Midterm Documentation

I worked with Will Field on this project, which was a Make Your Own Jackson Pollock masterpiece. This was inspired by some of Will's work in Processing. The workflow went as follows: 

  • On the screen is a blank 'canvas' 
  • The user can fling paint at the screen by using a 'paintbrush' - we had talked about having it attached to a paintbrush but used a breadboard as a substitute
  • Paint would splatter onto the screen where the user flicked
  • To change the color, the user would alter the color on a 'palette' - this was another breadboard with three potentiometers controlling the RGB value. An RGB LED would show the user an approximation of the color they selected. 

We divided this project into two parts: one was centered around the splatter and the other around setting the color. We then combined the two parts to get them to function. Will worked on the physics of the splatter and I tackled the color setting along with getting the serial communication to work.

We opted to use two Arduino chips to make this - an Uno dedicated to the color and a mini for the paintbrush. The paintbrush also consisted of an accelerometer to track the movement; in Processing the readings were converted to the screen. 

Here's what I learned: 

  • Spec sheets are not always the best documentation - I struggled with getting the RGB LED to work; even though my prototype code worked perfectly, the LED just wouldn't light up! Even the resident couldn't figure out what was going on. Turns out the LED was inverted - instead of going to ground, it had to go to power! This was not made clear at all, even when I looked around the Adafruit website. Eek.
  • Prototype your circuit - I used 123 D Circuits to check my circuit, which was a good way to check my wiring and see if I could clean it up (I had multiple versions of my circuit with tangled wires and it was easier to see the clean configuration)

Additional documentation and video can be found on Will's blog