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Servo-motor and LED-light controller

  • At: Taoyuan Art x Technology festival, Taiwan
  • By: Tuomo Tammenpää
  • For: Dimension Plus
  • In: October 2017

Motococo is a small servomotor and LED light controller that is based on ATiny85 chip with an audio bootloader. It is a circuit modification from 8BitMixtape project like the Neocococat, but designed to drive two hobby servos and longer chain of neopixel RGB LEDs. It has a input socket for one analog sensor and line-level audio out pins for easy speaker connection.

Hardware features

  • ATtiny85 with audio bootloader
  • 2x 3-pin hobby servo ports
  • 3x Neopixels on board plus 3pin socket of connecting more LEDs
  • Two-pin audio out port, ready for line-level audio out
  • Socket for LiPo batttery
  • Small formfactor, inexpensive BOM

Motococo uses the Chris Micro’s audio bootloader firmware known from 8Bitmixtape, which allows updating the code by playing back a specific wav file to it. This allows easy change of premade code-patches, without the need to setup a laptop or developmenent environment like Arduino IDE. The code examples are wav audio files and can be “uploaded” to the board using for example a mobile phone and a web browser.

Motococo is continuation for learning a fest, open source software and hardware toolchain and method for designing and making small series PCB’s. Motococo was developed in Dimension Plus Taipei for a servo-motor controller workshop need for TAxT, Taoyuan Art x Technology Festival. 3x Motococo boards were used also in Dalsburk, Finland in mÖrkö 2017 November lightfestival for controlling a “lighpixel” LED light installation, driving 20 Neopixels each.


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DIY Synthesizer

  • At: Dimension Plus, Taipei
  • For: 8Bitmixtape community
  • By: Tuomo Tammenpää
  • In: April 2017

Neocococat is a DIY sound-synthesizer on small PCB board. It is a ongoing learning project on DIY-PCB etching, hand-drawn PCB design, SMD-soldering and rapid prototyping. In a nutshell, Neocococat makes sounds and blinks lights, based on the code inside. Both of these can be changed, the parts are inexpensive, the process making it is educative, making it a nice workshop kit.

Neocococat is a derivation from the 8Bitmixtape-NEO circuit and board. 8Bitmixtape (and Neocococat as a version of it) is a DIY sound synthesizer electronic circuit using inexpensive and Arduino-compatible ATiny85 chip, few very basic components and an audio-bootloader for changing the logic using programs, coded as wav files and audio jack for transferring them. For more info, materials and examples, visit:

Neocococat was designed in Taipei, Dimensionplus April 2017, after Marc Dusseillers 8bitmixtape-NEO DIY pcb etching and (smd) soldering workshop. The circuit is almost identical to 8Bitmixtape-NEO, differences being: 1) only one potentiometer (place for the second pot with the resistors are included on the top of the board) and 2) two NEOpixels instead of 8 as the cat’s eyes. All the 8Bitmixtapeneo code should be compatible with Neocococat.


Drawing the circuit in Inkscape

alt tag

I started with Marc’s DIYpcb workshop GärLämpli design assets, which are the used components with their footprings, scaled up to 400% for manual cut&paste circuit design with paper and pen. Instead of drawing by hand, I layed the components in 1:1 to inkscape and started to layout the parts according to the rough idea of the pot as cat’s nose, NEOpixels as her eyes, ATtiny as the “brains” and rest around as compact circuit as possible. After the components were roughly in place, I draw the logic lines (nets?) with colour-coded lines for Vcc, Gnd, and signals. After this, I started to draw the copper paths with bezier curves, keeping it organic and trying to include some features of cat’s head. But it got pretty corwded and eventually the confined small space dicated the freestylin’ quite a bit.

