What other creative applications might it have?
MimuArtist Imogen Heap created Mimu, “the world’s most advanced wearable musical instrument.” These gloves allow you to control music by moving your hands.Using these gloves as inspiration Helen Leigh created a micro:bit version called Mini.Mu. Using the accelerometer on the micro:bit and connecting a small speaker, children can also code software for the micro:bit to control music using the movement of their hands.You’ll see more of the mini mu glove in Step 2.6.
iStringWorking with industry company MK Illuminations, Lancaster University helped develop the technology for iString: a set of lights with individual computers in each light that enables them to communicate and self-organise. This allows companies to create huge displays with thousands of lights that could be easily controlled. Our favourite is this chandelier in Zurich which has 25,000 lights!You can see more of their work in the links in the See Also section.
CubertEarlier, you saw the installation Lorraine made for her stairs in Step 1.7. She has also made a bigger creative project called Cubert – a cube of 8x8x8 red, green, and blue LED lights that sit underneath ping pong balls. Just like the stairs, the lights on Cubert could be changed to any colour. Lorraine coded the cube with a micro:bit paired with another micro:bit over radio. You could play games on the cube like Snake, but in 3d!
Want to keep
Lancaster University online course,
Introduction to Physical Computing
Zip HaloYou saw the Zip Halo in an earlier video. This circle of 60 controllable lights can be used for all kinds of physical computing projects. We’ve seen it used as a clock, a countdown timer and temperature monitor. Its bright colours make it a really eye-catching display.Zip Halo
CheerlightsThis is one of our particular favourite physical computing projects. CheerLights is an “Internet of Things” project that allows people’s lights all across the world to synchronise to one colour set by Twitter. If you tweet @CheerLights red, lights all over the world connected to the cheerlights API will turn red.
Jiri PrausJiri Praus makes metal structures lit up with lights, including this LED sphere. It uses a computer inside controlling the lights.
You can find out more about Jiri’s work in the links in the See Also section.
WobblegardenAnother of our favourites is the Wobble Garden by Robin Baumgarten. This installation features an arrangement of sensing springs combined with reactive lighting. Players wobble springs to interact with the installation and play games. The website breaks down the project really nicely into its hardware and software parts.
Magic MirrorThis is a great example of physical computing for the home. A maker added some see-through glass to a computer monitor. This created a mirror that could display digital text on it. The original creator, Michael, used it to display his email notifications, but lots of people have remade the magic mirror adding extra features like facial recognition, speakers and their own online calendars.The MagPi magazine team teamed up with Michael to create a guide on how to build your own magic mirror. You can view their magazine, and read about Michael’s work, in the links provided in the See Also section.
LoomYou remember Jacquard’s Loom from Week 1? Well it’s been upgraded! You can write code to sew a pattern onto clothes, with Turtlestitch. Here’s a pattern someone wrote the software for being stitched into a t-shirt:Turtlestitch
Smart citizenThis is a really interesting physical computing social project that started in Barcelona. Smart Citizen uses open source technologies to enable ordinary people to gather information on their environment and make it available to the public.
Share your thoughtsIn the next step, you will have the chance to think beyond the examples and get creative.But first, what’s your initial reaction to these examples?
Introduction to Physical Computing
Our purpose is to transform access to education.
We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.
We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.