Introduction: Medita - a Sonic Drone Meditation Device

Picture of Medita - a Sonic Drone Meditation Device

This device makes use of electro-magnets to actuate ferrous materials, such as a steel string or plate. This allows for an instrument to be played without coming in physical contact with it. This is similar to an e-bow, but with a much more focused range allowing for a more intense actuation of specific frequencies. Using this technique, we can explore the harmonic content of any ferrous material and use it to influence our relaxation practices.

To do this, we will use materials from an electric bass, which are essentially:

  1. Wood (approx. 32’’ length)
  2. String (I used a standard D’addario D-string)
  3. Mono-string bridge
  4. String Tuner
  5. Electro-magnet 40mm (Amazon)
  6. Arduino Uno ()
  7. N-Channel Mosfet
  8. Power supply 12v

All these materials are available on Amazon.com (maybe not the wood)

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

First off, let's get some supplies:

  1. Bass strings
    I tend to gravitate towards lower frequencies so I chose to use electric bass strings, but you can use guitar strings if you prefer. Guitar strings would provide higher pitched and "brighter" tones, while bass string allow for lower pitched "warmer" and "rounder" tones.

  2. String tuning peg + Monorail Bridge
    We need a mechanism to tension the string. Since we are only using one string, let's use a monorail bridge system and a single string tuning peg.

  3. Electro-magnet
    To actuate the string, we'll be using and electro-magnet. An electro-magnet is a coil of wire (usually copper) that generates a magnetic field when provided with electricity. If we provide electricity to the magnet at a frequency rate equal to those found in the harmonic spectrum of the tensioned steel string, then we can cause it to resonate at that frequency (and many frequencies within it!). We also need this magnet to be powerful enough to manipulate the string so let's go ahead and use a 12v 40mm.
  4. Hardwood (I used Walnut)
    Like many acoustic instruments we need some sort of resonant chamber so the sound can be amplified and characterized. Hardwoods are good because they are dense enough to carry the frequencies throughout and add character to the final sound. Walnut is generally thought to produce a warm tone with good mid-range.
  5. Arduino Uno
    We will be using the arduino's Tone library to generate squarewave frequencies that switch on/off very rapidly to pulse the electro-magnet with electricity.
  6. N-channel Mosfet
    The mosfet will act as a gate between the power supply and the electro-magnet, it is controlled by the Arduino

Step 2: Arduino + N-Channel Mosfet Circuit

Picture of Arduino + N-Channel Mosfet Circuit

Let's hook up the mosfet to the Arduino. We will use the signal pin on the arduino to control the flow of electricity between the power supply and the electromagnet.

Here is the Arduino code:

/*

Medita - A Sound Drone Meditation Device

Sends a frequency to an electromagnet which actuates a steel string, causing it to resonate pleasantly.

2016 Epic Jefferson

*/

const int magnet = 3; // the pin that the magnet is attached to

byte note = 80; // This is the frequency we want to push the string with

void setup() {

pinMode(magnet, OUTPUT);

}

void loop() {

tone(magnet, note);

}

Step 3: To the Woodshop!

Picture of To the Woodshop!

Make a box! Stretch a string over the surface using the bridge and string tuning peg. For the frequency we're using the distance between these should be approximately 32". Place the electromagnet in between them, about 7" from the bridge.

Step 4: Assemble

Picture of Assemble

Once you put all the parts together. Sand it down to size and glue it together. Place all the electronics inside and stretch out the string between the bridge and the tuning peg. Make sure to not over tension just yet. In the next step we'll be looking for the correct frequency using the electro-magnet.

Step 5: Tune It!

Picture of Tune It!

Once all the electronics are in the box. Turn it on and start tensioning the string until it starts resonating on it's own. Be sure to go slowly andnot over tension the string to the point of breakage. If you feel it's too tight, it probably is. Un tension the string until you can't hear a note and the string has enough slack and start tensioning again. Once you've found the right frequency it'll be very obvious and you're string will start vibrating due to it's fundamental frequency matching that of the magnet. Remember that string take some time to stretch out properly so you may have to tune it several times before it will stay in tune.

Step 6: Meditate

Picture of Meditate

You now have a Sonic Drone Meditation Device. As an exercise, sit down in front of it and listen for changes in the actuation and characteristics of the sound. This is due to phase difference between the frequency of the string and the electro-magnet.

You can also experiment filtering the sound by manipulating a the box lid. Play around with this and create an engaging sonic experience with your device!

Comments

j450nn014n (author)2017-02-23

Question. I'm having trouble with my electromagnet. Everything works fine but the magnet is buzzing a lot. I thought it was hot, so I added a heat sink. It is not hot now but was still buzzing. I removed the magnet from the box and it is fine away from the box. Anyone else have this problem? It is just vibrating the wood because even if I just set it on the wood it is a problem. Any suggestions? Did you use some glue or material that isolated the magnet from the wood? Thanks, in advance, for any thoughts.

j450nn014n made it! (author)2017-02-17

Great instructable. I added a heat sink to the magnet, as it is still 60C with the sync. Also a voltage regulator so I can get 5V and 12V off the power supply. And I added a rotary pot to the circuit so I could fine tune the magnet. I had a lot of trouble with everything, because I've never made anything like this. I've never even made a wooden box. I'm hoping to make up an idiot's guide to how to make this, and throw in the few mods. Perhaps folks will be able to tell me how to stream line things. Great job EpicJefferson@!

EpicJefferson (author)j450nn014n2017-02-17

This is great! Good call with the rotary pot for finding the frequency, so much better than tuning the string every day ;)

Excellent work.

NoelD31 (author)2016-12-06

Yes, and positioning the electromagnet at an antinode will help a lot. If you pluck the string and look at it under a tube fluorescent light, you can get an idea where they are.

EpicJefferson (author)NoelD312016-12-06

I'll have to try that. Although you can also put it where it sounds good ;)

mouraf (author)2016-12-02

Very good!

There is a Brazilian plastic artist, named Paulo Nenflidio, who has works following this concept.

See some:

EpicJefferson (author)mouraf2016-12-06

Thanks for the good vibes ;)

I'll be sure to check out more of his work.

makendo (author)2016-12-01

Beautiful. Great wood selection and clever save on the lid. Looking forward to the next project - it's gong to be good

EpicJefferson (author)makendo2016-12-06

Sounds good to me ;)

ThomasK19 (author)makendo2016-12-01

Gong - ding dong xD

makendo (author)ThomasK192016-12-02

The cymbalism is deep and profound, I've heard

ThomasK19 (author)ThomasK192016-12-01

or maybe OMMMM

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