Cordova, a sophomore studying digital media with an audio emphasis, was recognized for his self-designed device, called the Phototroph Rhythm Synth. Unlike traditional synthesizers, which use piano-style keyboards, computers or other buttons to control their sounds, the Phototroph creates automated beats using sensors that read changes in the amount of nearby light. The sounds can be controlled by casting a shadow or shining a flashlight on the sensors.
"Phototroph is a completely unique light-controlled electronic instrument," Cordova said. "Anyone can walk up to it, playfully cast shadows and light across its control surface and hear the complex results of simple motions."
UVU professor of digital media
"The judges were quite impressed with the design, especially since it's an analog device," Wisland said. "This is an impressive feat, since we are doing battle with some very large guns, schools that are very well known for their engineering programs."
Cordova intends to turn his Phototroph into an interactive art installation to be displayed at museums and other public events.
The competition included students from universities across
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