Team Van Gogh uses OpenXC to create art from your drive


In this video, [Joe Grand] takes us through [Team Van Gogh’s] entry in the OpenXC hackathon event. In what could possibly be the greatest road trip in history, [Joe Grand, Ben Krasnow, TechNinja, and Super Awesome Sylvia] all pile into a car. With them they bring a host of dev boards, wires, a CB Radio, and of course Sylvia’s WaterColorBot.

As their name implies, [Team Van Gogh] took a more artistic approach to the challenge than other teams.  OpenXC steering, gear shift, accelerator and brake data is sent through a ChipKit to an RS-232 link into [TechNinja’s] laptop. The laptop translates the data into commands for the WaterColorBot. With this system, a simple Sunday drive can become abstract art.

The team also showed the concept of what could be done if OpenXC was extended to send data back to the vehicle – something Ford doesn’t support. Their example works when a phone call comes in by using the system to lower the volume on a CB radio standing in for car’s Bluetooth system.

Most of this challenge was completed with simulated data from the OpenXC vehicle interface. The team only had a few minutes to work the bugs out in a real vehicle. However, they proved their concepts well enough to win the grand prize.

Anyone who has participated in a hackathon knows how drained and irritable people can be toward the end of the event. It’s notable that the group here is all smiles. We think this is a good example of four folks meeting up (some of them for the first time) and creating something great.


  1. rasz says:

    hackathlon aka milking clueless corporations out of money for useless trinkets

  2. Whatnot says:

    I was thinking it would draw watercolor art on the road, but no :/

  3. greenbacks says:

    Won’t it spill all over the car?

  4. webkris says:

    CB? Citizens Band Radio?
    I’m confused as to what is that supposed to do? – And why do we need a servo controlling the volume of a radio from the 1990s?

    FRS might be a better choice here.
    Especially if they plan to send data over it.

    – Kris

  5. Francirius says:

    wow!, who is she? she is beatiful!!

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