Kaonashi No Face Sound Reactive Lights


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To get into the spirit of things, put up string lights. But wouldn't it be cool if you could channel the lights so that they light up when sounds are heard?

Make Kaonashi or No Face(from the movie classic Spirited Away) face mask sound reactive string lights, color organ, or super-neato sound level meter.

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Step 1: Electronic Wizardry...

I am using an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express board with a meter long (60 Neopixels/meter) RGB Neopixel strip.

The board is programmed using Circuit Python from the Adafruit guide here:

https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruit-circuit-playground-express/playground-sound-meter

The lights on the strip react to the loudness of the sound it picks up from the onboard microphone.

I weaved or should I say "snaked" my Neopixel strip through a piece of cardboard. I punched holes with an awl and enlarged the holes by using a pair of scissors as a reamer tool. I ended up with 7 protrusions of the Neopixel strip on the display side of the cardboard piece.

Since the coding works by lighting up one long continuous strip, the Neopixels behind the cardboard will not be seen thus creating gaps between lights as seen from the front.

Step 2: No Face or Any Other Face...

LEDs or Neopixel lights look better when the pinpoint light "bulb" is diffused somewhat. Like ordinary lamps or house lights, we will put on a cover that spreads out the light.

There are many materials that work well to make a diffuser but we will turn to a bit of paper.

I am using some thin cardstock as it is sturdier than regular paper. Since the cardstock is a light color, it will also be a bit translucent and add to the overall glow. Holes are cut out for the eyes and mouth so light passes directly through the openings.

And now for a little papercraft.

You can think of this as making a bunch of small night lights. The light cover can be any shape or design you wish. I am using the No Face mask design for my cover. Themed for Halloween they can be Jack-o-lantern pumpkin cutouts or something else for other holidays.

I used a marker to draw on the decorative elements of the No Face mask. You can even adapt a printout of a design you may have captured or made on the computer.

To give the mask some shape and 3-D dimensionality, I cut 4 small slits on the sides of the mask. The two sides of a cut are pulled together and glued. The corner that is formed can be pushed in and the paper smoothed to round out the shape.

Slits are again cut at the four corners. The sides of each cut are pulled in and glued together rounding out the entire shape.

I used a sharp utility knife to cut inverted "T" slits in the eyes and mouth. I then pushed them in with a pencil and formed the openings for the eyes and mouth. Use the pencil to smooth out the edges on the openings. You may need to go back with a marker to redefine the outlines just to clean up the look of things.

Step 3: Lights...

I put the covers on the Neopixel segments and tested the setup.

The Neopixels were still a bit too harsh looking so I added a bit of fiberfill batting in each paper shell. That helped diffuse the light that you see from the exposed Neopixels in the eye and mouth openings. It also evened out the glow emanating from the mask.

Tape or glue on the light covers is you are satisfied with the placement and look.

The Circuit Playground board is secured around the back of the display.

Place the board close to your source of music or crank up the volume so that the microphone on the board can pick it up.

Now watch the blinkenlights.

Enjoy!

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