Monday, January 04, 2010

Christmas project

I made a little project for some friends and relatives this Christmas... using an Arduino microcontroller board, an Altoids tin, and some assorted bits, I built a simple interface to a virtual Etch-a-Sketch (written in Processing). Two knobs control the up-down and left-right drawing of a line on the computer screen; a pushbutton changes the color of the line being drawn; a toggle switch changes between keeping the line continuously on the screen, and fading out the tail as the head of the line is being drawn. Just like a real Etch-a-Sketch, shaking the box erases the screen (using a tilt-switch inside the tin.)

This project is really a recyclable gift -- the tin, and the Arduino inside, is just a simple interface to the computer; the Arduino is really overkill for the purpose, and all the real work is done on the PC side. That means I can send my gift recipients new pieces of fun software to run, using the same interface box, or they can send the box back to me when they get bored with Etch-a-Sketch, and I can turn the Arduino into something else for next Christmas. Or, for some of the giftees, they will discover that they have a nifty new platform for developing projects of their own (I provided a CD with all the necessary Arduino and Processing tools!)

1 comment:

eileen said...

Simply ingenious, Chad! As a recipient of one of these cool gadgettoys, I'm sure impressed! I am looking forward to having loads of fun with it. Eileen