Project Inspirations: Arduino Harped

Our group’s first ventures into the world of hacking with arduinos was concerned primarily with the concept of disruption. Utilizing twitter, we incorporated an interactive element that allowed participants to trigger a motor, which in turn would spin wheels on a motorized car that was mounted on an autoharp. In theory, this setup would create a live noise experience with completely different sound results at every trigger.

Ideally, the audience would use certain hashtags that would immediately trigger this loud cacophonious noise. As this was a big learning experience for all of us, the final product was triggered by the signal of any tweet on our project’s own twitter account’s timeline: @arduinochopped. The account followed all group participants, so any tweet each of us made that showed up on the @arduinochopped home timeline triggered the motor to turn on for 1 second. The mounting on the car was also another hurdle, as the car tended to “roll off” the autoharp. We had to attach a shield to keep it in tact.

Unfortunately, the car itself ended up making more noise than the wheels spinning on the strings. A plucking motion would have been more ideal. This code was written in python by Belinda, Laura and Robert with the help of Andrew Famiglietti and lots of googling. It uses relatively simple concepts, but it was the first time our group had ever worked with Python or an API. Essentially, the code checks the @arduinochopped home timeline for new tweets every 15 seconds. If there has been any action, the code sends a message to the arduino to turn “on” for 1 second.

Python Code for Arduino Harped

Python Code for Arduino Harped

The arduino was connected to the car by hooking up with the integrated circuit chip on the motherboard of the motorized car. This was essentially the arduino code that spoke to the car:

Arduino Code for Arduino Harped

Back Story: Arduino Chopped

Our Hacking class was separated into three groups and was given two class days (a full week) for Arduino Chopped. The mission was for each group to build a prototype using arduinos and a random assortment of products that “find(s) a way to express some of the values of hacker culture.”

Random parts:

9 volt battery clip (to get power from a 9v battery into your breadboard)
Piezo disc (can be used to either create or detect sound)
Bag o’ LEDs (two red, one IR, 3 bi-color, one LED light bar)
1 low-power solenoid
2 pushwheel switches (datasheet)
Reed switch and magnet (switch closes in presence of magnet!)
1 remote control toy mustang and controller (this can be used as a car, or stripped for parts. Here are some Arduino projects using similar toy cars: project 1project 2project 3)

The other groups created an ice cream truck and a self driving car. Our group won the hacker challenge primarily due to our heavier integration of hacker ideals.

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