Microcontrollers such as the Microchip PIC [pic()] or the Atmel AVR [atm()] have become a popular method of getting sensor data into computers. They are cheap and run fast enough to track the output of an array of sensors. The downside is that a solid knowledge of electronics is needed to create reliable instruments. Also, many microcontrollers are too slow to provide good resolution.

Using [comport] for serial communications is currently the only functional method of accessing a microcontroller in Pd. There are successful instruments built with microcontrollers that use MIDI, OpenSoundControl (OSC), and custom protocols designed for the task at hand. The Stranglophone and Pierrophone[Sharon(2004)] use accelerometers and sliders to get data from the user, and then outputs standard MIDI data via a serial port. This MIDI data is used by Pd to control a synthesizer. In the Sound Shell [Raskob()], a PIC microcontroller samples infrared proximity sensors and hall effect magnetic sensors and outputs data serially using MIDI.

Hans-Christoph Steiner 2005-04-25