Advice on using ultrasonic sensor and powerpoint for interactive climate art installation


I'm fairly new to Arduino, and would really appreciate any help with this project. I have a group exhibition in Paris in October, and this is a brief description of the work I want to show;

Marine protected areas are a key tool for protecting marine ecosystems. Covering 7.65% of the world’s ocean surface, they are often implemented to prevent resources from being over-exploited and habitats from being degraded. Marine protected areas have a social dimension. They represent a set of rules that seek to govern human activities and behaviour within a particular geographical space. Failure to comply with these rules can undermine the success of a marine protected area. This artwork focuses on the human dimensions of marine protected areas by exploring some of their social effects. Incorporating video footage of underwater landscapes captured whilst undertaking applied research, this work looks at the social implications of marine protected areas and how people interact with nature.

Social effects
• Artwork changes based on where people move (how close they are to the wall)

Through this, members of the audience become part of or a new dimension to the artwork.

I want to achieve this by using an ultrasonic (or several) sensor and 'if.. then' coding to change what is projected in the space. For example, if someone is 4m away from the sensor x slide of the powerpoint is projected, 3m y slide, 2m z slide etc.

Any tips for how best to approach this would be very much appreciated! I'm a bit clueless about hardware in terms of linking up a projector to the arduino etc.

This forum is purely a forum helping members programming and using Arduinos.

The question as I see it.

Take the project down in pieces. Learn how to operate each device from the controller. When You manage them all and know the parts You can start to make calculations using the different sensor values and operate output devices.

Hello @artyantonia

October 2021? Or 2022?

I'm not saying what you are asking can't be achieved in just over a month, it probably can by someone with the right experience. I think what you want to do is a big ask for a beginner. I suggest you find someone experienced who is willing to do this for you.

Good luck with your project.

The ultrasonic is easy
Arduino NANO or such is a good start.

What signal is needed to sigal your video player to select a picture to display?

In my mind that interface is the hard part

Any tips for how best to approach this would be very much appreciated! I'm a bit clueless about hardware in terms of linking up a projector to the Arduino etc.

Lets assume your projector has a remote you can take apart and use some sort of switch to simulate buttons pushing. You might be able to advance or recede one slide at a time. Might work. Would not be able to "jump from 4m to 2m.

If multiple ultrasonic sensors, what would you do if one were measuring 2m and the other 4m?

What would you do when some smart aleck kid starts to run in and out just to exercise your display?

So to start with what projector will you be using and how is it currently controller. Note: in theory the Arduino could generate IR signals to simulate a typical remote control, however completing that and testing testing testing for October is not a newbie project. So if its possible at all you will need to keep it as simple as possible.

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Sorry, the way I worded that was a little confusing. I meant that the Powerpoint would change slides when the ultrasonic sensor detected someone at 4m away, then 3m a different slide, 2m a different slide etc. I think it's probably best to stick to one ultrasonic sensor for simplicity's sake. Each slide will have a different MP4 file on it.

I was planning on doing this changing of slides digitally through code rather than an analog button system - if you think this would work?

Also I haven't yet bought the projector I want to use because I'm still choosing but I'm leaning towards the Xgimi MoGo Pro or Halo. They do have remotes and native PowerPoint.

In response to the earlier contributors (thank you!) I do have some help from a friend who is fairly well up on arduino, so I'm not completely alone in attempting this. But yes, it's October 2021 so I need to get on it.

Basically I'm looking for the most simple way of achieving this changing installation.

Since the slides is from PowerPoint (hence a PC), you can use one of the Arduino that have built-in USB "peripheral". It can emulate a keyboard, thus able to send "arrow keys" back to the PC, and command PowerPoint to change slide.

It may even be possible to use a "BLE" Arduino that can present itself as a "Bluetooth keyboard" to the PC.

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