The Arduino-powered mood meter monitors an IRC channel and displays the current “mood” of the maker. I bet a lot of our readers already have all the necessary components to build this project. All you need is an Arduino, a servo, and some tape. Check out the link for the Ruby and Arduino source code.
As long as computers have existed, we’ve tried to represent the physical world in the virtual one. This trend goes as far back as the punched cards and tabulating machines used in the 1890 United States Census, but it doesn’t end there. When computers became common enough that regular people — without specialized training — may use them, interface designers went straight for spacial metaphors. We pulled more of the physical world into the machine.
What I find fascinating about hardware hacking, and platforms like the Arduino, is that we can reverse that trend. We can interact with computers through the physical world, rather than interpreting the physical world through a virtual one. And we can do it trivially.
In the Maker Shed: