This prototyping experiment takes inspiration from a previous project called SLSv1 that was developed between 2006 and 2007. At the time the project was designed there was a critical issue, related with the movement of a structure, that was not solved for lack of experience with Arduino. The structure in picture 1 represents the Seasonal Leaving System that was designed in order to open and close according to environmental triggers or to people presence.
Arduino is fantastic in controlling movements and during a workshop organized by thinker.it last weekend in Cardiff, i have tryied to explore three different ways of controlling a servo (a sort of motor) that can be used to assign dynamic properties to any object.
The aim of the Arduino prototyping was to analyse interactions between sensors and the servo. I have to be clear in declaring that dynamism represent a constant of my personal research. Dynamism describes a process or mechanism that is responsible for the development or motion of a system. I have always been fascinated by interactive architecture and especially interested in close reletionship between humans and technologies.
These are two video of the first trial on a structure that could be easily moved by hand:
The experiment I carried on during the workshop was about investigating a solution to move a motor (in this case a 180 degree rotation servo) according to an analog signal coming from a proximity sensor or a light sensor.
The first attempt was about connecting a 180 deg servo component to the Arduino board. The Servo is activeted only when clicking the button in the Arduino board.
Not so exciting though.. so let’s go on..
Second step: connecting a light sensor and a Red LED instead of the servo. In this case the LED brightness was dimmed according to the analog data coming from the light sensor, and the result was quite interesting.
The next step was finally to connect the servo in place of the LED and to keep the light sensor to drive the servo.
What than if we make some variation more? take a look at the following clip (proximity sensor instead of the Light sensor).
Unfortunatelly during the workshop i had to use some recicled materials to reproduce the structure i tested in the SLSv1 and, as you can see in the following picture, the outcome was definitely thash. but the structure was rigid enough to be tested with the servo.
Many structural problems and the the lack of a 360 degree servo, limited the result of the experiment, but those are minor issues that can be solved quite easily. Have a look at this final video. The structure does move according to the light intensity that the sensor reads. Weaving the fingers above the light sensor determines the reaction of the servo and therefore the movement of the structure. The rotation of the servo is limited also because the light intensity was really low over the desk I was working in. The behaviour of the light sensor cell was definitelly more interesting when moving closer to the window.
The experiment will be implemented soon, so, keep surfing echomaterico constantly.
Further tests made during the workshop included a little bit of processing. It worth to watch these two clips
Those of you that experience the same attraction toward dynamic structures controlled by microcontrollers and sensors could be interested in this resource: interactivearchitecture.org