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Use a $9 Arduino as a VenueMagic input device.

Posted: Tue Sep 01, 2015 8:44 am
by allenhuffman
If you just want a simple way to read a switch or pressure mat and trigger a VenueMagic timeline, you can run down to your local RadioShack and pick up an official Arduino UNO for $35 (often on sale) and program it to be a cheap input device. You can find them on a bit cheaper or get a 3rd party clone Arduino for around $9 from stores on e-Bay. I use this store which sells an UNO clone for $7.99, including shipping (from Missouri, so it arrives fast): ... 2a49683497

I wrote a simple program (Arduino calls them a "sketch") that will monitor the input pins, then send an uppercase letter to VenueMagic when a switch is pressed, then the lowercase version of the same letter when it is released. From the Serial Input Monitor window, you will see things like this:

A[CR] <- switch 1 pressed
a[CR] <- switch 1 released
C[CR] <- switch 3 pressed
c[CR] <- switch 3 released

Hooking up switch wires to the Arduino is tricky, since there are no connections (other than header pin sockets). So, I order a "screw shield" add on from China (takes weeks to get, but is cheap) that plugs in to the Arduino and gives me small screw terminals to hook wires to. Here is the one I use (currently on sale for $3.50):

If you need it faster than a few weeks, you can find it (and similar versions) on e-Bay, shipped from the USA, for around $10-$12. (Search "ardunio screw shield" to see various options on Amazon.)

The input program I wrote may be found here:

And I have a multipart article that explains how I created the code and how to customize it: ... al-inputs/

If this is of interest, feel free to drop me a note and I'm glad to help you get things hooked up and going.