PCB etching

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The copper design was printed with an office laser printer according to what we learned in Marc’s workshop and cut out the paper, oiled it (for more translucency in the following exposure), cut piece of ready-to-expose copper PCB, exposed it with Marc’s DIY blue-led exposing-station (mirror the image!), spoiled (overexposed) the first trial, doubled the oily paper for better black, exposed for 45sec (do a test exposure), developed the board in 30 degree celcius sodium hydrokside (NAOH) solution until the unexposed part got fixed (rub gently the exposed parts with some gloves) and finally etched the board in +50 degrees celcius sodium peroxodisulfate solution for half an hour or so, until the exposed copper was dissolved (keep it hot, we used larger hot water bath for the etching tray, speeds the process a lot). Finally, the greenish layer of protective coating over the copper design was rubbed away with acetone and the remainings of some dust and garbage copper residue was sanded away.


alt tag

Solder the small SMD components first. Especially audio plugs the IC socket and the Pot are so close to resistor and capacitor pads that they should all be in place before soldering the larger components. The (one-sided) board is stable to tape on the table before soldering the power socket and pot. I recommend two intermediate tests while in between the soldering: power circuit + audio code upload and button check.

Manufactured board

alt tag


After few modification to the Inkscape design, namely bit more room to the pot in the middle and some extra pads for the flipside, the png files were imported to kicad using thehe “logo” method (instead of drawing the board using Kicad schematic & board designer.) This is bit cumbersome process and I will link to some guidelines here later.

DIY-CAD process


Gerber files were imported from Kicad and zipped and sent to PCBway in Shenzhen for express manufacturing. The 24h option was not available for some reason, so we selected 48h for set of 50 boards, gold immersion on white. 48h + one day for the shipping, a guy with a scooter delivered the boards on Saturday morning. The speed of getting things done in this corner of world is pretty impressive.


This was a learning excercise for DIY board making more than a product design excercise. The shape of the cat’s head is a small tribute to my previous visit to Taipei & Dimensionplus for Lemonster workshop in 2015. Big thanks for Marc Dusseiller for very inspiring facilitation and geeking company, and for Escher Tsai and whole Dimension Plus team for heartwarming hosting and hospitality.


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Educational Science Kit

  • At: National Taiwan Science Education Center, Taipei
  • By: Tuomo Tammenpää
  • For: Dimension Plus, Taiwan / ITRI-Taiwan
  • In: September 2014

Lemonster is an educational DIY science-kit in the shape of a creature. It introduces the basics of two physical phenomenons 1) generating electricity with electrolysis and 2) synthesising square wave electronic sound. Lemonster is a plastic or plywood “skeleton” holding together a slices of fruit or vegetable, which are connected together with pieces of copper and zinc/magnesium, generating bit of electric chrage from electrolysis of metals and the fruit acid, to power a simple sound circuit on small breadboard. Lemonster parts can be 3D printed or laser cut and the electronic components are inexpensive, robust components, suitable for tinkering for all ages.


Electrolysis is a way of creating electric charge with two different metals in acidic liquid. A simple way of experimenting with this is to push copper coin and a zinc nail in to a lemon and measuring the voltage between them. The electrons from the nail dissolve in the the citric acid of the lemon and move to the copper penny, which attracts more electrons. This movement of electrons creates small electric charge. So the electricity comes from the two different metals working as electrodes where the lemon juice inside the lemon work as the electrolyte. Very small amount of hydrogen gas is also released in the process.

In Lemonster, one lemon is cut to four slices and a copper wire & and a zinc nails are inserted in on each of the slices. All slices are connected in series, so it adds up to four times more charge than with one pair of electrodes in the whole lemon. This gives the sound circuit the 3-4 volts it needs to make some sounds.

Electronic sound synthesis

Sound is energy of vibrations. When the small metal plate in the piezo element in the Lemonster sound circuit vibrates, it moves the air around it and makes sound waves. These waves of air vibrations we can hear as sound in our ears. The sound circuit itself has only very few components: the integrated circuit the NANDgate that works as a very quick switch (on&off / high&low), few capacitors that charge and discharge electricity (like a small but very fast battery), some resistors (light resistor and potentiometer) that slows and speeds up the switching and the piezo speaker, that turns the electric signal to audible frequencies. Lemonster uses two of the four gates, and the first gate controls the second gate making a rhythmic pulse for the pitch from the second gate. The rhythm is controlled by the potentiometer in the Lemonsters nose, and the pitch is controlled by the light resistor between its eyes.

