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Published on Jan 30, 2017
The Megatherm opto-electronic instrument was built by Ian Helliwell in the mid-1990s, derived from a 1950s hospital heat treatment unit discovered at a car boot sale. With the insides stripped out and a new control panel made, it was equipped with a simple sound generating circuit and two photocells. The Megatherm reacts to light levels which influence its output - one photocell is concerned with brightness and volume, while the other acts as a switch to change sounds in accordance with light variations. In 2000, Helliwell decided to make a special film from bits of super 8 leader, which would be projected directly onto the Megatherm, allowing it to effectively play the electronic film soundtrack by itself.