Arduino as Mac OS X controller

Ok, I’m a serious novice with a seriously complicated idea, and I have a super basic question. I’ll preface this with: I have a lot to learn, but I really want to do this project, and I’m prepared to dump some time into it.

Basically, what I want to do is make a box that has a lot of switches on it that will control various functions of my Mac, like vollume, an app launcher, power, clipboard functions, etc. I figure that the first step is to get a box going that can send commands to my Mac that will be understandable by applescript/automator/proxi (that last one might be tough). I’ll worry about the software issue later.

I just stumbled on Arduino today, and it looks like a cool thing with (even better) a cool community. My question is, is this something I could use as the brain for my box? Can I get a switch wired wired to send commands to my computer from it?

Sorry this is such a crazy basic question, but you have to start somewhere, eh?


is it possible? Sure, probably. Maybe. Some of that, maybe. is it easy? :smiley: No. Because the arduino and most every other AVR board I’ve seen isn’t designed to be a USB HID, that means you have to run everything through the virtual serial port. As far as i can tell, this is really great if you want to program specific things in the sandbox type environment of Processing, flash, max/MSP, no problemo.

Now, maybe someone can chime in on integration with what flash, max/MSP, PD can do to system level controls… my guess is that there’s going to be limited control of the system from these environments for security’s sake.

You might be better off buying a cheap USB multi-button mouse, tearing that apart and rewiring the buttons to whatever other switches or buttons you want… I know logitech has some fancy things you can do with the buttons on their mice… there’s a system prefs pane that will let you do some limited things…

Here’s the quick and dirty method that I’d use if I wanted a quick and dirty method. I’ll pick “app launcher” because it’ll work (I don’t know how you’d go about power, and volume is a bit more of a pain).

button connected to arduino is read by max/msp. Upon reading proper signal, bangs a message to the [shell] object that says “open -a terminal” and the terminal opens.



Ok, that sounds good. I know that if I can get a bridge between the board and the terminal, I can do anything in the OS (power, volume, eject, cut/copy/paste, app launching, etc.), and moreover I can launch applescripts, from which I can do anything with any application (create new email to my boss that says I quit, etc). So it’s really an issue of getting commands into the terminal…

I just ordered a couple boards (one for me and one for a buddy who’s going to work on this with me). I’ll let y’all know what I find.

Bit of a late reaction but I’d go for the tap.applescript object. If you’re a bit handy with AppleScript (which is a quite stupid language) than its very easy