Category Archives: Arduino

Why you should open source your next pet project

After looking into my github account, lot of people used to ask me why I open source my pet projects, especially after looking at my streak at github (my current streak is at 52 days πŸ˜‰ ) the frequency of the question has increased.

I used to come up with an answer by combining these words randomly (passion, show off, free, rebel, linux, anti-Microsoft, license). But today, I realized that there is another (more important) reason why you should open source your (pet) projects.

Your project might have a longer shelf life than your interest in the project and in some cases longer than your life itself.

You might lose interest in the project, but if you have open sourced it, then there might be someone else who will continue to maintain it. But instead if you had just kept it in your hard drive, then it will just become part of the cosmic dust.

Abandoned projects

I have read about many examples where projects are continued to be maintained by other people, when the original creator has lost interest. _why is one famous example. When he suddenly went offline in Aug 2009 people immediately started creating mirrors of his projects and even though he is no more (in the online world) his projects are still being maintained actively.

None of this would have happened if he had not open sourced his code.

Arduino Makefile

Let’s talk about the project that thought me this.

Sometime back, I came across a post which explained how you can program Arduino from command line by using a makefile. I immediately got hooked and started using it when even I was working on Arduino sketches.

Soon I found out a couple of issues and submitted pull requests. Some of my pull requests were accepted and others weren’t. While browsing through the issues and pull requests of the project in github, I found that there were lot of other people who have also contributed various patches to the project. It also seemed that the original author has stopped doing any development or answering pull requests.

I started to consolidate all pull requests and patches from various forks into a common fork and even updated the readme file expressing my desire that one day all these changes would get into the main repo πŸ™‚

Fast forward a couple of months.

Last week, I was surprised to receive an email from the original author, saying that he has lost interest in the project and whether I would be interested in maintaining the project going forward. I happily accepted and he transferred the repo to my account, after I merged all my changes back into the main repo.

None of this would have been possible if he didn’t choose to open source the project initially and also let go the project when he lost interest.

Thanks to Github

Ohh, by the way, I should also mention that some of it was possible only because of github. If github wasn’t there, then it would had been difficult for me to find and consolidate other forks and he also wouldn’t have noticed my fork or the effort that I was spending on the project.

Also, the recent addition of redirects by github made the repo transfer really seamless.

So remember to open source your pet projects by at least uploading them to github. Because you may lose interest in the project some day, but the project might still continue to live long after that.

Happy Open sourcing πŸ˜‰

Posted in Arduino, Random/Personal | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Using WebSockets with Android to control Arduino robots

I just came back from DroidCon 2012 by hasgeek, where I gave a talk about using WebSockets with Android to control Arduino based robots. I talked about WebSockets, how it can be used with Android and then gave a demo that I made using WebSockets, Android and the node.js server which I wrote for jsFoo. The demo allowed anyone from the audience to control an Arduino based robot which I placed in the stage.

I didn’t just talk about making Android and Arduino talk to each other, since I have already covered that in last year’s DroidCon.

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Posted in Android/Java, Arduino, Events/Conferences | Tagged , , , | 18 Comments

Hands on Arduino Workshop

In my last post about my recent project hardwarefun.com, I hinted that I am planning to conduct an Arduino workshop. Now things have got finalized and I will be conducting it on Nov 3rd and 4th.

It is going to be a 2 full day workshop and I will also be providing the components needed for the workshop. You can find the course content, fees structure and the registration process in the workshop page at hardwarefun.

The aim of the workshop is that at the end of two days you should able to have a working Arduino based bot which can autonomously run on its own avoiding obstacles in the path.

Even though I have given lot of talks before, this is going to be the first time I am doing a full 2 day workshop and I am kind of excited πŸ™‚ Also if you have any feedback or questions then feel to contact me by leaving a comment below.

Posted in Arduino | Tagged , | 5 Comments

Introducing HardwareFun.com

Sometime back, I told you guys about a secret project which I have been working on and now it’s time to reveal it πŸ˜‰ So ladies and gentlemen I introduce you to my new pet project HardwareFun.com.

So what is this project about?

Regular readers of my blog would have noticed that I have started playing around with hardware (especially Arduino) for quite sometime now and I really enjoy doing it. I used to talk about it at various events and realized that lot of people are interested in doing it as a hobby but don’t know where to start, especially if they are not from electronics background.

The number of emails that I used to get from people asking me how I got started doing hardware programming increased over the period of time, especially after Raspberry Pi became famous. This made me to think about ways to share my knowledge about hardware programming, which I have learned over a period of time, so that it will help people who are also interested to get into hardware programming like me. Also it will give me a personal satisfaction of giving something back to the world of web from where I have learned pretty much everything.

