"The Cloud" by Richard Clarkson

“The Cloud” by Richard Clarkson

“On one hand, ‘Cloud’ is an Arduino-controlled, motion-triggered lightning & thunder performance. On the other, it is a music-activated visualizer and suspended speaker unit.”

For the Making Studio course in the MFA Products of Design program, Richard Clarkson created an engaging combination of electronics and form, simply called “The Cloud”.

Acting as both a semi-immersive lightning experience, or as a speaker with visual feedback, this nightlight/nightspeaker hybrid introduces a new discourse for what a nightlight could be. Richard writes: “Advances in physical computing and interaction design hardware over recent years have created a new breed of smartobjects, which are gaining more and more traction in the design world. These smartobjects have the potential to be far more interactive and immersive than ever before. And what is exciting is that it’s becoming increasingly easier and cheaper to become a part of this new kind of making, with DIY and hacker community initiatives such as Maker Faire, Instrutactables and numerous others. This project aims to capture the essence of this kind of designing—where ideas and process are shared for others to use and expand upon.”

(Be sure to watch to the end of the quick video below.)

 

The cloud itself is made by felting hypoallergenic fiberfill to a sponge casing that forms the frame of the cloud, holding the speakers and componentry within. (A custom felting tool was constructed, made from the left-over sponge casing and four felting needles.) To control the functions of the cloud, users activate three tactile switches scattered along the base.

Check out some process pictures below, as well as the Arduino code for those who want to try their hand at capturing the thunder. See more of Richard Clarkson’s work at his site.

 

 

 

Arduino Code below:

#include <FatReader.h>
#include <SdReader.h>
#include <avr/pgmspace.h>
#include "WaveUtil.h"
#include "WaveHC.h"


SdReader card;    // This object holds the information for the card
FatVolume vol;    // This holds the information for the partition on the card
FatReader root;   // This holds the information for the filesystem on the card
FatReader f;      // This holds the information for the file we're play

WaveHC wave;      // This is the only wave (audio) object, since we will only play one at a time

int motion_1 = 8;
int light_1 = 13;
int led2 = 6;
int led3 = 7;
int led = 9;
int randomSound = 1;
int chooseWAV = (randomSound);
int delayTime = 201;
int flash = 31;
int randomChoose = 1;
int chooseLED = (randomChoose);
int flashTime = 1;
int sporaticCounter = 0;
int strikeCounter = 0;

  
// this handy function will return the number of bytes currently free in RAM, great for debugging!   
int freeRam(void)
{
  extern int  __bss_end; 
  extern int  *__brkval; 
  int free_memory; 
  if((int)__brkval == 0) {
    free_memory = ((int)&free_memory) - ((int)&__bss_end); 
  }
  else {
    free_memory = ((int)&free_memory) - ((int)__brkval); 
  }
  return free_memory; 
} 

void sdErrorCheck(void)
{
  if (!card.errorCode()) return;
  putstring("\n\rSD I/O error: ");
  Serial.print(card.errorCode(), HEX);
  putstring(", ");
  Serial.println(card.errorData(), HEX);
  while(1);
}

void setup() {
  pinMode (motion_1,INPUT);
  pinMode (light_1, OUTPUT);
  // set up serial port
  Serial.begin(9600);
  putstring_nl("WaveHC with ");
  Serial.print("NUMBUTTONS, DEC");
  putstring_nl("buttons");
  
  putstring("Free RAM: ");       // This can help with debugging, running out of RAM is bad
  Serial.println(freeRam());      // if this is under 150 bytes it may spell trouble!
  
  // Set the output pins for the DAC control. This pins are defined in the library
  pinMode(2, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(3, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(4, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(5, OUTPUT);
 
  // pin13 LED
  pinMode(13, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(led, OUTPUT);
  pinMode(led2, OUTPUT); 
  pinMode(led3, OUTPUT);
  
  //  if (!card.init(true)) { //play with 4 MHz spi if 8MHz isn't working for you
  if (!card.init()) {         //play with 8 MHz spi (default faster!)  
    putstring_nl("Card init. failed!");  // Something went wrong, lets print out why
    sdErrorCheck();
    while(1);                            // then 'halt' - do nothing!
  }
  
  // enable optimize read - some cards may timeout. Disable if you're having problems
  card.partialBlockRead(true);
 
// Now we will look for a FAT partition!
  uint8_t part;
  for (part = 0; part < 5; part++) {     // we have up to 5 slots to look in
    if (vol.init(card, part)) 
      break;                             // we found one, lets bail
  }
  if (part == 5) {                       // if we ended up not finding one  :(
    putstring_nl("No valid FAT partition!");
    sdErrorCheck();      // Something went wrong, lets print out why
    while(1);                            // then 'halt' - do nothing!
  }
  
  // Lets tell the user about what we found
  putstring("Using partition ");
  Serial.print(part, DEC);
  putstring(", type is FAT");
  Serial.println(vol.fatType(),DEC);     // FAT16 or FAT32?
  
