Tag Archives: art

Now Available for Download: Processing

via Raspberry Pi

I’m a long-time fan of Processing, a free open source programming language and development environment focused on teaching coding in the context of visual arts. It’s why I’m so excited that the latest version, Processing 3.0.1, now officially supports Raspberry Pi. Just as Sonic Pi lets you make your first sound in just one line of code, Processing lets you draw on screen with just one line of code. It’s that easy to get started. But don’t let that fool you, it’s a very powerful and flexible language and development environment.

Screenshot of Processing development environment

We owe a huge thank you to Gottfried Haider, who did the heavy lifting to get Processing running smoothly on the Raspberry Pi and create a hardware input/output library. That’s right, this version of Processing works with the GPIO pins right out of the box. Gottfried says:

I’m excited about having Processing on the Raspberry Pi and other low-cost desktop machines. In the last few years we’ve seen a shift away from easily accessible environments, towards concepts such as mobile platforms, specialized internet-of-things devices and cloud computing. As someone who got into programming by tinkering around with the open and readily available platforms of the time, I believe it’s important to have initiatives such Raspberry Pi and Processing, to promote software literacy and to encourage a future where computers remain a read/write medium.

If you’re new to Processing, please take a look at our newest resource, Introduction to Processing. Not only does it get you started programming with Processing on the Raspberry Pi, but it also covers basic hardware input/output. As with all of our free resources, we welcome you to contribute enhancements and fixes. For those of you who prefer something more in-depth, Processing co-founders Ben Fry and Casey Reas recently released a second edition of their book Getting Started with Processing, published by Maker Media.

If you want to jump right in, you can download and install Processing from the terminal with this command:

curl https://processing.org/download/install-arm.sh | sudo sh

Or go to Processing’s downloads page to download and install it on your own.

The post Now Available for Download: Processing appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists: openFrameworks

via Raspberry Pi

A big part of my role at the Foundation is running the Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists programme. Over 12 months we take a small group of young people aged 16-21 years through field trips, hack events and online mentoring to find new ways of using digital technology to enhance their creative pursuits. Our latest field trip included a openFrameworks workshop in London with Hellicar & Lewis, a partner in the Creative Technologist programme. One of our CTs, Yasmin Curren, wrote about her experience… 

One of the major perks of being a Raspberry Pi Creative Technologist is the chance to attend weekend workshops, where we get to go to a totally different city and meet with inspiring and knowledgeable individuals who can help us on our journey towards our final exhibition and showing off our digital projects! Last workshop we visited London to spend the weekend over with Joel Lewis at Hellicar & Lewis; a craft, design and technology studio that specialises in engagement. Here, Joel opened our minds to the wonder that is openFrameworks on Pi!

The Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists take part in an openFrameworks workshop at Hellicar & Lewis

openFrameworks is ‘an open source C++ toolkit for creative coding’. Yes, creative coding, that’s a thing! At first glance oF can seem quite intimidating with countless amounts of libraries, add-ons and documentation attached to it. For us, taking a look through it all, we couldn’t help but get immediately excited about everything that oF had to offer us, from projection mapping and facial recognition to graphic rendering and animation as well as so much more! But without some guidance it’s easy to become overwhelmed by it all.

Luckily for us, Joel Lewis is an openFrameworks wizard and quickly squished any negative or fearful thoughts we may initially have had by showing us some of the inspiring work that he and his team at Hellicar & Lewis had produced using this framework. They have created work for nonprofit organisations such as an interactive arctic dome installation for Greenpeace, and commercial pieces for brands such as Nike with an interactive live broadcast for of Nike’s ‘Festival of Feel’.

