Project: Sound Reactive Necklace

This weekend was the annual RPM Challenge Listening Party. I was inspired the afternoon before to make a project to wear there. Though it was a little too ambitious of me to expect to get something functioning for the event with only a few hours of prototyping/design time, I did have fun and got a good start on a little soft circuit necklace hack. I brought the work-in-progress along to share with friends at one of the listening parties and worked on some the sewing bits while enjoying the musical selections of evening.

Rather than try to build my own circuit from scratch, I went to a toy store and found this little ‘light show’ speaker on sale that pulses to the beat of your music. It was great place to start and after tearing it apart the board was small enough for me to incorporate into a wearable object.

Here’s a video I took before I started pulling it apart:

I used some wool felt and pieces of the original plastic casing to build a necklace form that I sewed the LEDs into. My first test was to translate the original circuit and function into something soft and interesting for me to wear.

I cut out the speakers because I want to use ambient sound (originally the loud tunes at the party) and will be working on a way to hook up a microphone as an input. Here’s a video of it after I placed everything and tested it out with the original mp3 input.

There are a few other adjustments I’m going to make, now that I’m not on such a short deadline, such as switching out the LEDs (they are a little too bright and multicolored for my tastes), adding a soft battery pack w/ coin cells, and an on/off button. Right now the board is hot glued into the piece and is a little bulky because of the capacitors. Stay tuned as I continue prototyping and the project evolves.

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