Lemonster was developed for Prototyping Factory workshops in Taiwan National Science Education Center, hosted by Dimension+ in Taipei, Taiwan October 2015. Lemonster would have not been possible without dedicated help by Dimension+ team: Escher Tsai, I-chern Lai, Darry Dai, Lanli chen, Yinnu Chen and master-workshopologist Marc Dusseiller]

WIW#1 : Pulse sensor – Teensy – Vizor

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This is the first workshop in series “Wow – it works!?”. The idea of the series is to explore technology and our relationship with it by hacking something (somewhat) functional together, using inexpensive and accessible materials. Besides common sense and natural curiosity, no special skills should be required. Let’s see how it works. This page is a collection of resources for the workshop participants, not a guide documentation as such.


Wiw! I can hear and see my heart beat in virtual reality!

Let’s connect a hear beat sensor to small microcontroller, make it to act like a keyboard and send signals to virtual reality software, that pumps a 3D heart on a cheap cardboard VR goggles – shall we.



• Pulse sensor
• Breadboard
• Teensy 3.2 microcontroller
• Usb OTG cable
• Android smartphone
• Vizor – online VR authoring tool
• Cheap VR goggles


Disclaimer: I’ve done this without blowing up any parts or doing any damage to the phone. However, while it’s very unlikely to harm yourself doing this experiment, it’s quite possible to fry all the electronics used here, by wiring them incorrectly, including the most valuable part, your phone. Pay attention on the instructions and proceed with your own risk.


How to hack it together

  1. Plug the Teensy on the breadboard.
  2. Learn how to upload patches (code) on it
  3. Check out Teensy pin-out and learn where are pins: A0, GND and 3.3V out
  4. Wire the pulse sensor on the breadboard based on this info
  5. Upload this code on Teensy (reading heart beats and blinking a LED)
  6. Add few lines of code (making Teensy act like a keyboard and send keypress “g” on every heart beat). See below.
  7. Open this patch on Vizor on Chrome browser on your Android phone and put it on VR mode
  8. Put your phone on your VR goggles and plug the teensy on the phone using micro USB and USB OTG adapter
  9. Clip the sensor on your ear, put the goggles and headphones on and see&hear the 3D heart beat on your pulse
//  Where the Magic Happens
void loop(){
    serialOutput() ;       
  if (QS == true){                        // A Heartbeat Was Found
                                          // BPM and IBI have been Determined
                                          // Quantified Self "QS" true when arduino finds a heartbeat;            // Send key-press "g"
        digitalWrite(blinkPin,HIGH);      // Blink LED, we got a beat. 
        fadeRate = 255;                   // Makes the LED Fade Effect Happen
                                          // Set 'fadeRate' Variable to 255 to fade LED with pulse
        //serialOutputWhenBeatHappens();  // A Beat Happened, Output that to serial, disabled     
        QS = false;                       // reset the Quantified Self flag for next time 
        delay(20);                        // Small delay
        Keyboard.release(KEY_B);          // Send key-release "g"
  ledFadeToBeat();                      // Makes the LED Fade Effect Happen 
  delay(20);                             //  take a break

PIKSEL11, Bergen

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(report originally for Pixelache)

The 9th edition of the Piksel Festival took place on November 17th-20th 2011 in Bergen, Norway. The festival was subtitled this year as “re:public” for rethinking and redefining public space, both as a concrete physical space, and in a larger social and political context. As previously, through the nine-year history of the festival, Piksel is firmly grounded on free/libre and open source.

Read More

M.A.R.I.N. Sensing the Baltic Sea -residency

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Sensing the Baltic Sea is the first part of the Camp M.A.R.I.N 2011 residencies starting on Kemiö island, continuing on two small islands in Naantali & Åvensor archipelago in Finland, and returning via Kemiö to finish with a workshop in Tallinn, Estonia.

