Project: Phidgets

What are Phidgets?
Phidgets are a set of “plug and play” building blocks for low cost USB sensing and control from your PC. Applications can be developed quickly by programmers using their favorite language: C/C++, C#, Cocoa, Delphi, Flash AS3, Flex AS3, Java, among others… (Source:

Project Requirements:
Create an interactive installation using a phidget and pictorial instructions. Passersby in the street should be able to understand what to do and interact with the installation.

Phidget: Light sensor

What we did:
Inspired by Oli Chang’s “Techno Chicken,” we created our own sound mixer with farm animal sounds. We fashioned a cardboard box in the shape of a chicken. Inside the box, a flashlight projected light onto the phidget’s sensor which triggered a techno music base. Three separate sliders attached to different colored papers acted as filters that altered the amount of light measured by the sensor. A different animal sound – a sheep, horse or cow – sounded depending on the amount of light registered by the sensor. Users could create their own barnyard boogie!

What we learned:

  • What phidgets are and how they can work
  • The importance of designing clear, simple instructions
  • The importance of knowing your audience and how to attract their attention in a target setting
  • Techno Chicken enjoys international fame!

Video: See our “ElectroPollo” in action!


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