.. and that’s how HardwareFun.com was born πŸ™‚

I am planning to write about project and libraries that I am working on, tutorials to get you started with hardware programming, about shields and other hardware that I have used and of course about my experiences programming them etc. If enough people are interested I might even start conducting workshops or other events to help people get started with hardware programming. So lot of existing stuff to come, stay tuned πŸ˜‰

I have already started posting a couple of tutorials and articles on the site so do check it out and let me know if you have any feedback.

Posted in Arduino | Tagged , , | 10 Comments

Board Hackthon

Last weekend, a couple of us from computer club (read hardware enthusiasts) met together to discuss about the different development boards available and also to learn from each other.

Boards

The following are the list of development boards that we discussed during the hackthon.

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Posted in Arduino, Events/Conferences | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Building Robots using Android and Arduino in Google Devfestx

I just came back from Google Devfestx which happened in Bangalore today. The event was very well organized and I gave a talk on building robots using Android and Arduino. This is a slightly modified version of the talk which I gave at Droidcon. I have added some additional information, especially about NFC and communicating Audio Jacket.

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Posted in Android/Java, Arduino, Events/Conferences | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Introduction to Hardware hacking and Arduino

I just came from Ayana 2012 where I gave a talk about hardware hacking using Arduino.

About Ayana 2012

Ayana is a two day event conducted by PES IT. It starts with tech talks on the first day followed by 24 hour hackthon, similar to Yahoo Open hackdays.

Introduction to hardware hacking using Arduino

In my talk, I first talked about why a software hacker should look into hardware hacking. I then followed it by a brief introduction to Arduino, using the famous Blink program.

After that I was talking about different ways by which you can make Arduino talk to Internet and mobile phones like Android.

In the end I also gave out some hack ideas for the participants.

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Posted in Arduino, Events/Conferences | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Buying Arduino in Bangalore

After seeing my talks and projects on Arduino lot of people keep asking me the same Question. Where do buy Arduino or other electronic components in Bangalore?

Instead of replying to them individually, I thought I would post about it here, so that it is useful for others as well.

Okay, to buy Arduino in Bangalore you have two options, either buy them offline (in a brick and motar shop) or buy them online.

Buying electronic components in Bangalore

In general you can find most of the electronic components that you need for your hobbyist projects in SP road in Bangalore. It is similar to Richee Street in Chennai. (I guess every city has a similar a similar road)

For people who are new to Bangalore, I have embedded a map of the place, which I am talking about below.


View Larger Map

Shops that sell Arduino in Bangalore

In SP road, I know the following shops that sell Arduino. There could be others as well, but these are the ones that I have personally bought Arduino from.

  • NSK Electronics (price Rs. 1300, checked on 24-March-2012)
  • Vishal Electronics (price Rs. 1300, checked on 24-March-2012)

NSK Electronics also sells Arduino clones for a much cheaper price. Once thing to keep in mind is that, these Arduinos don’t come with the USB cable. You have to buy them separately. Don’t forget to buy them as well. Last time I checked the price was around Rs 20.

Buying Arduino Online in India

If you are not in Bangalore or if you prefer to buy them online then you can buy them from one of the below shops.

  • rhydolabz.com – I bought my first Arduino from them, way back in 2010
  • 9circuits.com – They are slightly costly, but they have Arduino ADK boards as well.
  • tenettech.com – They have lot of good tutorials and also have a clone as well.

Buying USB Host shield

I have not seen any shop selling USB Host Shield in Bangalore so far. The only option is to buy them online from Circuits@home

If you find a better option, then let me know in the comments below and I will add them to the article. Till then, best luck with your Arduino πŸ™‚

Posted in Arduino | Tagged , | 44 Comments

Building Robots using Arduino and Android at DroidCon

I just came back from yet another amazing event by HasGeek. This time it is DroidCon.

DroidCon

DroidCon is a developer conference and is part of world’s largest series of Android conferences. It happened at Bangalore on 18th and 19th of November.

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Posted in Android/Java, Arduino, Events/Conferences | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Programmable watch – My new Geek toy

I have added a new addition to my existing list of geek toys. This time it the programmable watch ez430 by Texas instruments.EZ430-Chronos

Yes you heard it right; it is a watch which you can (re)program πŸ˜‰

Features

The following are some of its features

  • MSP430 with integrated <1GHz wireless transceiver
  • On-board 3-axis accelerometer
  • Pressure sensor
  • Temperature sensor
  • Battery voltage sensor
  • 96-Segment LCD display driven directly by CC430
  • Includes an eZ430 USB emulator that connects the Chronos to a PC for real-time, in-system programming and debugging
  • Can be paired wirelessly with other RF based devices
  • And of course you can see time as well πŸ˜‰

Video

Here is a video introducing the watch by Texas Instruments

I am currently working on a couple of ideas like integrating this watch with Arduino etc. So stay tuned. Meanwhile if you see me waving hands in the air, look carefully, I might be controlling the nearby devices using gestures πŸ˜‰

Posted in Arduino | Tagged , , | 9 Comments