As you might imagine, we keep a pretty close eye on what people are doing with the .NET Gadgeteer technology. It is really great to see the continued support from module and mainboard makers who continue to grow the ecosystem that the users can leverage. It is also great to see the number of members of the community who are doing really interesting projects and sharing them with others. While it is not my practice to republish materials that appear elsewhere, I thought that a partial summary of some really neat projects that have been shared out over just the last month would be interesting. Clicking the title of each will get you to the original posting.
This project was posted by Marco Minerva whose name you will see several times in this post because he has been very active and creative in coming up with cool projects. In this project he leverages the Microsoft Speech Platform to take in voice commands which are mapped to a simple standard set of commands and transmitted wirelessly (WiFi) to a Gadgeteer to position a servo. This could be used in any number of other projects – controlling a robot, your home automation system, almost anything. Very interesting project
This is a fun robotics project by rikleigh – a robot that tracks and follows an object. It is a beautifully executed robot. I know from experience how easy it is to have robots end up an ungainly mass of wires and components. The fact that the author says this is his first robot and his first ‘real’ project with Gadgeteer makes is all the more impressive.
Connecting devices wirelessly is the basis for many compelling device applications. NETMF and Gadgeteer both easily support these kinds of applications. In this second example of Marco Minerva’s work, he carefully presents an example of how to build a web server on these devices. Applications of this include home automation sensors and actuators that are driven by a central interface and many more.
Marco Minerva keeps swinging for the fences with an extension of the last post mentioned by demonstrating how you create a UDP (User Datagram Protocol) for the server on the Gadgeteer device. If you have assumed that everything over IP uses TCP, UDP is a viable option for many applications. It is simple to start with. It is also faster than TCP which has many more integrity checks. It is lower overhead on the radio which can mean lower impact on the battery. It is very useful for streaming data where missing a few bits is OK and preferable to slowing down. It does not have all the checking and redundancy of TCP/IP so packets can be lost but that is OK for many applications.
In this posting , Steven Johnston gets to play with two 8 x 8 LED Matrix modules from GHI Electronics. Using these, he shows how to create a flexible digital display. You can make a retro LED clock or a platform that you can remotely post messages down to. The next step as Steven suggests is a scrolling message display with more modules for longer messages.
Marco Minerva is back with us in this next project turning a light on and off with a Windows Phone application. In this project, he leverages the web server to demonstrate an elemental home automation task – controlling a light remotely. He does this over WiFi and the control of the light is done through a GHI Relay module. In the article, Marco controls a small light powered by AA batteries. The module can handle much larger voltages – up to 250V – but embark on larger voltages carefully as the possibility of personal injury or fire is present. This is supposed to be fun and not painful.
This is an article by Pierre Cauchois who is a Developer Evangelist in France. This is a great posting for taking the user through every step from installing the software to connecting to the cloud to creating the very attractive ‘steampunk’ UI to building the web server to building a 3D model for mounting the components. Not only does the project collect meteorological data for the display but it also posts that data up to the popular free cloud repository Cosm (Pachube). This project has all the connectivity you could want. Other devices can connect to it directly or they can connect to Cosm and get the latest readings from there.
Ok – one last contribution from Marco Minerva before we wrap up the overview of projects for the last 30 days. In this posting he changes a robot that was controlled over Bluetooth from a PC to one that is controlled by WiFi from a Windows Phone. (Contact any friends that you have on the Windows Phone team and tell them how much we would like to be able to use Bluetooth from an application on a Windows Phone). This article contains all the logic to connect and get commands and control the direction of the robot using those commands. It also includes the XAML and code for the Windows Phone app which means that you need the Windows Phone SDK which you can get here and an unlocked phone. Much better than Android Open Accessories.
That ends our sampling of projects that people have posted over the last 30 days. There is a great deal of breadth and ingenuity demonstrated by these authors. It is very satisfying to see the energy and enthusiasm that people bring to making things with this toolset and the range of applications that it can support. I’d love to hear what you are making.