seashell with audio of ocean sounds

You Can Hear the Ocean

Remember that sense of wonder you experienced the first time someone told you to hold a shell to your hear to hear the ocean? As we go through life, it can become more difficult to find that sense of wonder. By creating magical objects using technology, I hope to reignite that sense of wonder and drive home a point: technology IS magic. We are magicians!

When this shell is turned over, ocean-colored lights accompany random sounds of the sea. Dolphins, waves crashing, sailors singing - turn it over and listen for the magic.


  • Electronics
  • Arduino Nano
  • Natural Seashell
  • Magnets

Music Credits

  • Great Open Sea - The Wellington Sea Shanty Society
  • Drunken Sailor - Bretherin Coast
  • The Worst Old Ship - Bretherin Coast
  • Storm Along - Bretherin Coast

The Making Process

a computer screen with code development

Step 1: Code and wiring. I needed a script that would detect the accelerometer being flipped over, turn on oceanic lighting effects, and pull a random sound from an SD card.

wiring for an Arduino project

Step 2: Soldering wires into place. This keeps them secure and gives me a chance to start trimming the wires shorter so that all the components can fit inside the shell.

Monet soldering electronics

Step 3: Assemblage. I made sure the electronics fit inside this beautiful natural conch shell. I placed velcro inside the shell to hold the accelerometer in the correct position. I glued small magnets around the inside and placed magnets inside of the fabric covering. The resulting cover holds everything inside of the shell and diffuses the lighting.

electronic componants fitted into a seashell
electronic componants fitted into a seashell with fabric covering
finished interactive seashell
finished interactive seashell

The finished product! The fabric diffuses the LEDs beautifully and the speaker echos into the shell's chamber, creating a wonderful otherworldly effect.

The Magic Seashell in Action