The Handuino is an exciting new device with seemingly-limitless potential. At first glance, it may appear only to be a fancy remote control; but put it in your hands, and you'll quickly imagine the opportunities that it makes possible. Being Arduino-based, the Handuino builds upon an extremely well-established platform. People use Arduinos all the time in applications ranging from robotics to 3D-printing; from wearables to even the Internet of Things! In general, Arduinos are extremely easy to use yet they are remarkably powerful devices. The aptly-named Handuino was built with this same approach in mind and extends the capabilities and usage of Arduinos further by putting one into the palm of your hands.
The Handuino, however, is much more than just a portable Arduino—it represents a whole new class of DIY computing devices. On paper, the Handuino is a human interface device that doubles as a remote control, but in reality, the Handuino has the ability to transform human-computer interaction by bringing a low-cost, educational, powerful yet customizable interface to the masses. In this regard, the Handuino is extremely functional.
As a stand-alone device, the Handuino allows a user to interact with the Arduino in a more meaningful and engaging way than communicating with it via Serial Monitor and a keyboard thanks to its use of a 2.2” LCD screen and videogame-like controls (joystick, buttons, and rotary knobs). This setup also makes the Arduino’s abilities more visible and clear for those new to the platform—interested students no longer wonder what the series of flat blue boards are capable of, seeing instead an interface they are familiar with already.
With applications ranging from portable gaming to on-the-go data logging, the Handuino’s abilities are only extended through the use of additional connected devices. With a single USB cable, the Handuino becomes a new way of using your computer. With other radio-enabled devices present, the Handuino becomes a remote control capable of two-way interaction—the device’s use of an XBEE radio module makes networking easy! Since its creation, the Handuino’s abilities as a programmable remote control have made it an irreplaceable tool. I have already used it to control a number of my robotic creations and it has made debugging serial communication easier than ever before.
To me, the only aspect of the Handuino more appealing than the immediate utility I have found for it is its potential for growth. As a device I designed, soldered, and programmed myself, I find it very exciting to think about the possibilities it holds as I design its successor. With a more compact, comfortable and modular design featuring new sensors and interfaces (including an accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, speakers, small vibrator motors, LED lighting, and others), a 3D-printed Handuino-powered universe isn’t hard to imagine.