newbie question on how to proceed

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by OBIE, Mar 2, 2012.

  1. OBIE

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 28, 2012
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    0
    Hello all,
    First as an introduction,
    I'd like to say that I have been on other forums but I have never seen one like this. I find the intense activity on this forum astonishing. As far as I am concerned this forum is a phenomenon, indicative of how so many people want to gain and share knowledge about a scientific pursuit as well as an artistic and creative expression. Sadly, this kind of activity, so positive and productive, is not seen on mainstream media. On the other hand, I get the impression no one on this forun would care about that anyway and I would agree.
    I have brushed up on the math, the ratios, gotten the basics on passive and active componants, and am wondering how I might proceed from here. My goal, as an artist (painter) is to build dynamic, interactive sculptures. I can't say what those sculptures are going to look like or do, it depends on what I learn along the way.
    At any rate, if anyone could give advice as to how I might proceed from here, I would greatly appreciate it.
     
  2. JayK026

    New Member

    Feb 26, 2012
    12
    0
    Dynamic, interactive sculptures? Guess you would need a vision for a sculpture first. Then you would have a better idea of components needed. Artist huh,(painter) Brush or Airbrush?
     
  3. nrgeek

    New Member

    Jan 5, 2012
    4
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    OBIE,
    Hey man .. I too do sculpture, mixed media, mostly from scrap parts, stainless steel, alum, circuit boards, what ever fits the picture in my head.. I have done some with touch screed lcd monitors, if you touch the screens you get different effects of lighting, through out the sculpture... I once did a horse that when you pet the nose it would snort and the tail would flip side to side .. was made from alum cans for the body and had a alum frame ... its a blast to see people interact with it
     
  4. OBIE

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    11
    0
    I paint the ol' fashion way with linseed oil and sometimes watercolor:
    http://johnbeder.blogspot.com/
    http://feelingfacescards.com/kids_books2.htm
    For now I just want to build simple circuits to get an understanding of how different components function. The virtual ground thing is difficult to visualize without actually playing with it. Control of LED's would be one of the first things I would want to accomplish, activated by a motion detector. An idea I have had for a long time is to build what looks like an ATM machine. Putting the card in the receptacle can be seen as a sexual metaphor, and I'll leave the rest to your imagination. The relationship between figure and ground (virtual ground?) is basic for painters, however the relationship can be applied to culture as well. For example, we normally think that when we turn on a TV, we are watching it, but if you flip it around, it can easily be said that the TV is watching you. I don't know yet what I could build to illustrate that idea, but it's something I want to play with. The whole area of privacy and the internet is pretty much "low hanging fruit" at this point.
    Anyway, I hope that gives you some idea.
     
  5. nrgeek

    New Member

    Jan 5, 2012
    4
    0
    AS far as how to do it .. just depends on what you want to do .. I used a mini itx computer board with a dual core atom processor to operate the monitors, and pass command to the control boards for the light system depending on what screen was touched and how many times it was tapped.
    I used a combo of led Christmas tree lights and custom led light strings that I made to light the whole thing .. I also made a variation of this with speech and motion sensors on another.
    The horse was made with sensors that when the nose or head was touched it would it would start the snorting of a real horse I had recorded too a flash drive, and again another computer was used to do the playback of the sounds.. and servos in the tail to flip the tail .. it was a lot of trial and error to get all this to work .. and research for the components I needed to tie it all together.
     
  6. OBIE

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    11
    0
    Awesome, awesome, awesome. I start laughing just thinking about your horse.
    I think starting out with a breadboard and components is the way I am going to proceed.
     
  7. djsfantasi

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 11, 2010
    2,796
    831
    While not interactive (yet), my main reason for joining this board was to learn some electronics for an animatronic penguin. I wanted to synchronize his mouth movements with what he was "saying".

    A great resource to learn from is the book Making Things Move.

    Right now, my penguin is fairly autonomous, in that he will dance, shift, move his eyes, flap his wings, talk, etc... in an unpredictable manner. This was done through a controller for hobby servos, my mechanicals and an envelope follower and custom software running on a laptop.

    In the future, I plan on making it more interactive, so that if someone approaches, he can stop what he was doing (such as if he was dancing), turn to face them and directly speak. It would be nice to even recognize what was being said to him and carry on a conversation - a combination of "Siri" and "Eliza" technology.

    For a sneak peek, take a look at Peter Penguin
     
  8. OBIE

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    11
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    That is very cool..it looks like you are accomplishing a fairly high level
    I did a cartoon painting of a penguin lining up a put. http://feelingfacescards.com/art.htm
    You could have the penguin setting up for a put and never actually making the shot. When someone walks by, you could have it stop, look at the person and complain.."Hey, do ya mind, I'm puttin' here."
     
  9. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    I have helped everyone from artists to kids with science fair projects. Many people have here.

    You describe what you want and I believe you will find people willing to help find the circuit you need. This includes designing from scratch.

    I have to admit I am a bit envious of your skills. I don't know if it is something you are born with or can learn at an early age, but I like it.
     
  10. OBIE

    Thread Starter New Member

    Feb 28, 2012
    11
    0
    Hi Bill,
    Thank you for your kind comments. I like Michelangleo's response to accolades about his sculptures. "If you knew how hard I worked, you wouldn't think it was so great." Greatness is inborn, but it takes a lot of practice and dedication to bring it out. It's like music. If you are born tone deaf, then any amount of practice won't really make much difference. However, even with a modest talent, practice can lead to considerable achievement and the satisfaction of knowing what you did with a "limited hand".
    Djsfantasi's penguin really got me going and so I am going to jump right into animatronics. For pure amusement, I want to animate what looks like a native west coast mask carving. When a viewer approaches it, perhaps a motion detector will activate it and it will start moving its eyes, blinking, moving eyebrows and perhaps the mouth. Aside from the electronics, just building the platform, with all the linkages, is a learning curve in itself. Then there is likely some moulding involved as well.
    I just received a commission so that is going take up my time for a couple of weeks anyway. In the meantime, I am purchasing a breadboard, multimeter, and various components. I have located a hobby store nearby that sells servos. So, that's it for now. As I start building I'm sure I'll be in over my head in no time.
    john

     
  11. Wendy

    Moderator

    Mar 24, 2008
    20,765
    2,535
    Probably, most of us are at one time or another, but that is how we learn.

    Start small, work on key experiments, expect setbacks, but be prepared to work through them.

    I don't have them at my fingertips, but there are some truly excellent animatronic websites out there.
     
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