Modkit – Programming Arduino With Your Browser

Modkit is an in-browser graphical programming environment for microcontrollers. Modkit allows you to program Arduino and Arduino compatible hardware using simple graphical blocks and/or traditional text code. Modkit’s graphical blocks are heavily inspired by the Scratch programming environment developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab.

Getting Started

Our first public preview is live! We know many of you have been following the project and can’t wait to try it out. If you’re a Mac user, you can go ahead and download the desktop component that you’ll need to connect to your device from the online Modkit editor and get started. Windows and Linux versions are coming soon so check out our blog to follow our progress. Read More or view the old site.

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Connecting devices, buildings and environments

Pachube is a web service enabling people to “connect, tag and share real time sensor data from objects, devices, buildings and environments around the world”. It is already around for about two years now and has been initiated by Usman Hague, Chris Leung, Chris Burman, Ali Hasegawa and Sam Mulube.

The service can be understood as a platform for networking and sharing environmental sensor data, or as a “generalized realtime broker for objects, devices, sensors, spimens and networked environments”. The aim is to facilitate interaction between remote environments, both physical and virtual. Pachube allows any participating project to “plug-in” to any other participating project in real time – this means that for instance buildings, interactive environments or websites can “talk” and “respond” to each other”.

Things vs Environments

An interesting point Hague makes in this interview, as well as in his talk at LIFT09, is that the term “internet of things” and its inherent focus on objects might actually be too “hardware”-centered (floors, walls, roofs, building elements), missing the soft aspects of space, such as light, sound, smell, temperature, electromagnetic fields…). His point is, that even small remote changes in this “software” can have a large effect on the usage of an environment, although the rigid structures of the hardware might still be the same. Hague’s prefered term is “ecosystem of environments”.


The provided pachube API allows for the development of diverse applications to visualize and communicate collected environmental data in real time. here is an initial set of possibly useful situations the service could be used for.
already developed pachube applications can be found here.

Real-Time Architecture

One of the very promising tools is Pachube2Sketchup, a plug-in for the 3d software google sketchup.

It allows the real-time integration of real-time or historic pachube data to generate or dynamically modulate 3d models of built environments.
This plug-in might be quite useful as a prototyping tool for dynamic or mediated buildings or sensor-based generative architecture.
The video introduction, although quite basic and “only” scaling simple geometric forms to visualize gas, water and electricity usage of a building, gives a first glimpse on how real-time data can be used in a professional design process.

Here’s also a link to the “street as platform”-project by the UTS Master of Digital Architecture class taking place last year November in Sydney. During the project, several applications using Arduinos and Pachube have been developed.


A very interesting tool coming from Stanford University: ZunaVision is a web-based service that allows you to easily embed digital video and graphics into any given video context, professionally shot or captured with your handheld. This has potential as a tool for quickly sketching scenarios/tests for the implementation of moving imagery into a spatial setting.