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The Art Shanty Projects on Medicine Lake in Plymouth, MN “is a four-week exhibition that is part sculpture park, part artist residency, and part social experiment, inspired by traditional ice fishing houses that dot the state’s lakes in winter.” Jordan Husney helped out with the Dance Shanty, “an innocuous white structure on a frozen lake, draws you inside with music and the sound of people having fun. As you enter you are invited to hangup your coat and dance!” Jordan focused on the lighting, for which he used strands of $25 hackable RGB Christmas lights controlled by an Arduino and Processing. Of course, when you work with wireless like Jordan does, you can’t help but add XBees to the setup: “Using a SparkFun XBee Shield and a pair of Series 1 XBee Radios, I was able to make the whole setup wireless—and able to hide away the PC from view while being able to maintain a connection to the lights. I work for Digi, so every design screams like it needs to be made wireless.”

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Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a Brooklyn-based creative technologist, Contributing Editor at MAKE, and Resident Research Fellow at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP). He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.


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  1. I shot this video immediately after we opened the first day of the Art Shanty Projects festival. I had brought along an old laptop and had some serial performance issues which I’ve since corrected (Processing’s Serial.write() is slow on the PC!)

    Here’s another video of the DanceShanty visualization running that shows it off a bit better: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sz96jGAyqzw&context=C36370a5ADOEgsToPDskKdmmkVeDZ_PgRcxZ2Kznli

    Next up I’m going to add some cellular connectivity to allow people to control the visualization mode and color of the lights themselves from their cell phones. Because, well, why not?

    I’ll be posting a technical write-up and full source code on my website shortly.

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