Category: Looking Outwards

Luo Yi Tan – Assignment 8 – Looking Outwards

Projection mapping

Awesome realtime projection mapping project that involves a stepper motor and an Arduino. This project seems interesting to me because it sort of changes an object without actually changing any of it’s physical properties, blurring the line between the real and the virtual. For now it’s being used for pretty basic stuff, but I can see the potential in the in art. I think it would make a really cool clock! This could be used in art installations, and it would be interesting if we could add interactivity to this as well.

Touch Vision Interface

This mobile application allows the user to interact with with different surfaces through the phone’s touchscreen interface.  I like this project because of all the potential applications it has, like in videogames or art installations.  It could be used for multiplayer games on multiple screens, or art installations that allow the viewer to interact with the art using their cellphone. This probably could be used together with the previous project I mentioned to create interactive installations. With the rate that this technology is developing, maybe one day we wouldn’t even need a screen to interact with objects like this, and have ability to manipulate them by just gesturing.

Piccolo, the drawing bot

Piccolo is a cheap, little, and adorable drawing machine. It’s great for making drawing experiments and  little doodles, and you could also assemble several Piccolos together to make a large drawing. It’s kind of like the modern version of the Logo turtle, with a lot more customization. I like the fact that it’s affordable and also looks really fun to play with, especially with all the possible Arduino add-ons you could attach to it. It could be potentially used to teach people programming in Processing like the Logo turtle, as seeing Processing drawings on an actual canvas is a lot more exciting than seeing them on a screen.



Assignment 8 Looking Outwards – Sarah Anderson

Arduino Parking Lot Attendant



Using an arduino, this automatic parking gate for toy cars can sense that there is a car approaching the gate and can also verify if the parking lot is already full or not. Due to layers of heavy paper and aluminum foil,a circuit is completed when pressure is put on the incoming car and the gate is raised if the lot is not full. This type of technology and use is now widely used by many artists working in the creation of miniature worlds. A project like this would be a great tiny, yet impressive, aspect of any miniature setting.


Disco Planet


After a failed attempt at creating a massive matrix of RGBW LEDs arranged on a 6ft metal globe, Jesse Congdon reworked the project with an Arduino Pro Mini, a bunch of cheap LED drivers from China, and some other technological changes. The globe is now better than ever and features hundreds of glowing, blinking LEDs that have a great ambiance with music. This is a great example of how even just the smallest of Arduino boards can be used to control a large sculpture piece for the public eye.


Hacking Beer Cans

[vimeo 51526148 w=400 h=300]

40 Steropramen beer cans were arranged in a keyboard fashion for an interactive art display that was also an advertisement and a prize raffle. Participants would enter their e-mail addresses via the beer can keyboard and have a chance at winning a trip to Prague. The beer cans were controlled by an arduino and their input was connected to a plasma screen by a Rasberry Pi. Sparkfun touchpads and sensors were used to detect the pressing of the beer keys and sounds of beer cans opening were played every time a can was pressed. This project is cool because not only is it an interactive gallery piece, but it also advertises the brand of beer and it offers visitors a raffle prize. I actually appreciate it when companies, for their advertisements, actually make an art piece for the public to appreciate on a higher level than most ads and interact with. I wish that more advertisements were like this one.

robbGodshaw(looking, outwards, 3);

Hello World

Adam Meyer and David Sjunnesson

In Hello World a classic globe intercepts a rectilinear solid of milky acrylic. By manipulating the orientation of the globe, different areas of the world can be selected in the view port. A small display exhibits tweets from the area selected.
This project appealed to me as a very elegant method of imputing location data. Reminicent of those horrible smartGlobes, yet much more intuitive and classy in it’s implementation.
I find the concept of pulling tweets to a ‘lil LCD played out and uncompelling, but the sphere-in-cuboid navigation is really novel and intuitive, giving the user a reminder that we are on a large rock hurtling through space a 70-odd-thousand miles per hour.

WordPresss still disallows iframes, so click through for short clip.

