Control – Week 1

Tuesday 26th September 2017

Day 1:

Today we were introduced to the new brief ‘Control’ which is our second project of the year. Below are some of the notes that we were given on Canvas, the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment). I’ve put all the notes together to help me understand the requirements of the project and to locate them easier should I ever lose them on Canvas.

Control Overview

What other ways can we use to control a computer, other than simply using a keyboard and a mouse? This project seeks to explore a range of hardware input methods – buttons, switches, sliders, knobs – and how, when used singly and in combination, they can affect computer-based realtime environments. We will explore the technicalities of how to build simple control circuits using Arduino and Firmata – creating a ‘control bank’ – and develop further our understanding of how to make responsive digital artworks. You will also be introduced to soldering and laser cutting techniques.

The project is based around the keyword control. Consider this word both in its literal and in its wider contexts – the notion of controlling; forced control; expressive control; control as having both positive and negative connotations.

Work Mode


Software I’ll Be Using

Processing – (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Arduino – (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Firmata – (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.


This project combines 2 elements: a hardware circuit, and a Processing sketch or other runtime, to transform input into output. The input may be any type of combination of knobs, switches, buttons, and sliders, mounted on a surface and presented as a single UI experience. Output may be anything you can make from Processing or other runtime software environment (eg. graphics, text, sound, 3D, etc.). Your task is to combine both hardware and software to produce an engaging and considered interactive work based around the core ‘control’ theme.

Learning Outcomes

  • Evaluate defining features of sensory devices relevant to creative digital development
  • Design and build a simple Arduino circuit using routine computational techniques and practices to trigger an interaction
  • Appraise aesthetic components in procedurally generated imagery
  • Analyse the relationship between the interaction and response of the audience
  • Generate, visualise and explain a creative concept to an audience of peers and staff

Assessment Criteria

You will be assessed on your ability to:

  • Demonstrate creative insight in the realisation of the final work for demo
  • Demonstrate awareness of action and reaction between audience and content
  • Demonstrate your ability in using Processing or other runtime software environment to create the work
  • Demonstrate your ability to realise input-based circuits in Arduino and/or implement interfacing with external controllers

Submission Details

  • Learning journal in form of blog/Sketch-book work and evidence of concept exploration
  • Demonstration of the final prototype including video clips of the piece in action. This will be presented at the final presentations.
  • Your Processing/Arduino code
  • Final video documentation – 2 mins max – explaining the narrative of the work. This needn’t be ‘real time’ but can be ‘simulated’ to express how the prototype would work in an ideal situation. Please include simple captions to clarify what is happening on screen. This video is due by the submission date.

Create a folder called ‘Y2_Control_YourName‘. Within this create 2 folders: ‘Code‘ and ‘Documentation‘. Put your final Processing sketch in the folder called ‘Code’. Put your video in the folder called ‘Documentation’. Zip the entire outer folder and upload to CANVAS.

Key Dates Control Project

Week 1
Tuesday 26th – Launch
Thursday 28th – Practical Class 1
Friday 29th – Practical Class 2
Week 2
Monday 2nd – Prototyping Methods
Tuesday 3rd – Soldering Induction Sign-up
Thursday 5th – Practical Class 3
Week 3
Monday 9th – Practical Class 4
Tuesday 10th – Workshop Laser Cutting Induction
Thursday 12th – Tutorial Sign-up
Friday 13th – Laser Cutting Design Sign-up
Week 4
Tuesday 17th – Tutorial Sign-up
Friday 20th – Presentations





Thursday 28th September 2017

Day 2:

Today we were introduced to the website ArduBlockly which is a way of easily constructing code that you can copy and paste into your Arduino software. My experience with the Arduino software is very minimal as I only have self-taught knowledge that I acquired at college. I only usually coded some very simple lines that basically to listen to a certain port, from then I’d switch to Processing and code from there.

What do the building blocks mean?

The building blocks are colour coded into categories. Here are some main ones…

  • Blue = Logic (if conditions etc)
  • Purple = Input (what are we controlling and with what pins)
  • Pink = Variable (this is where we create our own variables)
  • Green = Loops (for loops)
  • Violet = Maths (mapping, equations, greater than , less than)
  • Dark Green = Time (delay, milli’s)

Arduino Code

Some coding we did in class:



Friday 29th September 2017

Day 3:

We were introduced to Firmata and how the Arduino communicates with Processing. We went round the room and told the class of what ideas we had already at the beginning of the project. I said I was going to explore using sound because this is an area that I have great interest in and so I wondered how I could tie that to the over-arching theme ‘control’. It was also interesting to hear others people starting concepts and how they’ve each interpreted the brief. We did some coding to overcome some problems people thought they might have when they’d begin to code their project.


We were told to create some coding that uses mouseX and mouseY and when our potentiometers and buttons arrive we can swap them in.

Previous: Hello World

Next: Control – Week 2


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: