Education and entertainment

Theremino the system is designed to reduce the complexity of the hardware. So it is easy to understand and explain, ideal in education and hobby use, because of its simplicity, and for the low cost of components.

Young MakersYoung Makers Young MakersYoung MakersYoung Makers

Young Makers

These pictures show simple In-Out educational systems made by young makers.

You can also create more complex experiments, temperature measurements, radiations, light and sound, but also to drive hydraulic components, relè, Led and every other kind of actuator.

The intelligence system for simple reactions, is ready to use and works just turned, but it can be integrated, with complex functions, using high-level programming languages. That you can teach, system engineering aspects, the control of physical processes.

Theremino the system to “School Maker Day – Bologna 2016”

The system theremino to School Maker Day

The work of the boys with Theremino and Arduino:
<< Click on the image for a larger view.

Physics experiments

In "open lab" We make experiments to see and touch the main concepts of modern physics, as the wave-particle duality, the quantization, radioactivity and also the strange phenomenon of entanglement.

Total modularity, of all components “hardware”, “firmware” and “software”, supported by hardware abstraction, and the communication through the “Slot” (mail boxes), allows easy and quick composition, review and reconstruction, the experiments.


The system Theremino in the world

In a few years the system Theremino has achieved a remarkable diffusion (see the study of popularity written by Angelo Dolmetta) and is currently used by thousands of enthusiasts and professionals worldwide. Here are some of the most significant publications:

– “International Award 2015 for the best development system for projects D.I. Y.” issued by “VFF Research Institute Mare Nostrum e. V.” (This PDF is an exact copy of the email that we received from the ’ Institute VFF in June 2015).

Review of Theremino MCA on Japanese site Pico Tech.
– In depth with all functions of Theremino MCA on Japanese site Pico Tech.
Study of radioactivity in toriate gas mantles with hardware and software system Theremino.
Theremino MCA, Mumyouan Edition, wonderful Japanese-style reconstruction.

– Theremino applications for measurement of contamination of food.
– Review of the system Theremino for the Gamma spectrometry on site GammaSpectacular.
Experimental versions of ThereminoMCA
modified by Australian and Japanese developers.
Radiation measuring stations online based on Theremino.

– Spettrometria gamma con Germanio Iperpuro (HPGE) – HPGe伽玛能谱仪theremino MCA
– Construction of gamma spectrometer amateur – Utsonomia Spectrometer in China.
System components Theremino used in the production of microwave cavity filters in Shenzhen, China.

– The system Theremino 1st in a list of systems for radioactivity and mass spectrometry, published by “Thailand Institute of nuclear technology”.

Federazione Russa
– Universal Monitor of Low Intensity Mixed Neutron-Gamma Radiation Fields Utilizing the Computer Sound Card as Multichannel Pulse Analyzer – File PDF scritto da I. N. Ruskov

Czech Republic
– Simple presentation of ThereminoMCA – Video of crnazvijezda.
– Review on Gamma spectrometry systems.

– Acquisition of the measured data from the detector to PC is performed using hardware/software developed by Theremino(R) Italian group. Tratto da: “An Overview of our Specially-Developed Online Remote Radiation Monitoring System For Patients With Differentiated Thyroid Carcinoma Treated with Radioiodine“.
Matovic M(1), Jeremic M(2), Uroševic V(3), Ravlic M(3), Vlajkovic M(4).

The data collected by the detector are acquired and processed by a PC, using customized hardware/software system developed by Italian Theremino(R) group. Tratto da: “Three reasons for on-line remote telemonitoring of patients treated with high doses of radionuclide therapy“.
Matovic M(1), Jeremic M(2), Uroševic V(3), Ravlic M(3), Vlajkovic M(4).

(1) Department of Nuclear Medicine, Clinical Center Kragujevac and Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Kragujevac. (2) Polytechnic School in Cacak, University of Kragujevac. (3) Prizma Company, Kragujevac. (4) Department of Nuclear Medicine, Clinical Center Nis and Medical Faculty University of Nis, Serbia.

Geiger e spettrometria gamma fai da te.

Einstieg in die Range-Spektroskopie – Bernd Laquai of
Self-construction of a scintillation detector – Bernd Laquai of
Determination of ’ uranium in phosphate-based fertilisers. Written by Frank Jacobs and Ewald Schnug of Julius Kühn-Institut (Germany) and Steven Sesselmann of Bee Research Pty Ltd (Australia).
– Il sistema theremino utilizzato nelle ricerche “Uranium Past and Future Challenges Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Uranium Mining and Hydrogeologys” of “Technische Universitat Bergakademie” (Freiberg Germania)
– Simple and cheap gamma spectroscopy with theremino MCA – Video di YouTube
– Gammaspectroscopia economica con Theremino MCA –

Gamma Spectroscopy on the site NSBRM (North Santiago Background Radiation Monitor).
– Review on ThereminoMCA on site GammaExplorer (Los angeles – California).
– A music application on Theremin World (Nashville, Tennessee)
– Instructions for building a “Gamma spectrometer” on HACKADAY (Washington DC).
– Simple but mighty DIY 4 axis CNC Foam Cutter su RCgroups (Dallas – Texas)

Review of Theremino MCA and Geiger on site Tactical Nerd.
– Sebastien Billard videos on’Armadillo used with Theremino MCA

– Measurement of radiation with Teviso sensors linked to Theremino_geiger.

Geological applications of the system Theremino posted by Corrado Sheep (CNR, The Superior Council of public works and Engineering Faculty of the Politecnico di Milano)
Building a data collector 6 channels posted by Corrado Sheep (CNR, The Superior Council of public works and Engineering Faculty of the Politecnico di Milano)
– Theremino the system made simple and inexpensive seismology. Review of IW3SGT
Reviewed by Paolo Latella (Giornalista e Consulente Tecnico nell’informatica forense).
Theremino: a name, a thousand applications Open Source Electronics, December 2014.
– Theremino system applications on the community site of geology.
– Seismology with the Theremino on site geology and Dataloggers.
Directional Theremino on site geology and Datalogger.
Because Italian stations online based on seismograph Theremino.
– An example of a seismic station online
– Comparison of Theremino and the Arduino on website for schools “Mastro-Hora”.
Review of the system Theremino on Open Teaching.
School Maker Day 2016 the boys work with Theremino and Arduino.
Piezoelectric sensors for Theremino. A search of the boys of the Institute Primo Levi of Turin.
State of the art in research of seismic precursors signals Civil Protection, FESN Group.
– Musical application sample: Video of the Magpie-Synth by Francis Fruitful instrumentalist of the Group VIDRA.
– Joseph Pally: Theremin e piattaforma Theremino – SMANETTO QUINDI SUONO

Manufacturers and international distributors
(use the logo Theremino but do not have commercial relations with the system)
– eBay : from = R40&_ trksid = m570. l1313&_ nkw = theremino.
– Chinese site :

Theremino as an alternative to conventional instruments of teaching

In these pictures you can see the classics and expensive electronic learning tools. These instruments can not create much interest in “digital natives”, accustomed to the computerization of each common object thrust.

Interfaces with the public for exhibitions and museums

The ability to compose, at little cost, customized capacitive keypads, colored and waterproof, makes it easy to create totems, and exclusive installations, to communicate with the public, so new and attractive.

applications fiv

Do CapTouch type keys is very. Each key is a plate of conductive material, connected to a “PIN” of the system Theremino, with an electric wire. Platelets are normally, sized to fit to be touched, with one finger, but they can also be very small, very large and any, as, for example,, the keys of a piano, or the petals of a flower. You can also dial controls, acting on two axes, like a mouse, and cursors “slider”, of all shapes and sizes.

Large objects that are sensitive to the public, with technology “Capsensorhq”

With sensors “Capsensorhq”, each object, big or small, It can be made sensitive, up to a distance of several meters, and can capture audience attention, so unexpected and surprising, then communicate with it, by means of sounds, voices, lights and images.

applications six

The sensitivity of the sensors “Capsensorhq” is unique. No similar technology, provides characteristics comparable. The sensors “Capsensorhq” are available only on the system Theremino.

Art installations

The first components of the system Theremino, were created to follow the demands of artistic works and complex media, with the contribution of renowned artist Ennio Bertrand

Installation “Breath” by Ennio Bertrand

applications thr

applications fou


The sculptures contain a microphone “electret” and a sensor by puff. Theremino the system controls the communication with visitors, through the speakers located at the bottom.





