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Arduino Light Radio


This is a throwback project from Meredith's time at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design in 2012. 

During week three of the CIID summer program I got a chance to work with Arduino for the first time. Arduino is an open source electronics prototyping platform, built for creating unique environments. Throughout the week I had my first taste of building and understanding electronics. We also worked with the coding side of the platform that allows you to manipulate the electronics. Since I was new to both of these topics we kept things pretty simple. The prompt for the two day project was to build a new kind of radio. 

My partners Molly Crowther, Danielle Sloan, and I decided to build a radio based on some of the tools in our kit, and combined ideas from our short tutorials. We built a radio that has small discs reminiscent of records. Each disc has light and dark areas painted in various patterns. There is a small continuous motor that spins the disc, and a "needle" that hovers above the disc as it spins. The needle is not actually a needle, but rather a light sensor that picks up the patterns painted on the discs.

To start the radio, the user can push the button on the left side of the box. This signals to the motor to start spinning. As the motor spins the disc around, the light sensor picks up the data (ex. light, dark, dark, light). The program we built then takes the data and assign each to a radio station. A small radio transmitter, hooked up to speaker inside the box, will then start playing the programmed station for that particular disc. 

This was a really fun first exercise in Arduino, and I am already thinking about all the possibilities of future projects to try with this kit.