0,1 (2010)

Michal Kohút

This piece consists of a pair of hip glasses frames with a blink tracking apparatus installed in place of one of the lenses. The when the wearer of these glasses blinks, the lights in the gallery turn off for the duration of the blink. Cute, hip, fun.


Ralf Baekler

This is goofy pretty nonsense, but I like it.
Crystals, signal processing, pretty materials.

RRATIONAL COMPUTING is an artistic test of material, esthetics and potentials of the digital. The installation is based on semiconductor crystals – the basic commodity of information technology. It consists of five interlinked modules that use the varied electrical and mechanical particularities and characteristics of crystals and minerals and, through their networking, form a kind of primitive macroscopic signal processor. “Irrational Computing” is not supposed to “function” – its aim is to search for the poetic elements on the border between “accuracy” and “chaos” amplifying the mystic and magic side of these materials.

Josh Lopez-Binder, Assignment 08, Looking Outwards

[vimeo 45921590]

Glasses with a special reflectivity sensor, connected to arduino, which controls the lights in the room.  When someone wearing the glasses blinks or closes there eyes, the lights turn off.  The person wearing the glasses cannot detect the change.    While I am sure that this project was pretty difficult technically, it is so simple that no detailed description is required to enjoy it.  I like that.  I am intrigued by the notion that all of these changes could be taking place in the tiny fractions of a second while one blinks, and that the subject is completely unaware of these changes.  It would be cool if, when they blinked,  a crazy  light show started with all manner of wonderful shapes and colors, all of which would be visible only to other viewers.

[vimeo 25781176]

Tele-Present Water

Wave frequency and amplitude from a buoy in the Pacific ocean is mapped to the motion of dc motors, which change the height of various points on a lattice of pipes.  The effect is pretty nice; the motion, and even the sound of the motors, is reminiscent of the ocean.  Pretty amazing that data from way out in the ocean can be displayed in realtime(?) with some motors and fishing line.  It looks like the lattice is being controlled with one row of motors.  I wonder if it would be possible to get data from multiple buoys and make a kinetic visualization of a similar type, but which represents the conditions in various parts of the ocean.

[vimeo 30501143]


This project consists of some sort of optical sensor that takes data from a cross-section of a tree-trunk.  The reader moves on a pivoting arm while the cross-section rotates, like a record player.  The tree rings are analyzed for growth rate and thickness, and  this data is mapped to piano music.  The effect is an interesting melody, a little chaotic, but certainly interesting to listen to.  I wonder if it is precise enough that different types of trees or trees that suffered different environmental stresses would cause audible differences.  Either way, the notion of mapping data about an organism to music is certainly interesting.  Perhaps a more precise method (although arguably much less elegant than a record player) would be to photograph the cross-sections, and then use algorithms to analyze the images.  Data about the growth rates and the times of drought or fires could be more accurately obtained.  This data could then be mapped to music, in a similar fashion to the record.

Arduino – Looking Outwards

Beer Keyboard combines Arduino and Raspberry Pi

Video of Beer Keyboard in Action

At the recent Webstock 2012 conference, Prague-based brewery Staropramen funded a Robofun Create project that produced a “Beer Keyboard”.  The keyboard consisted of 44 cans of Staropramen which served as the “keys”. Visitors of the conference could enter Staropramen’s contest to win a trip to Prague only by typing in their email address with the beer keyboard. The would gently pressed each beer can to input a letter. R0bofun placed capacitive controllers as the base of the board. These controllers worked with the Arduino to record user-input, which was then routed through a Raspberry Pi to the TV.

While I do not endorse alcohol consumption, this piece I found to be a very cool combination of the Arduino, Raspberry Pi and metal cans.

Found @:

Video Game Shields / Mods for Arduino

I am a big fan of video games and am interested in being a part of the video game industry in the future, so I scoured the interwebs for video game related Arduino creations. I figured instead of just showing you one video game related use of the Arduino, I would show you a few. The first two video game shields really caught my attention and I am tempting to purchase at least one of them. 


