Following on from emailing Aidan Taylor about advice/help needed for my Light project, I met with Aidan today and discussed my project and my aims/goals for the outcome for end of year show. I expressed that ideally, I’d rather have a working outcome than an incomplete, non-functional prototype to display. I had two options in mind – a cast of resin that was transparent, with the lights encased into the cast and the other, a transparent resin cast but with coloured inks inside the cast, which would then sit on top of a touchpad that is programmed to be interactive with.
The first option of it being handheld and portable is possible, but the time it would take to develop this would be longer than I have before deadlines, and the second option of it sitting on a plinth with a touchpad is doable within the time limit I have.
After discussing my goals for my project in Light, Aidan Taylor was more than happy to set me up on a soldering iron to start a workshop in electronics, soldering and programming. At first, the soldering was tricky, especially as my hands were shaky and unsteady. This meant that a lot of the time, when I was tinning the wires with liquid metal, I would often miss the metal and wire completely with the soldering iron. Once I got past this though, I found I was getting a bit quicker at tinning the wire and attaching them to neopixel lights. It took me a while to get used to the tool that strips back the rubber to reveal the wires too, but it was all a learning curve and I managed to get past it.
I successfully managed to solder four neopixels on a strip together and moved onto learning how to program an arduino via the software ‘arduino’. I installed the neopixels library and was able to start learning how to program the neopixels to change colours, speed and brightness. There was a set of 3 numbers – 0-255, on each one, where you could alter it and this would change the brightness, the hue and shade of colour. I could also alter the delay time to any number, so it would be slower or faster – like in rave clubs or slow glistening like fairy-lights. I was pleasantly surprised that when I uploaded the code to the arduino, my neopixels came on first time. I still haven’t got my head fully around the software yet but I am continuing programming tomorrow with Aidan.