I remember a while ago , i saw some Digital based Theremins circuits from glasgow university...


would it be possible to make a theremin by using an FPGA ?

  • \$\begingroup\$ FPGAs are strictly digital. That means, you either convert those analog parts to digital domain, or build an analog stuff around it. \$\endgroup\$ – Dzarda Nov 24 '14 at 10:50
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dzarda: Not quite true. microsemi.com/products/fpga-soc/fpga/fusion \$\endgroup\$ – Jerry Coffin Nov 24 '14 at 15:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @JerryCoffin Interesting. One might argue though, that those aren't Gate Arrays per se. :) \$\endgroup\$ – Dzarda Nov 24 '14 at 16:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Dzarda: Fair enough--and technically there's no real question that you're right. Regardless of the terminology, however, they're interesting parts that seem worth knowing about. \$\endgroup\$ – Jerry Coffin Nov 24 '14 at 17:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Dzarda: As a side note: It is possible to write some evolutionary algorithm that creates an fpga layout that does behave like an analogue one... this is by exploiting manufacturing tolerances. Unfortunately the programming is different per chip (and ambient temperature) \$\endgroup\$ – PlasmaHH Nov 25 '14 at 11:53

The short answer is yes, although it's really not a good fit for an FPGA project and the FPGA is mostly useless.

Fundamentally a Theremin is a capacitative sensor device like a smartphone's touchscreen or proximity sensor, but tuned to very high sensitivity. See this Arduino theremin, which would be a good basis to adapt from. There may be capsense libraries or IP cores for your FPGA which would make is easier.


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