Installation “Ipogea”
by Piero Gilardi

applications two

Well-known artists, as Piero Gilardi,, and Ennio Bertrand,, contributors for decades, with their ideas, and with their needs, the development, innovative methods, easy to use and reliable. For which you can claim, at a glance, the system Theremino is “done on purpose”, for the art installations and multimedia.

The benefits in this field, are the low cost, the versatility and modularity, but especially the ease, with which the artist himself, can you put together, very complex systems, without sharing his work, with programmers and electronic technicians, with all the problems that this entails.

Gadgets for PC

Toggle idea, the implementation of a USB gadgets, It takes a long time of planning, and a deep knowledge, USB protocol.

Instead delegating the delicate operations, system components Theremino, it becomes possible to create a new idea, in a few hours and submit it immediately, investors and the market.

applications nin

Generic input output subsystem

All PCs, Notebook, NetBook, Tablet, Smartphones and the like, have some method to get and enter data, They range from the ancient “Parallel” the even older “RS232” (also known as “serial”) at antiquated “FireWire” and “Bluetooth” until the most recent “USB“, “WiFi” and “ZigBee

Strangely, in 30 years of innovations and improvements, It was made of everything & more in software, but almost nothing in interfaces, to facilitate connection of simple devices that, for example,, turn on a light, or measure the temperature of the room.

In recent years the USB made it easier, connecting devices, and gadgets. But every sensor or actuator, even the simplest, as a button, requires the development of a commodity hardware, development that cannot be done by the user, and that requires experience, time, equipment and testing.

applications ten

So we drove to absurdity, today a user can move, via web, a telescope located on the other side of the world, with its normal PC, WITHOUT ADDITIONAL HARDWARE, but can't connect, for example,, a simple button.

There are many adapters, and business input output, one of the best known is the Arduino. But are systems that need to be programmed, for each different application and that always require, writing specific programs, both in the micro-controller, that on the PC, to receive and use data.

The Theremino system is modular, pre-programmed, auto-configuring and easy to use, and it is so flexible and inexpensive, that could become the standard system of the future (!), available on all computers, to easily connect, not only the buttons, but all kinds of sensor, and simple rocker.

Measuring equipment

Measurable quantities with standard Input-Output pins are:

  • Voltages from 0 to 3.3 volts, with a resolution of 50 micro Volts
  • Voltages from 0 to 10 volts, with a resolution of 200 micro Volts (with measuring adapter)
  • Voltages from 0 to 100 volts, with a resolution of 2 Milli volts (with measuring adapter)
  • Voltages from 0 to 10000 volts, with a resolution of 200 Milli volts (with measuring adapter)
  • Currents from 0 to 10 mA, with a resolution of 200 Nano amps (with measuring adapter)
  • Currents from 0 to 1 A, with a resolution of 20 micro amps (with measuring adapter)
  • Alternating currents from 0 to 16 A, with a resolution of 200 micro amps (with instrument transformer)
  • Resistance from zero to 50 Kohm, with a resolution of 1 ohm resistor
  • Very small capacitance changes, in the order of one-thousandth of a picofarad
  • Period and frequency of repetitive signals, up to 100 kHz, with average accuracy (+/- 1% from 0 to 50 c)
  • Count and frequency of events, up 50 Mega Hertz, with great precision (+/- 0.001%)
  • Temperature, brightness, pressure and magnetic field.
  • Alpha Radiation, Beta and Gamma from 0.01 us/h up to 10000 us/h
  • Any other physical quantity, for which you have a suitable sensor.

Tensions, currents, strengths and capabilities, are measured with respect to GND. For differential measurements, opto-isolated and floating for precision measurements, You must use the appropriate Slave, shown in the file “Theremino – Measuring instruments”.

Accuracy, resolution and noise measurements, with standard Input-Output pins:

  • Resolution: from 14 to 16 bit (Depending on the speed of response choice)
  • Noise: less than 0.01 % of full scale
  • Accuracy: +/- 1% of full scale or better depending on the sensor and settings
  • Repetition: all measures under repeated control up to 500 times per second

These characteristics are optimized, control applications, where are most important, the speed of response and repetition, the low noise and relative accuracy, rather than the absolute accuracy of measurements.

