I’ve spent the last week running GPS Orchestra as an ongoing element woven through iShed’s brilliant Digital Producers Lab (a development programme for 12 producers working across Wales).
As a counterpoint to the programme of presentations and discussion settings led by some great speakers, GPS Orchestra was intended as a practical set of tasks to introduce working with GPS, electronics and the Arduino platform.
Starting with a ‘site visit’ out into Millennium Square, the producers were tasked with observing the space and thinking about how they’d like to nudge the atmosphere and/or behaviours they noticed.
That was the easy bit! What followed was a steep-learning-curved introduction to coding and prototyping to get them to the point where they could control motors and LEDs through live GPS data according to the movement of the contraptions they were to make.
Layering up the skills through the week, it was very heartwarming to hear that by Wednesday quite a few of the group were already planning to purchase Arduino bits and pieces to continue tinkering with after the lab!
By Friday lunch time – after only about 5 or 6 hours on their projects – they had made some amazing things:
- Something that responded to the number of satellites it could see – initially intended to be rolled along the floor, but ended up getting lots of hugs.
- Happbee – a wounded bee whose recuperation could be assisted if you carried him fast through the air as if he was flying.
- The musical box – a small box that had the power to make you dance (or at least move differently).
- The Digital Harp / y Delyn digidol – plays when you walk towards Wales and plays more the closer to are to the homelands.
It wasn’t an easy challenge by any means, but I was really impressed with the outcomes (not just the things they made). A lovely group of people and a very inspiring week overall. Thanks to everyone who contributed.
My photos from the week are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/nikki_pugh/sets/72157637471578064/, and below are a collection of Tweets relating to the sessions: