The Schemer interface allows you to quickly write and customize programs
from your web browser, and then send those programs to your outfit. It
uses visible light directly from your computer screen or your mobile phone
so you don't need extra wires or hardware.
The first way to write programs is to choose actions from the menus.
At left is what Schemer will do by default.
At right is what happens when you press the switch.
Schemer can also turn on lights in response to sensor input, either from
its built-in light sensor or from additional sensors you've attached.
The interface has two parts:
the slider on the left tells Schemer how sensitive it should be,
and the buttons on the right tell it how to respond.
Detect a wide range, like
completely dark to very bright.
Detect a small range, like
changes in room temperature.
Set a high threshold, so Schemer
responds only when it gets really loud.
Turn on only one light at a time.
Turn on multiple lights, like a sound meter.
Light up to match the current sensor values.
Light up briefly only when there is change in sensor values.
You can also write short, simple programs:
(always (right 2))
This will continuously flash the lightboards in
sequence, to the right. Note the tiny dots on the lightboards.
The procedure name (right) indicates the direction, and the
number 2 controls the speed
(1 is really fast, and 10 takes much longer).
If you don't want the program to run continuously, don't use
Schemer will run this program, and then wait for you to send another one.
If you press the touchpad, it will run the same program and stop again.
To repeat the (right) procedure three times, type:
(repeat 3 (right 2))
The first thing after the word
repeat is a number, and the next things are all the procedures
you want to repeat.
You can also string together different procedures, and combine repeats:
Instead of a switch, Schemer can also respond to sensor levels. To
twinkle only in the dark (or when it's cold, or quiet,
depending on the sensor you've attached):
(if (< sensor 3)
Instead of doing things a fixed number of times or at a certain speed,
Schemer can also change speeds automatically
depending on sensor levels (like if a room is bright or dark, or if the
temperature is hot or cold). This way, if you write
(always (right sensor))
instead of (always (right 2)), then your program will be really fast
in a bright room, and slower when the lights are off. The name
sensor contains the value of any connected sensors (like
a sound or temperature sensor), or uses Schemer's own light sensor.
Making your own procedures
A third way of repeating things involves defining your own procedure that
then calls itself, like this:
You could also define many another procedures. The important thing is that the
name being defined, and the name being called are the same:
(twinkle 3) (in 3) (out 2)
Now that you've defined the procedure, you need to tell Schemer to call it.
Remember, even when a procedure was already defined - for example
(right 2), you still needed to call it by typing its name. The
(define) statement just tells Schemer that there is a group of
precedures held together by that name.
To define and run your endlessly repeating pattern, you would therefore need
to write this:
the semicolon causes
Schemer to ignore everything on the line
fade lights right
fade lights left
fade starting from outside
edges, towards the middle
fade starting in the
randomly light up
flash only the center
The next three procedures tell Schemer how to change
the lights when you do the 6 light procedures above:
Fade the lights one by one.
Leave lights on, so at the
end all five lights are lit.
Start with all lights on,
and one by one, turn them off.
Wait some time before doing the next procedure
(repeat 3 (right 2))
Repeat the (right) procedure three times.
(always (right 2))
Do the (right) procedure nonstop.
Using sensor, Schemer automatically
changes speeds or number of repetitions depending on sensor readings (like
brightness, loudness, or temperature).
Use sensor instead of a number like 2, to
change speeds automatically.
(repeat sensor (twinkle 2))
The number of repetitions can be 1, 2, 3 or 4 depending on sensor levels.
Use the number contained in n to
a procedure. For example, within a define statement, you could write
(twinkle n) instead of (twinkle 2)
Use a number 1 greater
than n: (twinkle (+1 n))
Use a number 1 less
than n: (twinkle (-1 n))
(if (switch?) (left 2) (twinkle 2) )
Fade left if switch is pressed, or do twinkle if it isn't.
(if (switch?) ((left 2) (right 2)) (twinkle 2) )
Fade left and right if switch is pressed, or do twinkle if it isn't.
Notice the double parentheses that group multiple procedures.
(if (even? n) (left 2) (right 2))
(if (even? sensor) (left 2) (right 2))
(if (odd? n) (left 2) (right 2))
(if (odd? sensor) (left 2) (right 2))
(if (= n 2) (left 2) (right 2))
(if (> n 2) (left 2) (right 2))
(if (< n 2) (left 2) (right 2))
(repeat 3 (left 2) (right 2)) )
Create a new procedure called a-name that will
repeat the (left) (right) patterns three times.
Run this new a-name procedure.
Schemer connects with all your compatible components
using only two wires.
This greatly simplifies your project and keeps everything small and neat.
Align all the white dots on Schemer, lightboards, switches, and sensors
facing up, and connect them like in the picture.
