Now, here’s the way to do an analog noise generator oscillator: use grains of sand.

As falling sand interrupts the flow of a laser to a light-sensitive sensor (a photodetector), the circuit produces random oscillations of sound. It’s the latest brilliant creation of mad Dutch scientist Gijs Gieskes, the industrial designer-turned-musician whose inventions often center on some physical and mechanical apparatus. Just for good measure, the project is mounted to a clear frame so it can be fit to a Eurorack modular setup.

You can try building this yourself; as with all of Gijs’ projects, the circuit is freely available online.


Photo courtesy the artist.

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the synths of our lives…

Thanks to ferrie=differentieel on Twitter for the tip!