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Hear Light Using a Solar Panel

Hear Light Using a Solar Panel


We hear sound, and see light, but with the help of modern electronics it’s not too hard to transfer signals from one medium to another and back. While one might consider a number of methods for doing such a conversion, 'tjaap' outlines how to do so with a small solar panel.

The methods employed here are ingenious in their simplicity, such as connecting the panel’s power and ground directly to a small powered speaker using alligator clips. When light hits the panel and thus generates energy, the speaker responds with a corresponding noise. One can hear such phenomena as the IR light emanating from a remote control, or even the 50/60 hertz frequency of a light bulb.

Taking this one step further, the write-up also shows how one can hook up a light based on the sound signals to see the would-be audio output. As demonstrated in the video below, nominally audio light signals can also be converted into actual audio using this sort of solar panel and speaker setup.

If the whole process sounds like it would be a great way to introduce certain physics and electronics concepts, you’re not alone. Tjaap did this project with a group of art school students as an intro to their electronics workshop. Such experiments would seem fitting for a wide variety of disciplines.

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