Art project early stage

I have an idea for an art project where mechanical objects and leds operate when they are NOT being looked at, or when there is no movement in the room. The idea is that people have to remain still and quiet for anything much to happen, and then only in the direction that they are NOT facing (looking might be a bit too difficult). Sort of timid robotic artworks. The room will only hold one, perhaps two people at most. Detection of movement should be relatively simple, probably with IR detection. Do flashing or changing LED’s show up as movement even if subject remains still? Working out which direction someone is facing is a bit more complicated, but I was thinking facial recognition software could be trainable to determine the direction someone’s head is facing. I know that FRS is trained on frontal and oblique views of a face, but that could also determine orientation couldn’t it?

Anyway, very early days yet. If anyone has any comments on how this might be done effectively, or really any comments at all, I welcome all thoughts.



Hi Phil

This is a really sensitive movement detector - you might be able to contain its’ range / orientation with some artistic bit of metal …

It is really simple to interface - just takes one pin

machine import Pin
led = Pin(25, Pin.OUT)
radar = Pin(22, Pin.IN, Pin.PULL_DOWN)
detect = False

while True:
    detect = radar.value()
    if detect:



Hi Phil,

That’s such a cool concept for an artwork! It’s also quite a tricky design question.

I suspect some experiments and a bit of tuning might be required as you test sensors ranging from low to high sensitivity.

I haven’t used this sensor in my own projects but it’s supposed to be able to detect the presense of a person sleeping. So somewhere between that and a basic PIR sensor like you’d find in a porch light is probably going to be the sweet spot.

Perhaps there might be other ways to intuit the presence of people within a room like the CO2 concentration raising near where people are breating.

One other sensor I’ve just remembered you should definitely check out is this one. Unfortunately stock has been super limited since they launched but it’s got facial recognition embedded at a low level so it requires minimal coding to detect faces with basic hardware.


That looks really useful. It has ‘is facing’ data that sets to true if a person is facing the camera. Woohoo!


I’m very excited to see what people do with the Person Sensors since they are so powerful for such a low price. Fingers crossed the stock situation improves and we can get plenty of them soon.

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