However, what impressed me the most was how they had used what the framework had to offer to create pieces of technology to help make people’s lives better, one major piece of work being Somability. This is a series of technology applications that included interaction such as visual amplification and rhythmic interaction; these put together promoted expressive movement and collaboration among people with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

The Making of Somability from Cariad Interactive on Vimeo

Joel also emphasised his love for the open source community during the workshop. Gone are the days where people want to hide their work and keep their findings to themselves so as to become better than their peers; today’s world is all about being open and sharing with the community! Every library and add-on within oF has been created by somebody and shared freely, asking for nothing in return. That might sound crazy but in reality it’s actually very clever! Not only do you help others (such as myself) to learn how to code by looking at examples and tweaking bits that are already there to suit my own needs, you also get the benefits of the community building upon your initial piece of code, fixing bugs or even making it better than you could have done yourself. Heck, somebody might even see your open source code and offer you a job because of it!

An open source community is also a friendly one, one where people actually want to help others instead of simply focusing on their own projects, and therefore the openFrameworks forum is always full of people willing to pass on their knowledge to others and help wherever they can; which is great news for us newbies!

The Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists get to grips with openFrameworks with the help of Joel Lewis of Hellicar & Lewis

After the weekend at Hellicar & Lewis I’m left feeling very excited about what openFrameworks and the open source community surrounding it has to offer. I can’t wait to start piecing together my own puzzle!

The Creative Technologists are really ramping up production on their final projects and I can’t wait to see what they do with their new openFrameworks skills. Keep an eye on the blog for updates from CTs over the next six months!

The post Raspberry Pi Creative Technologists: openFrameworks appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Ra: sound art from a pyrite sun disc

via Raspberry Pi

The video below introduces an unsual sound art piece based on a Raspberry Pi. Named Ra – as in the sun god of the ancient Egyptians – it’s a little like a record player, except that it doesn’t play records; instead, it “plays” pyrite discs, a rare kind of mineral deposit. Its creator is Dmitry Morozov, a “Russian media-artist, musician and engineer of strange-sounding mechanisms.” He describes Ra as a sound object/synthesizer.

::vtol:: Ra

Ra is a sound object / synthesizer which uses laser for scanning the irregularities of the surface of the pyrite disc and further transforms this data to produce sound. Pyrite disc is a rare form of pyrite which is crystallised in radial shape (as unusual disc spherulites) which also was named ‘pyrite suns’ or ‘pyrite dollars’.

Usually, pyrite, or fool’s gold, forms cuboid crystals. But in coal mines near Sparta, Illinois (and nowhere else on Earth, so far as anyone knows), it forms discs with grooves radiating out from the centre, and these are known as pyrite dollars or pyrite suns. Ra uses a laser to scan the surface of a pyrite disc as it is turned, and represents the mineral’s superficial irregularities as sound.

Cuboid and discoid crystals of pyrite

Cuboid and discoid crystals of pyrite

Dmitry was inspired to create this piece of sound art by his reading about the preservation of the earliest sounds recorded in fragile media such as wax. The projects he was learning about all used lasers, and he set out to make his own laser sound reader that would be able to produce sound from unorthodox irregular surfaces.

A DIY laser pickup “reads” the surface of the pyrite as it is turned by a stepper motor. Its output is passed to a Raspberry Pi which synthesizes it and applies various filters and effects, and plays the resulting sound through a single speaker. Ten control knobs and nine switches allow a user to alter the speed and direction of the disc’s motion and the parameters of the sound synthesis and processing carried out by the Raspberry Pi. There’s a little more information on Dmitry’s website, and the object itself is in the Sound Museum in St Petersburg.

Ra, a sound art piece

Ra, a sound art piece that synthesizes sound from the surface irregularities of pyrite disks

As you’ll have heard if you played the video above with sound, the audio representation that Ra makes of the patterns in the material is an eerie cinematic sci fi-like soundtrack with with long, sustained tones interspersed with short and distinctive motifs of rhythm and melody that alter as they repeat. It’s unexpectedly appealing, to me at least, and leaves me wondering what the synthesizer would make of other substrates.

