Building an IoT Prototyping Platform – Part II

Here is the link to part one of this series, you might want to start there.

Based on the before stated principles and requirements for the prototyping platform I came up with the following architecture:

On the left you see the web server where the HTML of the Prototyping tool will be stored. On the right, the different hardware components (sensors and actuators, e.g. buttons, rotary encoders, LEDs) are connected to ESP8266 microcontrollers. In broad terms, ESPs are similar to Arduinos but also offer WiFi connectivity for a low price. In between sits a server to broker and translate the information coming from both sides.

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No longer AFK

Hey, long time no hear. I hope you are still around and haven’t given up on me. The last two months were quite busy, so I didn’t find the time to write. Sorry for that.

But I have a long list of things I want to tell you. This post will be a short update on the things that have kept my attention.

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The Crumbling Nerd Barrier of Physical Prototyping

When I tell people that I build physical prototypes (a.k.a things with knobs, displays and wires, which demonstrate how physical user interfaces of products that are going to get built will work) they usually smile, often sadly, and say: „Yes, but that’s easy for you, since you are such a nerd.“

That’s of course a grand misconception. Of me (probably) and of the general situation as a whole. People still believe that extensive programming and electrical engineering skills are needed, but that is no longer true. The nerd barrier has been torn down in quite a few places.

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Blogging Aspirations vs. Reality

The avid and attentive reader of this blog might have noticed another (silent) relaunch of my blog – the giveaway was the change of design.

This is the result of aspirations meeting reality. As I mentioned before, I wanted to use a small and lightweight engine for this blog and say goodbye to the behemoth called WordPress. Back in September I picked Kirby, since it ticked all the boxes. I bought a license and a decent theme, and loved the fact that I could now write my posts in markup and simply upload the files to the server.

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Detours with Arduino Code

“Umwege erhöhen die Ortskenntnis” (detours expand local knowledge) was a common saying of my philosophy professor after he went on a tangent during class.

I love the saying and I know the feeling pretty well – it frequently happens to me when I start to get interested in a topic. I start to research something, then I notice another interesting aspect, then another, and then another, and then… I guess you can see a pattern there. It’s similar to the process Dory experiences when she is trying to do something in Finding Nemo.

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Alexa and me

About four months ago Alexa moved in with me. She’s a quiet but witty flatmate. She connected with my WiFi speaker, immediately. Yes, she is a real tech geek. Soon she took over music and radio management for my place.

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