Generic project box for the Arduino platform
The projBox is an open hardware project enclosure for prototyping with a standard electronics protoboard and an Arduino.
It is designed for projects that use an Arduino as a physical interface for software running on a separate computer.
The lid is removable and has holes for attaching components like switches and knobs. Ports in the end of the box allow access to both the USB and power jack of the Arduino.
The entire box can be constructed from laser-cut 1/8″ thick baltic birch plywood, which is a sturdy but easily tool-able material for drilling additional holes or adding other modifications. The schematics for creating/modifying a projBox enclosure are freely available on the templates page in a variety of vector formats.
The projBox as a hardware controller
The finished projBox controller provides additional physical inputs to the conventional keyboard and mouse for your software. The combination of open source enclosure schematics and the use of commonly available parts provides an infinitely customizable platform. The projBox is designed to work with applications written in Processing, the IDE that Arduino’s coding environment is based on, using the Firmata library.
Four rows of knobs, switches and LEDs can be attached to the lid and used to control custom software via the USB port on the Arduino. Those familiar with electronics can assemble the controller from parts they may already have. Other configurations are also possible, such as replacing the knobs with IR or proximity sensors, with some modification.
A kit is also available via the Maker Shed for those entirely new to electronics designed to supplement a video course published by O’Reilly Media called Processing and Arduino in Tandem, and soon to be other videos in that series. The series shows, in detail, how to assemble the projBox as an example Arduino project and how to write custom applications in Processing.
If you already have a grasp on both Arduino and Processing the projBox concept can be borrowed as a technique to combine commonly obtainable technologies for projects involving custom human/computer interaction. In other words: modify as you see fit.
The above video demonstrates the projBox controlling a custom video mixing software using a live camera feed of the projBox and recorded video created moments prior to being mixed
All text © Joseph Gray, 2011. Photos by Matt Westervelt