I have been intrigued, fascinated, and excited by the work of local interactive tech group “RustySquid“. The Squids use digital technology to create rather marvellous responsive puppetry -they create work that responds to its environment (an example of this is a puppet whose heart beats faster when it gets closer to a human).
The Squids set up a workshop at Puppet Place recently which I attended. The objective was to understand the basic functions of an Arduino. I used a light sensor, a couple of servos, a super bright LED, and a few lines of code to sketch a simple idea: a shadow puppet theatre that responds to the light level in the surrounding environment (it “pops” up when the lights go down, and then hides away when you bring the lights up again).
Learning about the power of the Arduino has opened a whole new dimension to the performative nature of my work, and I can see that it has huge potential. It is definitely something I will be experimenting with more in the future.
You can get an idea of the responsive shadow puppet theatre below. These animations where made from footage at the workshop, and although they are terrible quality (!) you can still see what goes on!