Arduino Sewing Machine Guitar Pedal

A few days ago I saw a sewing machine pedal in a charity shop, and wondered if I could turn it into a guitar effects pedal. Through a bit of re-wiring and few lines of Processing, it turns out you can. The hardest bit was getting the pedal apart!

The pedal is basically a spring loaded potentiometer, so I wired it to send the values, through an Arduino to a Processing App, and from there, to the virtual guitar effects software – Guitar Rig.

It’s not a bad start, but it might take me a while to make a full copy of one of these –


The other day I had a little time on my hands, so I decided to make a Vimeo video explorer.

From the beginning, Vimeo was created by filmmakers and video creators who wanted to share their creative work, along with intimate personal moments of their everyday life. As time went on, like-minded people came to the site and built a community of positive, encouraging individuals with a wide range of video interests. We hope that you feel inspired to show us both your creative side as well as your friendly side.

What is a ‘like’?

A ‘like’ is quick and friendly way to let a video creator know that you appreciate or like his or her video.

What is the point of liking a video?

‘Liking’ a video is simple way to let other users know that you enjoy their videos. Once you look around Vimeo, you’ll quickly start to find videos that you enjoy. By ‘liking’ a video you are helping to promote content to your contacts and subscribers as well as giving that video a creator a nice feeling.

So the Vimeo Explorer site looks up all the videos a user has “liked” – then displays their thumbnails in this semi-3D grid. You can then click a thumbnail to read the details of that video – and click again to watch the video.

There’s a few weird bugs in there still – sometimes the description doesn’t match the selected video, and the embedded vimeo player has a few odd quirks of its own. But on the whole, I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

As well as trying the Vimeo API, I got the chance to try out some cool effects, such as text to speech conversion and animated displacement maps.
See – and for source code demos.

The page is set to default to my personal Vimeo Likes – but by passing in any Vimeo user’s ID, you can load theirs.

For example – you can check out the likes of –
James Alliban of Tech Arts Vimeo Channel
Mario Klingemann aka Quasimondo – a vlog about creative idea videos
Erik natzke – Flash based generative artist
John Davey of Flash On The Beach

Hopefully you’ll find it a fun way of exploring the videos liked by various people.

New game – PuzzBox

I’ve finally got all the contract details sorted with one of my new games – PuzzBox, a stylish little Simon-esque puzzle game – sponsored by the guys over at BubbleDevil.

It’s a basic “copy the number pattern as it gets longer” memory puzzle game – but I’ve jazzed it up with some PV3D, particle effects and some displacement maps which give a nice glitchy effect.

Give it a play and let me know what you think.

Arduino Project + Home Office

So, I’ve been pretty busy lately – back to work, which is great – getting stuck back into interesting Flash development for an awesome client, with some really good people.

But that doesn’t mean I’m falling behind on my other on-going projects. I’ve still got 2 games almost finalised, and my interactive arts project with Josh Sadler is coming on well.

For the arts piece, I’ve recently picked up an Arduino.

What’s an Arduino?

Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

Sweet! I’ve been interested in HCI, hardware hacking and alternate input devices for a while – so I really should have picked up an Arduino ages ago!

Check out this beaut –

Here’s the kit I bought – complete with LEDs, potentiometers, breadboard and LCD screen. There’s lots of possibilites here. On the day it arrived, Josh and I managed to get it hooked up to some code we’d written (in PureData and Processing respectively).

And as a bonus, just for mentioning it, I get extra added blog cred. Just check out this XKCD –

In other news, the design site Inspiredology recently ran part two of their round up of “INSPIRING WORK ENVIRONMENTS”.

It’s fun to notice how every single one is a mac! I guess mac users are just more stylish. My current “home office” certainly offers no competition –

Yeah, that’s right. I code on a stool.

Constellation – A flocking experiment

This week I saw Flight 404’s “Swarm Behavior” on vimeo –

Swarm behavior from flight404 on Vimeo.

Yet another awesome video from Robert, using his Cinder framework. Cool!
In the description, he mentions the particle’s behavioral rules –

1) If I am far away from my neighbors, move towards them.
2) If I am too close to my neighbors, move away from them.
3) If I am neither too close or too far from my neighbors, move with them.

So I decided to try and implement these rules in Flash. The idea changed a few times, and ended up looking like an interactive constellation app. So here it is! It’s still pretty rough around the edges – but I’m quite pleased with how it’s developing.

See and edit the code over on Wonderfl



	[SWF(width="465", height="465", frameRate="50")]

	import flash.display.Bitmap;
	import flash.display.BitmapData;
	import flash.display.DisplayObject;
	import flash.display.MovieClip;
	import flash.display.Stage;
	import flash.geom.Point;
	import flash.filters.BlurFilter;
	import flash.filters.ColorMatrixFilter;
	import flash.filters.ConvolutionFilter;
	import flash.filters.GlowFilter
	import flash.text.TextField;
	import com.bit101.components.*;
 	public class BFCWonderfl extends MovieClip {
		//Vars - 
		//You can play with these ones - 
		private var numBoids:int=20;
		//Boids closer than this will feel crowded!
		private var minDist:int=90;
		//Boid further away than another than this will be lonely!
		private var maxDist:int=100;
		//This is how fast the boids can move. TOP SPEED!
		private var maxSpeed:Number = 3;
		//This is how much boids influence each other - lower number = more influence
		private var divideBy:int=100;
		//Shall the boids slow down with friction?
		private var enableFriction:Boolean = true;
		private var friction:Number = 0.9;
		//Settle down - if they're not too close and not too far away from their friends - they'll just stop
		private var settleDown:Boolean = false;
		private var boidColour:uint = 0xffffff;
		private var lineColour:uint = 0xffffff;
		private var bgColour:uint   = 0x000033;
		private var glow:GlowFilter = new GlowFilter();
		private var glowColour:uint = 0x99ffff;

		//But you should probably leave these as is - 
		private var boidArray:Array=[];
		private var menuHeight:Number = 85;
		private var doMidi:Boolean = false;
		private var BMD:BitmapData = new BitmapData(stage.stageWidth,stage.stageHeight-menuHeight, false, bgColour);
		private var BF:BlurFilter = new BlurFilter(5,5,1);
		private var Bit:Bitmap = new Bitmap(BMD);
		private var bitHolder:MovieClip = new MovieClip;
		private var ballHolder:MovieClip = new MovieClip;
		private var isMouseDown:Boolean = false;
		private var TB:TextField = new TextField();
		private var myCheckBox1:CheckBox;
		private var myCheckBox2:CheckBox;
		private var mySlider1:HSlider;
		private var mySlider2:HSlider;
		//Boid Flock Class
		public function BFCWonderfl():void{
			glow.color = glowColour;
			glow.alpha = .5;
			glow.blurX = 5;
			glow.blurY = 5;
			ballHolder.filters = [glow];
			TB.y = 0;
			TB.width = stage.stageWidth-10;
			TB.height = 75;
			TB.selectable = false;
			TB.text = "Constellation by Lawrie\n\nSpace to add a boid at mouse - click to attract - any other key to reset.\n\nADD MINIMAL COMPS HERE - MIN MAX sliders and Friction Settle checkboxes";
			myCheckBox1 = new CheckBox(this,5,50,"Friction?",updateVals);
			myCheckBox1.selected = true;
			myCheckBox2 = new CheckBox(this,5,70,"Settle?",updateVals);
			var sLabel:Label  = new Label(this,75,45,"Min size");
			var sLabel2:Label = new Label(this,75,65,"Max size");
			mySlider1 = new HSlider(this,125,50,updateVals);
			mySlider2 = new HSlider(this,125,70,updateVals);
			bitHolder.y = menuHeight;
			ballHolder.y = menuHeight;
			ballHolder.mouseEnabled  = false;
			ballHolder.mouseChildren = false;
			BMD.fillRect(BMD.rect, bgColour);

			bitHolder.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_DOWN, mouseIsDown);
			bitHolder.addEventListener(MouseEvent.MOUSE_UP,   mouseIsNotDown);			
			stage.addEventListener(KeyboardEvent.KEY_UP, makeASingleBoid);

			addEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME, updateBoids);
		private function makeASingleBoid(e:KeyboardEvent):void{
		private function mouseIsDown(e:Event):void{
			isMouseDown = true;
		private function mouseIsNotDown(e:Event):void{
			isMouseDown = false;
		private function makeBoids(makeXBoids:int, bX:Number = 0, bY:Number = 0):void {
			for (var i:int=0; imaxDist) {
				//2) If I am too close to my neighbors, move away from them.
				else if (B.distToB2stage.stageWidth){
				else if(B.x<0){
				if (B.y>(stage.stageHeight-menuHeight)){
				else if(B.y<0){
				//Limit them to a top speed - 
					B.speedX = maxSpeed;
				else if(B.speedX< -maxSpeed){
					B.speedY = maxSpeed;
				else if(B.speedY< -maxSpeed){
				//Add friction?
				//Move them 
			//Draw into the BMD

			//Apply a blur?
			BMD.applyFilter(BMD,BMD.rect,new Point(0,0),BF);
		private function reset():void{
			removeEventListener(Event.ENTER_FRAME, updateBoids);
			for (var i:int=0; i