The last one hate the second one. I was thinking I might be able to do something like this with a kit I have that allows me to plug one circuit into another, , where I would have it sense the light or sound coming from the extrovert and in turn verbally assault him. However,it is not a definite go, still lots of kinks so I am up for any solutions. I hope this is somewhat coherent to you. If you could give me any leads on where to start, or any places to get good information/products, that would be immensely appreciated. Thanks for your time!

lemonie8 years ago
Look up "Theremin" for proximity-based sound/frequency modulation - you can buy kits. L
idaholaura (author)  lemonie8 years ago
I have made theremin before, but I was curious to know if you can control lightind with a theremin, instead of just sound. Any thoughts?
Instead of using a speaker, you wire the output to the lights (flicker faster, or get brighter when the viewer nears.) It's not the same, but if you've made one before you should be able to adapt the system? L
kelseymh8 years ago
Here are a couple of ideas; I don't promise that they'll work, but they might provide inspiration. 1) For a simple sound-response sensor, try disassembling one of those annoying "Dancing Santa" things. They have sound-sensitive circuits already built. 2) You might try a Google search for "human proximity sensor" and see what pops up. Alternatively, maybe a couple of simple motion sensors (e.g., from porch lights) tunded for different ranges could give you what you want.