Last week, we had a workshop with Tilman Dingler
and Thomas Kubitza from the University of Stuttgart. They came to the ENSCI to present us the .NET Gadgeteer. Basically it is an Arduino alternative made by Microsoft (but still open-source!). The main difference is that Gadgeteer is way more powerful (enough to do video stream processing) and is designed to be solderless with a plug and socket-system.
I have to say, it is a really neat prototyping platform with killer features like an automatic wiring system (you drag and drop the elements you want to use on the software and it shows you which sockets to choose) and an auto-completion system of the code which makes it really easy to use. The downside is of course the price. It is not cheap. If you want something to make prototypes in two hours, take it to pieces and do the same the next day, you need to buy that! It is like electronics Lego and you can use a converter to use classical electronics. But you can't afford to abandon one main board in each of your machine so you will have to take it to pieces
I worked with my friend Sebastian. What we did was basically a two axis plotter. The twist is that the two axis are making a radial plotter so it allows you to plot on an half-sphere. We made a little processing sketch to convert SVG graphics into a group of coordinates fed into the plotter.
A video (we were drawing the ENSCI logo. Unfortunately the video doesn't have the final result.) right here!