Precision measurements

The above features are only valid for the normal “PIN” Input-Output. If these are not enough, You must use types of “Slave” specific, for precision measurements, with which you can measure, every physical quantity, with any accuracy, achievable by current technology.

Customized modules, may be developed by users, which will be facilitated in this, the modularity of the system Theremino, and the ability to communicate the data digitally, that allows you to make measurements as precisely as possible, without limiting it or degrade it because of the links.

Measuring machines

Here the same considerations, on the previous page, about “Measuring equipment”. A “Measuring bench” It is not just a sum of instruments, power supplies and cables, but it's also the coordination skills and a capacity of mathematics and logic, to combine everything. This Theremino system is ideal, easy to use and inexpensive, the rules and formulas, writing in modern programming languages, fast and powerful.

Testing equipments

Control of small production lines
Controls for robotics

For these applications the system Theremino is perfect thanks to:

  • The capacitive buttons customized, large, colored and waterproof.
  • The proximity switch in native functions (without using a special sensor)
  • The speed of response (refreshments of all devices up to 500 times per second)
  • The ease of coordination, with high level languages, easy to use, and very powerful.
  • The modularity, that allows you to add, or remove sensors and actuators, in a short time
  • The abstraction of the hardware, that allows a universal communication, among all the components
  • The ability to communicate, programs written in any language (C++, CSharp, VBNET etc..), with the firmware, but also among them, in times of the order of microseconds.
  • The ability to isolate optically, the transmission line, allows you to operate in harsh industrial environments, in the presence of large electrical noise.

Write control programs is easy, Thanks to data abstraction, and communication between programs. You can communicate with the system Theremino, with your favorite programming language. Even existing programs, can be modified, for communication with the “Slot”, of the system Theremino.

applications sev
Detail of a process control program.

Temperature regulation

Control of chemical processes
Production of chemicals
Analysis particularly difficult

You cannot control a whole refinery, but small chemical processes, for teaching, and also for the production, can be controlled well, from your system Theremino.

These applications have an advantage, from lower component cost, from modularity and the ability to measure, any kind of physical quantity, evenly, by means of hardware abstraction.

In the case of difficult analysis, where the steps are many, and where it is necessary to respect, reaction temperatures, and precise timing, It is useful to have a real programming language, that allows mathematical calculations, and complex algorithms, alarm functions for the operator, and also a proper graphical interface.

applications eig

The chemical process is like a recipe, during the trial it is useful to be able to change, at any time, by changing the parameters, and timings, or adding and removing sensors, so easy and modular.

Unsuitable applications

Theremino the system is designed to be a subsystem, input output, for PC. If it is used for the correct applications is easy to install, reliable and inexpensive. But there are applications “not recommended”, for which we should have done different design choices. The following list, gives an idea, the type of inappropriate applications, and of the reasons why we do not recommend.

Home Automation
The data line system Theremino is made to connect the devices in the chain, you will leave first and we enter the second, and so on until the last device. You cannot make connections “stella” or “in parallel”, whereby the transmission line, has to go up to each point to be served, and then go back, doubling the length of the links.

In a home automation system every electrical outlet, each lamp, every appliance and sensor, every security checkpoint, should be reached, the transmission line, which then should go back, down to the base of the room, before heading, toward the next point. A rough calculation for a House, with three rooms, kitchen, bathroom, Hall, living room, garage and attic leads to hundreds of meters in length of the transmission line. A two-storey villa, with basement, Attic, garage, lawn, open-gate and intercom, could easily take thousands of metres of links.

Theremino the system is able to communicate across lines of many kilometers, but you should reduce the transmission speed, and you should insulate the lines from the wires that carry the 220 volts, using raceways, and shielded wires, expensive and difficult to connect. In case of lightning very close, the only inductive coupling, between very long lines, can generate such high currents, to destroy any electronic device, even those made especially for home automation. To reduce the risk, You should therefore let all wires, even those directories, Tv and satellite, from a single place of habitation, and install appropriate traps at that point, all related, such a unique and efficient, ground connection.

To minimize the currents induced by lightning, and the cost of the links, a home automation system for good design, should communicate wirelessly, with all peripheral devices, who should also be able, to carry out their own function, in case of defects to the central computer, or lack of communication.