The post Ra: sound art from a pyrite sun disc appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

SeeMore for World Maker Faire 2015

via Raspberry Pi

We’re gearing up to go to World Maker Faire in at the New York Hall of Science on September 26 and 27 – if you’re going to be there, please come and say hi at the Raspberry Pi booth. We’ll have demos, activities, some little bits and bobs to give away, and much more. Eben’s going to giving a presentation too over the weekend, so come along if you’ve any questions you’d like to ask him.


World Maker Faire is always a blast. If last year’s anything to go by, we’re hoping to see more than 200,000 of you; and every year, there seem to be more and more Raspberry Pis there driving makers’ projects.

This year we’re particularly excited about seeing this exhibit from Sam Blanchard, an Assistant Professor of Sculpture at Virginia Tech.

SeeMore is part kinetic sculpture, part giant parallel computer, built with 256 Raspberry Pis. Each Pi is mounted on a servo arm, which moves depending on how much individual computation the Pi in question is doing. It’s a brilliant visual representation of how a parallel computer carries out many calculations simultaneously, breaking down a large problem into many small ones which can be worked on at the same time; this is the architecture modern supercomputers use, and SeeMore makes that architecture very easy to understand.

There’s a touchscreen interface that visitors can use to set SeeMore tasks. Sam is engineering those tasks to be specific to the venue, so you’ll see SeeMore calculating things which have something to do with World Maker Faire itself.

Thanks Sam – we’ll come and say hi when we’re not on stand duty!

The post SeeMore for World Maker Faire 2015 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Quaver, the analogue looping piano

via Raspberry Pi

Music hacks are my favourite hacks of all, and this one had me bounding around the office with the video below playing on my laptop so I could share it with people yesterday. Meet Quaver, the multiplayer piano.

With a Raspberry Pi, some magnetic pickups, and the open-source Sooper Looper (which I am downloading as soon as I have finished writing this post), Mike and Sean from MajorMega hacked an old upright piano into an instrument that can loop up to four separate tracks, and then upload your results to the internet to be listened to when you get home.


I learned something new today: you can buy what are basically super-long guitar pickups (as seen in the picture above), which will work in pianos. I am full of ideas (for other people’s pianos – mine’s staying un-hacked).


Here are the electronic guts of the finished instrument: the Pi is driving buttons, LEDs, a display, those speakers on either side, the pickups and a fair old whack of software. Mike says:

  • Jack takes care of all audio routing from the sound card to SooperLooper and back
  • node-OSC sends commands to SooperLooper.
  • onoff to control LEDs and listen for button presses.
  • node-serialport was initially used to control the display, however when compiling a custom kernel (more on that later) I could not get it to compile correctly. I ended up just using echo to issue commands directly to /dev/ttyUSB0
  • lame for encoding the SooperLooper’s wav output to mp3
  • ffmpeg to concatenate copies of the mp3 loop into a longer “song”.
  • Parse to handle file uploading and make it easy for us to produce a front-end on the web.

This is all part of Lancaster’s Keys for the City project, where pianos are decorated and left around the city for the public to play; Quaver is the project’s stand-out this year. (And not just because of the artwork on the outside.)


If you’re in Lancaster, you’ll find Quaver in the food court at the Park City shopping mall.

You can find a long and fantastically informative post about the build at Sean and Mike’s website; there’s also a less wordy, more picture-y Imgur page on the project. Mike, Sean – please drop us a line if you’re doing anything else with the Raspberry Pi. We love hearing about this stuff.


The post Quaver, the analogue looping piano appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

After Dark

via Raspberry Pi

Galleries are forbidden places once the lights are turned out at night. After Dark was a prize-winning installation from The Workers, a studio in East London, which wandered the empty Tate Modern and Tate Britain at night in London last year. With Raspberry Pi for brains.

You can learn more about the project at AfterDark.io. We wish we’d known about it when it was happening, but happily, there’s a chance that the robots will reappear in another gallery in the future; we’ll be keeping an eye on their website in case that happens.

(Space geeks should watch this one to the end; the first operator of the system once it went live was a certain Commander Hadfield.)


The post After Dark appeared first on Raspberry Pi.