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.



‘wassiliscope demonstration’
video courtesy of christopher yamane


christopher yamane turns light into sound with wassiliscope
sound design by benjamin lichtner (above)


christopher yamane turns light into sound with wassiliscope
diagram showing the translation process


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.