The Gameduino is a shield for your Arduino. It allows you to connect it to a VGA monitor and speakers. It makes your Arduino into an 8-bit game system. There are tons of preinstalled items like hundreds of sprites, smooth scrolling, multi-channel stereo sound. Cost: $53


Found @:


GAMBY (Games for Arduino, Made By You!) is a shield for your Arduino. It gives your Arduino a monochrome LCD, 4-way directional pad, buttons and speaker. Making your Arduino into the classic hand held game system. Cost: $25

Found @:

Touchscreen Version of Josh Freeman’s Crepuscular Life                         (aka a twist on Conway’s Game of Life): 

Made with an Arduino and Touchscreen OLED screen. I thought this piece was really interesting because we had just talked about Conway’s Game of Life in class and then I found this adaptation of it relating to what we were going to study next. I think this really nicely shows how things can come together. The fact that it is touch screen adds greatly to it.


Freeman’s Code @:

Breakout Game made with Arduino, OLED display & Joystick: 

A Breakout mod made using an Ardunio, OLED display and a joystick. Another interesting tie-in to what we have done in class recently. A Breakout recreation using Arduino. I thought this was a very well done game for the hardware limitations at hand.


Source Code @:

Assignment 8 Looking Outwards – Rosey

1. Laser Harp

In this project, lasers are set up to point at photocells, and when the beams of light are interrupted, the Arduino sends a message that will turn on a given MIDI sound. Also, a range sensor will tell the position of the hand and change the sound quality accordingly. Though a somewhat simple project, it definitely has a lot of potential in terms of live performance of music – I can definitely see this being very cool at a big concert venue. It’s also neat that the website above gives step by step directions on how to construct your own basic laser harp. It would be kind of neat if you could make a show with it where the lasers would change colors, move to different photocells throughout the show to make different sounds, etc. I wonder if you could do a project where you position the lasers to points where doing some kind of dance routine would trigger sounds to play in interesting ways as the lasers are broken.

2. Twittering Office Chair

So pretty much this dude made a chair that tweets every time you fart. Though is sounds a little ridiculous (and it is), the method behind it is pretty interesting. He was able to use a natural gas sensor in combination with an Arduino in order to pick up the gasses that people let out. He then hooked it up to his chair so that every time the sensor picked up flatulence, it would automatically tweet about it. Despite it being a silly project, it really shows that with a little programming knowledge and the right parts, you can make some pretty entertaining things. It would definitely be weird but kind of interesting if you had a network of these fart-sensing chairs that could communicate with each other or something.

3. Etch-A-Sketch Clock

So this is kind of neat since we’ve been talking about time and clocks in class a lot. This Etch-A-Sketch uses an Arduino and motors which draw out the time. Once a minute has passed, it turns itself over and erases everything to then draw the next time. It was definitely a cool idea to use an Etch-A-Sketch since everything drawn on it really does seem so temporary to begin with due to its easy erase capabilities. I also like that it is so accurate and neat when it it writing the time. It would be interesting to see something like this on a larger scale in a more public place so that passerby’s can easily see the time but the piece also functions as an artistic work.

Oliver – Looking Outwards – Assignment 08A

Arduino and BlinkM Music Visualizer



Last week I found myself at a local dive bar where the bartender had two dogs whom were allowed to run around and bark at the customers. Other than the barking and the clicking of the Wheel of Fortune coming from the TV in the corner, the bar was silent. With every dog bark, a string of lights hanging near the ceiling lit up temporarily with the shrill sound, and then became dark again. The lights were obviously meant to react to music and its beats, which is exactly the idea of this Arduino music visualizer. The creator (whose name is not included in the blog post) used BlinkM LED lights connected to an Arduino and a power amp to flash in response to music. The code is included in the blog post, but I don’t understand how the music is transmitted to the Arduino and how it is processed into light patterns. Is the power amp acting as a sensor and reading the music in some way, or is the Arduino itself able to hear the music? The effect is beautiful, and I could imagine it would be very impressive on a larger scale. As it is, the system fits in a small plastic box and could be easily brought to a party.


City Peaks

by Digit

City Peaks is a project encouraging fitness among staff in an office building by tracking how many times each employee climbs the office stairs, then visualizing this data in a fun, competitive manner. Although the website doesn’t say exactly how Arduino is used in this project, I’m pretty sure that it is used to power the card swipe devices at the bottom and top of the stairs. I imagine that a sensor is attached to the Arduino which recognizes an employee’s card. The Arduino then keeps track of the staircase climbing data for each user. The card swipe device also includes a small screen that displays text, which is also powered by the Arduino. The visualization is then created using the data that the Arduino collects, and it shows a picture of a particular iconic tall building or mountain with flags denoting each user’s position on the mountain as an aggregate height of their office stair climbs. The project encourages competition, as each employee wants to be the first to reach the top of the mountain or building. This is an example of a way that Arduino can be used along with other tools as part of a larger project, in this case a project which helps to improve health and fitness among a community.


Visualizing Sensor Data with Arduino and Processing

by Cory Barton

This is a cool project that combines Arduino, Processing, and data visualization. Cory Barton used Arduino and Processing to visualize the objects within 180 degrees in front of a robot, as a way of giving “vision” to the robot. The Arduino is using a proximity sensor to record the distance between the robot and an object in its field of vision, if there is an object present. Starting from one side, the sensor takes 17 steps to complete the 180 degrees, and in each step determines whether an object is present and where it is located. Then Processing is used to draw an arc, which ends at the point where the object stands. If there is no object in a particular direction, the arc extends the maximum amount. The visualization does not match up exactly with the photograph, due to some scaling issues. I like this project because it shows how physical computing can be used to collect data with sensors, and the data can then be visualized in such a way that we can understand intangible things like vision for a robot.

Looking Outwards: Arduino Style (Andrea Gershuny)

1) “No Place Like Home” by Dominic Wilcox

This project is a pair of shoes which uses a built-in GPS to guide the wearer to the preselected destination of their choice. Inspired by Dorothy’s shoes in the Wizard of Oz, all the wearer of these shoes has to do is select a location on a map in a special program that accompanies these shoes, then click their heels together to turn on the GPS–from there, the small LEDs on the shoes (distance on the right shoe, direction on the left) guide the wearer to that destination. I love how this project is both very functional and aesthetically pleasing, and how it draws upon the historical importance of the shoe in the place it was made, contrasting tradition and technology. The shoes are still pretty stylish, and the machinery is well concealed/integrated (not that it necessarily had to be concealed). I also think the red shoelaces were a very good design choice, they help tie the color of the LEDs to the shoe as a whole. At this point I think the next logical step for this project would be to make more of them, and in different styles of shoe. As someone who gets lost pretty much everywhere, I would buy a pair of these shoes in a heartbeat!

Here’s a link to a short article with some more info on the project. It makes me want to learn how to make shoes!

2) “Fluid Dress” by Charlie Bucket

This project is a dress knitted out of plastic tubing, though which different colored liquids are pumped to make some crazy patterns! Visually this dress is stunning, and I’m even more impressed by how seamless it seems to run–no leaking or blockage or kinks in the tubes, all the loops facing the same direction, etc. I wish the dress could stand alone without a backpack, but I don’t know if that’s feasible from an engineering standpoint. I also really appreciate the shape of the dress he chose to make–I think anything with sleeves or draping or anything not form-fitting would lose some of the direct aesthetic that the dress has; more detail would be overwhelming. (I would say the opposite of the video itself, though; I think it had too much extraneous stuff in it, like the balloon inflating/deflating at the beginning and all the shots of the red circle in the window. I just want to see the dress, I don’t care about this little other stuff! It was distracting.) I’d like to see this idea implemented on a bigger scale–what if there was a runway show with a bunch of garments all continuously knitted together, so liquid flowed freely from one model wearing a dress to another? It’s probably an engineering feat, but I think it would be awesome.

3) “Printing Dress” by Asta Roseway

This project is a dress onto which tweets (ostensibly the wearer’s) are projected, and LEDs corresponding to different characters in the tweet light up. It’s made of paper and ink, referencing the way typography was/is used to communicate, and has some other letters stitched into the skirt.

