Night Symphony

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2015-06-02

Image courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh


Night Symphony is a large interactive mural that responds to touch with light and sound. Based on The Very Quiet Cricket, it was created with the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh for their Very Eric Carle exhibit.

How it Works

Each insect and star is comprised of multiple sections of sheet metal, covered in a vinyl graphic and seated in a clear acrylic frame. The metal acts as an electrode for a capacitive touch sensor which, when triggered, lights up an LED strip embedded in a channel carved into the acrylic and sends a message to a central system that plays a sound. The moon is a large piece of acrylic cut to size and backlit by LED strips. Triggering any star or insect also causes the moon to brighten. These elements are mounted on large, printed plywood panels, which themselves mount on the front of a large cabinet.

The Sounds

The insects all play sounds inspired by those described in the book. The one exception is the silent moth, which plays a whooshing sound with touched. The audio clips were designed with a combination of field recordings, synthesized insects and human impersonations. The stars each play a chime, with notes pulled from C Major chords in several oCTAves so they always harmonize.