The theme, Sensing the Baltic Sea refers on the one hand to how we perceive it via history, romantic or leisurely perception of the Sea and how this can be juxtaposed via looking below the surface, to understand the sea as an ecosystem. How can environmental sensors produce, besides a sea of information, potentially relevant research or experiences that may alter one’s perception of the marine environment? How can common sense be sensitized to alter practices that have environmental impacts? How can the biological and wider ecological state of the Baltic Sea be observed subjectively and technologically, and mediated through visualization, sonification, narratives, or simply, via different tactics.

Sensor Semaphore

Besides hosting the first week in Kemiö, I explored an idea of wireless sensor data “physicalisation”. My floating proto-buoy was solar charged, ArduinoFio and transmitted three temperatures, air, surface water and 1m deep water temperatures via Xbee to on-shore receiver and data visualisation unit, the semaphore.

M.A.R.I.N. Concept

M.A.R.I.N. – Media Art Research Interdisciplinary Network – is an initiative integrating artistic and scientific practices in researching cultural and environmental ecosystems.

For the first three years M.A.R.I.N.’s operational focus is a mobile residency and workshop program looking at marine environments, sustainable mobility, and various methods & technologies for field work.

In 2009 we realized a 3-month residency and workshop programme at the Irish Sea, working in particular around Belfast, the Cumbrian coast and Liverpool. Operations were carried out from a 12-meter catamaran sail boat and working with partners in harbour cities. We used environmental sensors and existing data sets, integrating them with artistic projects.

Participants were Andreas Siagian (HONF, IN), Nigel Helyer, Daniel Woo, Michael Lake (Audio Nomad, AU), Tapio Mäkelä (FI) with the main focus on research project Ecolocated – Littoral Lives.

In 2010 a Hacklab at the Sea took place in the Baltic Sea Finnish archipelago. Mostly working with Arduinos and Xbee networks we experimented with field work doing sensing and operating with solar power. Participants were Marije Baalman (NL), Tuomo Tammenpää (FI), Dave Griffiths (UK/FI), Jim Bollansee (BE) and Tapio Mäkelä (FI).

In March 2011 M.A.R.I.N. hosts an advanced workshop on environmental sensors and sensor networks at the Pixelache Festival on Suomenlinna island, Helsinki, hosted by Marije Baalman, Tuomo Tammenpää, Mikko Sivuoja and Tapio Mäkelä. In June, a one-month residency “Sensing the Baltic Sea” is organized at on three different islands in Finnish archipelago ending with a workshop in Tallinn, Estonia. In August another set of participants will join a residency on Cartography and Everyday at the Sea that starts in Stavanger, Norway, continues to Öland in Sweden and finishes on a Baltic peninsula in Lithuania. In November a writing workshop is organized in Riga. Main partners are Pixelache, Plektrum, i/o Lab, Kultivator, Artist Colony Nida and Rix-C.

The initial idea for the project grew out of experiences of Polar Circuit workshops in the Finnish Lapland (1997-2000), Solar Circuit residency in Australia (2002) and an idea to research the Baltic Sea using islands as field camp sites. These initiatives have been moderated by Finnish media artist Tapio Mäkelä. Marko Peljhan, with a long history in Makrolab projects joined Tapio to draft the initial M.A.R.I.N. concept. Marko had wanted to equip a boat using sustainable technologies.

While Marin association is still looking into options of building or modifying a boat as a research and residency hub, several practical experiences out of summer 2009 suggest that working in a more hybrid way makes more sense. The connected islands method of 2011 summer is based on a flexible camp + lab architecture that connects with existing facilities, mostly off-grid. It enables better concentration on the research at hand. In 2009 we discovered that sailing consumes far more energy and time from the actual research than we had anticipated. The boat would need to be much bigger to enable efficient work and living on board for more than five people.

