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During a residency at the digital culture institution La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, Niklas Roy developed his invention, the Lumenoise. This light pen can be used to paint abstract geometric patterns and sounds directly onto the screen of an old CRT-TV, transforming it into an audiovisual synthesizer. Roy describes how the Lumenoise works:
Unlike modern flat TV’s, old school CRT’s draw the image line by line onto their phosphorescent screen. A photo transistor, placed on a tube TV’s surface, can recognize when the part of the image is drawn underneath it. If this photo transistor is connected with a micro controller which generates the video signal, the controller can localize the exact position of the photo transistor on the screen. That’s the whole trick.
Roy includes all of the codes and schematics for this electronics project on his site for you to download if you want to make your own audiovisual light pen synthesizer, or hack and develop it further. He also posted a video of the Lumenoise in action, which you can view below. The grey square is the position of the light pen, and as he moves it about it creates an instant reflection in the gadget’s sonic and visual output: