Adventures in Arduino

For the past few weeks we’ve been learning how to program Arduinos. These are single-board microcontrollers for building digital devices and interactive objects. A variety of input and output devices can be connected to an arduino like lights, buttons, motion sensors, motors, etc.

An Arduino with an LED light output

I’ve been working on figuring out how I might utilize these in my final project, Breathe. If you read my previous post “Just a 2D Girl…” you’ll remember that I’m working on a wall installation that appears to be breathing. This involves the simple motion of moving forward and backward. I decided to break this down into a smaller section just to figure out the movement part.

I found this great tutorial that utilizes servo motors to make an arm move back and forth. Instead of a hand waving like the tutorial, I decided to cut a triangle out of illustration board to simulate more of what I’d like my actual final project to look like. The video below shows the results of that experiment. For someone who has never done anything even remotely close to this, I felt pretty damn proud of myself after this.

Next I tried to get a little more three dimensional with my model, creating triangular pyramids. I used the same code for the arduino, but this time I attached three motors at once. The next video shows those results.

As I continue working on this project, I’d like to find a way for a whole group of pyramids to move with just one motor, instead of one motor per pyramid. I have plans to look into pager motors to help simulate flip discs. This article discusses their possibilities, and I’m interested to see if I can make them work the way I want.

For anyone who is also making their first adventures into the realm of arduino, I highly recommend looking for tutorials that have a code already prepared that you can easily edit to suit your needs. Also, the reference section of the Arduino site is a great resource for learning what different input values and codes mean.

I’m pretty excited to continue learning how these little guys work, and I really hope I can figure out what I want for my final project.

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