While laptops eventually become past their prime, many of the underlying bits and pieces are still functional and could be reused. If you’re wondering what to do with an old touchpad, especially one with a Synaptics chip, then this stepper motor control project should provide some inspiration.
Here the touchpad is read by an Arduino Leonardo using a PS/2 library, which translates these finger swipes into stepper signals via a driver board.
When the user scrolls forward or backward, the motor responds either with a nice natural acceleration/deceleration motion, or the ability to move to a certain set point with a tap.
Morse code may not be as widely used as in its heyday, but it still certainly has its adherents. One avid user is Tanya Finlayson, who has been using this as her method of communication for roughly 40 years. Now, with the Gboard phone keyboard supporting input via dots and dashes, the world of Android computing has been opened up to her as well.
In order to get button presses to the phone, Ken Finlayson used an Arduino Leonardo to read inputs from a trio of buttons, indicating dot, dash, and mode select. The third button allows for phone navigation in addition to text input. Because of its built-in HID capabilities via the ATmega32U4 chip, the Leonardo is a great choice for this application, demonstrated in the video below.
Many people cannot use keyboards and touchscreens to control their digital devices. Instead, they use custom hardware switches that emulate typing, swiping, and tapping. The Android operating system provides software that allows these switches to control Android devices, and recently Google provided a new Morse Keyboard within the Gboard keyboard for people who find this method easier for text entry.
This experiment is a DIY hardware adapter that enables assistive tech developers to connect existing switch based input systems to their Android device. Once connected, 2 switch assistive systems (with an additional switch for mode switching) can control both the standard Android accessibility func
tions as well as text entry through Morse on Gboard.
This experiment is built using Arduino and is compatible with most standard assistive 2 switch systems with 1/8” mono outputs.
After discovering capacitive touch interactions with a Makey Makey device and an Arduino Leonardo, Jason Eldred realized it could also be used to control the Unity game engine. After a night of hacking, he had a basic interface that could change the scale of a virtual circle. From there, he teamed up with Alex L. Bennett to produce an art installation called Bee that invited users to interact with it by physically touching a panel to change graphics on the panel itself and a screen in front of them.
While not meant as a game per se, after more experimentation including work by Gabe Miller and Dustin Williams, this interactive display method was finally turned into a virtual air hockey table via a giant crisscrossing grid of copper tape and wires.
One pours water into a glass to turn the radio on. Channels can then be changed by transferring water from one glass into the other, and fine-tuned by touching the outside of container. Volume can even be adjusted by poking a finger into the water itself.
An Arduino Leonardo is used to pick up capacitive signals, and data is then sent a computer where a program called Wekinator decodes user interactions.
Pour Reception is a playful radio that strives to challenge our cultural understanding of what an interface is and can be. By using capacitive sensing and machine learning, two glasses of water are turned into a digital material for the user to explore and appropriate.
The design materials that we have available when designing digital artifacts expands along with the technological development, and with the computational machinery it is possible to augment our physical world in ways that challenges our perceptions of the objects we interact with. In this project, we aim to change the users perception of what a glass is – both cultural and technical.