Donoughmore Sensors: Sound and Visualisation

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A IoT based Environment monitoring system is created to Collect, Sonify and Visualise Data.


Things used in this project

Hardware components

1 DFRobot Sound Level Meter
1 Arduino Mega 2560
1 Arduino MKR Fox 1200
1 OLED Display, Blue on Black
1 Adafruit TSL2591
1 SparkFun Atmospheric Sensor Breakout - BME280

Software apps and online services

Arduino IDE

ThingSpeak API






Climate change has made people more aware of the growing need to monitor our environment. This data station is a project that monitors various parameters of the surrounding environment of a school.


This is a STEAM based project which evolves over time. It incorporates the teaching of introductory data science so students can gain a basic understanding of how to work with data. To introduce students to some of the ways data can be explored and communicated in everyday life and to show data science that is fun to learn.

Physical Sensors


Initially an environment monitoring system was set-up in Donoughmore National School.


The project uses 4 sensors:


a) Temperature


b) Humidity


c) Sound Level


d) Light


to capture real time information of the School Entrance area.


Three small display screens display the current, realtime sensor information.


Online Data Collection


The data from the 4 sensors is sent to thingspeak using sigfox IoT.


Connecting the school to the internet making the school part of The Internet of Things.


Here on thingspeak the data is collected and visualisations are created using Matlab. In Matlab a wide range of graphical displays are programmed to uncover and extract meaning from the data.



The environmental data is used to create a musical score and orchestrate a continuous soundtrack. The website streams the latest data from Thingspeak and using Tone.js/p5.js creates a visual soundscape.


Different environmental elements control different instruments.










Combination of all= recorded Natural sounds


Some of the ways the Environmental data orchestrates the soundscape:


1) The musical Key of the score is determined by the current Light reading. When its dark (nighttime) the key will be ‘minor’ and the notes played will be of ‘lower frequencies’. The notes played are restricted to the notes from the scale.


2) If the Humidity is reading 52% the humidity instrument will play for 52 seconds and then rest for 52 seconds before being re-introduced. All instruments are orchestrated in the same way.


3) The brighter the environment the more notes will be played each time an instrument is introduced. There will be a longer interval between notes depending on current environment data.


4) Every 15 minutes the latest data from the environmental monitoring system is streamed to the website. The instruments are then played using the new information. The key, notes played, intervals etc. are determined by the realtime data.



Online representations of the data from the sensors in Donoughmore National School are displayed on a designated website.


The charts are organic, the data for each chart is updated with the latest realtime information every 15 minutes.

It is viewable from any online device at any time. The changing environmental conditions over time can be looked at from this web site.


Four Sensors = Four Categories\Elements


A) Temperature


B) Humidity


C) Sound Intensity


D) Light/Brightness Intensity


Each Element has four charts. Illustrating different ways of representing information.

The charts are created in realtime with the latest information from the sensors in the school.


The article was first published in hackster, May 18, 2021


author: Trev

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