Water level as volume control?

Hello! I am an art student working in sculpture and media. I’m new to electronics, but very interested in learning and incorporating electronics into my work. I’m working on something at the moment, and would appreciate any help I can get:

I’m creating a sculpture that incorporates ice and sound. As the ice melts, the water is collected in container below. I’m seeking a way to make this rising water level adjust the volume of the sound in a way that is gradual - ie, the volume increases in a gradual crescendo with the rising water level, rather than jumping between pre-determined levels.

Does anyone have any tips on how to go about this?

Thanks in advance,


Hi Hannah,

Welcome to the forum!!

The most elegant way that I can think of would be to use one of the PiicoDev distance sensors along with a Pico and expansion board.
Since you can code in Micropython designing and writing the code will be a lot faster than using an Arduino.

A quick aside, how were you looking to send the audio through? If it were through a PC you can use a HID library on the Pico (emulates how a keyboard or mouse inputs button presses) to turn the volume up.

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Hi Hannah - this project sounds great. I love projects that fuse technology and art :smiley:
The PiicoDev Distance sensor relies on reflecting laser pulses, so a transparent medium like water might give spurious results - I haven’t tried it before though. Perhaps an ultrasonic range sensor would be more appropriate for the task. The unit linked is a 5V device. Here’s a 3V alternative if required.