It’s mid-term season! Here are three of my favorite creative computing projects with the Arduino, that I liked from one of our neighboring classes. The first one was a lovely project ideally suited for kids to teach and encourage them to be aware of nature and trees in this increasingly concrete world and when children like staying indoors. This will help raise their curiosity and probably inspire them to venture out into parks and playgrounds. My batchmate Joyce Zheng used Arduino sensors in the box to count the amount of leaves and processing for generating the animation. She built the beautiful box with laser cutting on wood.
Why I loved this is because of how the entire package was so artistically enclosed with wood and making it feel like a gadget which will attract a kid and also make it feel safe for them to touch it. I like the concept of adding leaves, and the simple idea of the hologram to generate this ‘tree-growing-machine’ virtually with simple concepts from the Arduino like photosensor.

The second one was from Aakanksha who wanted to build a miniature version of a life-size installation, to give prisoners in solitary confinement a voice, an opportunity to tell their story. The concept was that a visitor would be able to peek into the “box”, which would be a replication of an actual prison cell. There is a photosensor at the front, that triggers an audio narrative directing the individual to press a button that would show them the stills from the prisoner’s life on the screen inside. The audio narrative goes on to explain each frame/ image as and when the button is pressed. She imagines her future iteration to be an individual entering the cell, touching the objects, using soft circuits, etc.
I was wowed by the fact that we can use the Arduino to basically build and create so many such installations – a great tool to basically prototype any large installation in mind.

The third one grabbed my eyes when I saw it. This one had a portable printer component attached to the Arduino. The input to the Arduino was three digital inputs which recorded the mood of the person using it- are you happy or sad, flirty or introvert, calm or angry. Based on your permutation of your inputs, a particular output image is chosen and is printed using the portable printer.