Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Adding Physical Computing to Scratch with PicoBoard

Well I started with a plan to use the makey  with Scratch and even had a plan to procure one. The folks at Sparkfun at SxSwEDU offered up there Makey Makey to me on the last day of the exhibit, so I didn't order one. I showed up at their exhibit on the last hour of the last day and almost walked away with one. But unfortunately got engaged in a great discussion with Jeff one of their reps that is very connected with the Vermont Maker movement and we started to make plans about future collaborations and I walked away forgetting to grab the makey makey. It wasn't sure that we were going to be stationary long enough for me to order one now, but alas, I remembered that I did have a PicoBoard with me and that this could possibly serve a similar function in that it also works with Scratch. Working with the constraints of using materials I had with me in the bus - I came up with the idea of making a "portable drumset" for people who "live in a bus" and reached for some picnic supplies to help solve this "problem" <<grin>>


I apologize ahead of time for quality of the video, I was focusing on making and realized AFTER the fact that I should have gotten out the tripod. (sorry)


I started by using the resistance sensors on the Picoboard to make a physical drumset play a virtual drumset created in Scratch. Once I got that working, I decided to add new features that would use each of the sensors found on the Pico board.
the slider sensor adjust the volume of the drums
the push button changes the Lighting (stage background color)
the light sensor was used to make colored laser lights appear when its dark
the sound sensor turns the stage to dark with an Thank You message when you applaud loudly (now that I think about it I should have applaud loudly result in an encore performance)


I need to give credit to the user cwb2001 on the Scratch community whose "sprites" I found that would serve my purpose. I learned that if you try to download the sprites from the online community, they did not work in my local version of Scratch, but if you click on the individual costumes, you can export the png locally (very useful tip for remixing for those of us who are NOT artist). I also want to acknowledge Mr. Michad from Nebo Elementary School who has some great lesson ideas for music, technology, and more for the idea of creating a drumset.

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