The NI myDAQ Optical Theremin is a musical instrument which is played in a similar method compared to a real theremin.  It uses two photodiodes as optical sensors for input from the performer and generates a sine wave which is output via the headphone jack.  The performer moves his or her hands over the sensors to control the intensity of light.  One sensor is used to control the pitch and the other changes the gain.  When the user moves his or her hands up and down over the sensor the pitch and gain raise and lower accordingly.


  • 1 myDAQ
  • 1 Speaker/Headphones
  • 2 Photodiodes
  • 2 741 Op-Amps
  • 4 5.1Mohm resistors
  • 2 Breadboards/perfboards/something to hold the circuit
  • 10 pieces of wire

(Estimated Cost: $5 + myDAQ + Speaker/Headphones)

How to Build

Double-click on the project file button at the top of the right sidebar to download complete software and hardware build instructions and the LabVIEW code.