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New microphone allows you to “listen to light”

today05/12/2022 1

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A new microphone converts light into sound, allowing users to “listen to light”.

Using a solar cell, the Photon Smasher created by CLIP detects infrared and visible light and transform the wavelengths into sound via the electromagnetic spectrum.

“If you shine an LED at the Photon Smasher, you’ll likely hear a single constant pitch. This is due to Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), a technique LEDs use to vary the perceived power going to an LED by quickly turning the power on and off,” CLIP explains.

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“LEDs reduce their brightness by varying the duty cycle, the time spent on versus off. The rate of the PWM is directly linked to the pitch frequency heard when listening to LEDs with the Photon Smasher.”

The hexagonal-shaped microphone was first developed at CLIP’s weekly workshop with the next generation of music tech experts in Colchester and has now been used in experiments, installations, and performances for the likes of Loula Yorke and Alissa DeRubeis.

“The Photon Smasher is an embodiment of our mission to encourage people to get curious with sound, and explore the world around through sound,” says CLIP co-founder Frazer Merrick to Synthtopia.

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The microphone is available now at £50. Watch the Photon Smasher uncover the sound of a Las Vegas arcade.

Becky Buckle is Mixmag’s Video and Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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