Finally, someone found a practical use for all those fidget spinners everyone has! The SpinnerLFO by DeftAudio is a physical implementation of a Low-Frequency Oscillator (LFO). Using the same type of pickups used for string instruments, the module can detect the metal of the bearings spinning past. Unlike an electronic LFO, the SpinnerLFO has friction in the centre bearing and slows down over time, giving a smooth decay to the generated frequency.
The output isn’t very strong, and so to use it as a control voltage (CV) for other synthesizer modules, it will need to go through some sort of pre-amp. If you’ve got a breadboard and some op-amps laying around, I’m sure it wouldn’t be hard to lash something up. The pre-amp was left off the board in order to keep everything passive, though it would be cool to see a version designed to plug into a standard modular synth backplane, allowing it to draw some power to amplify the signal.
Once you’ve got the circuit built, it’s time to Spin! Spin! Spin! Depending on what you connect it to, you can get all sorts of crazy, wacky sounds. Check out the demonstration video below, and if you’re interested, be sure to check out the product page as well as DeftAudio’s storefront for other cool audio and synth gear!