MarcDuino v1



Overview

In addition to the standard set of animated lights (PSI indicators, Logics and Holoprojector lights), my dome has 10 movable panels and a functional magic panel. Each holoprojector has also two servos for vertical and horizontal movement, for  a total of 16 servos. To control all this and control the sound and light effects at the same time, I created small automation boards and an iPhone applicaton.

The iPhone app is called R2 Touch, and the boards are called MarcDuinos. Although they are based on the same chip as an Arduino, they are optimized for our usage and do not use the Arduino programming model. The v1 boards are "Do It Yourself", and v2 boards will soon be available as a ready to use option.

The MarcDuino system is expandable by chaining boards. The current full configuration uses two of them to control the dome: one for controlling the dome panel and the sounds (the Master board), one for the holo servos and the lights (the Slave board). More will be coming for the body panels and other gadgets as the system grows.

Main Features

The boards have the following features:
- control via iPhone App control (requires a WiFly or XBee radio)
- 10 dome panels control with automatic sequences and servo "buzz" elimination
- sound control via a MP3Trigger sound board (or CF-III sound system)
- control of the Teeces or JEDI logic displays (text and synchronized effects display)
- remote control of holo lights (CuriousMarc Hololights)
- 6 holo servo control with random movement
- magic panel support
- synchronized panel/sound/light effects

Example Configurations

1) simplest config - just Bluetooth sound

Just need a bluetooth speaker in your R2, no Marcduino board needed. Reach limited by Bluetooth, I haven't tried to see how far it goes. But some users have been happy with it, should work particularly well in a styrene Droid with no metal to block the signal...

2) dome panel & sounds via WiFi

You'll need a MarcDuino Master, a WiFly receiver, and either an MP3Trigger for the sounds, a CF-III, or keep using Bluetooth for sound as above. This will control 10 servo panels.

3) add HP movement and dome lights control

Add a MarcDuino slave to the setup 2 above. This second board will add control for the 6 HP servos, 3 HP lights (either my CuriousMarc Hololights, or soon with the upcoming Marcduino V2, the REON holos), a Magic Panel, and either the Teeces or the JEDI RLD/FLD display. R-Series logics not supported quite yet, hopefully soon.

4) Advanced XBee setup for conferences/larger gatherings

Swap out WiFly for an XBee Pro radio module, on the iPhone side add an external XBee and an Audio adapter. I am still wrangling with Microchip so they fix their WiFly disconnection bug, with not much success. Until then, the XBee setup is the reliable solution for larger gatherings.

MarcDuino v2

The MarcDuino v1's described here are a DIY option only. An updated version of the MarcDuino boards, the MarcDuino v2's, is currently being offered as a pre-build run. If you are a member of Astromech.com, you can get more info sign up for the MarcDuino v2 run here. The v2's offer the same functionality as the v1's, with the addition of:

- shipped as fully built, programmed  and tested boards

- integrated power supply with brown-out protection

- integrated socket for the WiFly or XBee radio on the Master board

- future support for I2C based gadgets (currently REON holoprojectors)

- simplified wiring and installation

- option to buy a pre-programmed WiFly.

The v1 boards can be easily reconfigured to run v2 firmware and add the I2C functionality. See instructioms here:

http://www.curiousmarc.com/dome-automation/building-marcduino-boards/building-the-firware/using-v2-firmware-on-v1-marcduinos

Here is an early demo of panel control with a prototype version of the  board build on an Evil Mad Scientist ATmega board. The final version is still heavily inspired from the Evil board.

Panel Automation



Here a demo of the final system functionality, illustrating how a panel sequence, light sequence and sound sequence all work together to perform the "short circuit" effect.

"Short Circuit" sequence automation demo



Below is a picture of a MarcDuino v1 board. Boards are designed for daisy chaining. Currently I use two boards to control an entire dome and synchronize sound and lights. One is loaded with the "master panel" firmware, (dome panel and sound controller), and the other one with the "slave HP" firmware (Holoprojector and lights).




The boards can be controlled by the R2 Touch iPhone App application for a user friendly addition to a normal RC system. The video below is from a pre-release app still using the XBee. The release version uses the internal iPhone WiFi radio directly.

Control via iPhone