AM Audio Desk Light

Hidden audio data in light signals, 2015

Steven Tevels (BE)

07.08.15 – 01.11.15

AM Audio Desk Light

This project was inspired by Alexander Graham Bell’s wireless communication research which allowed him to transmit and receive sound through a modulated beam of light. AM Audio Desk Light is a personal version of Bell’s research applied to a regular black desk lamp. The audio output of an MP3 player is wirelessly transmitted to a photocell (an electronic device that generates electricity when light falls on it) via a flickering LED light.

An LED is the perfect tool to transmit data and sound from a few metres away without anyone intercepting the transmission. The medium of communication used is a fluctuating beam of white light which can be seen and even physically interrupted by the viewer’s hand. The LED audio transmitter uses light rather than radio waves to transmit sound. This is a more secure way to send audio signals, as regular radio waves can be intercepted by anyone at any time.

The LED is a focused beam of light; if there is secret data contained within, no-one across the room would be able to read it. There is only audio data when light is visible. Thus, if the viewer doesn’t want anyone else to receive the data, then they can simply turn the desk lamp away, or switch it off.


In his search for the essence of auditory perception, Steven Tevels aims to develop a personal sonographic language — an individual means of ‘composing’ — and he searches for newer presentations of ‘sound’ and other media than the conventional methods we have used for decades. Simply put, sound is an essential and logical component of his working resources. Steven’s latest shows include a variety of festivals, exhibitions and galleries across Belgium, including Sound Art Festival Klinkede Stad in Kortrijk and Experimental Art House in Ghent.

Q and A

What is your favourite dark corner of the internet?

What are the geographic coordinates of your favourite secret place?

50°57'23.89"N 0°57'15.98"E

What kinds of private information do you think will be valuable in 2050?

Human emotions and feelings being permanently read by electronic and digital devices.