Project showcase

Real Theremin Using Open.Theremin Shield for Arduino © GPL3+

Build a real, playable theremin music instrument. The theremin is played using two antennas without physical contact.

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Components and supplies

Necessary tools and machines

09507 01
Soldering iron (generic)

Apps and online services

About this project

Theremin History

Leon Theremin built the first theremin in 1920. Since then, many attempts have been made to copy, simplify or improve the original instrument. The currently available theremins can be divided into the following three groups: the real playable music instruments, the cheap noise-making kits, and the theremin-like that use different kinds of sensors. The idea of the Open.Theremin is to build a real, affordable, and playable theremin instrument. Also, it should be open to everyone and DIY.

Features

It took me several years and iterations to get to the version 3, where we are at now. The theremin is based on the Arduino UNO and the shield uses only readily available components. It has the following features:

  • Full digital auto-tuning (one button press)
  • 12bit digital to analog converter generates audio out signal
  • Waveform can be reprogrammed freely (stored in a look-up table)
  • USB powered, no extra power supply required
  • Can be powered by battery
  • Pads to screw or solder on antennas or antenna cable
  • One button interface
  • Distance of hand to antenna is converted to a digital value that can be used for other applications than theremins
  • Mute function
  • 8 preprogrammed audio wave forms can be selected
  • Pads to connect grounding directly to board
  • Completely open source hardware and software (OSHWA Certificate CH00001)

Kits

The shield is built with surface mount components (SMD) to reduce the size and noise. For those who do not dare to solder all the SMD parts, I produced some boards that you can get as a kit.

The assembling and calibration is then easy and fun.

For a detailed instruction on how to build it, see the build instructions.

Custom parts and enclosures

Laser cutting case for the theremin
Designed by Nikolai Demidenko
Laser cutting case for the theremin
Cases built by Pablo dMM

Schematics

Open.Theremin V3 Schematics and Design
Full schematics and design files for the Open.Theremin V3 Arduino shield.

Code

Open.Theremin V3 Arduino Code
Arduino code to run the Open.Theremin V3

Comments

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