February 2012 Project – Update 2

The furthest I’ve been able to get with this project for the month was to create a decent tool for Craig to use. I put together a quick video demo below. It’s not super flashy and is still in an early phase, but it allows us to do a ton more much more quickly than prior to this month.

So the way that this works is that there are 2 modes as you’ll see in the upper right hand corner when you first run it. Record and Read mode.

When in the default “Record” mode, you’ll see a white dot, starting in the center of the screen. When you have the accelerometer/arduino plugged in, you should see the white dot move around based on the accelerometer data coming in. There is a file in the project folder called “calibration.txt” that saves the calibration values each time to recalibrate the arduino board. To do the calibration, press ‘c’. Keep the accelerometer as flat and horizontal as you can and it will average the values over the 10 seconds that it runs. Once done, it saves that data to the text file. If that text file isn’t found, the calibration runs right away.

In the upper left corner, you’ll see a 3d axis and some numbers. Those are the calculated values coming from the accelerometer with the calibration values taken into account. The spheres along the axis it should represent those values.

When you press ‘d’, drawing mode begins and you’re be able to “draw” with the accelerometer. To start recording the accelerometer data to file, you press ‘r’. It’ll countdown from 20 and save the points to file when the countdown is complete. You can stop the countdown by pressing ‘r’ again.

Once you have something recorded, you can go right into “read” mode. Once there, press ‘l’ to load an xml file that you recorded. You can load any xml files that were recorded with this program. It will then load that data and show it in 3d space along a straight line. This is the quick way to show some data. That’s where the fun and creativity will come in. Once you see the loaded up data, you can click and draw your mouse around to see rotate around. Then when you have something you like, hit ‘p’ to save the image.

This covers most of my goals for this project for the month, except for the “make something that looks cool” part of it. I’ve lost a little bit of inspiration once I got to know the data a little bit more. It’s not very complex data and like anything, once you know what’s going on behind the scenes, the magic disappears a little bit. Also, other projects got in the way. More on those some other time. So I’ll have to step away for a little bit and figure out with Craig where we want it to go visually. That concludes the February 2012 project, but this isn’t the end of it. I’m glad I made the time to move this project significantly further as I’m sure it’ll prove to be a significant tool for the end product.

Greg Kepler is an interactive developer at the Barbarian Group. He started as a design student graduating from RIT with a degree in New Media Design and Imaging in 2004 and fell in love with Flash. He worked for 4 years as a designer, developer, and interactive studio manager at Iomedia and moved on to the Barbarian Group in 2010 as an interactive developer where he tries to get his hands dirty with whatever technologies he can.