Final Project

Homemade Hardware Final Project

The Idea

I want to make a cube shaped pocket-sized artifact which displays an animation over it’s surface. The animation changes according to the data it has accumulated over a period of time, making each artifact contain a unique visual pattern. It is possible to connect two artifacts to change and “breed” their content.

Things to consider:

  • I would love for the cube artifact to have every side with a screen. However, I know this might be very difficult due to power and size constraints.
  • Since I am using LEDs I am thinking about using geometric animations and changing the rhythm and variations of each of them.
  • In practical terms, I would like for each input in the artifact to affect the parameters which determine how the animations look.

Inspiration

Gameboy + Link cable Game Sharing

The Gameboy was one of the first handheld videogame devices (Handy-boy was the first, no idea). It had hundreds of games, and while it provided a lot of entertainment for individuals it also allowed for people to play between each other. Since there was no internet at the time, people used a cable called “Link cable” to connect their devices together and play. Looking a bit into the subject I found the connector was called a DMG-04.

2 GameBoys connected with Link cable.
2 GameBoys connected with Link cable.
Link cable closeup
Link cable closeup

I enjoy thinking about how this type of tangible connection allowed people to play between each other with a cable connecting them. I remember playing games like Pokemon, where you had to connect with another player and trade your character with the other person’s character to have even better things inside the game.

  • In general, I think having this idea of each person having something unique which can be shared with some else. This connection has to be physical, with intention.

 

Electric Sheep

  • https://electricsheep.org/

  • Crowdsourced evolving art.
  • What interests me about this project is it makes me wonder about the idea each user has a “unique” animation which evolves after a few iterations.
  • “Electric Sheep is a collaborative abstract artwork founded by Scott Draves. It’s run by thousands of people all over the world, and can be installed on almost anything. When these computers “sleep”, the Electric Sheep comes on and the computers communicate with each other by the internet to share the work of creating morphing abstract animations known as “sheep”. Anyone watching one of these computers may vote for their favorite animations using the keyboard. The more popular sheep live longer and reproduce according to a genetic algorithm with mutation and cross-over. Hence the flock evolves to please its global audience.”
Electric Sheep visuals

Cube LED display

  • I enjoy the idea of a continuous animation throughout the surface of an object. It makes the whole object seem like an entity.
LED cube
LED cube

Components

Form

How is my device going to look?

  • Shaking Arduino Dice project link
  • I Like the size, the encasing works well with the screen, it seems like something I could carry with me all day. I like how it looks with one screen, though I would like to see every side as a screen.
Shaking arduino dice.
Shaking arduino dice.

Microcontroller

How am I going to control my device?

ATMega128

ATMega128

Microcontroller

How am I going to show my animation and content on my device?

  • They can’t be too power consuming
  • I want them to be RGB.

DOT Matrix

  • 64 LEDS, 8×8 matrix.
  • I can attach several of these together.
LED Matrix 8x8
LED Matrix 8x8

RGB LED Matrix

Beautiful 8×8 Matrix (ADAFRUIT DOTSTAR HIGH DENSITY 8X8 GRID – 64 RGB LED PIXEL MATRIX)

  • 25 dollars each
  • Looks amazing
  • The size seems perfect
8x8matrix
8x8 matrix taken from the Adafruit website.
Adafruit dotstar 8x8 from behind
Adafruit dotstar 8x8 from behind

Connection

How to make my cubes speak to each other? Change animations between them?

Wired - Serial Port?

  • I would have some kind of RX and TX in a physical format on the artifact. Probably some kind of fixed connection like the one depicted below?
Drawing 1
Drawing 1
Drawing 2
Drawing 2

Battery

How is my device going to have power

  • Small and effective
  • Something like this:
    • Depends on amount of screens/sensors.
Lithium Ion Polymer Battery.
Lithium Ion Polymer Battery.