paper experiments

hello, these are my first experiments with OF and arduino.

the idea was to play with the fact that graphite is an electrical conductor so it can be used as a switch to trigger different events in the computer while drawing on a piece of paper.

drawing a line and opening a window on the screen:

erasing the line and closing the window:

first sound experiments:

and more:

i’m still learning how to use the sound library. sorry for the screams.

how it works: arduino is reading the change in voltage due to the different thickness of the lines; these values are being sent via serial communication to openFrameworks using the arduino library. It works in the same way as reading a variable resistor: the thicker the lines the more current that flows as graphite is a good electrical conductor.
arduino is running the firmata protocol.

i’m using of v_0.05
i’ll be posting a link to the source codes soon

any questions and suggestions are very welcome!

I really like the weird blippy sounds when it’s borderline connecting (are those the “screams” you’re apologizing for?)

I think the last device I saw like this was Drawdio, and before that the Graphite-Sequencer.

I’d like to see something that does capacitive sensing using the graphite… maybe having a matrix of electrodes beneath the drawing that can “see” the drawing without having to connect wires to it.

Also, I’ve been thinking about neural networks a lot recently. It’d be fun to sample the strengths between 9 points and pretend they make up a 3x3x3 neural network, then model it on the computer…


ha ha yes, the blippy sounds are the screams i was apologizing for, i like them a lot too but someone could find them annoying.

thanks a lot for the feedback. the graphite sequencer looks beautiful!

i like very much the idea of the neural network thing, the fact that you can be drawing it sequentially might add some unexpected results.

i dont know about the capacitive part, but would be interesting to explore that direction as well


just as a reference I thought I’d post this video. It’s a friend’s project working with graphite. No computers though, plain electronics. Very impressive to watch live.

if someone might be interested here are the source codes for

drawing and opening a window

drawing and making some noise

Wow, this is really crazy!

Kyle, with the NN thing, do you mean simulating the weights of the synapses with the conductivity of the drawn lines?

[quote author=“adrian”][/quote]

Super nice. I don’t understand how the samples/radio is incorporated though? If the tuning of the radio is controlled the same way the pitches are generated, that’s excellent! The art reminds me of some of the artwork surrounding UNKLE+DJ Shadow, I can’t remember the artists name…

Yeah – you couldn’t really “simulate” the NN on paper, because graphite doesn’t sum/multiply the way a NN needs to (you can’t pass data through the graphite and expect it to act like a NN), but you could totally draw the weights of the synapses and constantly measure them while updating a simulation on the computer.

one thing i’ve been finding really inspiring is the fact of combining the particular qualities of paper with that of electronics. for ex. tearing up the paper and breaking a connection, or folding it and closing a switch.

an idea that comes to mind about the NN: maybe one way to create “synapses” between separate nodes could be by folding the paper instead of drawing connecting lines.