Project of work module “DIY Microscopy” – 1st. Semester, Media Art and Design (M.F.A.)
Under the advice of lecturer Thomas Kaiser.
Bauhaus Universität – Weimar, Germany.
WS 2013/14.

  • The MICROLEIDOSCOPE is an interactive device created to combine scientific and aesthetic features.
  • PureData (Pd) and Arduino programming are used to explore between optics, sensors, and visual effects.
  • Techniques: Optic design
  • Software: PureData, Arduino


The device collects a fixed source of light and a horizontal arrangement positioned within a box of wood. In this case, the source of light is permanently changing thanks to a sphere in front of it. The sphere contains marbles and it spins over a DC motor. Head on, the array has the sample bed, a main condenser lens, a kaleidoscope structure and a USB camera.

The DC motor and a photo-resistor, which is a light controlled variable resistor, are powered by the microcontroller Arduino.

The light movement over the mirrors in the kaleidoscope and the data from the photo-resistor are collected in Pd in order to display a Video window that reproduces the final effects.

Two main features are programmed with Pd. One from the USB Camera as a sensor of movement and second, the movement detected on the camera to work as a source of particles under the influence of gravitational force. Several combinations are possible to play with, since other features were added for instance, the light source, color and images effects. In addition, it is possible to play with the speed, amount, rotation and life of the particles. These are designed using an alpha channel.