Workshop 9: Arduino and Electronics 2

In week 9’s workshop, we will continue with playing with the Arduino, conducting a few more exercises and experiments to develop a deeper understanding of its capability. Hopefully this will give you some ideas about what you would like to do with it in terms of bringing about your We will also

Part 1: Arduino Exercises

An Arduino is a microcontroller that can provide interface between digital programming and the physical world. It can read data and send data from sensors, this information can then be used to control something else. In doing the following exercise, you can consider swapping input components and output components.

Exercise 1: Control Servo ..rotate a disk

Go through this exercise:

[ Control the position of a RC (hobby) servo motor with your Arduino and a potentiometer. or

Exercise 2: Read value from LDR (Light Dependent Resistor)

Go through this exercise:

A Light Dependent Resistor (LDR), photoresistor or is often used as a light sensor. When light falls on its face, its resistance decreases and when there is reduced light, its resistance increases. See whether you can read its changing values by adapting this circuit.

Exercise 3: Create feedback engine by combining the two previous circuits

See whether you combine the previous two circuits to allow the LDR to control the Servo motor. 

Other exercises to try:

1. Proximity sensor using infrared to detect objects in its scope and range.

2. Piezo is a component that vibrates as well as detects vibration

Part 2: Analysis

To help think about how you may use an arduino to create a work, have look at the art/ design works below and think about how each of these is designed:

  • Describe briefly the mechanisms of the work (draw a diagram if that’s more helpful).
  • What are the inputs to the system?
  • What are the outputs? What forms do they take?
  • How are the inputs translated into outputs?
  • Describe the audience’s experience. What emotions, affect and thoughts may the work induce in the audience?
  • What are the main concepts of the work?

Research if necessary.



Part 3: Prototype Presentation

It’s time to think hard about the major projects and step towards creating a prototype. It may be helpful to have a look at some past student works.

While the brief has varied over the years, the aim of the major project has always been to create a physical object-based piece that invites audience participation in some way.

As it is constantly repeated through lectures and workshops, central to the exploration of ‘systems, play and interaction’ is audience experience.Throughout the lecture, we suggest a number of factors that may agender wonder on the part of viewers: objects in juxtaposition, objects in collection, scales (miniature or larger than life), kinetics and movement, automation, and mediation.

Investigating physical objects (and their mechanics), electronics, and digital programming provide means to enable different experiences for the audience, so what kind of experience do you want to produce?

Remember that the aim is to produce meaningful experience and this can be enabled by different technologies. The objective is not to showcase the technology itself.

Part 4: Prototyping

Some examples of everyday uses of Arduino can include:

  • Automatic pot plant watering:
    • Sensor: humidity sensor
    • Controller: servo motor on water hose
  • Tweet when cat has left the room
    • Sensor: distance sensor on doorway
    • Controller: trigger software function
  • Gesture based human interface for playing games online
    • Sensor: light sensor
    • Controller: Keystroke emulator (simulates someone hitting a key on a keyboard)

These are fun devices. Conceptualising meaningful interactions within a creative project is probably much harder.

Use the equipment and materials provided, have a play and jot down ideas you have. For example, see whether you can build a mini Rube-Goldberg machine.

We will continue these exercises next week. Bring your ideas in to workshop and prototype.


Project Work

Work on your Prototype

  1. Go over Assessment 2 requirements
  2. Create an Idea map: a map of ideas you are exploring, how do existing works inform your project?
  3. Create a concept map: a system map of how ideas, materials, processes are connected to each other. (things you will need, steps you will take)
  4. Play with the materials
  5. Make notes of the resources, space, and equipment you will require for the prototype presentation.
  6. Put all this into a post onto your blog.

Discuss your project with class/ consult with tutor

You can go back to week 8’s workshop notes and continue going through the Arduino exercises.

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