Haptic Theremin

what is a theremin?

The theremin is one of the first electronic instruments, built in the 1920s. It is the only instrument that is played without touching it. It uses two antennas: a volume loop on the left, and a pitch antenna on the right. The antennas are controlled by the proximity of the hand using capacitance. The theremin can produce any frequency in the human range of hearing. It is very difficult to play because there is no tactile feedback or visual cues for proper hand placement.

the theremin in action

Carolina Eyck plays the theremin

earlier attempts to include feedback for a theremin

haptic theremin project goals

visual design specifications

haptic design specifications

audio design specifications

use of the Phantom Omni as a musical controller

haptic frets

vibration feedback

graphic design

audio design

performance criteria

graphics performance

haptics performance

audio performance

future ideas


Haptic Theremin received Honorable Mention in the 2005 SensAble Developer Challenge. The award was announced at SIGGRAPH 2005 and carries a prize of $1000.


The paper describing this project can be obtained here:
Haptic Theremin: Developing a Haptic Musical Controller using the SensAble Phantom Omni

This paper was presented at ICMC 2006 in Barcelona and published in the Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference, 2005.