Project Research- Microcontroller

Now that I know what I want to do, I need to to concentrate on what do I need to create this interactive artefact.

If I decide to use a sensor of any kind I will need to plug it to a device, which will control and collect data from it. That is called a Microcontroller.



Which one should I go for?


One of my teachers is a big fan of the phidget interface. I do know if I ask him an advice, the answer is going to be Phidget. However I went on the UK website and check if this will be suitable.


The Phidgets are the user-friendliest system available for controlling and sensing the environment from computer. The Phidget Interface Kit is very versatile, it seems .

Analog inputs can be used to measure continuous quantities, such as temperature, humidity, position, pressure, etc. There are many sensors in the Phidgets product line that require no assembly, you just buy and plug, and you will more likely find some codes in the .com website. This little device seems very easy to handle, a lot easier than Arduino. Most of the sensors comes with cables design to be plugged to the interface in a very steady way, this is a big advantage against the Arduino.

Now there is no Ultrasound sensors or foot switch in the Phidget product line, so I will still have to choose independent one.

The other backside is a of tutorials, or example connecting this kind of independent sensors to the Phidget interface. It is very sad indeed, because that device seems more reliable than the Arduino. 

Definitely a item to keep in mind for some future project



I believe this microcontroller is one of the cheapest in the market. You can plug nearly everything. However I did found it fiddly, and not always reliable. The major attraction I think is the community, what ever your project is about you will find somewhere some code for the Arduino.

Arduino is an open platform that can communicate with a large number of other software packages to manipulate data in different ways according to the needs. Some examples of software are MAX MSP, Pure Data, Isadora, VVVV, Eyesweb, Processing, Flash , …

Because of this huge community online, I believe I am going to stick and try again to work with it…hopefully for the best.




DIY Tengu on a breadboard

What is Tengu? A little cutie little Led Matrix.

It is a small little smilly face made of LED who reacts to music. I found it very appealing indeed. And here is the link to the tutorial.


Arduino with Led Matrix controlled by a video cam

If I go ahead with a LED Matrix project connected with a video cam, this tutorial is idle and will help to develop nicely the artefact. 


Make a pocket Led Cube

Right now I do not plan to create an project based on Led cube or 3D Led display, but in a near future  that would be interesting and valuable to look into it.


Another very detailed Leds Cube tutorial by Lomont




Group Work

After the workshop, we tried to have constructive meeting with the group to share researches and ideas. We found the concept of chain reaction in a way difficult. Some ideas have been suggested, but our restricted knowledge refrain us. I suggested the creation of a blog, in which everybody will be able to get access and participate actively. The main purpose of the blog is to share easily ideas and thoughts for the assignment.

Sound and visual was a common area for our group work. So I did some research and found some funny and interesting project with Arduino made by Todbot.

Because our presentation is on Halloween, I thought we could add a little scary touch. To do so, I believe this tutorial of glowing eyes, would be ideal to finish the chain reaction group Project




Physical Computing

I found this French website, which give a very good and clear overview of what are the multimedia tools out there, and what we can do with them. (I suppose you have to translate the page)


Our Tutor is very keen on the Arduino Microcontroller, first of course is a very affordable little one, but the real advantage is the numbers of tutorial, open source code available on line is ..Huge.

Return to the basic…with Arduino