Jumping on the Internet of Things Bandwagon, finally
Well, I finally gave in a few weeks ago and validated my assumption – I was hooked! With a background in industrial design and a career in technology, it was only a matter of time before I would start experimenting with software AND Internet-connected hardware.
What product and tech obsessed person wouldn’t be thrilled by the potential of connecting everything? The Arduino and Pi platforms are common starting points for this generation’s inventors — those Internet of Things DIY Makers and hardware hobbyists. For me, prototyping with an Arduino seemed closer to how real electronic products are architected, so I put off the Raspberry Pi for a later time.
I began by playing with the Arduino Starter Kit and tutorial sketches (the Arduino name for a computer program). I admit to the inner glee that came from wiring up a breadboard, uploading some code and making LED lights blink in sequence – I had happy 80s flashbacks of K.I.T.T. and Cylons!
But, I was hungry for more, so quickly ordered a few add-on components and advanced “shields”. What could I do with a camera, GPS, data storage, bluetooth and wifi? After a few more sessions, I realized:
- This takes patience and more than a few hours on the weekends.
- Soldering is freaking harder than it looks!
- Oh right, I’m not really a programmer.
That’s OK, I wasn’t deterred. I got better after more practice.
While I felt a little dorky walking around my backyard with laptop in-hand connected via USB to an Arduino, mess of wires and a GPS shield, I located myself in the world with coordinates fed into Google Maps. And, I eventually soldered up a proto-board and programmed a mini War-of-the-Worlds looking digital camera (saving a LOT of selfies in the process…).
Where to go from here?
I have lots of ideas for motion and light sensors, chaining up hardware units to Internet services such as IFTTT and, eventually, building a drone.
As I said, I’m hooked. I’ll definitely have to make more time for my new hobby.