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Net Gadgeteer Workshop at Pervasive 2012

I attended the NET Gadgeteer Hack-Fest at  Pervasive 2012 held in Newcastle last week which was a really great workshop. It demonstrated the ease of quick prototyping with Gadgeteer modules connected with small ribbon cables… no soldering involved!!! The brief was to produce an artefact which could be quickly prototyped with the NET Gadgeteer modules and installed at the conference venue on the same day. I  developed an interactive installation piece with fellow PhD candidate Martijn ten Bhömer , we had a great time throwing together an artefact in the space of a few hours with the building materials provided by the Culture Lab in Newcastle and modules provided by Microsoft. We used an accelerometer, several multi-coloured LED’s and a webcam connected to the main board.  We programmed (my programming is a bit scary so….Martijn did most of the code) so that when conference delegates played with the coloured hanging mobiles, the camera took snapshot images of the participants. Images of the playing action of the hands, integrated with changing coloured lights were displayed onto a big screen.  The intention was that the images would be an abstract collage of colours and movement of the participants hands, however in situe the images displayed were more hazy and abstract than originally intended. Here is our contribution to hacking the Pervasive 2012 Conference titled “Motion Lights”.

Although I found NET Gadgeteer great and quick to prototype, the negative side is that I use a Mac and I am comfortable with Arduino. I am not sure if using Visual Studio will work efficiently as it can only function if you use a platform enabling Microsoft to run inside the Mac ie:  by creating a Microsoft virtual machine.  I will look into this if I decide to seriously use it.  I think I still need a little more persuading, especially as the audio functions on the only sound  module are really limited at this moment in time. Having said that, Microsoft and the developers are open to suggestions for developing new and better modules.