Earthquake Converter



I made a simple project using Resin on Raspberry Pi to help with a friend’s art project. It sends live earthquake data over serial to connected hardware, like Arduinos.

The code is basic and straightforward but for me the project is interesting because it shows a use-case for Resin in mixed-media art projects. Artists are using single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi more and more for all sorts of installations. Resin is very well-suited to art installations because it makes the system more robust and appliance-like. Artists want to focus on their core concept, and not focus on annoyances like how to setup and debug scripts for launching their project code. Projects are live for short times (often just a few days) but during that time must be 100% reliable. For example, crawling under a multi-ton chunk of concrete while hundreds of people watch to fix SD card corruption is something you don’t want to do more than once.

In some ways Resin is much more approachable than Raspbian on Raspberry Pi and is more likely to produce something that reliably works in a short amount of time. But Resin also comes with some confusing conceptual baggage, like containerization, which causes people who are less interested in the tech than what it allows them to make to opt for the more popular solutions, like Raspbian in the case of the Raspberry Pi. From what I see Resin is headed in the right direction, and is already usable today for the sorts of projects I’m talking about. But I want to point out that the use case is not quite aligned with consumer / industrial IoT and requires a little different thinking, in case that sparks some ideas for making Resin better for artists in the future. I know building something for artists doesn’t often lead to riches, but building something with artists in mind can result in a lot of experimentation and cool projects, and consequently more attention and adoption.

A little about the actual project:

It is a simple Node.js app which connects to the US Geological Survey website to read live earthquake data. When an earthquake occurs it sends a little bit of information about it in a simple format to any connected serial device. For demonstration I connected an Arduino and used the data to flash some RGB LEDs. When an earthquake happens the LEDs pulse yellow. The larger the magnitude of the quake, the longer the pulse.

My friend is doing something similar, but prettier and on a bigger scale. Hopefully he doesn’t mind sharing it when it’s completed, and I’ll link share it here.

You can find the code on GitHub here

Suggestions for deploying from a monolithic Git repo?

This is really awesome! Love hearing hearat that more approachable tech can help with interactive art. :slight_smile: Tech should be as simple and powerful as possible to give enough space for creativity and imagination. It’s a great use of resinOS as well. Cheers, and definitely would love to hear more about what happens to this setup (and the bigger scale one as well:)!