posts tagged with the keyword ‘presentation’


Arduino - The First Sketch

The Inventors & Entrepreneurs Club of Kenosha & Racine invited me to give a talk last year but I was busy teaching PCOMP at UWM so I couldn’t make it, but I offered to come during the summer and we scheduled August for me to visit and talk about the Arduino microcontroller.

A few people were familiar with the Arduino, and one or two had even used them before, but for most people this was an introduction. I covered a bit about what the Arduino is, and what it can do, and how you might use it for prototyping a product.

I updated the Presenations page and added the Welcome to Arduino slides, and noticed I hadn’t given any presentations in 2016, but then I remembered that I had a class full of students twice a week during that time and was pretty much presenting constantly. Life is weird sometimes. (And actually I did do some presentations while at UWM, so maybe I’ll dig through those and post them.)


Samsung Presenter

When I teach at UWM we’ve got this presentation camera at the front desk that can be used to show the Arduino and a breadboard and how things are connected. I believe it’s a Samsung SDP-860. It was probably awesome in its day, but the quality is not amazing. It does have a number of controls to zoom in and adjust the brightness, and has a built-in light and multiple outputs, but I still am not impressed with the image quality. When I did use it, I just connected it via USB to my MacBook and used QuickTime Player to get a video window and then showed that with the projector. It allowed students to see the tiny components I was using… so yeah, it worked.

But then I thought to myself, “Why not just use a webcam!?” and that’s what I’m going to do. Since I’m not teaching in the Spring semester I offered to do a Beginner Arduino Class at Milwaukee Makerspace, so I built my own camera thing… the Raster Presenter!

Raster Presenter

Yes, it’s basically a desktop microphone stand. There’s a long gooseneck to allow positioning the camera to point directly down at the desk. (It’s similar to the gooseneck rig used on Time Lapse Bot III.) I’m using a Logitech C910, which I’ve had for years, and which outputs some decent quality video.

Raster Presenter

The Raster Presenter is not quite as pretty as the Samsung model, but I dare say the quality is better, and it may even be more adjustable. It’s also lighter, can be disassembled, and does not require an external power supply. (Just a single USB connection!)

Raster Presenter

The camera mounts to a small piece of wood using zip ties that fit into notches. The wood slides into half of a mic holder that came with the mic stand. There’s a little bit of gaff tape to stop it from rotating on the gooseneck, and Bob’s your uncle!


When you launch QuickTime Player you just choose “File” and then “New Movie Recording” and you should see some live video. If it shows the computer’s built-in camera you can change it via the drop down menu.


After choosing the proper camera you can also choose to change the quality. I found that “Maximum” gave much better results than “High”, although it did seem to enable the auto-focus in the camera, which can occasionally be an issue (at least with other webcams I’ve used.)


Once you have all your settings you can move your mouse off the window and the controls (and title bar) should disappear. As long as you’re connected to a projector your students are ready to see the small things you want to show them! In the sample shot above the only light I used was daylight from the window to my left. I could see a bit of static in the image, but even in low-light it looked pretty good. I’ll do some testing to see if I can get away with existing light or need to augment it with another light source.


This is a game I made for the June 2010 Web414 Meeting. You have to guess… it is the name of a snake, or the name of an open source software project.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this game! Check out Web414 any second Thursday of the month at 7pm… at Bucketworks in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


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