Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Interactive Art installations with Chinese Arduinos on OSX

Last year as part of the awesome performance art event that is Fierce Festival I triggered some ultrasonic sensors using cheap Chinese Arduino Nanos bought from eBay for an art installation I worked on at BOM with OneFiveWest called "Code and Carpentry".

The ultrasonics work as motion and distance detectors and send MIDI data back to an Apple Mac which played this synth - called Helm - by Matt Tytel.

In the installation we had 2 areas fitted with a combo of 4 ultrasonics each which meant you could play an "air-theramin" to create music with smooth adjustments or just trigger sounds as you pass by. The third sound-toy you see in the video is a touch sensitive rail we created. See it all in action below.

The Chinese Nanos are great and super-cheap (we we're on a tight budget!), they run just like official Arduinos from a PC but mysteriously didn't work on a Mac, so after a bit of noodling around online I found out you need some Chinese drivers to get them talking which you can get from this Chinese site, but Apple have recently changed a few things for OSX "El Capitan" or "Yosamite" and you'll need to do a little bit more work if you have them as documented here.

The girls of OneFiveWest have recently had a Narnian wardrobe on show at The REP Theatre alongside BOM fellow Leon Trimble aka Chromatouch which sounded fun, and now have something going on in Manchester at Madlab - see keep your eyes out for that.

Monday, 11 January 2016

VLC ugly? Make your own skin

Everybody loves VLC, it's  a wicked media player that will play everything, but... my God it's ugly.

I've had a good look around online trying to find a decent skin for it for ages with little satisfaction, so why not make your own?

The videolan skin editor is really easy to use and you can make your very own skin quickly and easily. Need a start point? Well just open up someone else's skin and edit that. It's simple and you can finally have a VLC player that suits your eyes as well as all your media playback needs.

If you're good with Photoshop just draw your icons and chop them up using the slice tool, save as html and images and you'll have everything you need for your own sexy VLC skin.

Mac users -sorry skins just don't work on a mac :(