christopher yamane turns light into sound with wassiliscope
all images courtesy of christopher yamane
the ‘wassiliscope’, invented by san francisco designer christopher yamane of fragile studios measures light frequencies from the eye‘s visible range and translates them into their corresponding audible frequency, a process that allows one to literally ‘hear’ color. the device is named after the russian painter, kandinsky who explored the concept of synesthesia on his journey to abstraction, and although there is a strong history of following this idea to create abstraction in art, the ‘wassiliscope’ takes a less subjective approach, and bases its relationship between sight and sound in physics. it functions by analyzing the average frequency of light waves in the center of the telescope’s viewport with an embedded camera and then maps that to its corresponding audible set, which is then sent through a triangle wave oscillator and out to the headphones.
‘once we realized that both light and sound are just waves of different frequencies, it suddenly seemed reasonable to make a tool that would allow us to hear what we’re seeing in real time.’ says christopher yamane.
sound design by benjamin lichtner (above)
diagram showing the translation process