Experiments in wearable electronic art.

More software work

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Last night I finished converting the code that runs on the trench’s microcontroller to understand the new Anthrolume 4.0 file format. As it turns out, the new file format actually simplified the code considerably. I haven’t tested it yet, but I will do that tomorrow night. Once I’ve got it debugged, the acid test will be to see how fast I can switch animations. I predict I’ll be able to switch animations at any frame boundary, within 1/40th of a second.

There are further ramifications of the file format change. I also changed the Bluetooth protocol for sending animation information to AnthrolumeControl, my Android suit-control app. So I will need to update that too, but it is straightforward compared to what I had to do to Animaker and the Maple code.

The last big software thing I have hanging over my head is re-doing text display. For the most part, the Anthrolume software is agnostic to what kind of suit it is operating in. The LED count is a compile-time constant, but mostly it just clocks out animations. There is however one particular big piece that is very suit-specific, and that is the text display and scrolling code. That very much depends on the shape and density of the suit, and my chosen text display area.

7x7 font

The 7×7 font used in Anthrolume 2.0/3.0.

On Anthrolume 2.0/3.0, I had a 7×7 area on my chest and back for scrolling text display – barely big enough. This time I will have at least an 11×12 area. That means crafting a new font, and rewriting the incredibly tedious memory-moving code that scrolls the message sideways. I will at least experiment with another approach, which is to render the text on the phone, and send down a small bitmap. That would also allow me to do sub-pixel (smooth) scrolling which could make the text easier to read.

Author: regenesis

Seattle New Media artist.

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