As promised in my previous post, this time we’ll dive straight into action. What tools are we going to use to create and destroy stuff? What ideas are we going to develop?
I want to clarify here that this list is going to be constantly evolving since new tools and ideas could pop up from anywhere and anytime. But we do need to start somewhere, right?
This brilliant piece of hardware is as simple as wonderful. Essentially, it’s an electronic invention tool that allows users to connect everyday objects to computer programs.
Playing with pre-existing online programs we have been using Makey Makey to create fruit-controlled gamepads and improvised musical instruments. At one point we even made a human-controlled mini piano keyboard (okay, it had only five keys, but it worked!)
Of course, Makey Makey can do so much more than that. A quick search on YouTube showed the little board can be used to control amazing musical creations, a robotic hand and even a screaming carrot. You can find out all about Makey Makey on the How-To section of their website.
Arduino and C Programming
Most of you probably know about Arduino. For those who don’t, Arduino is an open-source platform that consists of both a physical programmable circuit board (or microcontroller) and a software that runs on your computer. You use the software to write and upload C and C++ code to the physical board.
Not having much experience with programming or electronics, the first few steps were quite tough. I did connect the wrong cable a couple of time and smoke starts coming out of my poor board (as you can see I was serious when I talked about burning stuff down). Soon though, Arduino’s straightforward interface became familiar and modest results started to emerge. In a (relatively) short period of time, we manage to play with LEDs, a potentiometer and a servo (servomechanism). It was definitely fun!
Just like Makey Makey, however, Arduino’s abilities go well beyond moving a few sensors. In fact, while Makey Makey could essentially be considered a clever toy, Arduino’s versatility made it extremely popular around the world among tech enthusiasts as well as professionals. As a result, a number of complex and beautiful projects have been based on it.
When thinking of future projects using Arduino, I find the idea of combining lights and sound particularly interesting, and will surely be using projects like this one as inspiration.
But since there’s so much one can do with Arduino, I can’t help but think about crazy ideas like building a drone or just admire the Star Wars genius who built this thing down below.
We’ve just started exploring the University’s several resources. With 3D printing, laser and waterjet cutting and VR/AR technologies, I feel we’re just scratching the surface of all the possibilities available.
I will be writing one (or several) post(s) for each of these technologies as my projects start taking shape, so stay tuned!