Ok, so one of the coolest things that I heard about at MW2011 was the Arduino – an “open source electronics prototype platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software.” It’s designed for d-i-y creativity, and is “intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.” Sweet!
Miriam Langer presented a cool mini-workshop on sensors & micro-controllers, in which she explored some of the possibilities for museums and galleries to use Arduino for sensing users in the gallery space. The Arduino can be hooked up to motion-detection sensors and similar and used to turn the gallery space into a more interactive playground.
My imagination was totally captured by Miriam’s talk, and the possibilities that the Arduino offers. I think it could work perfectly to turn the NRAG‘s “smART space” for kids into a far more dynamic area in the Gallery, and could also work well to bring some of Newcastle’s public art to life. However, as much as I am super-eager to get me an Arduino, I am not entirely sure that I have the right temperament for it… I often get inspired by things that require a bit of patience and tinkering, and then they end up sitting languishing on a shelf until they grow old and dusty. But I would love to hear about anyone who has been using it, and to know what they’ve done with it – particularly in a museum or art space context.
Having said that, when Miriam was talking I wanted to know about the possibility of using the Arduino to make musical instruments – those that used sensors linked to tones to make noise. And it turns out that this is precisely what a few people around the world have been doing… so although this is not entirely museum-specific, this is a totally cool use of the platform…