Thus the main research strands are currently:

– Environmental sensors and sensor networks
– Cartography, mapping practices at sea and in the littoral zones
– Alternative energy production using solar, wind, hydro power
– Low power and distributed computing + DIY
– Field Camp architectures

And a side strand of:
– Designing a boat based research and residency vessel

2011 events are produced by Tapio Mäkelä and Kati Åberg, with the partner organizations, and Tuomo Tammenpää and Susanna Koskinen as co-moderators.

CAMP2011 blog
M.A.R.I.N website

Kolvi ja Koodi workshop at Lapland Uni

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The “Soldering-iron & Code” -workshop started a series of exploration of reactive space & intaraction within the Design Laboratories program of University of Lapland in Rovaniemi.

A bunch of audiovisual media MA students gathered for an introduction to physical computing with me for a couple of days. We started with the breadboard and NANDsynth for quick intro on electronics followed by bit of a soldering. Next day we hooked Arduinos and controlled the synth. Routing serial from Arduino to Flash lead to bit of a frustration – one simple-to-configure proxy to this one and I _will_ click the donate button. Some rescued toys from flea market got gutted and suddenly we had the inevitable creative chaos on the table. Here it got bit messy. I still have the tendency of focusing on emerging details when overall structure is needed.

The enthusiasm of the participants brought that. We decided to do make a demo at oh-so-lovely Kauppayhtiö -club on saturday evening. Accelerometer in an eightball was connected via Arduino to Quartz Composer on laptop which rendered the Magic Eightball -answers on retro-TV for curious audience. Hours of fun, for ages 18andUp. The Shy-guy rotated towards anyone who approached it with trembling behaviour. Surprisingly humane piece of plastic. Few bent toys to play with and we had nice demo set-up for the evening crowd.

I had great time. Quartz Composer was a new environment for me so I learned a lot too. Superior multilayer rendering of visuals compared to Jitter / Gem. Definitely my new weapon-of-choice for next resource-intensive graphics. Thanks TomTom and Aku for great intro on that one.

Apologies for anyone who feel this was a waste of their time. I’ll try to improve my workshopping skills with every iteration but every setup is unique. This one was bit too unstructured from my part. Still, I feel the flux nature enabled other opportunities. Strict format is not always the best either.

Thank you Rovaniemi. Thank you friends, the old & the new. I’ll be back.

Pop-up Landscapes, Bristol

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Pop-up Landscape Phase-1 was wrapped up in Pervasive Media Studio in Bristol with a seminar and workshop day. We got good feedback and encouragement for continuation and some nice presentations from artist Duncan Speakman, Dr. Simone Abram and Dr. Constance Fleuriot. Big thanks for the Peter Tattersall for wikiplanning workshop, pmstudios, participants and the Finnish Institute in London once again from their support.

Workshop @ NYC

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Tables were full when young makers of New York started beeping with solar energy and electronic sound. Yet again without prior knowledge of electronics they quickly figured out the breadboard logic and the basics of solar energy. The duration and the complexity was almost perfect this time since no soldering was involved. In the end of the afternoon we recruited bit older kids as well.

Pop-up landscapes, Mação, Portugal

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Pop-up landscapes toured to rural town of Mação in Portugal for set of workshops and showing the installation. Mação is situated between the transitional climate zones of the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The area is famous for its pre-historic art examples some of which are the richest in Portugal and in Europe. Over the last ten years the region has suffered from severe droughts, which have radically changed the landscape. In addition the area not only suffers from a physical desertification but also from human desertification. The region has approximately 8,000 people, spread over 400 sq kilometers, the majority of which are over 50+ years. In the 50’s and 60’s a combination of influences resulted in massive migration towards Lisbon and decreased use of land for pasture and agriculture.

In Mação we focused on developing a set activities with members of the community (senior citizens, master archaeology students and primary school children). The aim of these activities was to gain a greater awareness of how a community would transmit a sense of its place. For example, what sites would it choose to show to someone as an example or memory of Mação? What changes have occurred in the town? What have people been happy to lose? What would they like to preserve?

