The artist behind The Art Of Motion Control Bruce Shapiro invited me to help him figure out how to take a picture of a museum visitor, convert it into a 96x96 pixel 1-bit deep image and transfer it wirelessly to another machine on the other side of the museum which would "draw" the image in bubbles.
Bruce had a lot of DOS code written in some kind of "C" to drive the parallel port which was connected to a huge-long shift register and then to 96 pneumatic valves.
I built two solid-state Linux PCs running ttylinux from a compact flash card. One to grab an image from the USB camera, do face-detection using Open CV, to do the resizing and pixelation and to transmit the image to the bubble computer. and One to receive the image, queue it up and "play" the image out to the bubble machine.
I took the DOS code and converted it to run under non-realtime Linux so we could have easy networking and storage facilities.