The folks that have had to deal with me in a professional environment have probably discovered that most of my conceptual work happens on paper or a whiteboard, and never end up in easily presentable formats. My life is strewn with notebooks filled with diagrams, ideas, notes, and bored doodles. At work I fill up whiteboards and send myself photos of them. Unsurprisingly its the same with my personal projects, so here is a photo of a sheet of paper that I had on a clipboard while visiting my wife in Miami last week:
I’m sure its very clear from this photo what I’m up to with this project:
A couple years ago I started to get back into electronics, and that the first big project a friend and I decided to do after that involved learning to build remote controlled flame effects for burning man. That led to a bunch of other art projects, and now I’ve built a framework for building distributed networks of microcontrollers that can bridge various non-IP networks.
What I have working right now is star-pattern network of Atmel AVR (i.e. Arduino) based boards communicating over a wired protocol (using RS485), and a Python-based API for connecting to one of the nodes in that network over a serial connection. This includes a server side app that manages the connection to the boards and allows clients to connect over TCP, and client side apps that can send commands via TCP to the server, which forwards them to a serial device, which can then forward them to other devices it is connected to. I have a fairly complete command line client as well as the beginnings of web server that presents a UI for devices on the network.
(I’ll have the web UI up for public consumption fairly soon, I’m just waiting for a camera for the Raspberry PI thats currently connected to the stuff in my basement)
My minimal goal for this current phase of the challenge is to get a passable web-based UI that allows for control of a single network of these devices. But along side that I’m continuing work on somewhat more complicated boards which communicate over low power long range radio, which will be used as for the next phases of this project.