The basics

I'd venture that this question has been asked a million times, but ...

I am totally new to this and pretty much a gome when it comes to electronics and programing, etc. I'm an artist and I'd like to explore making my art more dynamic - for example, have curtains raise and lower, lights come on and off, have certain parts of a piece move ...

Where would be a good place to start: with basic parts or kits, any software or apps I need, where to get the basic instructons, any other tips ... etc. etc.

Any help will be appreciated. Regards, David


  • Mike GreenMike Green Posts: 22,925
    edited 2019-07-16 - 21:14:42
    My wife is an artist and has also had an interest in making her art interactive and dynamic. She works in ceramics and cast metal among other things. Originally, I used Basic Stamps for controlling servos for movement as well as a variety of video text display generators. Nowadays, the Propeller can do all of these things.

    I would get either the BlocklyProp Starter Kit or the Propeller FLIP Try-It & Invention Kit. Either kit will refer you the <> website where you will find links to all sorts of software and on-line materials. The store webpage for any Parallax product usually has links as well (see Downloads button).

    BlocklyProp is a great on-line graphical programming tool for either and most of Parallax's educational curriculum is based on that.
  • freedda,

    The Basic Stamp Activity Kit may be a good way to get your feet wet if you have never programmed or used electronics.
    What's a Microcontroller will walk you through basic electronics and programming.

    The Basic Stamp can do simple things which may be all you need but the Propeller is a lot more capable.

    Hopefully JonnyMac will chime in since he is always doing some kind of 'art' project.
  • It all starts with blinking an LED, and can lead to whatever you imagine. I work with imaginative people in Hollywood who create beautiful displays. You can see many of them here:

    As Mike pointed out, Blockly is a great way for a non-programmer to get started. The key is to get a kit and get started. Tip: Go easy at first. Spend a little time each day and you'll find that before you know it, things make sense and you can start translating your ideas into code and circuits. You might consider getting a copy of "Getting Started in Electronics" as this will keep you straight on the circuit side of things. We often think only of the code, but the processor is connected to external circuitry and that requires its own thought.

    Have fun!
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