Arduino Workshop for Interactive Art Installations, Performance and Musical Instruments in Berkeley, California

Dates:Saturday May 15 and Sunday May 16, 2010

from 10am to 5pm


In this hands-on workshop weekend we will learn how to build and refine interesting, responsive systems for art, dance, music, robotics and associated delights. We will build on a basic and then deeper understanding of the potential of the connection "pins" of the Atmel microcontroller circuit on Arduino and related boards.

On the first day we work on basic electronics and how to wire useful sensors, and actuators to the pins. For the final day we will make our projects interesting and responsive by expressing our artistic recipes, cutting, pasting and writing programs using the Arduino IDE.

We will cover examples that include image, sound and motion synthesis and a broad range of sensing including inertial sensors and novel e-textile pressure and position sensors. We will draw from my large collection of devices and projects and any devices you bring along.


  • Artists exploring new possibilities in interactive media in an integrated, hands-on and practical way
  • Musicians augmenting traditional instruments with new sensors and actuators
  • Teachers developing interaction arts curriculum
  • Engineers, computer scientists, or product designers interested in exploring artistic outlets for their talents and collaborating with performers and composers


None. Achievable challenges will be provided for all levels of experience in electronics and programming.


Limited to 12


UC Berkeley Faculty Club: Latimer Room


Adrian Freed: My teaching is grounded in inclusion, demystification, and embracing that teaching is judged by the quality of projects students are inspired to make.

Syllabus: First Day

Circuits 101:

  • power
  • lights and switches
  • resistors and Ohm's law

Protoyping options and techniques (yes, everyone will learn to solder and sew):

  • solderless breadboarding
  • soldering with Perf. and strip boards
  • conductive tape, thread and etextile connections

Why you bought an Arduino: the switches built into the pins

Single digital pin tricks:

  • PWM for audio, motor and light speed control
  • Built in pull-up resistors
  • serial communications (asynchronous)

Lunch Break (option short UC Berkeley walking tour and picnic lunch)

Dual digital pin tricks

  • powering circuits
  • multiplexing resistive sensors
  • H bridge direction control
  • serial communcations (synchronous)
  • SPI
  • I2C

Analog pins and converting sensed signals into voltages:

  • using the built-in pull up resistors
  • using current sources
  • potential divider
  • rectification and averaging

The rich Arduino ecosystem:

  • "official" Arduinos, lilypad etc.
  • cheaper clones, freeduino, seeeduino etc.
  • improved boards using better chips (teensy etc)
  • Arduino shields (aka "daughter" boards)

Syllabus: Second Day

Programming 101:

  • The mechanics of creating and running a program on the Arduino
  • Programs are just recipes in shorthand (computer scientists like to use big words like abstraction, and data types)
  • Sequencing, repeating, decision points
  • Storing, recalling information
  • Manipulating the pins

Lunchtime (optional field trip and lunch at CNMAT).

Organizing programs

  • functions
  • libraries

Moving information between Arduinos and other systems: 

  • USB 
  • Open Sound Control, MIDI etc.
  • Max/MSP, PD, Processing
  • Wireless devices

Interactivity Programming

  • Conditioning Information from Sensors
  • Managing Concurrency
  • Safety and Reliability

Open Workshop

ArduinoClassNotes.pdf105.96 KB