For our Halloween themed midterm project, my partner, Azalea and I recreated the wall from the Netflix show, Stranger Things. In the show, the mother communicates with her son through the wall. She paints the letters of the alphabet on her wall and attached an LED string on top of the letters, with one LED per letter. She then asks her son a question and he responds by switching on the LEDs that correspond to the letters of his message.
How it works
We created a wall that allows for two-way communication between people, with a person on one side of the wall, and another on the other side. As displayed in the show, the wall we created has the letters of the alphabet painted on it with an LED string on top of the letters, with one LED per letter.
Interaction one: Person A can ask Person B a question through the wall by tapping each painted letter of the alphabet to spell out the message.We also wrote an interface sketch in p5 js where the message will appear, allowing Person B to see the question that Person A asked through the wall.
Interaction two: Once the message appears on the screen, Person B can send a response back to Person A by typing a message into p5 js, and the LEDs that correspond to the letters of the alphabet will turn on as the message is coming in.
We thought this would be a good project for children to play with.
We took a styrofoam board and covered it in wrapping paper to look like wallpaper. We then painted the letters of the alphabet onto the board using conductive paint. We then added copper tape to the letters on one end, and to the wires of the arduino on the other end (behind the board). We used the capacitative library in arduino to turn the 27 pins into sensor pins and connect them to p5 through the serial port. We then mapped the values of the incoming bytes from the arduino to the letters of the alphabet. For the LEDs, we used a string of individually addressable LEDs, and used the FastLED library to turn the corresponding LEDs on and off as the key is pressed in p5 js.
- Fabrication and Logistics
- the wiring of the 27+ pins got messy very quickly
- there was not enough space between each LED on the LED string that we had. Thus it was hard to place one LED on top of each letter. After placing an LED on one letter, we had to really stretch the string for the LED to reach the next letter.
What I learned
- Capacitative library
- How to speed up – we had too many unnecessary bytes printing to the serial port that were overwhelming the communication
- To leave more time for logistics and fabrication, and how to better plan and maximize it