My Blog: projects, sketches, works in progress, thoughts, and inspiration.

Tagged: electronics


Last Saturday I was part of the Baltimore Robot Fest. The event took place at the National Electronics Museum in Baltimore. All sorts of cool nerds came to share their robots. Make Magazine held a workshop, a ring was set up for battle bots, the Baltimore SDIY Group played some incredible electronic music, and many other fantastic groups brought great projects. The Museum was a great location for the event. Modern robotics and DIY projects were mixed in with WWII radar systems, ancient tube computers and even an Enigma cipher machine.

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arduino led display

My processing work in my blog as slowed to a trickle recently. This is due to a couple of large projects which I can’t wait to reveal. One is a fun web project and the other a flash application. I’ve also been playing with my fancy new toy here and am beginning to make some progress. Along with the Arduino board I’m also using a prototyping shield from Adafruit. It creates a nice little workspace with a breadboard and some extra power sources and grounds. It also contains two led’s, one of which I wired to digital pin 0 on the underside of the board. This just keeps the light on (as long as I’m not using the pin for something else) when the board has power, and makes it blink when data is being transmitted. The shield covers up the power and transmission led’s on the Arduino itself.

In the photo above I have an led display I took out of something else and, for the sake of learning, programmed. Turning the potentiometer controls the display. Nothing thrilling, but it’s good practice. I’ve also been trying to understand serial communication so I can build devices which send and receive complex data.

Anyway, there’s a quick update, and here is my Arduino code in case it might be useful to someone. It’s not put together very well. In particular there should be a 2d array containing all the numerals and their corresponding led’s. But nonetheless.

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arduino circuit board

Hooray! I got my first Arduino. It seems like a necessary step on the long path to becoming a true power-nerd.

“So what is this thing that gets nerds so excited?” you might be wondering. Well, chances are you are one if your reading my blog, but I will explain for the less fortunate. An Arduino is an open source circuit board created by a sister project of Processing. The board has a small micro controller (computer) and a number of input/output pins. The chip can be programmed with a language very similar to processing, and any sort of hardware can be wired to the board. The board connects to a computer via usb for programming and power, and can also be powered from a more portable source.

I’ve been programming for a little while now in Processing and the Arduino was easy to grasp after a quick read through the function reference. After the chip has been programmed it can also interact with Processing applications through a usb port.

There will certainly be a learning period. I havn’t done much circuitry before, but I have a few projects in mind and hopefully soon will have some things to show. I am hoping this will be a means for me to extend the work I’ve been doing into the physical world, creating new interfaces or autonomous works.

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