Tag Archives: inspiration

A tribute to 5-bit Baudot code

via Arduino Blog


Julian Hespenheide is an interaction designer based in Germany who submitted to Arduino blogpost a writing machine called émile. It’s an interactive installation created in collaboration with Irena Kukric, David Beermann, Jasna Dimitrovskais and using Baudot code - a binary 5-bit code, predecessor of ASCII and EBCDID – intended for telecommunication and electronic devices, representing the entire alphabet.

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It runs on Arduino Uno and  translates the bauds (/?b??d/, unit symbol Bd) into moving objects that are being sent over physical tracks in order to illustrate  a simple computational process of 5-bit binary information transmission:

The machine was built in six days with four people. In our group we came to the conclusion, that not every process in a computer is really transparent and it already starts when you type a simple letter on a keyboard. To unwrap this “black box” of data transmission, we set our goal to build a small writing machine where you can literally see bits rolling around. After some research we got back to the beginnings of Telefax machines and data transmission using Baudot-code. We then quickly designed punchcards and mapped them to a slightly altered baudot code table and cut them with a laser cutter from 5mm plywood.
Whenever a marble hits a switch, a short timer goes off and waits for input on the other switches. If no other marbles are hitting those switches, we finally translate the switches that have been hit into the corresponding letter.

Take a look at the machine in action:


Measure time like an egyptian with an Arduino hourglass

via Arduino Blog


Todo is the italian design consultancy and creative agency taking care of Arduino and Genuino brand identity and interviewed in this previous blogpost.

Last year, among other projects, they worked on an unconventional communication campaign to narrate the re-opening of the well-known Turin’s Egyptian Museum, displaying a collection of over 30,000 ancient pieces.

The campaign’s goal was to hold people’s attention over six months before the official opening of the Museum and be able to speak to a broad national and international audience.

TODO created an open air installation composed by an almost-4-meter-tall hourglass (with a hidden mechanism running on Arduino) that had to work day and night, for six months and over the winter. According to Wikipedia, this hourglass could be the 4th biggest of its kind in the world!

The main challenge was that they had to make sure that the very last grain inside the hourglass would fall on the day of the Museum’s inauguration.

The installation was created thanks to many collaborators among which Gabriele Gambotto who developed the electronic part based on the Arduino Yún on which they added a custom shield ( See pic below), connected to various sensors and a precision scale. The sand-like material passed through a valve and a long screw conveyor controlled by a mot


Take a look at the video of the ‘Hourglass Countdown’ and to see it in action:

In an indoor area of the museum an interactive display case was the other face of the campaign revealed to the audience:

A series of replicas of ancient Egyptian finds were covered in sand, and users could interact with the system by choosing the spot they wished to unveil, blowing into a microphone, and having their breath converted by a small robot arm, which placed itself in the exact spot, blew away the sand and revealed part of the find.

The experience came to life in two different contexts. Locally, a roadshow with several stops made the display case accessible all around the city. Online, through the campaign’s website, you could blow away the sand from anywhere in the world, seeing the live streaming video of the robot moving and unveiling the find.



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The installation was running on a ROS system, Arduino Mega, using blow sensors and controller, and an iPad to allow interaction with the visitors of the museum.

Check the video to see the amazing expression of people discovering ancient objects below the sand: