Help starting a new project

Hi there… I’m new to Arduino and I have to say it’s a bit overwhelming. I’m looking to start with a project for scanning objects with a Kinect device on a Lazy Susan turntable. Hoping to connect a potentiometer to the Lazy Susan to get rotation information into grasshopper, allowing me to rotate objects and generate a point cloud in 3D space.

I was inspired by the release of Quokka Lab for Grasshopper, which provides a direct interface with the Kinect:

Beyond that I’m pretty lost. Where should I start?


Also, I should add that I am a thoroughly experienced Grasshopper user, so I'm not a total amateur, at least not in all respects. :)

I was thinking that I would need an Arduino and a potentiometer with a gear setup, and that I could transmit the potentiometer values via an OSC library to gHowl for Grasshopper. However, I would like the system to be portable from one computer to another in a networked office environment, so that would have to be a consideration when determining how to pass values to Grasshopper... is there a way to pass it through a USB connection?

Cheers, Marc

is there a way to pass it through a USB connection?

Yes it is the serial port. The arduino dose a serial print and the computer picks up this as a virtual com port. You would be better off using a stepping motor to turn you object round. There are plenty of tutorials for getting these to work.

So then I imagine that the stepping motor sketch would also output the step information so that the angle can be reconstituted in the Grasshopper environment? You would just base the angle of the world space plane on the number of steps to complete a 360 degree rotation? That makes sense.

I'm not sure how the serial port works with the USB. Any idea how I would get that to work in Grasshopper? Through UDP?

Is there any particular hardware combination (Arduino modules, stepping motor, etc) you would recommend? Do I need any shields or specific hardware for connecting with USB? Sorry, I'm a true novice here so I'm having a hard time determining where to get started.

Thanks, Marc

The arduino already has a usb port - that is how it communicates with the computer.

Here are a couple good links about stepper motors and arduino:

Apparently you're not aware of Firefly?