Been playing with some shutter glass for an upcoming project, really cool stuff!
Pretty much since I started working at Three Ways School, nearly ten years ago now, I have had my eye on a cavity which was built into the Sensory Studio floor. It was pretty much sealed in and over the years I have done investigations and tried to get hold of missing plans etc to find out what is down there. Over the last couple of years I started work in earnest and got some budget to create a vibrating floor.
Having come up with a rough design I set about trying to find a carpenter willing to take on the project. Once I had detailed my requirements, mostly I found that the carpenters stopped returning my emails and answering my calls. However, Andy Emmerson (Emmerson of Bath) was made of sterner stuff and agreed to take on the build.
We built a floating floor mounted on rubber supports and powered by two powerful shaker motors. These motors can be driven with low frequency audio meaning you can feel music with very limited audible sound. Andy did a great job on the frame, there are no rattles and the floor moves freely for a great responsive and very powerful vibration.
I am currently working on a suite of tools for using vibration effects with SEN children and will eventually link the visual floor projection with the underlying vibration events.
It may have been a little quiet around the blog lately, in part due to the fact that I now have access to a laser cutter and have been lasering everything I can get my hands on.
A teacher at Three Ways School was asking about simple puzzles of limited pieces and it got me thinking about puzzles for the visually impaired. After a simple prototype I made an 8 piece puzzle with a raised pattern on one side and each tab being a different shape. I ran off 5 of them which are out with classes being tested right now.
I was a fan of the old Huzzah board based on the ESP8266 chip, but it only had one analog input which made it unsuitable for some projects. The new ESP32 chip has loads of analog inputs, bluetooth/BLE and is pretty packed with GPIO and features! Check it out here at Adafruit.
I have been using it to send button and fader/sensor readings over WiFi using OSC to my computer running Max MSP, it is a great tool. I have created a repository here with all the coding and information to set it up.
It lives! 15 more to make.
With a little child labour assistance...
One down, 24 to go...
Well that's the cabling done... and I now have no feeling in my fingers.
Currently working with these very bright 3W LED modules, have been designing a large string of them for an installation. More to follow...
It was my recently my son's birthday and although fidget spinner madness is starting to wane now I thought it was worth trying to cram some electronics into one. I found an Instructable that I took as inspiration and put my own spin (!!) on it. I wanted it to be see through as my son likes to see the workings of things (he would have just taken it apart otherwise!), which caused some issues when trying to grind things out as it tended to melt. Anyway I managed to get some really cool tiny switches from Rapid (2.5mm thick!) and ended up with this.
At Three Ways School we recently purchased an Optoma ML750ST projector for dedicated floor projection. This is an awesome little projector, it is tiny, has a short throw lens and an LED light source. I'm using it with an overhead IR camera to do some interactive floor projection which I programmed in Max MSP. Check the video:
I have been putting together an RFID reader that can send tag IDs over Wifi to a machine running Max MSP on the same network. I have used an RC522 reader which I have blogged about before, and the recent Adafruit Feather Huzzah board which is based on the ESP8266 chip and includes an onboard Lipo charger so is great for portable IoT projects. For once I managed to find an enclosure of pretty much exactly the right dimensions, it was tight but I crammed it in including switch and indicator LED. The hardware will be used for a project at Three Ways School that aims to give non/pre verbal children a voice, more details to follow...
I will be running some workshops on the Creative Computing course at Bath Spa in January with kit supplied by Farnell Element14. I want the students to create a network of nodes that communicate with each other and have some element of generative algorithm to them. I have built a proof of concept as seen in the video, a single node generates an audio and LED output and sends the message to another node, that node displays the incoming message and then generates one of its own to signal another unit. Right now everything is generated pretty randomly and the nodes choose another one to send their message to at random. Things will get more interesting when we link colour and audio frequency and think of more interesting ways to generate our message. Perhaps some nodes will favour talking to others or malcontents will start interrupting the current conversation? I am interested to see what behaviour might emerge when there are 10 of these things going and each has its own 'personality'...
Just a quick post of a nice little autumn themed card in paper electronics...
This revisits the RC522 RFID reader that we blogged about here. I wanted to be able to use it with a Wifi connection to ping RFID tag IDs over the ether so I started hooking it up to a Huzzah ESP8266 board I had and after a bit of fiddling it worked! Its only sending over serial right now, but if I can get it going over Wifi, this is an incredibly cheap RFID tag beamer. The new sketch with a description of the pin connections can be found here.
I've been wanting to make a cloud lamp for ages at Three Ways and there are a tonne of tutorials online if you want to follow one of them. I wanted to have a remote control for mine but didn't really want to bother with decoding IR or RF signals whilst trying to do lighting animations. I have used those key fob remote controlled relay modules before, but its massive overkill to control an Arduino pin. I spent a long time looking for a remote module that could control 5V pin logic and sure enough found one that is made by Adafruit, but unfortunately it is on 315MHz which is illegal to use in the UK. Seeing as it is the military channel I didn't want to mess with that really and couldn't find any UK options until I found this amazingly retro thing!
I found it on the 'Flux Workshop' eBay shop for £5.29 which is great for the time and extra hardware it saved me. I have not tested it extensively yet, but it seems to do what I want it to, is on 433MHz which is UK friendly and is the only option besides rolling my own apparently.
Anyway, we now have a way of selecting between 4 presets remotely so I can hang the cloud out of reach, which is good because it would be shredded in seconds!
I'm not sure what I am gong to do about dusting yet...