Can anyone offer any advice on options in getting real world events, ie sound, visual, motion, to trigger events on the mac?

The simplest event I think might be sound.

I simply need sound of a certain volume, to start an application on the desktop,

This application would be web based (ie javascript) or possibly standalone.

Most likely the former.

The first thing that comes to mind is Arduino but I was wondering, since I'm a total novice at Arduino coding, if there are other 3rd party apps that might make this possible.

3 Answers 3


ControlPlane can currently trigger scripts or other actions based on the brightness level or location, but not based on sound levels.


It depends on what kind of complexity you want. There is speech recognition on a Mac, and you could probably applescript the escape key to listen. You can find the settings under Preferences>Speech. A basic toggle wouldn't be hard.

What kind of events are you trying to trigger? How long do you need the listening to persist? There's quite a lot of functionality within the standard dev kit (Quartz Composer) and the on board hardware for doing that sort of thing. I wouldn't build custom hardware (Arduino) for it.


There is a webcam surveillance app, which reacts on both sound and video, being able to also run AppleScript.

I will send you the link asap :)


The app is called SecuritySpy. Though is not free, is not too expensive...

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