About 4 years ago, I build this first version of Up for the FICAM festival in Meknes (Morocco). As I am more and more asked to exhibit this installation, I decided to rebuild it in a more robust and reliable way. This new version was shown for the first time in Paris at Forum des Images for the Tout petits Cinéma festival 2013.
Basically each step of a staircase is equipped with an infrared emitter and an ir receiver. When someone is putting his foot down on a step the ir beam is stopped and the receiver sends its new status to the main controller box. This box generates MIDI signals that can be played by any type of MIDI synth.
I completely revisited the technical aspect of the project: while in the first version, each of the 16 receivers sent their status through a dedicated wire (which ends up in quite a big cable in the end), now they each embed a small microcontroller (Attiny 45) and are daisy chained. This means that each sensor is sending its data over the SPI protocol to the next one until it has reached the main controller (Arduino). With this design, I ended up with only one 5-wires cable linking the sensors together.
Other improvements of this version are : solid plastic cases for the emitters and sensors, nice enclosing box for the main controller and better MIDI integration.
Anyone interested in exhibiting this installation for an event ? Contact lab212.
Some pictures of the build process: