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The Automaphone


The Automaphone is a robotic synth that scans a4 pictures and turns them into songs, each song is different but the Automaphone has a unique glitchy 8 bit sound at its heart.




How to play


When paper is placed into the Automaphone a micro switch is triggered and the paper is automatically fed into the machine. Once the paper has been scanned the song will start and will play for about 2 to 8 minutes.




The new sound


Here is a link to an album on Bandcamp that has been made by the Automaphone.

All noise and light


Minimal design


The Automaphone has no external controls apart from a micro switch in the side of the unit that replays the last song scanned.

Thee LEDs are built into the side of the unit to check functions like scan, sync and sound output.




Why Automaphone







Have you ever wondered what a picture or drawing sounds like? The Automatphone scans for light and dark areas on the paper and uses the information to set song variables such as tempo, scale, beat, note frequency and length.

I designed and built the Automaphone as a way to explore the sounds that could be created by simple devices with only very basic human input.



Inside the beast





The Automaphone uses an old printer mechanism and a basic LDR light sensor to read the information. Lines are scanned to make the 8bit numbers that become the different variables. Three small PicAxe microcontrollers are used in the Automaphone, one to control the old printer mechanism, scan in data and make the beat sounds, the other two are used to make the lead and bass synth sounds.


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