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seeing & feeling sound!


Class: Research Independent Study - Interactive Light Studio (ME 365)

Year: Spring 2019

Goal: Create an educational module/activity for students in PS 347 (American Sign Language and English Lower School) to use with a teacher in the Interactive Light Studio.

Inspire interest in STEM, and promote engineering for social good


  • sound correlates to two additional senses

  • bunny plush for engaging use

  • activity card for instructions and suggested lessons

  • durable, portable, and sturdy (child-proof) exterior, with clear and safe user interface

  • clear acrylic body providing insight for circuitry inside

  • hinges added for easy troubleshooting

  • long USB extension for usage anywhere


Technical Details

Using an Arduino, the microcontroller was programmed so that when a specific button/input is high (pressed down), a chain of specific LED color, sound frequency, and vibration strength (intensity) is activated. The vibration intensity is controlled by PWM (pulse width modulation), using two pairs of MOSFET (transistor) + vibrational motor to control the intensity of each vibration motor.

The casing and the body of the toy is created with acrylic, so that it is durable and sturdy. It is also portable, as it is only 10” x 6.75” x 3.5” in size.


A hinge is added to one of the side walls for easy debugging and minor changes/edits. The side door is closed as default at all times, as the hinge is mounted on the outside. Only the user interface is exposed to the child directly, and the clear plastic allows for observing the complexity of circuitry encased inside the acrylic body. The electronics inside are also secured on the bottom of the casing. This ensures that the toy is safe and robust, and that is easy to fix. if something was to go wrong.

In order to create a more attractive toy for children, the vibration motors are placed inside a plush that the child can hold. This was also done so that the vibration intensities are amplified inside the plush, interacting with the filler material and the hand of the child as he/she/they grasp it.

The program for the keyboard can be found here.

The activity sheet can be found here.

The poster for the End of the Year Show (EOYS) can be found here.

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