Instructables
Nature has a way of speaking to us in a way that soothes and revitalizes. Sounds of the wind in various places create low volume tones that we barely hear. They have a certain beauty and randomness to them that are unique to nature.  We've all heard the wind rustling the leaves, hitting our cars, and, even in its most raw form, moving up against our ears on the beach and in open fields, but have we ever really gotten a chance to hear what the wind would sound like if we analyzed it electronically?

The Powerhouse Pirates have done just that.  We modified a simple kite to hold an accelerometer and programmed an Arduino to play tones based on the accelerometer's input. The result is the SPEAKR! (Singing Portable Electronic Arduino Kite - Remix!). If the virtual world had wind, this is what it would sound like.  And the best part is that it's cheap to build and easy to adapt!  We're going to show you how...

Time: < 1 Day
Experience Level: Beginner
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What you'll need....

Picture of What you'll need....
This project is based on the open source platform Arduino.  The advantage here is that most (if not all) of the components can be swapped out with cheap alternatives.


1) Arduino Uno (Adafruit Link) and Arduino Software
Most Arduinos or Arduino alternatives will work here.

2) Protoshield (or breadboard) (Adafruit Link)
The only thing used here is one circuit to the speaker and its corresponding resistor.  We liked using the protoshield because it attaches right to our Arduino UNO.

3) 9V Battery 2.1mm plug (Adafruit Link)
This makes life easier.  You can also use a wall adaptor, but then you have to bring your wall outside.

4) 1 100 ohm resistor (Amazon Link)
You only need one of these, and the actual resistance governs how loud your speaker is (so go for 1k or less).  

(We purchased all of the above materials from our friends at Adafruit in their Arduino Starter Pack for $65 http://www.adafruit.com/products/68. If you've never used an Arduino before, it has a ton of replay value, so we'd recommend taking the plunge for a starter kit similar to this one.)

5) 8ohm speaker (Amazon Link)
This is where creativity comes in.  Notice that though the speaker itself is less than a dollar, the shipping puts the total cost at about 14 bucks.  We had a little fun here- we disassembled a talking greeting card and found one of these bad boys inside.  The cards are available at most dollar stores. Radio Shack sells these speakers cheaply, as well.

6) Accelerometer - MMA7361 (Amazon Link)
Here's another point where we encourage getting creative.  We used a MMA7361 - available off Amazon and Ebay for relatively cheap, but chances are if you dig deep you can find a similar model online for under 5 dollars.  Wiring and documentation may be a bit different, but what's the fun in a project if it's not challenging?

7) 200 ft of 22 gauge wire (or 8 pieces of 22 gauge wire at 25 ft) (Radio Shack Link)
24 gague wire works, as well. 20 is starting to get a bit on the thick side.  The thinner the wire, the easier it is to fly the kite. There is a tradeoff with the length of wire, as the signal degrades over long distance.

8) Misc odds and ends
  a) Computer
  b) Soldering Kit
  c) Colored electrical tape (for marking wires- colored sharpies will work as well)
  d) Bubble wrap 3"x2" (for protection in the event of a not-so-smooth landing)
  e) Duct tape (to make the world go round)
  f) 9V battery (power the Arduino)
  g) Wire stripper (for electrical entertainment)
  h) Scissors (because cutting with our teeth is annoying)
  i) PC Board or breadboard (hold the accelerometer in place on the kite)
  j) Optional: female headers if you don't want to solder your accelerometer to your breadboard
  k) A windy day (or a car will work in a pinch)

...And last but not least, a kite of your choice!  We bought ours for $5 at Five Below. The bigger the kite, the better it will support weight, but some larger kites are more difficult to fly (and more painful to watch crash if you're not experienced). 


powerhousepirates (author) 2 years ago
Mateys, we have video up on our website! Under the "Treasure" tab!
Oliverhall4 months ago

Nice project!

Hint: you can find the MMA7361 and other sensors for cheap on this website:

http://voltatek.com/en/sensors/82-mma7361-angle-se...

They ship from Canada.

flyingpuppy2 years ago
Benji Franklin would be proud of you. : )
powerhousepirates (author)  flyingpuppy2 years ago
He's an honoree Pirate. We think about him all the time. :)
sadR2D22 years ago
Aaarrrrrrrr! Great project mateys!!!
powerhousepirates (author)  sadR2D22 years ago
Y'arghhh. Don't be too sad R2D2. Don't want you to get scurvy!
sitearm2 years ago
@powerhousepirates; Hi! I tweeted this. Cool idea and great picture. I enjoyed the sound file and hope you'll post it, and more, on your site. Cheers! : ) Site
powerhousepirates (author)  sitearm2 years ago
Thanks! Our Captain will be remixing some music tonight!
Lakes572 years ago
I`d love to a video of it in action. :)
powerhousepirates (author)  Lakes572 years ago
Our Sail Master is working on it as we parley!
scoochmaroo2 years ago
Congratulations on your first Instructable! You should mention it on the Rewards for New Authors page!
powerhousepirates (author)  scoochmaroo2 years ago
Thanks Scoochmaroo! We did it!
wurx2 years ago
Nice 'ible! Next step, connecting it to a MIDI device.
powerhousepirates (author)  wurx2 years ago
We'll make sure that the Captain gets on top of this tout de suite.