Interactive projection: ProPresenter 6, Arduino Leonardo, and 3D printed capacitive buttons

interactive projection SALT 2016

Interactive Projection

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been trying to reproduce the interactive projection that I saw at SALT 2016 in Nashville (watch the video above to see what I mean).

I think I’ve finally got all the pieces in place and thought I’d collect all the lessons in one place, along with the downloads for each.

ProPresenter 6 programming

First, I created this interactive projection presentation (click to download) in Pro6 which you can learn how to do yourself by watching this tutorial. It’s controlled by a keyboard, but that’s not really helpful.

Controlling it with Arduino

arduino leonardo
To control it with button presses, you need an Arduino Leonardo. Click here to watch the tutorial about how I did it or just download the code here.

Creating and printing the buttons

3D printing buttons for interactive projection
Creating the buttons themselves is pretty easy. I went to a site that allows you to do 3D modeling for free and then printed them out at my local library. Click here to watch the tutorial to learn how to get started in 3D printing or just download the 3D model here.

Making the buttons capacitive

capacitive buttons
Plastic buttons don’t really do much though, so I made them touch sensitive by adding capacitive capabilities to the Arduino code and wired them into the project with conductive tape and some resistors. To see that, watch this tutorial.

It’s not a hard project, but there are a ton of steps, so make sure you download the files and follow the steps and you can create something really fun for your church lobby or children’s area.

How-to and DIY

Not exactly a touch screen, but…

arduino leonardo

Last week, I was working on the tutorial for making control mechanism for the interactive projection system I told you about that was inspired by one I saw at Salt in Nashville.  In the middle of one of the groups I frequent on FaceBook, I saw that someone asked if there was a way to have a teaching monitor that the pastor could advance the slides on with just a touch.

That got me to thinking.  Sure, you could do it the right way and get a touch screen monitor, but what if you already have the TV or only have the budget for a consumer version without touch?  Could you do it a different way?

I’m editing the tutorial that shows how to control a computer with an external board called an Arduino Leonardo (affiliate link).  Unfortunately, not all arduinos do this (I had two others that wouldn’t work).

Basically, you take the Leonardo, upload a program to it, and buttons attached to it will do whatever you told it to.

So, why not take some of these little momentary buttons (affiliate link again) and put one in the lower left corner of the screen and one in the lower right.  Then, you attach them to the leonardo and program one for the left arrow key and one for the right.  Now, when your pastor wants to advance a slide, it’s as easy as tapping the button.

The downside is that a computer has to be close enough to the monitor to be attached to the board by USB, but still, it’s a pretty budget minded solution (about $11).

So, what do you think?  If you’re interested, the full tutorial (along with links to the code I used and the free arduino programming software) will be up here soon.

There’s also another solution.  There’s a board called a “Makey makey” (one last affiliate link) that does the same thing without programming.  It’s pricier (about $50), and will only do a finite set of button presses, but the left and right arrow keys are included, so you could use it instead.



Hmm, this is odd…

You might have noticed that most of the posts since at least posts between June 20th back to June 1 (when I moved servers) are missing their media. I don’t know why yet (because I always check posts when they go live and would have noticed missing videos), but I’m working on it. Just thought I’d let you know.

UPDATE: It looks like there’s a glitch as the featured images are there, but corrupted for this same date range. I’m not sure what happened, but at least the videos are back for everything after June 20th. I’m still working on it.

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