Ellentriek #15 meets Code, Arts & Crafts : Shielded – extend your Arduino

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@ iMAL, Saturday 28.04.12 & Sunday 29.04.12
30 Quai des Charbonnages Koolmijnenkaai 30 – 1080 Bruxelles Brussel 1080

With an Arduino you can collect a lot of sensor data, from smelling gasses to measuring temperature or light and lots more. But how do you save these data? How do you actuate the outside world, transfer bits and bytes online, without using a computer?
In order to activate motors, to connect to a network, to make an autonomous interactive sound installations, you need chips and components on top of your microcontroller.
These usually come in the form of a shield that slides onto your Arduino. During this ’Ellentriek meets Code, Arts and Crafts’ weekend we’ll review several of these “shields” in detail. We will scrutinize these shields and look at the possiblities to make them ourselves.

With extra brainpower of Mr Stock from Rotterdam & Stephane Noel!

– As usual, this session is open to artists’ own projects.
– This is for people who already know how to work with Arduino
– Maximum 15 participants
– from 12 to 18h
– This workshop costs 20 euro, including a lunch with sandwiches & drinks (2 days)

To enroll, click here!

– For more direct information: wendy @ constantvzw . org

This Edition of Ellentriek is a collaboration between Constant vzw, Pianofabriek kunstenwerkplaats & iMAL

Ellentriek #14: sew – measure – send – receive

Friday 13/01/2012 – 11:00 > 19:00
Saturday 14/01/2012 – 11:00 > 19:00
Timelab, Brusselsepoortstraat 97 – 9000 Gent

This Ellentriek is about textile, electronics and wireless interaction. We will focus on soft sensors made with textile and on how you can communicate the results of these sensors to an Arduino and/or computer. This data transfer will be wireless, with xbees.

Ellentriek is a series of workshops, often collaborative, where artists can come and work together on their own artistic electronics projects, made with open hardware.

Naomi Kerkhove and her fabulous miniature worlds with needle and wire is a special guest of this session, with her ‘Valies’ project, which premiers in Vooruit in autumn. She will work on the sensor part of her performance during the workshop.

With the following experts:
Marije Baalman – http://www.nescivi.nl/
XY Interaction – http://xyinteraction.free.fr/wiki/

This Ellentriek is a collaboration between Timelab, WP Zimmer, Constant & Pianofabriek Arts Lab.


pleas enroll on www.timelab.org
If you have any questions, contact wendy attt constantvzw . org
Max amount of participants: 12

Codes, colours and conventions

When you open up an electronic device, you are confronted with quite a lot of colours on the components (especially when the device has a certain age – smd components unfortunately are less colourful).

“The electronic color code was developed in the early 1920s by the Radio Manufacturers Association (now part of Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA)), and was published as EIA-RS-279. The current international standard is IEC 60062.

Colorbands were commonly used (especially on resistors) because they were easily printed on tiny components, decreasing construction costs. However, there were drawbacks, especially for color blind people. Overheating of a component, or dirt accumulation, may make it impossible to distinguish brown from red from orange. Advances in printing technology have made printed numbers practical for small components, which are often found in modern electronics.”

Resistors, for example, have three bands of colour indicating their value in Ohm – the fourth band indicates how accurate these values are. Knowing their value is essential, even already for basic electronics, because they control the voltage passing through your electrical circuit.
You can learn the values of these colours by heart, or you can use little helpers, who come in several shapes and sizes.

– There are lots of online resistor calculators

– I’m quite a fan of this resistor calculator:
cardboard resistor calculator

– There are good looking apps, such as this ElectroDroid.

When you use leds, having the right resistor at hand is very necessary, because when it gets too much power it stops working.
So, of course there are online calculators for leds!
Even thermistors have their own calculator.


Arduino, Processing and sensors 1

I want to visualize some date from real world sensors to my computer – they are self-made variable resistors.  For this I need to flash software on the Arduino chip, have the right libraries and use particular sketches in Processing.

Before you get to the Processing software part, you need to install Arduino. The instructions on how to do this are really good and they are here:

You can choose for adding Arduino to your repositories, or you can install the software manually.

These introductory films give you a clear insight into this construction, on how the microcontroller counts on a library and how the software depends on that too . They do however bluntly tell you that, when you work with Linux, you are on your own..  Boo!

The Arduino playground wiki is a bit confusing, but it does complement the video and one of the errors I got kindly referred me to the Processing wiki.

Here I’ll go over some Linux (in my case Ubuntu) & Processing quirks:

– Processing needs Java – if you are running Ubuntu: here I found the best tips.

