Andrey Smirnov :: workshops


Theremin and Sensors Construction Workshop

  =3 days=

The workshop is focused on a construction and soldering of the theremin-sensors to convert laptops into digital theremins. Analog theremin construction could also be considered as an option.
Digital t-sensors, developed in 2005-2006, are based on alternative direct-control principle. Unlike any classical theremin designs and previous t-sensors, they have one main advantage - NO ANALOG TUNUNG IS NEEDED AT ALL! After any change of hardware configuration system produce self adaptation and tuning by software means. Any conductive media could be connected to the sensors as an antenna: metal objects, foil, water, human body, plants and vegetables, metal threads, thin plastic films with metallization, all sorts of Christmas stuff, conductive fabrics and clothes etc. to monitor variations of air flows, mechanical vibrations, changes of electrical capacitances of different conductive medias etc. No more need in screwdriver to fight with coils!
T-sensors are ideal for live interactive performance and long term interactive audio/video installations to avoid any need in continuous maintenance by the personal. We also could call them PLUG-AND-PLAY THEREMINs.

Participants should bring their laptops and have some basic skills in MAX/MSP or PD programming as well as a basic idea about electronics. Some skills of soldering are also desirable. All components for the theremin-sensor construction are provided by the instructor.

For workshop we need:
- one osciloscope (1ch. will be enough) with the bandwidth better then 10 mhz.
- Multimeter.

Each participant should have a soldering tool, solder, flus, wire cutter, tweezers, scalpel or knife.
Any other useful struff for soldering and construction.
We will need some extra wire to make connections.

It is important to finds some store, where we could get extra electronic components, antennas, wire, cables, plugs, cases etc. Although I will bring some basic stuff, in the process of the workshop we can get some unexpected ideas and needs.

Each participant should have a seat and space on the table.
Each participant should have at least 2 free power plugs available.
3-4 microphone stands with holders could be useful just in case for sensor testing and hot riding.

Sensor kits are provided by instructor. They include a printed circuit board and all components needed to solder one sensor, test it and start to experiment. It won't include any special cases or plugs, which we can find useful during the process of hot riding. For that we need an electronic store nearby.


Multichannel d-sensor systems are also available.

Sensor, connected to interface with shielded cable, produce complete working system, providing analog FM signal with 10 khz carrier frequency.

To build a cheapest theremin-sensor system as a sort of compromice, one can connect the interface directly to the audio input of sound card of the computer to work with special MAX/MSP or PD patches. Disadvantage of this solution - dependency on existence and quality of sound card, more processor power needed, extra audio inputs occupied.

To make complete digital USB sensor system, capable to work with up to six separate sensors, we use an extra microcontroller, based on Atmega8 processor. System can be powered from USB plug of the computer or any separate power adapter.


Learn More:

Theremin Sensors

Theremin Sensors Workshop

Dealing with Theremin Sensors: pinouts and connections

Multichannel interfaces

Theremin Sensors Circuitry

Theremin Coil construction

Tests and troubleshooting

Classical Theremins

Extra Links:

Watch video of lectures at Hangar, Barcelona, June 2007


All service manuals and data sheets, sorted on make and model