Tag Archives: mouse

ArtSquared is an assistive painting device

17-year-old Matthew Pressman first began programming when he was 11. Since then, Pressman has taken on a number of projects as lead programmer or electrical engineer. According to ReadWrite, Matthew’s latest initiative is ArtSquared, a device Pressman and other students built using an Atmel-powered Arduino board.

Essentially, ArtSquared is an assistive painting device for people with cerebral palsy that allows the user to move a paintbrush across a canvas with a remote joystick.

“Pressman and the six other teenagers who built Art Squared are part of a youth development organization called MOUSE that works with students across the country to learn and create with technology,” ReadWrite’s Selena Larson wrote in a recent article about young Makers.

“Last year, MOUSE partnered with United Cerebral Palsy of New York City so that students could develop projects geared to help people with the disease. After talking with an artist who was unable to paint due to her condition, Pressman and his team decided to build Art Squared to benefit artists everywhere.”

So what’s next for Pressman and ArtSquared? Well, Matthew says his team’s next step will be to make the project plans available as an open source platform over the few months so that anyone can build the $150 ArtSquared.

“We’re just going to see if we can work on it after school on a Thursday or something,” Pressman told ReadWrite. “We really want to make it accessible to everyone.”

Remembering Douglas “Doug” Carl Engelbart

Douglas “Doug” Carl Engelbart was a computer and internet pioneer whose work led to the invention of the mouse way back in the 1960s.

According to the Computer History Museum, some of Engelbart’s most important work began with his 1959 founding of the Augmentation Research Center, where he developed a number of key technologies used in computing today.

“Engelbart brought the various strands of his research together for his ‘mother of all demos’ in San Francisco on December 8, 1968, an event that presaged many of the technologies and computer-usage paradigms we would use decades later,” a bio on the CHM page reads.

“His system, called NLS, showed actual instances of, or precursors to, hypertext, shared screen collaboration, multiple windows, on-screen video teleconferencing, and the mouse as an input device. This demo embodied Engelbart’s lifelong commitment to solving humanity’s urgent problems by using computers as tools to improve communication and collaboration between people.”

Engelbart – who was born in 1925 – passed away early this morning at the age of 88.

Running a GUI window manager on an ATMega1284p microcontroller

I have a confession to make. Yes, I must admit that I’ve never thought of running a home-coded GUI window manager on an ATMega1284p microcontroller.

But that’s exactly what Andrew Rossignol did when he designed a Window Manager for an AVR microcontroller.

“I have been experimenting with a uVGA-II VGA controller for the past couple of weeks. It is an amusing piece of hardware that is capable of drawing graphics onto a VGA framebuffer,” Rossignol explained in a recent blog post.

“The VGA controller takes care of line drawing algorithms and helps to hardware accelerate the drawing of geometric primitives (squares, circles, triangles, polygons, lines). Once I realized the power of this hardware I decided to implement a window manager like you would expect on any standard desktop PC, [running] a mouse for user input to the system.”

At this point in time, the default system boots with three applications: Theme Manager, Audio Player and Window Factory. The Theme Manager is used to modify the colors of the system theme, the Audio Player to stream audio files stored on an SD card and the Window Factory to create new windows.

Software? Check out the infographics below for a quick breakdown.

Hardware? Just the basics – an ATmega1284p microcontroller, a uVGA-II VGA controller, a MAX233 level converter and a Microsoft Serial Mouse.

“I have maintained a Git repo on my laptop containing all of this code, [although] I am not 100% happy with it yet. I need to work on the UART driver some more and polish up some documentation before uploading it,” Rossignol added.