How has art and design been a catalyst to modifications on the Aduino's hardware?

The synthesis of the usability of the Arduino, its open source element, and the relationships within the community encourage modifications to the Arduino microcontroller. Both form and function in art and design pieces are strong contenders in reasons why modifications are made to the Arduino microcontroller. Fifteen people interviewed modified the Arduino board for art or design purposes. Ten people modified the Arduino to create a different form or used a particular Arduino microcontroller whose form fit into their piece. Eight people modified the Arduino for functionality. The boards reviewed are significant modifications because they ended in the creation of a new Arduino board; the LilyPad Xbee, the StandAlone Arduino, and Arduino Mini. The Arduino boards listed were all modified with the impetus of art or design.

Although the above boards are prevalent within the Arduino community, the examples at hand do not stand alone. Other modifications for art and design purposes include Haque's Remote shield, discussed in Section 3.4, and his Natural Fuse[1] shield. Natural Fuse is an art project which a city-wide network of plants harness electricity consumption through the plant's carbon dioxide footprint. Hartmann created an Arduino shield to make the Phidgets microcontroller compatible with the Arduino. This shield was used with his class of interaction design students. Jan Borchers,[2] head of the Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen University, created the LumiNet[3], Fig 18. LumiNet was made from the Arduino schematics to create wearable pixels. His board design will be included in the next official Arduino released.

luminet-jacket.pngFigure 5-2 Jan Borchers, René Bohne and Gero Herkenrath, LumiNet Jacket and LumiNet, 2008, Media Computing Group at RWTH Aachen University, Germany


  1. Natural Fuse. Haque Design + Research, http://www.haque.co.uk/naturalfuse.php (visited on 11/25/2009)
  2. Jan Borchers (Creator of LumiNet board) in discussion with the author, November 2009.
  3. LumiNet: An Organic illumination network. Media Computing Group, http://hci.rwth- aachen.de/luminet (visited on 11/28/2009)