VCO with Bela

Voltage Controlled Oscillator with Bela

I’m created this VCO using Bela ( and following their C++ Real-Time Audio course. This is for lecture 6. I’m learning about this microcontroller which is attached to a BeegleBone computer. it’s as small as a microcontroller, amazing. It’s fun to learn about these tech tools. I’ve made instruments in the past using Arduino, Teensy, openFrameworks (C++), and MIDI. The Bela course is teaching me about optimizing real-time audio as their microcontroller is 10x times faster then MIDI…ideal for live performances. I’m taking the time to learn to see how I want to build my instrument… a lot of noise in this video, but I would like to create harmonious sounds… The potentiometers use a voltage divider to send voltage to Bela, which is mapped to frequency, amplitude and a detune algorithms. Fun stuff 🙂
Frequency and amplitude are visualized in the plotter. I used potentiometers, a FSR sensor and an eTextile bend sensor I made.


Sensors to make music

200315 – Sensors to make music

Testing different ways of triggering sounds for Body Instrument which will embed the circuit in fabric as a Smart Suit:

  1. Copper Button
  2. Capacitive Touch
  3. Bend
  4. Gyro / Acceleration

Microcontroller: Teensy 3.2

Coding in Arduino

Music Software: Ableton Live


The videos below show various tests of a motion sensor, bend and touch sensors.

The images below show the electronics that will be embedded in the body suit’s right hand Smart Glove, able to play sounds while controlling lights and/or visual art in real-time by moving the hand, bending fingers and touching, all visualized with addressable LEDs.



I performed using my Audiovisual Instrument the ‘Willpower Theremin’ at Spektrum Berlin as a part of MOVLAB #28

I then invited the public @ Spektrum Berlin to play with the Willpower Theremin 🖐🏻🖐🏿

It was joyful to see the people having fun with it ! 🤟🏾🔊

The original Theremin is an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact. It was invented by Léon Theremin of Russia who patented it in 1928. I created my version by adding a visual component amongst other differences… I coded the Sound and Visuals in openFrameworks, an open-source C++ framework… used 2 infrared sensors via Arduino to capture the distance of my hands in mid air to control amplitude and frequency of the Oscillator (Sound) while mapping them to a x/y axis for the visuals to be animated symbiotically with the audio, via hands in motion ✋😸🤚. The purpose is to create Music + Graphics with the natural movements of the human body.” ☺️🎼🎨🔊👩🏽‍🎤🖤

If you like what I am developing and would like to Support the Research & Development Division of WILLPOWER STUDIOS, you can become a patron here:

The Hardware is still in prototype mode here in the image below.

Willpower Theremin

The Willpower Theremin V1 🔊
Finally got a first version of the theremin going 🙌🏿 Using an ultrasound ( sound frequency)and infrared ( sound amplitude )sensors to detect distance, allowing me to move freely in space to produce sounds.
The bass is crazy with a low frequency of 20hz but cannot be heard through the 💻
Coded the Software in oF, using Arduino Micro as a microcontroller
This is fun 🤸🏿‍♂️

The very first one. Using an ultrasound sensor to trigger sounds based on linear hand movements.

Next steps:

  • Introduce other musical sounds
  • develop 3D visuals
  • ways to change sounds
  • study ways other apps make music
  • apply similar changes to visuals