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Chris writes –

This project is part of an art installation currently running at James Madison University’s artWorks gallery in Harrisonburg, VA. The ‘Motor Garden’ uses an Intel PC camera and Processing to trigger a set of 8 motors connected through several H bridges to an Arduino microcontroller. The camera is mounted near the ceiling of the gallery space, and the motors are distributed on the floor as “plant” structures made of cardboard “roots” and PVC pipe “stems.” Processing monitors four regions within the incoming images. Each region is centered on a pair of motor plants. If a color change is detected in one of these regions, the primary motor associated with the affected region is triggered via serial communication to the Arduino.
Each of the four primary motors has a companion which behaves the same but is placed in one of the other three regions. As such, when a single motor is triggered, its companion also spins, triggering another set of motors, which triggers yet another set of motors, etc. Thus, as participants move through the space, the motor garden comes to life and sustains itself for a brief period of time. The flowers on top of each motor plant are digital prints by Ben Nicholson attached cardboard from old reel to reel audio tape boxes.

Motor garden floor view – Link (video) & photos.

Phillip Torrone

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.

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  1. Marcus_Schappi on said:

    This is a really cool project! You don’t actually have to make the Motor Controller from scratch, as there is a Arduino Motor Shield PCB that will fit nicely on any Arduino NG. – Marcus

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