Tag Archives: Arts Technology

Arduino Final Project: Distance LEDs

Well, I hope this will take care of it for now. I have completed (what I hope is) my final project for my independent studies class in Arduino. The idea behind this project is simple. I wanted to use both a sensor and an actuator of some kind (i.e., both physical input and physical output) and I wanted to use something that could, in a very rudimentary way, lay the groundwork for using Arduino on stage during dance performances as a way of manipulating some aspect of the set. In order to keep things simple and transportable, I decided to use a distance sensor – an Ultrasonic Module HC-SR04 Distance Sensor For Arduino from Amazon, in this case – for input and plain old LED lights as my output.

The sensor reads the distance of objects in front of it and converts those measurements to inches. If the serial monitor in open, the distances are shown, although they jump around a lot. I understand that such fluctuation could be the results of a $5 sensor but could also have to do with fluctuating power supply from my laptop USB. It could also have to do with the actual code that I used, as I decided to forgo the use of a library in this one to keep things simple. Anyway, the measurements are generally accurate. If the object is less than 72″ (6 feet) from the sensor, the green LED lights up. If the object is less than 12″ away, the white LED also lights up. Finally, if the object is less than 4″ from the sensor, then the red LED joins in. Simple but it works.

As with all of the exercises that I completed for the book Getting Started with Arduino, the code for this sketch can be downloaded from http://db.tt/f6x9Q4NA (you’ll want the “Distance_LEDs” folder, in this case).

And with that, I think I have finally finished all of the work to get the Art Technology Certificate from the University of Utah Department of Art and Art History that was the purpose for my 2011-2012 sabbatical. Woo hoo!

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Dance Loops @ UVU


I’m on my way down to UVU (that is, Utah Valley University) for my first day of teaching there since I took a full-year sabbatical. The most exciting part of the whole thing is that I will (hopefully) be able to start working with students and my faculty collaborators (Nichole Ortega of UVU Dance and Jacque Bell – my wife – of U of U Theatre) on my big art project, Dance Loops. This is a big, interactive, multimedia performance piece based on work I did during my capstone course at the University of Utah. We’ll spend the year working on it (and a bunch of related pieces) and take it on the road in spring/summer 2013.

Here’s a YouTube video that I prepared when applying for a Presidential Fellowship for Faculty Scholarship at UVU. It’s UVU’s biggest faculty grant and, after quite the debacle with digital logistics, we got it!

And now we’ve got gear coming in: Ableton Live, Max for Live, Akai APC40/20 controllers, Novation Launchpads, Microsoft Kinects, Sony Bloggie 3D cameras, a pico projector and two 3D projectors, Final Cut Pro X, and so on. Whoo hoo! Now we just need to make something with all of that.



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Photoshop-Induced Cognitive Failure

[The above image, “Study after Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X” by Francis Bacon is illustrative of my current mental condition.]

Well, my last post was all about how wonderful Photoshop is. This one is about how overwhelming it is. Ay yi yi! It’s all very, very confusing – masks, channels, layers, fidgets, blotters, who knows what. I can’t keep it straight. I guess the upshot of this is that it gives me much more compassion for my statistics students when they get lost.

(On the other hand, I DO intend on going back over all of the class materials, the PDFs, Adobe’s own online tutorials and some of the tutorials at lynda.com. I’m sure I’ll get this all straightened out.

I am, however, excited to be working on my collage!

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Adobe and Me

We’re getting started with Photoshop (and the Adobe Creative Suite in general) in FA2000: Computers and the Arts. Very exciting! It’s an overwhelming program; so many choices, so many buttons. Ay yi yi . . . But I’m thrilled to have put the lettuce and beans on their own layers in the salad photo! Very cool to move things around so easily.

To quote the theme from The Love Boat: “So exciting and new!” (Well, new to me, anyhow.)

Also, in FA3000: Design for the Net I, we’re doing some manual HTML coding to create very, VERY simple websites (at least, local pages that open in browsers). Kind of tedious to do it manually, but I think it makes things much clearer. And I’m finally learned about putting the pages in a folder with relative references . . . if only this simple fact had been made clearer to me a few years ago. But I’m looking forward to working on our next assignment, which is to create a web page for a favorite artist. I may cheat and do mine on Edward Tufte, who IS an artist but is known much, much better for his work on data visualization. Here’s the man himself:

For reference, here are his major publications, all of which are gorgeous and should be required reading for all designers and data people:

Anyhow, it should be fun.

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