Posts tagged: Hardware

Joypads –> Arduino

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By , January 2, 2010 18:25

New Thumbstick

Do you have an old analog PS1 / 2 controller or a PC joypad? Or an used joystick with the old soundcard connector?

They work great as inputs for an Arduino! In fact, they are just two potentiometers, mounted on two axis.

When you open the case, you probably will find the potis mounted on a board, which includes all necessary connections. If you are lucky, you can use the existing cables on that board:

  • 2 outer pins of each poti are connected to + and – 5V
  • center pin changes voltage, depending on poti- resistance / position

Simply connect the power circuit to Arduino +/- voltage pins and the center pin to one analog input and analogRead() will read the values almost like a poti:

  • center position:  ~ 500
  • full down:  ~0
  • full up:  ~1023

The potis are often not so accurat, but you can easily implement some tolerance in software,

if the values are too much shaking


int potPinX = 1;
int potPinY = 2;

int valueX = 0;
int valueY = 0;

void setup() {
  Serial.begin(9600);          //  setup serial

void loop() {

  valueX = analogRead(potPinX);
  valueY = analogRead(potPinY);

.. and you have the X /Y axis values stored in variables.
+ output to serial console via USB for debugging.

MirrorBot Hardware Interface — Version 2

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By , November 25, 2008 05:52
MirrorBot v2 + hardware control knobs

MirrorBot v2 + hardware control knobs

This version is enhanced by real hardware inputs:

2 potentiometer knobs control speed (movement interval) and current program.

Additionally Program 0 adds a special manual mode to control the servo positions directly with the knobs.

Now the system is really useful as Live instrument, because you can inter-act directly with the music and change the posistions or programs matching to breaks and changes  in the music.

An old PS/2 keyboard cable was used to connect the mirror “stations” to the controller box.

Arduino in a box + knobs + external power for servos

Arduino in a box + knobs + external power for servos

The cable length can be increased by plugging more PS/2 cables between – they are/were common for KVM monitor/keyboard switches.

Now the mirrors and beamers can be placed far away from the “remote” controller box, which can also run autonomously without computer connection and just an external powerplug.

For live visuals, we still use the software interface to display the current values like angles, speed and program settings,

but the knobs as a real hardware interface ‘feel’ much better than keyboard presses on a netbook 🙂

MirrotBot V2 - Speed + Prog Knobs

MirrotBot V2 - Speed + Prog Knobs

MirrorBot Moving Projections System

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By , June 8, 2008 05:23

Mirror Bots .: moving visuals projections – standalone & Linux GUI controller

This is a robotic system to move VJmix projections all over the walls.

Video: MirrotBot in Action Köpi, Berlin 11.2008YouTube Preview Image

Beamer projection reflection on mirror

Beamer projection reflection on mirror

Mirrors are mounted on servo motors to rotate them in front of dia projectors or beamers. This way, the projections are moved across the walls and the ceiling of the room.

A microcontroller system, connected to a netbook, is used to control the mirror-servo-unit movements.

“Hotspots” are defined to project on the best spots on the walls of the location and create an impressive light show of moving rays and projections on all walls and screens.

1.prototype live action with diaprojector & beamer

1.prototype live action with diaprojector & beamer

This system can be installed in rooms of any size.

It is required to use projection glass or there are double projections and very unsharpened results. The beamers must be powerful to show bright images also on the must distant walls. In big rooms, the projections are really big, so the 2 video mixes can work together as moving textures or moving characters.

The proof-of-concept system was first used by Headsquatter Live Visuals in Berlin @MIKZ – Suchtfaktor – 27.09.2008 with great success and continuously enhanced and tested live.


We use a common, programmable input/output hardware controller to trigger motors: Arduino Dicemilia.

1.prototype live action - only left dia visible

1.prototype live action -- only left dia is mirrored

Two Mirrors are mounted on  servos to move them in front of two video beamers. This first version can move 2 projections with 2 mirrors on one horizontal axis between 40° and 130° – ca.  It  creates distorted projections depending on the current angle, but works very well with various kinds of video mixes. High contrast images and vectorial animations work specially good. By positioning two projections besides each other there appear many interesting possibilities.

Combined with fog machines the rays become visible and the moving beams look like a laser show with real videos.

The servo-mirror movements are synchronized to the beat of the music and many programs can be selected, to move the projections in various patterns.

VJ Live Mix Box: Wiimote - VJ mixer - Arduino Servo Control - Mirror (+ eeePC :) ) - Linux Netbook

VJ Live Mix Box: Wiimote - VJ mixer - Arduino Servo Control - Mirror (+ eeePC 🙂 ) - Linux Netbook


This MirrorBot is controlled by a linux netbook over serial console via USB cable. The prototype is remote-controlled  by a simple software command line. Various keyboard key presses change program, speed, play/pause mode of the attached servo control box. This works quite good during live visuals mixes, with a mini terminal window in front of a TVtime preview screen of the video mixer.

Pictures by Rue23 in MIKZ 27.09.2008 – Suchtfaktor Party ::

more Pix @ Logo

Multi projections

Multi projections

Multi projections

Multi projections

Multi projections

Multi projections

Debian and Tabstarter on the OLPC X0

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By , April 19, 2008 17:32

YouTube Preview Image
wow, the X0 OLPC looks really nice: a ruggedized mini-notebook.

the sugar desktop looks also very interesting, but at first glance it is too different from typical western computers interfaces to be intuitive for a european.
the home desktop screen is very inspiring, but we wonder: why is it all gray?
does that safe energy? 😉

it does not offer many programs and those which are installed take long to start.
they are mostly educational software and no games, except a memory.

we have a lot of ideas for this machine.. our tabstarter is already running on a Debian System.

there is a debian project that works on OLPC support and they released an installer.
its relativly easy to get X up and running, but it is slooow.
our tabstarter interface in Python GTK is working and we are testing out some programs now..

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