Final Project: Dynamic, Dioramic Exploration of Christmas Over Time

by Rachel Nakamura (rnakamur) and Joseph Paetz (rpaetz)

We have created ChristmasViewfinder, an diorama with actualized, moving pieces comparing Christmas as it relates to today’s modern, capitalism-fueled society against its religious origins.

We juxtaposed modern Christmas commercials with the religious figures of the well-known nativity scene. Additionally, different parts of the display change every time the viewer pulls the viewfinder lever. This allows us to tell a multitude of narratives about Christmas’ varying religious and capitalist meanings.

In order to implement this diorama, we used an Arduino Leonardo as the main brain to control all the different actuation. We used two relays to control high voltage lines going to Christmas lights and an incandescent bulb (that lights up old projector slides). We used the Arduino’s PWM pins going to MOSFETS to control the LED strips in the ceiling of the diorama. We also used Adafruit’s 12-bit PWM driver to control additional servos and individual LED’s.

The Arduino Leonardo was also used as a USB keyboard to control a Processing sketch on the computer.

Link to YouTube video detailing how to create a video player in processing:

Link to Processing documentation of video player (Movie):

Link to Github code:


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