Using Grasshopper's visual programming interface, Firefly gives you the ability to create interactive programs and devices by manipulating elements graphically rather than by specifying them textually. It attempts to bridge the gap between the digital and physical worlds by simplifying the prototyping process for interactive objects. It
combines a specialized set of components with a novel communication protocol
(called the Firefly Firmata, or Firmware) which together enable real-time
feedback between hardware devices such as the well-known Arduino microcontroller and the Rhino / Grasshopper modeling environment. All this happens instantly - so there's no compiling. Your program runs as you build it, making development and prototyping an extremely rapid process.
Leveraging Grasshopper's visual programming interface, Firefly gives you the ability to quickly mock-up and prototype ideas for interactive objects and devices. It achieves this mostly by sending data back and forth over the serial port really quickly. But, what if you want your device to stand-alone... meaning you don't want to be tethered to your computer by a pesky USB cable. In order to do this, the microcontroller must be programmed, typically using some C++ or Arduino code.
Fortunately, Firefly has an advanced Code Generation feature which translate the spatial representation of your Grasshopper code directly into Arduino compatible code. And it does this all on the fly. Now, you don't need to worry about writing all of that code yourself. Simply, prototype your design as you normally would, and the Code Generator will work in the background writing all of the code necessary to make your design come to life!
Firefly alleviates the hastle of interfacing with external hardware. The Firefly toolset has pre-built components that allow you to connect to many of the most popular hardware devices including data acquisition devices, mobile phones, cameras, game controllers (like the Wii Nunchuck and Microsoft Kinect) and audio interfaces to name but a few.
Firefly has an extensive suite of computer vision, analysis, and effects tools. Integrate video feeds (now with multiple camera support), load individual images (.jpg, .tif, .png, .bmp, etc.), play video files and more. Firefly also includes several filtering, graphic effects, and compositing tools to manipulate live image data. In addition, you can create your own custom filters using convolution kernels. You can also take advantage of computer vision algorithms such as optical flow, gradient vectors, contour vectors, and color analysis to make your next interactive project a visual success.