Immersive Displays Solutions Using The Arduino
Looking for a way to create immersive display solutions that will not only engage but help captivate your target audience? A recent explosion in open-sourced DIY networks such as MAKE: are empowering users by providing tech-based knowledge in an easy-to-learn platform. One such sub-category under the MAKE:’s Technology Tab that caught our eye was the Arduino network. Here we were able to surf through page after page of amazing tech tutorials that touched on anything from building motion sensing presence lights to smart remote devices to ways to create custom triggered commands that connect to displays. The latter of course being the highlight of our search.
What is Arduino you ask? As per their site: Arduino is an open-source prototyping platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. Arduino boards are able to read inputs – lights on a sensor, a finger on a button, or a Twitter message – and turn it into an output – activating a motor, turning on an LED, publishing something online. You can tell your board what to do by sending a set of instructions to the microcontroller on the board.
Thanks to its simple and accessible user experience, Arduino has been used in thousands of different projects and applications. The Arduino software is easy-to-use for beginners, yet flexible enough for advanced users. It runs on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Teachers and students use it to build low cost scientific instruments, to prove chemistry and physics principles, or to get started with programming and robotics. Designers and architects build interactive prototypes, musicians and artists use it for installations and to experiment with new musical instruments.
- Inexpensive – Arduino boards are relatively inexpensive compared to other microcontroller platforms. The least expensive version of the Arduino module can be assembled by hand, and even the pre-assembled Arduino modules cost less than $50
- Cross-platform – The Arduino Software (IDE) runs on Windows, Macintosh OSX, and Linux operating systems. Most microcontroller systems are limited to Windows.
- Simple, clear programming environment – The Arduino Software (IDE) is easy-to-use for beginners, yet flexible enough for advanced users to take advantage of as well. For teachers, it’s conveniently based on the Processing programming environment, so students learning to program in that environment will be familiar with how the Arduino IDE works.
- Open source and extensible software – The Arduino software is published as open source tools, available for extension by experienced programmers. The language can be expanded through C++ libraries, and people wanting to understand the technical details can make the leap from Arduino to the AVR C programming language on which it’s based. Similarly, you can add AVR-C code directly into your Arduino programs if you want to.
- Open source and extensible hardware – The plans of the Arduino boards are published under a Creative Commons license, so experienced circuit designers can make their own version of the module, extending it and improving it. Even relatively inexperienced users can build the breadboard version of the module in order to understand how it works and save money.
Immersive Display Ideas Using Arduino
A quick scroll through an Arduino Sensor Google search provided us with a site called Trossen Robitics which lists copious amounts cool looking gadgets that can be added on an Arduino board. Gadgets like accelerometers, to sensors for cameras, to sensors that can report distance / ranges, to motion sensors. The display application ideas that came to mind while scrolling through each category were endless. Imagine creating a custom sensor or command from a tiny Arduino board that could trigger events such as pulsating lights or a sensor that could detect time of day on your display. In doing so the display could automatically dim or brighten itself depending on the amount of light hitting it. Although this feature is already implemented in many commercial displays either as a product standard or an accessory, the idea of running multiple sensors off one Arduino makes this exciting!
Arduino Board Family
The Arduino boards come in many different sizes and forms to assist projects both small and large. Arduino also allows for multiple sensor applications / gadgets to run off a single board using Arduino’s Proto Shield. Create a custom board that cues an LED light reaction when a touch display is engaged, while motion sensors cue content based on how many bodies are standing in front of your large display.
Perhaps one of the ideas that seemed really fun was to create a triggered display event when a person steps onto a floor matt. Imagine people entering a bar and when they step on the floor matt a triggered event for Happy Hour readily displays on your various screens. Or imagine combining a temperature sensor as well as a cued light event through your Arduino that then visually notifies users on a display to remember to ‘conserve electricity’ usage during those extremely hot days.
Truly the ideas are endless and with open-sourced platforms such as the ones mentioned above the opportunity to get creative with your displays is left wide open for the imagination.
Contact Volanti Displays
For more information on how Arduinos can help enhance your displays or if you would like to set up some time to discuss your display ideas with our team feel free to contact Volanti Displays.
Hours: 8AM – 5PM PST