September 12th, 2021—
Public art installations are a great way to express your creativity while simultaneously sharing it with others. Niklas Roy, a maker who builds interactive art installations in Berlin, Germany had the idea to create a machine that lets people draw pictures and then share them digitally too, which he calls the VEKTORKOLLEKTOR. Designed in collaboration with Kati Hyyppä, the project consists of two parts: a joystick for operating the device and a large pen plotter to draw on a piece of paper.
The joystick assembly was made with a classic arcade joystick and a pair of arcade pushbutton switches, all placed within a small enclosure. These components are connected to a central Arduino Uno that also has an SD card for saving drawings and a small TFT display that shows a virtual drawing of what’s on the page. The Uno communicates with a secondary Arduino Nano board in order to control the rotations of the two X/Y DC gear motors and thus the position of the drawing utensil. Positional data is gathered from a single optical encoder situated on each axis. Last but not least, a third Arduino and an Adafruit Music Maker Shield were added to round out the experience with chiptune-style music.
One great aspect to saving what people draw as a series of vectors is that they can be shared digitally and recreated in a variety of formats. Roy was able to get someone to create an Inkscape extension for converting drawings into SVG files, and some were even used to paint murals with an even larger spray can plotter.
To see more information about the VEKTORKOLLEKTOR, you can visit Roy’s website here.