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Customized Automation Solutions

Automation for Projects in Art, Exhibitions, Theater

Based on the experience with automation in general, and in collaboration with companies for mechanics, electronics, stage design, web design, graphics, photography and much more within the Genossenschaft Gleis 70 where plan44.ch has its office and lab, we also build efficient customized automation solutions for art projects, exhibitions and theater.

Thanks to a well-developed and flexible standard firmware based on OpenWrt, even demanding projects can be implemented efficiently in part or in full with plan44 standard products or hardware variants thereof without the need for specialized firmware development.

Whenever possible, plan44.ch uses open source software and hardware, and publishes own work as open source. This allows everyone free experimenting with and improving of what's already there, and ensures other people can take up, modify and evolve projects according to their wishes and needs. We think that's the best way to ensure software lives as long as it has users, even beyond a particular company or person's capacity to maintain it.

Examples

Herzchenmaschine für Die Zürcher Mittelschulen. The machine, concepted by hoppingmad gmbh and designed by Martin Fischer / a-Faire, has a swiveling crane with a suction nozzle that allows students to fish for a heart sticker with their smartphone and deliver it to the ejector. The controller consists of a P44-AC-DCM controller mounted without a housing for visual reasons; the control software is just 400 lines of p44Script (for those interested: here's the source code). The installation is completely offline (no internet connection, no cloud) and does not collect any data.

"Wetterbuchstabe" at gleis70.ch. A competition was held for projects to recycle the old illuminated letters that were installed on the building in the 60's. plan44.ch turned an "Ä" into an LED installation that uses color moods to reflect the current weather. A P44-LC-LED controller is connected to a weather station via LAN and also retrieves weather data from the Internet. From this data, different color moods and animations are generated.

Ceiling in the "Smart City" exhibition space at ScienCity EXPLORiT Yverdon. plan44.ch realized this ceiling installation designed by Raphaël Barbier together with Martin Fischer / a-Faire. 15381 addressable LEDs are mounted on 107m of filigree steel structure suspended freely in space, and animated lighting effects are played by 7 P44-LC-LED controllers to symbolize the data flows in the networked smart city..

ETH Digital Platform: For this platform, designed by Zurich based design studio Klauser Lienhard, plan44.ch could develop all electronics and also produced it in-house in cooperation with Planetarium Zürich.
In total 70 OpenWrt Linux devices based on the Omega2S SoC module control the illumination in the 35 glass floor elements, the 18 elements of the 19m long scrolling RGB LED display as well as the interactive LED effects. The elements of the platforms are connected together with a single power cord and a single ethernet cable only; the synchronisation of text and effects are realized in software and thus can be easily rearranged.
The design of the controller hardware as well as all software is open source.
Onion also published the project as a case study about an Omega2S application on their site.

  • ETH Digital Platform - Image © Jon Etter
  • ETH Digital Platform - test assembly - inside view
  • ETH Digital Platform - colored scroll text with graphic elements

glocken2: Custom electronic clock driving real antique bells installed in various restaurants of Bindella Terra Vite Vita. With BLE remote control for test and setup. Mechanics and design of bell mounts by a-faire and Schwitters Raum, electronics and software by plan44.ch. Photos shows the bell installation in Gerberstube Schaffhausen.