IslandCQ: Building a Laserharp

Sovjet Spying Radio Telescope
IslandCQ is a yearly international trip for Media students around the world full of workshops and lectures. This year it took place near Irbene, an abandoned Sovjet ghost town and spy center in Latvia. Students mainly from the Netherlands, Hungary, Latvia and Finland participated.

Particularly interesting was a workshop about using Arduino chips. While originally intending to make a t-shirt collecting data about the person who wears it, we ended up creating special musical instruments.

Making a laserharp from Sovjet ruins
Arduino chips, wires and sensors were provided by the workshop, but since we were lacking any materials to build instruments, my quest was to venture into the ghost town to acquire useful parts for instrument construction.
The Task: Get parts for a laserharp from here!

A laserharp is an instrument that is played similar to a real harp, just by interrupting lasers. For a basic setup of this kind of instrument, I was provided with 3 lasers and light sensors and an Arduino chip, which I was to program to make sounds when the lasers are interrupted.

Inside the ruins: Fitness training

After a while of exploring and wandering around the ghost town, I had found a few pieces of solid Sovjet Russian wood to build a very basic setup for a laserharp from:

The basic frame

Spending a couple of hours installing software and coding, the sensors worked and nicely played their tones when they were supposed to.

The wires and sensors assembled

When I finally put everything together, after some adjusting with the lasers everything worked fine! The result is maybe not the most beautiful, but certainly unique instrument made from parts of the ghost town of Irbene.
A laserharp from Sovjet ruins.

More pictures from the ruins: (Right next to the house where our workshops took place)
View on the Ghost Town
The Antenna

The Gym