Tag Archives: paper circuits

Making and the Physical-Digital Interface

As a technorhetorician, a media ecologist, and a digital humanist, I’m becoming increasingly interested in the physical-digital interface of physical computing and interactive programming.

A lot of this interest is playing out in my exploring both the Arduino microcontroller and the Processing programming language. Arduino programming language and integrated development environment (IDE) are based on Processing, the two work quite well together.  For instance, there’s the example project that interfaces an Arduino with Processing to creating an RGB LED lamp whose color is based upon word frequency within an RSS feed, or the much more simple example of simply turning on an LED by mousing over a Processing-created image, which I was able to do in just a few minutes. You can see the results in this Vine. Apologies for the shaky video – I held my phone with my weak hand as I used my better hand to control the mouse.

And then there’s these digitally interfaced physical books, from the basic MaKey MaKey + graphite + Scratch to Jie Qi’s Circuit Sketchbook

to Waldek Węgrzyn’s Elektrobiblioteka which uses conductive paint printed using silk screening and a small embedded microcontroller to create touch-senstivite illustrations that call up and interact with digital content.

While I’m still learning both Processing and Arduino, as a digital humanist I’m often thinking of the ways in which we might harness the ways in which visualization and generative art program like Processing can process and interact with text (for instance, this visualization of Goethe’s Faust and this “tube map” that’s created by inputting  text) with the codeable objects Processing library as well as the potential for interactive books making use of paper circuit technologies and embedded microcontrollers.

Three tasks I’m working on today is organizing a session on making, making pedagogy, and critical making & design and brainstorming a possible DIY craft and making workshop, both for CCCC 2015, and figuring out if I’m ready to propose a paper circuits workshop for THATCamp DC at the end of this month.

And later today, as a last-minute addition to today’s home schooling (as in decided about 10 minutes ago), we’re going to have our first go at programming an ATiny85 chip and using it to make this paper-based microcontroller:

You can find the tutorial at Jie Qi’s The Fine Art of Electronics.