The Listening Flash

Audio controlled high speed flash photography via Arduino


Our project was designed for artistic photographers. It allows photographers to take a photo the exact moment a loud sound is registered. The planned application for such project is time-sensitive photos of sound-emitting objects. For example, our project can be used to take a photo the exact moment a balloon, or water balloon, pops via the sound emitted through the popping thereby obtaining a photo of the deforming balloon and water in action, resulting in a very interesting photo. Attached images demonstrate this application of our project.

Our project was implemented with an Arduino with various components connected, a wireless transmitter, a photography flash bulb, and a camera. The Arduino components involved included a button that toggled the on and off status; a green light that turned on when the device had an "on" status; a red light that turned on when the device had an "off" status; a sound microphone that detected sound input; and a opto-isolator that toggled the flash bulb on then off when activated.

The button controlled whether the device was on or off or not. Pressing the button toggled between the two states. When the button was off, the red light was activated. When the button was on, the green light was activated and the sound microphone began registering input. If sound input was above a certain threshold then the opto-isolator was activated. When the optoi-solator was activated a wireless transmission was sent to the flash bulb, causing it to flash. The camera then took a photo the exact moment the flash was executed.

Inspiration for this project came from a desire to learn and play with the Arduino. Thus the beginning of the project involved simple devices such as turning a light on and off, and an oscillating light, and a light controlled by a touch sensor. Through learning and enjoyment we continually increased the function and application of our device until we arrived at our current project.

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