If you cannot find a dot, align the text
(TEMP, TOUCH, S, LIGHT, etc.) facing up
You can rearrange any of the pieces, move Schemer from the middle to the
edge, add more lightboards, etc.
Every schemer-compatible component has a tiny microcontroller under it. Each
one has a unique address and is able to send and receive data using the same
pair of wires.
It's designed to be very easy to hookup, but it's picky about what it's connected to.
The two holes on either side of schemer connect to
schemer-compatible components only: lightboards, motorboards,
switches, sensors, etc.
Schemer has a voltage booster so it can run on low batteries.
This also makes lights bright and motors strong.
Connect it to a 3V watch battery, or two AA batteries.
Never use more than 3 volts.
Schemer doesn't have an on-off switch. To make it sleep, press and hold the
touchpad until it turns off. If you press and hold the touch pad again, it
wakes up and continues where it left off.
During sleep, it consumes very little electricity, so
one battery can last as long as a month, depending on how often it runs.
This simplicity and integration does have one drawback: you won't be able to
connect regular things like plain LEDS, motors, switches or buzzers, unless
they are schemer-compatible.
If it's not an Aniomagic product, you probably can't use it with schemer.
Members of the schemer bus system
There is a growing number of components you can attach to the schemer
bus: lights, switches, sensors, motors, buzzers, iPod remote control, etc.
Lightboards come in sets of five, and each one has
dots to help you identify it. The dots also indicate the PLUS connection to
schemer. You can mix them in any color
combination (diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald). Schemer can directly
power up to 20 lightboards, so if you need more, check out
So how do you tell which color you have? Flip them over.
They will also light up if you connect them directly to a 3V battery.
Never use more than 3 volts.
Switch allows you to tell Schemer to do something
only when you press it.
You can connect other things like a tilt
switch or a fabric switch using the two holes on the side.
You can also write things like
(if (switch?) (left 2))
which tells Schemer to run the (left 2) action only when the switch is
(Note:If you bought a touch sensor before February 2011, it works
like the other sensors.)
Touch works just like Switch, except instead of pushing a switch, you
touch it with your finger.
You can also write
(if (touch?) (twinkle 2))
Whether you write (touch?) or (switch?), Schemer will run
the (twinkle 2) action only when you touch the
You can use the two holes to connect to larger patches of conductive cloth.
This way, you can make things flash, shake, or play music if someone brushes
their hands over it.
Sensors allow Schemer to respond to changes in sound, light, temperature,
Like Switch and Touch, Custom sensor allows you to connect your own
sensors and conductive fabrics using the two holes on the side.
To automatically change the speed of actions,
so they run faster or slower depending on sensor levels, write
Finally, you can automatically vary the number of times you repeat things
(1, 2, 3 or 4) by writing
(repeat sensor (twinkle 1))
Sensors come in pairs: circle and square.
You can use only one circle and one square at the same time; two circles won't
They can be the same type (temperature, light, touch, etc.), or
a mix, as long as one is a circle and the other is a square.
If you don't connect a sensor, schemer will use its internal ambient light
If you have only one, schemer will use that one.
If you have both, schemer will use the formula: circle - square.
This allows your project to detect where there is more light, or a higher
Use Max when you need to connect motorboards or a lot of lightboards.
Connect IN to schemer, and OUT to your other components.
would use it with a different battery (up to 6 volts), for
Help! It's not working!
It doesn't enter programming mode
The touch pad measures the resistance in your finger. In dry weather, our
fingers become dry and have a very high-resistance. You might
wet your finger, or use a paper clip to connect the touch pad to minus.
It's not getting new programs from the screen
Try holding Schemer closer to the screen, right in front of the yellow
flower. You can also make your screen brighter. If your web
browser is playing a video or doing someother activity, it throws off the
timing. Close all other browser windows and see if this solves the problem.
I can't tell if it's dead or alive
When Schemer is running programs or waiting for a new
program, its light never goes all the way off. It will be very dim, because
that's its way of saying "I'm alive". If you cannot see this light at all,
it could mean 1 of 3 things:
Schemer is sleeping, so touch the touchpad to wake it up.
The battery needs to be changed.
The connection to the battery is loose or broken.
Try to see if you can get it back into programming mode by pressing on the
touchpad for 1 second.
If nothing happens, try a fresh battery. If this fails,
put Schemer into diagnostic mode:
remove the battery and wait 5 seconds
use a paperclip or thread to connect the touchpad to minus
while touchpad is still connected to minus, put the battery back
Schemer should now start flashing its center light continuously
this flashing speed should change depending on the amount light on the
ambient light sensor
remove the paper clip or thread, and remove the battery again
re-insert the battery, and try to get it into programming mode again.
Still not working? Please
write us or call us at +1
303 462 0059, and we'll do our best to help.