However a true “Geek”, making the most of the possibilities of the system Theremino, could redo the whole electrical system of the House, Add more “Masters” multi line separate USB, Shield connecting cables, and cover all of the hundreds of users would. But it should also use the right adapter, for each user, for example a light controller, optically isolated, for halogen lamps, to be used with a channel Pwm, or a solid state relay, always opto-isolated, with an output DigOut, to switch on the water heater, and also design by if some devices.

ours “Geek”, should also choose a hub PC, always keep lit, probably a eeeBox that consumes little, and then should arrange, a system control software, for the whole House. A really complex software. Eventually our friend, for how good he is, and have developed a perfect system, will have to live with the constant danger, that the whole House goes to the first lightning, or the first faulty hard drive.

Control of electric utilities for factories, public places, guest houses and hotels
The same considerations, made for home automation but, due to the increased number of rooms, and the much larger, These applications are impossible, also in theory, because it exceeds the maximum number of devices that can be connected.

Burglar alarm and access control, for hotels, organizations and laboratories
The same considerations, made above for home automation, public buildings and hotels, but you also need to add security, requiring encrypted protocols and redundant systems. Also a burglar alarm system, for good design, should have wireless connections, for all peripheral devices, and reduce their consumption to zero, When they are not in alarm condition, in order to make the batteries, for at least five or ten years.

Even the containers would require a specific design, in order to facilitate the installation of the sensors, in the proper position and dissimulation of the same. These characteristics are not developed in system Theremino, that would be a poor quality anti-theft devices, difficult to install and maintain, and ultimately even too expensive.

Checks for boats and cruise ships
Here the same considerations, made above for home automation, public buildings and hotels, but also the possible damage caused by salt. System components Theremino, are not designed to operate in corrosive and humid environment, do not have sealed containers, and appropriate connectors.

Applications in harsh environments
Here the same considerations made above for possible damage caused by salt, but also by the corrosive compounds volatile, from electrical noise induced by high power electrical machinery, and lightning.

System components Theremino, are designed to work in a civil environment, with temperatures from -10 to +50 degrees centigrade, in the presence of humidity below 90% and non-condensing.

Other applications are not suitable for
It is not possible to list all applications that are unsuitable for, Hopefully this list of things not to do, It was enough, to avoid that someone can think, to computerize a large hospital, control devices for anesthesia, and maybe even drive surgical robots.

Special Applications

The Theremino system was developed, with the specific intent to speed up and facilitate at maximum, the input data output, and communication between modules, and between programs. There are some applications, with different needs, requiring redesign, some parts of the system.


Take for example a credit card reader and an application that transfers data, as passwords, credit card codes, and customer data.



This example could have the following needs:

1) It is not necessary to communicate numerical data 500 times per second, as in standard applications of InputOutput. This data type is simply a communication to the second, but on the other hand, It might be a good idea, encode them with an encrypted code, and send it three times, to avoid any possibility of error.

2) It is not necessary for all applications on your PC, can communicate with each other easily, with shared data, that data is standardized and that all other programs, can read them, understand them easily, and edit them in a few microseconds. But, Indeed, It is important to precisely the opposite, only the application connected to the reader, must be able to communicate data, other applications running on your PC, should not read them, understand and change.

Ad hoc designs

For special applications, some parts of the system Theremino, should be deleted, others may be retained as is, but interconnected differently, other will have to be designed from scratch.

Thanks to the modularity of the system Theremino, You can break down the various blocks and reassemble them in a short time, so you get the right features, for each special application.

Write to us and, whenever technically possible, We'll try to help you in designing your systems.

As regards Artistic or technical applications
Ennio is available to provide advice for custom projects



Get the system modules

The theremino team only deals with research and does not sell hardware. The system is completely "Freeware", "Open Source", "Not for Profit" and "DIY", but there are manufacturers who can provide modules assembled and tested at a great price. One could hardly self-build them spending less. A list of manufacturers on this page:


The source code of our software does not contain copyright notices, author names and links to our site, so you can make every use, without limitation of any kind. We do not require you to specify the original source or our site but if you are happy with our software remember us and make known this site to your friends. Any donations, even small, are very welcome and can help us to maintain the software “free” and to produce always new applications.

Comments are closed.