I’m not sure how I feel about this piece. I like it conceptually–referencing the history of short-form communication and describing people as “what they tweet”–but I don’t know if I like the finished project. For one, I think the design of the dress is kind of ugly and generic; it doesn’t seem like much thought was put into the shape of the dress other than the big skirt to project on. I also think the placement of the “keys” is awkward, even if it references a typewriter. And what is with the random letters in the skirt? Do they have meaning? They seem random, and therefore without meaning, to me, unless maybe she means to imply something about the permanence of print media versus the temporary nature of digital media. Lastly, I understand that the dress is made out of paper because it references print, but I HATE that the dress is so wrinkly. I think the paper is important, but I can’t reconcile that importance with how much I wished they’d just run a cool iron over the paper to smooth it out. Perhaps the wrinkles are intentional, but without knowing that the dress was made of paper intentionally, I just thought it was awfully wrinkled muslin, which made it just seem sloppy and lazy to me.

Stephanie : Looking Outwards Assgn.8

Volpin Props: Daft Punk and Half Life

In the world of cosplay, this one guy known as Volpin Props is king. Basically, he makes amateurs like me weep. He’s handmade countless professional-grade props and outfits from different franchises, and many of them are brought to life by Arduino. His Daft Punk helmet took him about 17 months of resin casting, sculpting, molding, and vacuum forming to make and turned out spectacularly, with the flashing LEDs modulated by the Arduino.


Another project of his is the Gravity Gun from the Half-Life series. Here, the Arduino controlls the pulsing orange lights on the gun. He also he used a laser cutter to shape the pieces for the precise geometry of the gun. Awesome. I’d kill for skills like that. However, I don’t think it makes the sounds and it probably doesn’t actually levitate things.



The Lumibots are cute little robots with LEDs strapped to them. They roll around on a phosphorescent surface and leave glowing trails wherever the go, and they are programmed to follow each others trails until they hit something and change directions. The result is a set of complex patterns that emerge from these simple rules, along with very lifelike behaviors. Each little bot has an Arduino with light sensors and contact switches. I think they’re adorable and it’s interesting how they have a tendency to circle themselves or each other until someone else comes to bump them off track. I can definitely see them developing subtle personalities depending on their movement, and even acting curious when an outside light source such as an iPhone is introduced.


This is a table(?)/surface(?) called the Monolith that has golden lights streaming over it’s surface that respond to human touch. The brightnesses of the individual lights are controlled by Arduino, while IR transmissive plastic senses when the surface is being touched. I think it’s really cool and it looks like something right out of  Bladerunner. The way that people can interact with it by generating new light trails and giving them momentum is also really interesting. My only wish is that the entire surface could have LEDs underneath so that the light trails wouldn’t have to traverse only a few specific paths.

Looking Outwards – Assignment 8 – Kyna

Water Piano by Fabio Pelagalli


I think this is a very good idea, and it would be interesting to see a larger scale version of it. It is functional now, but I think it can be truly remarkable if made with enough keys to play a somewhat complicated piece of music. Although honestly I’m not entirely sure how this piece works. I assume the Arduino is used as the sensor for when the water “keys” are pressed and the computer creates the actual sound. However, I’m not sure what the Arduino is sensing in this situation. I guess probably putting your finger in the water does something to currents something something.

Fish Pool – Liu Shih Ta?


I’ve seen this project done a couple of times, but the only decent long-running clip I could find was this one. Unfortunately I couldn’t dig up any information on who did this project or how it was done, except that it was on Liu Shih Ta’s youtube channel and labeled “arduino”. I assume it’s some sort of projection but I’m not sure what kind of computation is behind the fish, and if there is any form of interaction at all. I have no idea what the noises in the background of the video are.

Fire Breathing Pony – lvl_joe


Apparently this was shown at the Maker Fair in 2011. It’s a FurReal Friends pony that’s been skinned and hooked up to an Arduino and Wiimote. I just really enjoy the fact that someone took a child’s pony toy and pulled its skin off and made it breath fire.