Ellentriek #11 – the photographs

Last Ellentriek was a bit more low-key than usual, because we had to let our theme “High Voltage” pass because of family reasons of our Ellentriek wizzard. The session was very productive, a quiet relaxed work atmosphere, where everyone brought their own projects to the next level. More!

The photographs are here!

Ellentriek #11 : without a theme

Where: De Pianofabriek, Rue du Fortstraat 35, 1060 Brussels
When: From 5 March 13:00 to 6 March 19:00

Ellentriek is a series of workshops where artists can come and work together on their own artistic electronics projects.

Thread two: You can come and work on your own artistic projects with basic electronics and a little bit beyond. We have all kinds of tools for electronics, a nice collection of sensors, Arduino’s and collective brainpower.

Enrolling is advised. Please send an email to Wendy:

wendy [attt] constantvzw.org

If you have specific questions/needs with regard to your project, please let us know so we can collaborate more efficiently. This workshop is free & multilingual.

This workshop is organized in collaboration with De Pianofabriek Kunstenwerkplaats.

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.

DIY Arduino’s

For the workshop of next weekend, 6 & 7 November, we are providing the basic components of an Arduino, so the Atmega chip; a crystal and some more..

To make this microcontroller, there are several tutorials online. Here’s a list:

Using the components of this Instructable, but more towards a breadboard set-up, you can really easily use this tutorial by Tom Igoe:


– if you want to go really minimal: http://www.instructables.com/id/Standalone-Arduino-ATMega-chip-on-breadboard/
– the lay-out of the Atmega chip: http://www.instructables.com/id/Bare-Bones-Breadboard-Arduino-Labels/

AVR Programming

A lot of physical computing set-ups work with an Atmel AVR Atmega chip, on which you flash – compile a little programme to interact with the physical reality and sensors. The most popular chips are the Atmel Atmega 168 – or 328. They are at theart of a microcontroller such as Arduino. But the chips themselves can be programmed and used as well. This is at a deeper level than programming Sketches onto your microcontroller!

In this Hackaday post the first step towards programming such a chip are set up.
In this Sparkfun tutorial they show you how to programme such a chip through Arduino.

If all goes as planned, we will try this at the next workshop! There is still time to register.


One of the projects in this C, A & C – Ellentriek session will be about measuring force and good ways how to do that. After a chat with www.effiandamir.net we will probably look at scales and hacking them.

As a small preparation, I had a look for weighing scale hacks:

– Via Hackaday we are led to two projects.
hacking and monitoring
hacking scales and storing the info on an sc card

– The following links give ideas – but none of them are worked out in detail:
— From the Arduino forum: http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1221027834 & http://www.arduino.cc/cgi-bin/yabb2/YaBB.pl?num=1231217442/15

Setting up your prototype

The first part of setting up your prototype is setting up your breadboard, connecting it to your microcontroller.
The ITP – the Interactive Telecommunications Program – part of NYU have some nice tutorial pages, for example showing how to set up your breadboard step by step. A lot of work goes into writing and documenting this..

Ellentriek #10

ELLENTRIEK #10 : Ellentriek vs Code, Arts & Crafts

(a little bit) Beyond prototyping
(een kleine stap) Voorbij prototypes
(un petit pas) Au delà du prototypage

An advanced level workshop building Arduino-like constructions. When building a physical computing construction using a microcontroller, you are often confronted with breadboards, loose wires and headerpins.

Furthermore, an Arduino board itself is quite big. In this ‘Ellentriek vs. Code, Arts & Craft’ session, we want to try to go a step further using our expertise and ‘the little grey cells’.

While building and constructing we try to solve following questions:

How to ‘miniaturise’ an Arduino microcontroller?
How to program Arduino pro mini’s, freeduino nano’s, Ardweenies, …?
Which microcontroller suits you best?
How to build your own microcontroller?
How to translate your breadboard trial version to a pcb?
How to make pcb’s with a laserprinter?

On Saturday evening (7pm), Dirk Oosterbosch will give a presentation on Fritzing, a plateform and software for the documentation and sharing of prototypes, and the making of pcb layout for professional manufacturing.

Enrolling is advised through the imal website:


If you have specific questions/needs with regard to your project,
please let us know so we can prepare better.

The workshop will take place on the 6th & 7th of November 2010 from
2.00 pm till 6.00 pm at iMAL, 30-34 Quai des Charbonnages /
Koolmijnenkaai, 1080 Brussel.
This workshop is free & multilingual.

More info on www.pianofabriek.be or www.constantvzw.org or www.imal.org

Ellentriek #9

Ellentriek #9 Sensor me Sensor you – 8 & 9, May 2010 – 10:00 – 18:00
Rue du Fortstraat 35, 1060 Brussel / Bruxelles (B)

de pianofabriek

Are you currently working on an electronic tinkering project? Do you want to discover all kinds of buttons, potentiometers, infrared detectors, movement detectors, gassensors, coloursensors, pressure sensors, sonar etc? Are you curious to see how you can use these handmade – reused – new buttons and sensors? Do you have urgent techie issues?

The Ellentriek sessions are collaborative work moments where you can ask questions, share knowledge and get inspired by other projects. This Ellentriek focusses specifically on sensors.

We provide all kinds of material to work with (soldering-desoldering irons, troubleshooting equipment) including physical help by humans. For beginners and up

Enrolling is advised: wendy @ttt constantvzw.org

If you have specific questions/needs with regard to your project, send them to us. The more we know what you are working on, the better we can prepare.

? ? ? ??????????????…???????????? ? ? ??????????????…???????????? ? ? ??????????????…????????????? ? ? ??????????????…????????????