Working with the photo archives collected by the Museu de Arte Pre-Historica e do Sagrado no Vale do Tejo we used these images as a starting point. We selected a general vista image taken in the town 70-100 years ago and along with other archive images used discuss with the senior citizen their memories of changes in the town. We also asked the senior citizens to select a place in Mação their favorite place, which they would like to preserve and show to others from outside of the town. Five sites were selected from which we choose one of the most popular the Praça Gago Coutinho to work on in more detail.

Taking the Praça Gago Coutinho as the main site selected by the senior citizen, we presented the archaeology students with two snap shots –  one past image and one current day image. We also presented the project aims to the student and asked them to carry out a visual analysis of the present day image from an archaeological perspective. This resulted in a deeper awareness of some of the key transformations that occurred in Mação. The analysis also provided the stimulus for discussing the students experiences and personal accounts of living in Mação.

Taking the current day image of the Praça Gago Coutinho and blowing this up to A2 size we described to the young people the process of how this image was selected by the senior citizens and analyzed by the archaeology students. We asked the young people to image that they were living in 2109 and sending a postcard from Mação of this spot. What from their perspective what would survive in this site, what kind of culture would exist and lifestyles would exist?

The outcomes of the workshops and our period of research and development in Mação was exhibited in a beautiful former primary school. We used the archive images, current day photo impressions and the young people’s future imaginations of Mação as the timelines, which we played in the Pop-Up Installation. Exhibition was a success, opening apparently new perspectives even for the city mayor. Most importantly we managed to connect different generations of the citizens together around the theme of their environment.

Portugal and Mação treated us with warm hospitality. Special thanks to Casa Velha’s Donna Mena for The Food. Obrigado e adeus.

pop-up-landscapes flickr feed
• my flickr feed

ClimateHack workshop at Transmediale09

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The formal manifesto:

The Climate Hack workshop brought together a team of researchers, designers and artists dedicated to reframing the international political climate using means well-outside the traditional political rhetoric. Driven by the often-absurd nature of politics and the collective creativity often generated from equally absurd artistic mediums, the workshop rallied around the task of hacking Cotton Candy machines. Custom and hacked electronics, connected to live political news and weather feeds, informed and animated the project.

We have documented several different methods for manipulating candy floss which we discovered during the workshop and during the several weeks of experimentation that took place beforehand. The methods that we will be demonstrating at Transmediale Salon include the Candy Floss Tornado, Candy Floss Crystals and Candy Robot.

In my own words – it was even better. The dynamic Kibu team (Adam Somlai-Fischer, Melinda Sipos, Eszter Bircsak, Christopher Baker, Marton Juhasz and Simon Forgács) had done an outstanding prep-work by hacking and experimenting with candy floss more than a month prior to the workshop so it was a flying start. Massimo Banzi & John Nussey from and Bengt Sjölen from Teenage Engineering injected their experience in and we were boogie. The Pixelache posse from Deep North, included Juha Huuskonen, Aleksi Pihkanen, Miska Knapek and myself.

Intense three-day period prior to TM09 event involved climate data research, both environmental and political, candy floss machine hacking, robotics, design work and loads of hot sugar in the air. We experienced through numerous possibilities how to route external data in to the process. Due to somewhat chaotic and most importantly quite slow process of floss cumulation, none of the tests produced results that would be realistic to realise in workshop context: automated, data driven floss making that is. That did not let us down one bit. We continued with three discoveries that emerged from the process.

1. Sugar Crystal Accumulation (SCAâ„¢)

Chris discovered interesting and more controllable side effect on our floss process. The spinning sugar cumulates to any surface around the machine. By gradual motion of the capturing surface, any realtime data could produce fragile layers of melt sugar.

2. Sugar Twister and the Disasters (< - free glam-punk band name, anyone?) Aleksi, our aerodynamics engineer developed a turbine cylinder, which with the power of two candy floss machine, produced enough lift to make continuous stream of floss propel up. This alone was quite an aesthetic performance and a subtle reminder of fragility and systems, but even more so with our tagline: "Energy Talk = Sweet Hot Air" made a link to the absurd "Carbon Jargon" in the times when action is needed.
3. The Church of Carbon Syndicate

Since the act of making your Candy Floss and eating it is quite rewarding performance, can this be used as symbolic action for our cause. Yes. Based on your carbon footprint, even an average, your debt to the planet can be calculated. If you are not exhausting the earths resources, you get a dose of sugar that produces normal size candy floss. Anything more wasteful increases your “measure of sugar” leading to lengthy process of contemplation when the floss is building up, not to mention the confrontation and eating of the mother-of-all-sugar-döners on your hand.

