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Erica the Rhino: a case study in using Raspberry Pi Single Board Computers for interactive art

Basford, Philip, Bragg, Graeme, Hare, Jonathon, Jewell, Mike, Martinez, Kirk, Newman, David, Pau, Reena, Smith, Ash and Ward, Tyler (2016) Erica the Rhino: a case study in using Raspberry Pi Single Board Computers for interactive art [in special issue: Raspberry Pi Technology] ELECTRONICS,, 5, (3), pp. 1-18. (doi:10.3390/electronics5030035).

Record type: Article


Erica the Rhino is an interactive art exhibit created by the University of Southampton, UK. Erica was created as part of a city wide art trail in 2013 called "Go! Rhinos", curated by Marwell Wildlife, to raise awareness of Rhino conservation. Erica arrived as a white fibreglass shell which was then painted and equipped with 5 Raspberry Pi Single Board Computers (SBC). These computers allowed the audience to interact with Erica through a range of sensors and actuators. In particular, the audience could feed and stroke her to prompt reactions, as well as send her Tweets to change her behaviour. Pi SBCs were chosen because of their ready availability and their educational pedigree. During the deployment, 'coding clubs' were run in the shopping centre where Erica was located, these allowed children to experiment with and program the same components used in Erica. The experience gained through numerous deployments around the country has enabled Erica to be upgraded to increase reliability and ease of maintenance, whilst the release of the Pi 2 has allowed her responsiveness to be improved.

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Accepted/In Press date: 24 June 2016
Published date: 30 June 2016
Keywords: internet of things, interactive art, raspberry Pi, open data, image processing
Organisations: Electronics & Computer Science


Local EPrints ID: 397340
ISSN: 1450-5843
PURE UUID: 3785ec5e-c072-4e3a-8319-ef9f72bbb9b3
ORCID for Philip Basford: ORCID iD
ORCID for Jonathon Hare: ORCID iD
ORCID for Kirk Martinez: ORCID iD
ORCID for David Newman: ORCID iD

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Date deposited: 27 Jun 2016 10:51
Last modified: 14 Aug 2017 16:31

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Author: Philip Basford ORCID iD
Author: Graeme Bragg
Author: Jonathon Hare ORCID iD
Author: Mike Jewell
Author: Kirk Martinez ORCID iD
Author: David Newman ORCID iD
Author: Reena Pau
Author: Ash Smith
Author: Tyler Ward

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