– Obstacle number two to get Processing running, is making this executable:

-> Click right on the file and choose properties

Whereas you just have to choose the following – Allow executing file as a program:

Now your Processing file is executable: just double click and choose Run (it is a bash script)

– Apparently Compiz – fancy 3D graphics  – can give you trouble – so it’s best to turn it off.

– Proecssing needs Java -> you need to choose between OpenJDK of Sun Java -> when you choose Open JDK, you always get this error when you start Processing. It does work!

The next tutorial I’m following is Arduino meets Processing, physical computing and computer graphics, which dates from 2005, so I’ll check the strength of their tutorial (6 years old seems like an eternity in tutorialland…).
** Update ** This tutorial is outdated!
Go Arduino, Processing and sensors 2 for more up-to-date links.

interesting stuff 2 re-use

– cassette player, walkman, dictaphone (motors, paddles (?) & heads)
– certain pieces of washing machines (pump, wash drum)
– transformers, adaptors & all kinds of power supplies
– electronic bells
– alarms
– old phones (they’re easier to work with)
– electronic parts of cars (12 V) : f.e. the motor to control the rear view mirror
– tape-recorder
– record players
– toys that include batteries
– speakers
– all appliances with knobs you don’t use anymore
– potentiometer, sensors
– old electrical toys
– old cables you don’t need anymore
– screwdrivers, soldering iron, dremel
– mechanical things containing a motor (f.e. a hat with a solar panel)
– everything that provides electricity
– small parts f.e. the mechanism of a doll that speaks
– a lego train
– curling tongs
– fax machine, scanners, copy machines : the older they are, the more mechanical they are and thus more interesting to recuperate certain elements (it doesn’t mather if they’re broken!)

Boodschappenlijstje ellentrieken materialen

voorbeelden van fijn materiaal om mee te nemen
= natuurlijk afhankelijk van je eigen project!!!

– cassetterecorder/walkman/dictafoon (motoren, raders, koppen)
– bepaalde stukken van wasmachines (de pomp, de trommel, …)
– allerlei transfo’s/ adapters en voedingen
– elektronische bellen
– alarm
– oude telefoons (zijn makkelijker om mee te werken)
– fax-printers-scanners-kopieermachines: hoe ouder ze zijn, hoe mechanischer, en hoe interessanter om onderdelen uit te halen (ze hoeven niet meer te werken om toch interessante onderdelen uit te halen)
– onderdelen van auto-electronica (die werken op 12 volt!): voorbeeld het motortje van een autospiegel
bandrecorders (de voorloper van de cassetterecorder):
– platenspelers
– allerlei speelgoed waar batterijen inzitten
– speakers
– alle toestellen (die je niet meer nodig hebt) waar knoppen aanzitten.
– potentiometers, sensoren
– oud elektrisch speelgoed
– oude kabels die je niet meer nodig hebt
– schroevendraaiers, soldeerbout, dremel, …
– mechanische dingen met moterkes in (zoals bv een pet met een zonnepanneel)
– alles wat stroom opwekt …
– keyboardjes
– kleine onderdeeltjes zoals bvb. het mechanisme van een sprekende pop …
– een legotreintje
– krultangen
– …

Life is Short and Getting Shorter All the Time

an installation by Sam Ashley (part of The Oracle Project)
sunday january 13, 2008 – wednesday january 16, 2008
okno, brussels — residency and installation

okno.be will premier a new work by Sam Ashley called Life is Short and Getting Shorter All the Time, an installation built from simple electro-mechanical oscillators.


The installation looks, and in some ways behaves, something like organic life. The oscillators are fragile, but they succeed in filling the room with a complex noise. The idea behind the work is that the installation offers a type of noise that might be conducive to “auditory hallucinations”. This is a recurring theme in Sam Ashley’s work, and is one of the ways he seeks to bring the mystical experience into the realm of sound art.

Sam Ashley has been a kind of modern-day witch-doctor for most of his life, researching trance over more than 40 years. Life is Short and Getting Shorter All the Time is part of The Oracle Project, in which Sam seeks to create sound or visual art works that can genuinely support the flow of useful information from the soul of us to our minds.

Sam Ashley has devoted his life to the development of an experimental (and non-religious) mysticism; his only “belief” is that we can find out for ourselves. His musical, performance and other artistic works are the result of this. He hopes to offer simple windows onto some of the unusual experiences and phenomena of a shamanic lifestyle. Many of his performance works over the last 30 years have featured experiments in authentic spirit possession, for example, and most of his music has dealt in some way with the subject of “hallucination”. Many of Sam’s works are about coincidence and luck.