Phys Comp Midterm: Balance board video controller

For my Physical Computing midterm, I worked with Andrea Wolf and Sindy Butz to create a balance board that controls a video in Processing.

Here’s a video of me demonstrating for our class.

Balance Board Media Controller from Allison Walker on Vimeo.

The way it works: User steps on the board, which completes a switch inside the board. An accelerometer inside the board reports back to Processing which way the user is leaning. Right – fast forward. Left – slow down. Tilt forward – screen gets darker. Tilt backward – screen lightens.

Here are some photos of us during prototyping stage and assembly. Here’s a slideshow on Flickr.

Phys Comp – Week 6: Serial Communication, Part 2

Working with an accelerometer for serial communication
Working with an accelerometer for serial communication

For our second lab exercise with Serial Communication (which I’m doing early because it seems fun), I got to use an accelerometer for the first time. (Borrowed temporarily from another student.)

In the first half of the lab, I was able to get the ball to move around, and added the smooth(); command to Processing to make the edges of the ellipse to smooth out.

In the second half, I had trouble. I actually couldn’t get the call and response connection to work. I’m not sure what happened. I got the hello as we’d programmed from the Arduino, but as soon as I picked up the breadboard and got input from the accelerometer, the serial monitor seemed like it wasn’t sure if it should be outputting bytes or ASCII and put out both numbers and letters that sometimes made sense as words(?).

I’m not sure what the issue was, but hopefully we’ll go over this in class. I’ll raise my hand and ask, for sure.