11) Sketching in code and hardware I+II — Exploring the temporal form in Arduino

Exploring the temporal form:

A couple of weeks ago in class we were presented to the project ‘Hedonic Haptics’. Here the designers did a lot of experiments, in the early stages of their design process, with different vibration patterns and how they felt on the body. Thus the vibrations and the user’s interactions and experiences hereof (temporal form and interaction gestalt (Vallgårda, 2013)) had been in several stages before the physical form was added.

Like with the ‘Hedonic Haptic’, this week and last week were used to explore and experiment with the temporal form .


In class we were introduced to Arduino and were asked to perform different tasks with light patterns to familiarise with the Arduinoboard and the qualities of sketching in code. For instance we made small pieces of code that made LEDs blink in shifting paces and intensities. For instance:

In the loop fadeValue = 0 ; fadeValue <= 255; fadeValue +=5 means that the LED starts at 0 (no light) and every time the loop runs it adds 5 until it hits 255 (full light). Thus the LED gradually lights up. However, when we set a delay at 30, the loop waited for 30 milliseconds before it ran again. This made the light slowly dim up instead up just turning up quickly, as it would have done without delay. When we raised the number to 500 milliseconds the gradual increase in light became much more evident, and the light seemed very different. When the fadeValue reached 255 the light started to dim out until it reached 0 and the loop would run again, thus creating a blinking effect.

By coding in Arduino like this, we were able to quickly and easy test out different light patterns and experience how it made us feel, instead of only talking about it. For instance we found that by creating a light pattern that simulated a pulse, you almost get the sense that the LED is alive.

Relations between sensors and LEDs:
Furthermore we were presented to different sensors, and could thus test different interactions with the LEDs. For instance we could test how if felt when the LED’s behaviour (reaction) was directly coupled to our actions, by using either the rotary potentiometer or the distance sensor.

After we had sketched with Arduino for a while, we had a presentation by Ole Kristensen in IntermediaLab. His presentation provided an even bigger picture of what Arduino can be used for, as he showed us a lot of different sensors and explained that by using Arduino we can even control the color of the light.

As a result of Ole’s presentation and our experiments in Arduino we are able to start consider the temporal form and the interaction gestalt of our coming light installation.


Vallgårda, A. (2013). Giving form to computational things: developing a practice of interaction design. Pers Ubiquit Comput, 18(3), 577‐592.

Wensveen, S. A. G., Djajadiningrat, J. P., & Overbeeke, C. J. (2004). Interaction Frogger: A Design Framework to Couple Action and Function through Feedback and Feedforward. DIS2004, August (1–4), 177–184.