Instrument #1 — elastic drone

July 16, 2014

The elastic drone machine is a simple instrument that can create some interesting and complex sounds. The instrument was first built in a workshop in Athens, 2013.

Elastic bands are wound around an arrangement of nails or screws attached to a wooden board. At various points small vibration motors are entangled in the elastic bands and the speed of these is controlled from Arduino. This causes the elastic bands to vibrate and when an LED is used to shine light across the elastic bands the solar panel picks up this vibration. By using multiple elastic bands of differing sizes you can create various tones from one LED / motor combination. The elastic bands can then also be pitched by stretching them.

Try moving the vibration motor along the elastic band and moving the LED and solar panel around to find different intensities of sound. For interesting effects try combining with the LED transmitter to shine an audio signal (sine wave or a voice) through the elastic band or use blinking LEDs for pulses of drones.

To build the elastic drone machine you will need:

  • wooden board
  • hammer + nails
  • elastics bands
  • vibration motors
  • arduino
  • potentiometers
  • LED / laser pen
  • solar cell

Here is a video demonstrating the use of the elastic drone: