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Video: The Entropy-Arduino connection

At first glance, the connection between Arduino and entropy may be somewhat puzzling, as the latter term is most often related to the notions of order and disorder.

But that is the very term the talented Physalia team used to describe a recent video project comprising 2,000 pictures of water droplets which were mapped and subsequently animated.

“There were 320 frames printed and replaced frame by frame in the animation, and over 2,000 frames compose the final shot- this meaning that the drop you see is never the same, there are 2,000 different drops in the piece,” the Physalia crew explained in a blog post.

“In order to be able to photograph each one in exactly the right place as to be able to see a fluid fall, we created an Arduino-based system in which, after having the drop cross a laser pointer, we would have the absolute precision of when to trigger the flashes and camera to see the drop in the right position. We worked very hard to synch this mechanism to our Motion Control system, and the final piece is the result of a 3-week testing process in which we shot about 45 splashing tests with over 20000 pictures taken, before we produced the final shot.”

The team first programmed a small Arduino sketch to control flash and camera according to the blocking of the photodiode light, all in one click. As they were shooting using a macro lens, they installed a potentiometer to modify the delay between water drop and flashes without reprogramming the Arduino.

“To test the theory we shot a number of pictures with the same delay and they were all very similar. We also realized that, by getting rid of the potentiometer and any communication with the laptop, the pictures were more and more similar- like two drops of water!

“We then cleaned the code and added some ideas to make the system more trustworthy, like adding a millisecond after each 1000 microseconds to help the Arduino manage such large amounts of figures.”

Additional details about the Entropy project can be found here on the Phsyalia website.

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