[project video go here]

dj focus synth

Inspired by a childhood passion for djing, this project uses a programmable Arduino UNO board that functions as a synthesizer. It has a light sensor and a speaker, providing users, especially children, control over six LEDs and the speaker’s sound frequency. The light sensor plays an essential function in this project. It modulates the delay between the strobe flashes, resulting in a variable speed strobe effect based on ambient light levels. Three potentiometers further enhance user interaction, enabling adjustments to sound frequency and speaker on/off periods. This piece offers a hands-on experience for users to customize sound and visual patterns in a playful, meaningful way.

A childhood passion for DJing inspired this project. I have been DJing since primary school in my home country, Sierra Leone. At age 10, I scoured trash bins for spare parts, which I used to build FM transmitters, including a multi-channel audio mixer. I even helped fix friends’ electronic devices. Completely self-taught, I created an FM radio station where I broadcasted news and played music under the moniker DJ Focus.

I also draw inspiration from pioneering works in the realm of experimental digital media, including Tigris’ DJ Controller (https://tigris.li/Work) with a custom harness made by @isabellasmith.xyz – powered by the new Arduino UNO R4 Minima board. Dr. Jason Nolan — (Co-Principal (Investigator of Early Childhood Studies, Metropolitan Toronto University) works at RE/lab (https://relab.blog.torontomu.ca/).

My role: Instructor / Innovator

Part List

  • 1 Arduino UNO WiFi Rev2
  • 1 Arduino Shield
  • 1 Breadboard
  • 1 Phototransistor
  • 7 220-ohm Resistor
  • 1 10k ohm Resistor
  • 1 Capacitor
  • 1 Speaker
  • 3 Potentiometer
  • 3 Potentiometer Knob
  • 3 Knob
  • 2 10MM Blue LED
  • 2 10MM Red LED
  • 2 10MM Green LED
  • 3 2X7 3 printed Bar
  • 4 1×7 3-printed Bar

Link to code here.

Project credits:


Dr. Jason Nolan