Learn how to build your very own robot!

Building our tiny Frankenstein
Story and photograps: Aino Yrjänä
October has begun with grey and cold weather. Luckily manSEDANse festival has kicked off at the same time. I participated with dozen other TAMK students in Arduino workshop at Finlayson campus held on Monday 3rd and Tuesday 4th afternoons. Even though it was a two day workshop we got to experience a lot of basics of Arduino. We didn't necessary need to know any fancy stuff before the workshop. The lecturers helped us hand by hand how to build our very own singing Frankenstein.

Wait. What actually is Arduino? I had no idea about Arduino before entering the world of ones and zeros on Monday. I learned that Arduino is a tool for making computers that can sense and control more of the physical world than your desktop computer. Arduino itself is a microchip plugged in to your computer via USB. You code with Arduino software.
Controling sound and LED with a controling tool

“Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.” (Source: Arduino.cc)

I didn't have any knowledge about coding or building computers from scratch before. I felt a bit confused and fool at first - yet here I am now writing to you about this awesome thingy! Don't let the complex look fool you. Anything can be learned!

During the first day sessions we learned how to make a blinking LED bulb work, how to control the light (speed of blinking and light) and how to get the light on without Arduino software. To control the speed you had a tiny control tools which names I can't remember... Same applied with controlling the tones. We created our very own game console theme song! (The out coming tones were naturally very monotones.)
Experementing how Arduino reacts with our drawn image

On the second day we focused more on how to make sounds with Arduino. We already experienced this on Monday's sessions but not so fully focus. On second sessions we discovered how to make sounds via drawn image or shape. By changing the values of our code we could get different levels of tones and speed. The change was based on pure mathematics: multiply and division formulas. We even combined two Arduino microchips and audio equipments to each other and recorded some basic tones together.

Basically only the space is your limit when you're working with Arduino. Another nice thing about this workshop was the fact that you didn't need to own fancy equipments to build your device. And just by doing a lot of research and practicing your skills you can build your very own robot sooner or later!
||| Links:
The Arduino team on Twitter

Aino is student of our international Degree Programme in Media
Read more stories from/about IMPs, the Media students