Projects / Sonar Tonebank

The Sonar Tonebank is a simple musical instrument that uses a range sensor to trigger sound samples. Players can create musical soundscapes by moving in front of the range sensor, which maps pitch to distance. This project was created using an Arduino, a PING sonar sensor and the Minim sound library in Processing.


The Processing code for Sonar Tonebank is actually very simple. The program reads range data from the Arduino via the serial port, then triggers samples and visualizer elements according to the distances reported. Any set of samples could be used (for this version, I’m using 16 different short sound textures generated with Reason), and it’s easy to imagine how the code could be modified to send MIDI signals instead of triggering samples.

Download code: sonar-tonebank


Demo assistant: Kiki Benzon