Maker Faire Rome 2021, ARTS sector. One of the featured projects was Smart Theremin, a musical instrument that produces sounds without touching any keys. With the movement of the left hand you adjust the volume and with the right hand the frequency of the note. The instrument is based on the original one invented by Lev Sergeevič Termen in 1919. The most famous Theremin virtuoso was Clara Rockmore. It was brought to the Innovators’ Fair by Achille De Santis and Alessandra de Vitis.
Achille and Alessandra
Achille is an electronic engineer with an interest in telecommunications. He is a promoter of weather radiosondes and data decoding. «I am a maker and build various robots together with Alessandra de Vitis that we take to various events» said Achille. Alessandra, on the other hand, is a physicist, musician and «hunter of radiosondes – she defines herself – I’m a maker, I love building robots and being a Cosplayer. At Lucca Comics and Romics we brought some robots built together with engineer Achille de Santis, using the Arduino microcontroller. Together we also built an electronic replica of the Enigma machine, which won us a prize at the Maker Faire in Trieste 2020».
A bit of history
«The first instrument – they explain – was made with electronic vacuum tubes. Smart Theremin, on the other hand, uses a microcontroller and allows numerous parameters to be controlled: volume, pitch, registration and tone. The low-frequency output can be connected directly to an audio amplifier with a cable. Our instrument is small, easy to use and stable in operation. It recreates the operation of the original in a modern key with a negligible energy consumption. The instrument is intuitive and fun to use, allowing everyone to play by ear».
At Maker Faire Rome 2021 it went like this
Smart Theremin is «a self-made Theremin – says Alessandra – We were at stand I03 Arts. A lot of people were curious about this instrument, and at the busiest times they had to queue for a few minutes just to listen to and try this particular musical instrument. Many young people wanted to “feel” Sheldon from “Big Bang Theory”, children had their eyes wide open for the wonder of producing sounds without touching anything, and more mature people, although they knew Theremin, wanted to try it for the first time. We had fun explaining and giving tips on sound techniques. We are very pleased with the large number of visitors of all ages, as well as with the visit of some very well-known people in the field, such as Massimo Banzi who, knowing us, stopped to talk about technical matters, and Paolo Aliverti, a popular engineer whom we only knew online and who enjoyed trying out the instrument with great interest and curiosity».
Cover photo: makerfairerome.eu
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