For me, the candy floss as a material and as a process combined with the theme of (political) climate discourse were most rewarding as performances. We were quite aware of our climate debt just as a result of flying to Berlin, with the little extra consumption of the hot machines themselves, let alone the impact from the sugar industry. However, creative beings, us all basically, will need to live and to meet in order to innovate. Billions of us will still more likely stumble on some quite serendipitious environmental innovations than all the scientist in the world. Otherwise we just end up in the grim deduction of “killing ourselves for saving the planet” as pointed out in the Environment 2.0 talk in when the meaningfulness of artists solving the climate crisis was questioned.

Thanks again for all the sweet fellow hackers and see you in Pixelache09 for continuation!

Pop-up landscapes, FI08

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Pop-up landscapes project started properly when Teresa and Pedros from LOK workshopped in Finland. Intensive week started with a few days in Suomenlinna residency in Helsinki where we defined the common ground for our working. Overwhelming, but highy educative for me was to open up and deconstruct abstractions behind architectural mechanisms. Some excellent examples from existing work was shown, links to their work in the end.

From Suomenlinna we traveled to Turku to meet Turku2011 coordinators and present Pop-up for potential collaboration with them. Next stop was Turku University Geographical department and a discussion with Dr. Niina Käyhkö explaining us some academic threads behind landscape research in Finland, most inspiring session. From Turku we continued to Kemiönsaari and three days of concentrated writing and modeling the first drafts for Pop-up experiments.

Project description

Pop-Up Landscapes is an intermedia art and research project about interdependence and survival. The project is currently at an early stage of conceptual development and will be realised in various stages, over the coming years (2008-2011). The core aim of the project is to create a public intervention which connects two landscapes together (e.g., Finland and Portugal). Within this intervention, people can explore their interdependencies to each other and their environments. Alongside the proposed public interventions other outputs will include exhibition, workshops, DIY project templates and publications. The project has been initiated and is lead by artist-researcher, Teresa Dillon (IRE/UK) and realized in collaboration with designer and media artist Tuomo Tammenpää(FI) and lok Arquitectura (PT/ES).

Concept diagram pdf

LOK arquitectura
Polar Produce

SummerSchool & Konstrundan jamboree

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(photo: Nathalie Aubret)

Pixelache SummerSchool’08 took place August 7th-9th in our Kimito-Dojo. Ten creative minds played two day and nights with solar panels, analog electronics and hacked toys. The rainy days prevented the planned garden soldering but we rewarded ourselves with an assault to local flea market and among it’s goodies. The result: avant gardened singing horticulture, solar powered dinosaur, lullaby-toy on acid among others. Thank you very much Nathalie, Ami, Juha, Toni, Pinja, Jari, Richard & Robert, top job all of you!

some photos from:
Tuomo, Nathalie & Toni

The hectic workshop continued with Konstrundan 08 event and more soldering and solar panels, this time by kids. There was also a strange breed of solar animals spotted in our forest. Do they come in peace, what is their objective, we shall see.

Pixelache Summerschool 2008

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I’ll be hosting The first Pixelache Summerschool in our school on the magical Kimito-island. Join us for some outdoor electronics with makers, shakers & breakers. Preliminary date August 7.-8. 2008 + the weekend for cultural wonders of Konstrundan. Accomodation?: tent, floor, tree, sauna, shed, Transport?: Save the nature and take a bike to the train and see the wonders of Finnish archipelago. +20% more.

Google map destination.

