Posts Tagged ‘arduino’

Linyl, playing memories

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

Linyl is the project I developed during the second week of Physical Computing, together with Shruti Ramiah, Benoit Espinola and Natalia Echevarría. Linyl is a light player that allows to create an ambience by playing discs of color created from photos or images of past experiences.

The brief was to choose an electronic object and create a new way to interact with it, “A New Soul for an Old Machine”. Natalia found two beautiful artifacts in her backyard. I spent a few minutes just playing with the knobs and switches of the tape recorder. Smooth, feeling of robustness and amazing sound. Click, clack, precise. In every movement you can feel a bunch of mechanical stuff moving inside. A complete interactive experience.

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Regarding the vinyl player, amazing external design and even more amazing engineering inside. After taking out an old condenser that would probably cause an short-circuit, we plugged the player in and… surprise! It was working. After pressing ‘Start’ the arm started moving gently to the plate. The rotation speed can be manually fine-tuned using the strobe tuner.

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Nostalgia and admiration are mixed while looking at these old machines…

We decided to use the vinyl player for the project, changing the functionality but keeping the ritual and the slowness of the process of playing music. But instead of music, it plays light.

One of our premises (and a challenge too) was to keep the player working. We introduced the color sensor through the arm, and the Arduino inside the player.

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We build a set of eight RGB led’s with the correspondent board to be embedded in the lamp.

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We laser-cutted a disc out of acrylic, engraving grooves on it. On the other hand we generated the discs extracting the main colors of the pictures.

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The toughest work was to calibrate the sensor, since it’s extremely sensible to ambient light. We added a white led pointing to the disc to help the sensor read through the acrylic. The distance to the surface to be sensed was also an issue, having notable changes on the values with small variations of height.

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Linyl was exhibited in DKDS during the final presentations. Bill Verplank virtually attended the presentation, asking questions and giving feedback through Skype. Mary Huang made an ‘Arduino Cake’ to celebrate the end of this exciting week.

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Mimicry

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

The last project I developed the first week of Physical Computing was Mimicry, together with Dean McNamee. It is a lamp that imitates the color that is captured by an ‘eye’.

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Here the video of the prototype:

A color sensor reads the color of the object placed against it, and wirelessly transfers the data to the lamp, that gently shifts from its current color to the object’s one.

We developed a DIY sensor, really effective and fast enough for this project. A RGB led shines alternating red, blue and green light out of the eye. The reflected light for each channel is measured with a photoresistor. Once the three channels are known, the hue of the object is computed and transferred using XBee to the lamp.

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We added some red led’s to the group of RGB led’s, since this channel was slightly weaker than the others. We also used a sandblasted acetate sheet to diffuse the light.

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We used wood to build the eye’s housing, and foamboard for the Arduino’s box.

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Some more pictures about this project here.

Code and handicraft

Friday, November 20th, 2009

During the first week of Physical Computing I developed a tilt table game together with Dean McNamee. We used two Arduinos connec(as it was required for the exercise), using two potentiometers and two servos to tilt the table.


It’s always great to combine code and handicraft in a project, as we did in that one. Although the project was done in a few hours, we could take care of the details (as always!). We solved the joint with a steel ball and a nut.

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Prototyping with Arduino

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

The first two weeks in November at CIID we had the Physical Computing course, taught by Massimo Banzi, co-creator of Arduino and co-founder of Tinker.it. The goal of the course was to learn how to prototype interactive concepts. Arduino is a platform conceived for this purpose – approaches electronics to designers, reduces development time, adds flexibility to the design process and allows more frequent validations. It has become the tool for testing and showing functional prototypes to clients.

The first week we learnt how to use Arduino (both the hardware and the software), types of sensors and the basics of electronics.

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Massimo explained also the importance of the community around the Arduino platform. The open-source attitude is key for spreading the knowledge and build over already explored areas. Massimo invited people with more experience to help others with less tinkering abilities, but learning from their fresh ideas, sometimes less conditioned by technical feasibility.

I had some previous experience with Arduino, but this course gave me the skills to quickly prototype ideas. The first week we developed three small projects, ranging from 2 hours to 1,5 days. We start learning by playing; we were asked to design a controller for a game made with Processing. I used push buttons for up&down control, and tilt sensors for left&right.

I developed another project with Li Bian, a flower that tends to orient toward the light. You can see a video here.

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It was a pleasure to learn, and work side by side with Massimo. Is like having Steve Jobs explaining you how to use the iPhone or Ferran Adrià teaching how to make “pà amb tomàquet“.