Alejandro Abreu
Ithai Benjamin

A kinetically powered synthesizer


Classes Sustainable Energy

We were challenged to create an object that runs only on energy provided by the user and/or the ambient environment. We wanted to make a musical instrument that uses energy creatively - something that would be fun to do, as well as educational. We experimented with various analog circuits and familiarized ourselves with how the power a motor generates can effect the circuit we built and Synthinetic was born.

As you spin the two motors (each controlling a different sound source) power is stored in a capacitor that powers the analog circuits. Various controls manipulate the sounds and things become interesting when the capacitor reaches its limit.
Pushing the button in the fur hole drains the circuit - surprise!

Noise Makers
Anyone who wants to have fun

User Scenario
To play the instrument the player has to turn big square knobs that turn the motors and slowly electricity is fed to the circuit, power is stored in capacitors that slowly charges. The instrument will start to produce sound when it has enough power. Two LEDS show how much the circuit is charged
There are various controls, knobs and switches to manipulate the sounds.
It gets most interesting when the capacitor is pushed to its limit - The sound will vary and produce unpredictable results.

One of the best features is the KILL switch - the switch, accessed by sliding your finger in a fur hole, drains all the electricity into a motor that spins a pirate flag. The sound slowly dies as the flag spins. Pressing the button again will stop the kill process and use whatever energy is left to run the circuit.

It's most fun when played by 2 people, but can be for 1 too.

DC Gearhead Motors, Analog circuit with oscillator chips and various components, capacitors, fur, knobs, switches, wooden case that is wood burned and painted

We learned a lot about how to generate and store energy, energy efficiency, capacitors, Hex Inverters, Schmidt Triggers, square waves, motors