Sonic Microscope

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Using open-source and DIY electronics, Sonic Microscope translates what it sees into sound. It creates ‘pixel watchers’ which constantly scan the image for changes in brightness, colour and movement of objects and organisms in the frame. Patterns in appearance and behaviour create signature sounds for each subject. Sonic Microscope offers new ways of exploring and interacting with parts of our surroundings that generally remain invisible and hidden.

The idea behind creating such tools is to encourage people to investigate and create new experiences that question our understanding of what surrounds us. The Sonic Microscope has been used extensively over the past year for mapping landscapes in Finland.

This project is an extension of Composing with Data Flow Programming and used a lot of things learnt during the advanced programming class.

This project and the code is under CC-BY-SA licence.

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OPEN LABS at Science Gallery Dublin

OPEN LABS is a Science Gallery Dublin group exhibition curated by the Office of Life +Art, featuring work from Art Science Bangalore (IN), Bioart Society (FI), Hackers & Designers (NL) and Public Lab (US), as well as Science Gallery Dublin’s OPENSHOP (IE). These labs celebrate collective curiosity and challenge the expectations of what a lab can do and why it should exist.

Showcasing surprising projects and experiments from around the world, the exhibits in OPEN LABS help us imagine the many directions independent, creative research can go in the future. Artists and designers are accessing and hacking emerging technologies, or co-creating technologies that are inspired by their political convictions, personal obsessions, or just a sense of fun and wonder.


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How it works

The sonic microscope uses a USB endoscope tool as the microscope. In openFrameworks, it reads the endoscope as a webcam. The video information is processed using the videoGrabber example. The pixels along one line are scanned and analysed for their brightness value. Using ofxPd addon, these values are sent to the qtfm1 pd patch. The brightness value controls the synthesiser in the patch to produce sound output.

GitHub code

Housing for RaspberryPi


Qtfm1 by Martin Brinkmann under CC-BY-SA license

Raspi 7" Touchscreen Laser Cut Enclosureby pyrohmstr is licensed under the Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial license.

Matti Niinimäki for programming advice