The triennal update

As you can see, the blog post update period is quite, well – mildly put, infrequent. However, we are still alive, strong and kicking. We’ve moved back (a long time ago already, yes) to F-building at the main University campus, and joined in the Sinco lab on the 1st floor, and hope to establish some kind of from service and design idea workshops to-interactive physical prototype labs. We held an inspiring iot workshop with brothers Tero and Kimmo Karvinen, and the lab has been used in courses such as experimental moving image, applied multimedia expression, and interaction design. There are a lot of things happening in the fablab / prototyping scene which is next door to us, and a lot of interesting projects related to ambient interfaces, extreme weather interfaces, and embedded / tangible interfaces, and this lab has helped in many cases people working with those.

Time soon to upgrade the equipment a bit?

The yearly update

We’ve updated the lab resources a bit again, highlights include a Lego Mindstorms EV3 kit and Leap Motion controller. Also some Arduino Yúns and Lenardos plus some additions to our sensor list: color sensor, heart beat sensor etc. Great!

Even more tutorials! Cool interactive systems on the way!

So, there is a new tutorial up about capacitive sensing, which was surprisingly simple to do. It was introduced to me by one of our exchange students. Many of them participated in the Snow, Ice and Media course, this time creating 4 interactive ice sculptures, sending sensor values out via an Arduino and XBee located somewhere in a box outside near the exhibition. So we do have some stuff that can stand the cold! The coldness did cause some trouble – the sensor reading values changed over time, but perhaps some kind of averaging could help.

There is also course called Advanced Multimedia Expression going on with some interesting interactive concepts and more or less ready prototypes to be expected in few weeks. Photograms which play out music based on lightness value, a door which is hacked, a sound installation where you are walking on thin ice…

Tutorials! New stuff!

Wow, the first post from Pöykkölä? Two years from the last update? There are some small things I did last year, but since I was away last fall and moving to Pöykkölä halted things for a while it has been quiet. But now things are rolling again: We finally got a room for animation lab, so some of the stuff was moved one floor up, clearing up space. We got some last-minute-order electronics: some transistors, mosfets, a few shiftBrite LEDs, diodes, relays, IR Transistors to complement our small but handy electronics section. I wrote some introductory comments on them under equipment. Creating things which move, rotate (solenoids, motors) or use higher voltages should be easier now.

Also updated the tutorials-page, there were a few hidden which I revealed, and a new one I wrote about xbee communication, one possible way to do it in the lab, with the boards and tools we have available. It was easier than I thought, I got it running in about 15 minutes. The mp3Trigger page could be is now labeled under tutorials as well.

Pages updated

Quite a lot of pages updated, some new instructions and most recent lab components are  now on  up here. Although a lot of stuff is still missing – Arduino shields and more simple components as well (ok we are not mentioning all the different resistors 🙂

But we’re getting there.


I recommend everyone to take a look at this site:

They sell small samples of all sorts of weird materials like conductive fabrics, thermochromic inks and fabrics, sensors, actuators and much much more. Most of the samples are pretty expensive, but at least it is a good way to know what sort of weird materials are available.

Lab view, august 26

It is starting to look rather nice, thanks to all the work Matti did and the new storage things we got. I’ve been arranging sensors and other electronic components and updating the library catalog a bit.

view of the lab

view of the lab shelves

New stuff

We’ve finally got some storage things for the electronics – no proper cupboards yet, but small plastic ones for the resistors, sensors, small tools etc. Also 4 LCD screens and the DMX controller. Rumors that the iPad has arrived circulate… lets see what we can do with that. Hmmm. wonder what was / is the status of the University iPhone SDK membership application, has anyone done anything about that?

Pachube Feed From the Lab

Pachube is an excellent web-based platform that lets you connect to real-time sensor, energy and environment data from objects, devices & buildings around the world.

The site is currently in beta testing phase, but there are tons of interesting feeds you can already use in your projects. For example, this feed: comes from a buoy near the Hawaiian Islands and it gives  you – among other things – data of the height of the waves in the ocean.

I’ve set up a live Pachube feed from the lab. This is the data that is currently being logged:

  • Light Intensity Value
  • Temperature (in Celcius)
  • Temperature (in Fahrenheit)
  • Humidity %
  • PIR motion sensor

This is the data from the light sensor, (although with a small delay in time?):

Check out the feed at and read the tutorials on the Pachube site to get an idea how to use the data in your projects and how to set up your own feed.

— edit by tomtom:

Hello from Pöykkölä!

I’ve nearly dismantled all the 27 boxes with our stuff and checked out if the PachubeNode still works. It does, and now we have a window we can open, so let’s set up a feed which actually measures daylight and outside temperature 🙂

Site open

Welcome to the Interactive Environments Lab of the University of Lapland.