1A – Basic Circuits Project – Culo and The Sound of Attraction

Group Members: Rebecca Wolfinger, Alice Borie, Luke Hottinger, Vivian Qiu, Joe Mallonee
Roles: Rebecca Wolfinger as Integrator/Tutor, Vivian Qiu as Designer, Alice Borie as Integrator/Designer, and Luke Hottinger as Integrator/Scribe, Joe Mallonee as Scribe


As a group, we set out to create a physical representation of attraction. This representation took the form of two speakers that, when kept apart, create a fast, whiny, and high pitched sound. However, when the speakers are moved together and allowed to unite, the speakers create a calmer, more peaceful atmosphere. When together the speaker’s sound represents that of a calm heart beat and when pulled apart, a whiny sound is heard.

It took us a while to get to this concept. We always knew we wanted to work with sound and music, but had a hard time putting that in a one-in-one-system that would be analog. Most of our ideas were too complicated and would’ve needed an Arduino in order to be constructed. We were eventually able to settle on an idea that involved playing music from an iPod and passing a hand through a laser in order to start and stop the music. Although we thought this concept was pretty snazzy, we realized that it lacked a deeper meaning. From our previous brainstorming, we knew we wanted to keep music as our output and that we wanted to continue to incorporate movement in our project. At this point in the project, we had already invested in design materials for the casing so we also knew we would have to keep working with a similar casing shape as our initial idea. We started playing around with different sensors in order to think of a new input and kept bouncing around ideas until we finally found our final project concept.

Considered a “One-In-One-Out” system, the input is the human touch either bringing the speakers together or pulling them apart, while the output is the whiny sound created by the speakers. As the sound doesn’t affect the sound produced, it is a direct pipeline from proximity to electrical representation and out as sound.


Technical Notes

Our system is comprised of two wooden speaker housings, made from oak wood. Each box contains a circuit that makes an unpleasant noise when they are separated.  Pieces of conductive material lay on the outside of the speaker housings.  When the two speakers come in contact with each other, a bridge forms between both circuits, ending the unpleasant noise.

Our circuit consists of two identical mini circuits we soldered stored in separate boxes. These two circuits each contain a LM555 timer, a 5v step up/step down, an audio amplifier, and a speaker. When these speakers are apart, the 5v (from a 9v battery) output a high frequency. When the circuits are connected, each Ain is connected to the other speakers ground, and the speakers turn off.


About lhotting

CMU Information Systems Class of 2017