Microcontrollers & modules

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Basic Stamp


PicAxe (FIN)

ooPic (FIN)

Arduino (open hardware project)
check the clones as well

CATKit (open hardware project)

Check also:
• Atmel microcontrollers
• Texas Instruments microcontrollers

Sellers & sources for components & stuff

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Bebek (FIN)
Radioduo (FIN)
Yleiselektroniikka (FIN)
Partco (FIN)
Biltema (FIN, tools)
Clas Ohlson (FIN, tools)
Maplin (UK)
Radioshack (US)

Kouluelektroniikka (FIN, check this first, nice prices, quick delivery / store in Rauma)
SP-elektroniikka (FIN, store in Oulu)
Farnell (needs account, pricey, next day delivery, massive catalogue)
DigiKey (US, import taxes added, probably even bigger catalogue than Farnell)
Robot electronics (UK, sensors, servos etc.)
Active robots (UK, all robotics, radio, sensors, kits)
MUTR (UK, smart materials!)

DIY, electronic instrument -workshop

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// workshop is full //

Electronics crafts day with cheap components and soldering. We’ll build an “analog synthesiser” with just a few parts and take a peek inside electronic toy instruments to make some noise out of them. You don’t need prior experience on electronics but it would be useful. You can bring your own small electronic toy instrument if you want to see it’s dark side, but email some info on it before the workshop.

Keywords: square wave, CMOS, circuit bending, hacking

Workshop by: Tuomo Tammenpää

Time: Saturday, 1.12. klo 10 – 17
Location: ForumBox, Helsinki
Workshop is free, material cost possible
Participants: 10

The workshop is supported by Pixelache University

0.0 Physical computing -workshop call

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WORKSHOP #2 “Introduction to physical computing”
WHEN: 18 – 19 July
BY: Tuomo Tammenpää & Daniel Blackburn
Interested in making a custom hardware interface for your software instrument or embedding electronics to your art project but don’t know where to start? Two intensive days will give you an introduction to physical computing. We will push buttons, lit LED’s, make sounds, detect movement and interface with computer.


By | Dan & Tuomo, Design, Prototype, Workshop | No Comments



Modular, electronic game prototype

  • At: Bates Mill, Huddersfield, UK
  • by: Tuomo Tammenpää & Daniel Blackburn
  • for: Tuomo&Dan
  • in: 2004

TileToy is a modular, electronic game prototype for tangible LED game tiles. TileToy brings the flexibility inherent in digital software to a physical tile that people can touch and interact with. By arranging the electronic tiles, players can engage themselves in various kinds of game play, ranging from fast-paced arcade style games to puzzle an learning games.

The tiles are plastic cases approximately 2″ square. The main inspiration for the look and feel comes from the heyday of the LED, when plastic hand-held games ruled the gaming world. This retro-look is fused with a more modern minimal design. The minimalism enhances the magic of cordless boxes that simply communicate with each other. In TileToy, technology is sealed within the design. The interaction is based on tactile experience where no user manual is needed.

The flexible architecture of the tiles makes TileToy a versatile platform for development of various applications from several genres. Compared with traditional tile games TileToy can take advantage of such things as changing state, animations and games where the tiles can effect the state of adjoining tiles. Simple word games can be created where each tile displays a random letter and the players organize the letters into the longest word possible. Numbers and arithmetic characters can be displayed with the player having to arrange the tiles into a sum to give a specified result. Matching games are yet another way the tiles could be programmed to act as a learning aid. Applications can be developed also to utilize the tiles purely for display purposes to show patterns, animations or even live information.

The re-programmable and constantly updated graphical information on each tile is displayed with a LED matrix system. The screen displaying the information is an endlessly versatile surface for updated visual communication. Each tile is controlled individually and can be used to transmit information on its own or in groups of several tiles. The assembled tiles transmit wirelessly their individual position in relation to each other and based on that changing information, a central computer, or a dedicated tile runs the different applications.

TileToy is an open source software and hardware project, but from 2004-2005, and the lot of things has changed since then. Github repository is open but more for archival purposes. The basic idea should be still relevant and much easier and cheaper to make over decade later.