Up v2

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:

16/04/2013 | In Artistic, Electronics, Manufacturing | Tags : , , ,

Wooden toys for Christmas

Remember the wooden toy horses I made last year ? I decided to renew the experience of making DIY presents. Some Do Nothing Machines and simple marble skill games made out of ash wood. But also this answer dices made with my girlfriend (cypress wood).

This small presents have been well received and I still have some for birthdays…

21/01/2013 | In Manufacturing | Tags : ,

Appel d’air

Lab212 were asked to design an exhibition for young children (2 to 4 years old) at Stereolux in Nantes. I worked with Pierre on his idea. Basically it’s a huge industrial fan that responds to your blow on a tiny pinwheel. It’s not a simple on/off interaction, the big fan reproduces exactly the same speed curve the user applied to the pinwheel.

I primarily worked on the technical aspect of the project. The big challenge was to drive the Altivar 3 phase frequency controller with an Arduino. I had a hard time to study the MODBUS / RS485 protocols and the Altivar documentation about MODBUS communication isn’t very DIY’er friendly…

The speed of the pinwheel is measured with an old ball mouse mechanism that sends it’s PS2 data to the Arduino (this part was easy thanks to all the libraries that exist). The Arduino on the other hand outputs the fan speed data through an RS233 – RS485 transceiver connected to the speed controller via an RJ45 cable. The Altivar also delivers enough power through the RJ45 connector to feed the Arduino and mouse board so we ended up with rather clean setup.

A dedicated website shows all the projects of this exhibition and you can read more about Appel d’air on Pierre’s website.

08/01/2013 | In Artistic, Electronics, Programming | Tags : , , , ,