  // Try to open the root directory
  if (!root.openRoot(vol)) {
    putstring_nl("Can't open root dir!"); // Something went wrong,
    while(1);                             // then 'halt' - do nothing!
  }
  
  // Whew! We got past the tough parts.
  putstring_nl("Ready!");
  
  }
  


void loop() {
    delay(3000); //this delay is to let the sensor settle down before taking a reading
  int sensor_1 = digitalRead(motion_1);\
  if (sensor_1 == LOW){
    Serial.println("nomotion");
    delay (200);
 }
  else if (sensor_1 == HIGH){
    Serial.print("motiondetected");
    strikeCounter = 0;
  while (strikeCounter < random (3,25)){
    sporaticCounter = 0;
    delayTime = random (30,5000);
    flash = random (10,50);
    flashTime = random (1,3);
    int randomChoose = random (1,4);
    if (randomChoose == 1){
      chooseLED = led;
    }
    else if (randomChoose == 2){
      chooseLED = led2;
    }
    else if (randomChoose == 3){
      chooseLED = led3;
    }
    while (flashTime > sporaticCounter){
      digitalWrite(chooseLED, HIGH);   // turn the LED on (HIGH is the voltage level)
      delay (flash);
      digitalWrite(chooseLED, LOW); 
      delay (flash);       
      sporaticCounter = sporaticCounter + 1;
    }
    delay (delayTime);
    strikeCounter = strikeCounter + 1;
    Serial.println(strikeCounter);
  }
  //STORM!!!!!
  putstring("storm");
  digitalWrite(led, HIGH);   // 1st Flash
  delay (5);
  digitalWrite(led2, HIGH); 
  delay (10);
  digitalWrite(led3, HIGH); 
  delay (50);
  digitalWrite(led, LOW);
  digitalWrite(led2, LOW); 
  delay (30);
  digitalWrite(led3, LOW); 
  delay (70);
  digitalWrite(led3, HIGH);   // 2nd Flash
  delay (5);
  digitalWrite(led2, HIGH); 
  delay (10);
  digitalWrite(led, HIGH); 
  delay (50);
  digitalWrite(led, LOW);
  digitalWrite(led2, HIGH); 
  delay (30);
  digitalWrite(led3, LOW); 
  delay (20);
  digitalWrite(led, HIGH);   // 3rd Flash
  delay (5);
  digitalWrite(led2, HIGH); 
  delay (10);
  digitalWrite(led3, HIGH); 
  delay (50);
  digitalWrite(led, LOW);
  digitalWrite(led2, LOW); 
  delay (30);
  digitalWrite(led3, LOW); 
  delay (10);
  digitalWrite(led2, HIGH);   // 4th Flash
  delay (5);
  digitalWrite(led, HIGH); 
  delay (10);
  digitalWrite(led3, HIGH); 
  delay (50);
  digitalWrite(led, LOW);
  digitalWrite(led2, LOW); 
  delay (30);
  digitalWrite(led3, HIGH); 
  delay (100);
  digitalWrite(led, HIGH);   // 5th Flash
  delay (5);
  digitalWrite(led2, HIGH); 
  delay (10);
  digitalWrite(led3, HIGH); 
  delay (50);
  digitalWrite(led, LOW);
  digitalWrite(led2, LOW); 
  delay (30);
  digitalWrite(led3, LOW); 
  delay (100);
    int randomSound = random (1,9);
    if (randomSound == 1){
      playcomplete("01.WAV");
      putstring_nl("DO");
    }
    else if (randomSound == 2){
      playcomplete("02.WAV");
      putstring_nl("RE");
    }
    else if (randomSound == 3){
      playcomplete("03.WAV");
      putstring_nl("MI");
    }
    else if (randomSound == 4){
      playcomplete("04.WAV");
      putstring_nl("MI");
    }
    else if (randomSound == 5){ 
      playcomplete("05.WAV");
      putstring_nl("MI");
    }
    else if (randomSound == 6){
      playcomplete("06.WAV");
      putstring_nl("MI");
    }
    else if (randomSound == 7){
      ; 
      playcomplete("07.WAV");
      putstring_nl("MI");
    }
    else if (randomSound == 8){
       
      playcomplete("08.WAV");
      putstring_nl("MI");
    }
    delay(500);
    digitalWrite(light_1,LOW);
    digitalWrite(led,LOW);
    digitalWrite(led3,LOW);
    digitalWrite(led2,LOW);
    delay(3000);
  }
}


// Plays a full file from beginning to end with no pause.
void playcomplete(char *name) {
  // call our helper to find and play this name
  playfile(name);
  while (wave.isplaying) {
  // do nothing while its playing
  }
  // now its done playing
}

void playfile(char *name) {
  // see if the wave object is currently doing something
  if (wave.isplaying) {// already playing something, so stop it!
    wave.stop(); // stop it
  }
  // look in the root directory and open the file
  if (!f.open(root, name)) {
    putstring("Couldn't open file "); Serial.print(name); return;
  }
  // OK read the file and turn it into a wave object
  if (!wave.create(f)) {
    putstring_nl("Not a valid WAV"); return;
  }
  
  // ok time to play! start playback
  wave.play();
}

 

 

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