Controlling the World with a Magic Wand

The wand is a well known instrument of magic, and represents the magician’s Will and the direction of hidden forces to realize it. The magician imagines some change in the world, points the wand to where that change should take place, and there it does — abracadabra, hocus pocus, presto chango! In Tarot, the suit of Wands often corresponds to the element of Fire and “work, enterprise, ideas; the energies of the spiritual plane and archetypal world” (Paul Foster Case).

The Kymera magic wand builds on this mythical tradition, to create a novel(ty) television remote control — change channels or volume with a turn or flick of your wrist, or execute a “big swish” to turn the TV on or off.

Kymera wand

But the Kymera wand can interact with much more than your A/V components. Today’s techno-wizards — the hackers and makers — use “hidden forces” (i.e. small computers) called microcontrollers to effect their desired changes in the world. These microcontrollers can be programmed to respond to infrared remote-control devices including the Kymera wand.

Arduino microcontroller

On Friday, February 17, from 7 to 9 pm, I will be at Jigsaw Renaissance, demonstrating how to use the Kymera wand to interact with two popular microcontrollers: Arduino and the Parallax Propeller. I will briefly introduce infrared communications technology including the popular Sony protocol, and will demonstrate the wand’s 13 gestures that produce discrete signals, and a few applications including robot control, interaction with a Processing computer program, and lighting effects using BlinkM programmable LEDs. Suggested donation: $5 for members of Jigsaw Renaissance, $10 for non-members.

4 Replies to “Controlling the World with a Magic Wand”

Leave a Reply