Day 5 was all about turning gathered ideas into reality. Every team seemed very concentrated on their tasks and with every accomplished intermediate goal the number of wires, devices and code lines steadily increased. After a fresh, pleasant morning, hot temperatures came back as usual and made every available fan spinning. The working area spread out to the 2nd story as more and more components and tools (like the laser cutter) were needed.

Team 1: Turning breadcrumbs into music

“Team Toaster” accomplished quite a lot today. While tracking contact of toasts being inserted in the toaster appeared to be more problematic as assumed, big progress could be made with the light sensors in the bottom of the toaster. After some calibration and writing the software light and dark spots on the breadcrumb drawer (those will later correspond to musical notation) could be recognised by the Arduino successfully. Communication via midi is now possible.

Contacts inside the toaster.

Contacts inside the toaster.

Turning "breadcrumbs" into musical notation with an Arduino.

Turning “breadcrumbs” into musical notation with an Arduino.

Team 2: Can’t stop me!

“Team Teddybear” was hit by one of those technical problems that take as long to fix as to discover in the first place: without any visible indication their MP3-Player (which plays a major role in the whole setup) suddenly died. However, after spotting the problem a replacement and a pragmatic solution could be found. The rest of the day lots of wires were soldered and attached to the teddybear which is also increasingly packed with buttons and LEDs.

Wiring up speakers and MP3-Player.

Wiring-up speakers and MP3-Player.

Wiring up ad teddybear (this will look cute eventually).

Wiring-up a teddybear (this will look cute eventually).

Team 3: Keep it vintage!

“Team Walkman” advanced toward their goal from both, hard- and software side, today. Scripts to control the computer’s bluetooth and text-to-speech and Arduino code for the communication to the keyboard controller and shake gestures were written. After some struggle with a built-in potentiometer from the 70s, some new buttons were added to the plastic enclosure while (of course) keeping the vintage look. As in the previous days it was time to plan the inner life of the walkman very precisely. Every millimeter counts!

Speaking to Spotify through an Arduino and Bluetooth

Speaking to Spotify through an Arduino.

Work in progress: Arduino, Bluetooth Controller, Walkman board and lots of wires.

Work in progress: Arduino, Bluetooth Controller, Walkman board and lots of wires.

Team 4: Electric ink

“Team Oscillograph” made further progress in gaining control of the complicated mechanics and programming the Arduino. A big challenge lied in “reading” the ink, which should ideally conduct electricity. Different kinds of ink were tried and different solutions were discussed. This prototype remains very exciting!

Casing of the oscillograph.

Casing of the oscillograph.

Lines and fascinating mechanics.

Lines and fascinating mechanics.

Team 5: Heavy lifting

“Team Dropbox” was all about motors and sophisticated mechanics today. After experimenting with different step motors which continually ran out of breath, big success was made with servo motors. These tiny things can now open a huge box over some attached threads when activated by a (infrared) light barrier. They also managed to scan images with a Python script, to take one stop further to Dropbox integration.

Opening a huge box with a tiny motor.

Opening a huge box with a tiny motor.

Taking photos with this scanner now works!

Taking photos with this scanner now works!

Team 6: Muscles and Fishbowls

“Team Orb” divided their work in input and output tasks to advance quickly: the (arm) muscle interface was improved so that the input data can now be passed to Processing where muscle tension and arm movements are displayed. The next task here is to classify data patterns to recognise characteristic arm and hand gestures. The output side of the prototype involves fluids so that the team’s workspace was frequently extended to the bathroom or other places with water supply. The lava lamp turned out to not do the job, so a fishbowl is now in the field. It was successfully equipped with lights and a vapor generator and even by now it looks great!

Muscle tension and arm movements mapped to curves in Processing.

Muscle tension and arm movements mapped to curves in Processing.

Lights in a fishbowl, soon also equipped with a vapor generator.

Lights in a fishbowl, soon also equipped with a vapor generator.

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