Spark Core enabled Compressed Air Rocket Launcher

Earlier this month some teammates and I were lucky enough to participate in TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in San Francisco

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Our team project was called “Notifly” and was an online social media aggregation and activation platform.  In the end, we used it to watch a twitter hashtag, and launch a compressed air rocket when a threshold was crossed! We used a Spark Core from Spark.with a Relay Shield to activiate the rocket via a REST API!  Super cool Here’s a pic of everything assembled. 

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Anyhow, if you would like to build your own, you can find the instructions for doing so on github at http://github.com/dxdisrupt/rocket

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Dollar Store Food Containers Make Great Project Enclosures…

At the end of summer when my kids were in need of school supplies, we ended up passing through the local dollar store to find a few things. Right next to the pencil boxes and binders were plastic food containers for the kids to bring lunches and snacks to school in.  As soon as I saw them, I realized they would make fantastic project enclosures!  Here is the dollar sandwich container housing a Spark Core and a Relay Shield for my Compressed Air Rocket Launcher (I didn’t have a 9V battery clip on me when I put this together so the pink bubble wrap is there to keep the battery from knocking around):

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The even smaller “snack” size boxes came in packs of three for $1.  Each one is a perfect (well, maybe a little tight) enclosure for an Arduino Uno with a a Shield and a 9V battery:

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The one thing you do need to look out for is that sometimes the plastic can crack when you are drilling holes, so take your time, go slow.  And if you end up breaking one, it was only a buck!

Also, I went back just the other week, and the “back-to-school” stock has been pulled and replaced with Halloween items.  I couldn’t find these containers in my local dollar stores any more. There were others, but I didn’t like them as well.  However with some searching, I was able to find some online on dollartree.com

Just ordered my Edison!

I’ve been having a ton of fun with my Intel Galileo Blog Posts, but I have been anxiously awaiting the Intel Edison, a much smaller, but still “arduino compatible” development board.  On September 9, at the Intel Developer Forum (IDF) Intel announced the Edison, and showed off a lot of cool things you can do with it.

I just jumped on SparkFun and ordered both the Edison with the Arduino Breakout Kit as well as the Edison with the Mini Breakout Kit and some of the SparkFun “Blocks”.  Now I just have to wait 6-8 weeks to get them (fingers drumming on table).

Intel® Edison and Arduino Breakout Kit

Shutting Down Your Intel Galileo running Windows

UPDATED ON 09/10/2014 – Added remote shutdown info

On the “Setting up your Galileo” page, at the very bottom, there is a strong recommendation to shutdown your Intel Galileo running Windows.  The promise is that if you properly shutdown the Galileo, as opposed to just pulling the power cord, or hitting the “Reboot” button, you will experience shorter boot times.  I can confirm this personally after having rebooted my Galileo’s repeatedly, using all of the methods, over the past few days.  If you can connect to your Galileo via Telnet, and shut it down formally, it will boot much quicker next time. 

Here is a repeat for the instructions from the “Setting up your Galileo” page:

Shutting down the Galileo

Before you unplug the power from the Galileo, it is advisable to gracefully shut it down. To do this:

  1. Telnet to the Galileo
  2. Enter the following command to shutdown:
    shutdown /s /t 0

After the microSD activity LED stops blinking, you may unplug the Galileo.

NOTE:

If you do not shut the Galileo down, the next boot will take much longer. During this time, Windows will run a check disk on the SD card to verify the integrity of the file system. Please allow this to finish.

Shutting down the Galileo REMOTELY

This morning, I started to think about shutting it down remotely.  Not a big deal.  Windows admin do remote shutdowns all the time, and it is no different with the galileo.  You just need to authenticate against the galileo before you run the shutdown command against it.  I created a batch file called “bouncegalileo.cmd” that let’s me do that easily.  Here are the contents of the batch fi8le:

@ECHO OFF
REM
REM USAGE: bouncegalileo.cmd <galileoname>
REM Where <galileoname> is the host name of your galileo
REM
REM First, remove any existing connections to the galileo
net use \\%1 /del
REM Now, authenticate against the galileo as the Administrator
net use \\%1 /user:Administrator
REM Then use the shutdown command to restart the galileo immediately
REM The /r causes the galileo to RESTART.  Use /s to SHUTDOWN
shutdown /m \\%1 /r /t 0

Wrap that up in a batch file (I called mine “bouncegalileo.cmd”) and then the call to it would look something like this:

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You can monitor your Galileo’s status in the “GalileoWatcher” .  It should take minute or so to come back on line.

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Getting Started with Windows on the Intel Galileo (Gen 1)

This is the second video in my Intel Galileo Series.  In this video, I show you how to get the free version of Windows from the Windows Developer Program for IoT running on your Intel Galileo Gen 1 board.

Here are some handy links for this video:

You can get the source files for the entire series from:
http://aka.ms/IoTSource

Or download a .zip file with the latest version of the files from:
http://aka.ms/IoTZip

And finally, watch all the other videos here:
http://aka.ms/IoTVids

Getting Started with the Intel Galileo (Gen 1)

If you watched the //BUILD Day 1 keynote back in April, you may have seen the Intel Galileo board in action driving a gigantic keyboard (02h:03m:15s).  While I was watching it, I opened another browser and ordered a Galileo for myself.  It took me a long time to get my Galileo (almost four months, due to backorders), but they are readily available now, from a number of suppliers for somewhere between $50-$80 USD. 

Microsoft has even released a version of Windows that you can install on the Intel Galileo Gen 1 boards through the “Windows Developer Program for IoT".  In subsequent videos and blog posts I’ll show you how to do just that, but I thought I’d get started with a 101 introduction to the Intel Galileo and working with it as it ships from Intel.

So without any further ado, here is the video:

Here are some handy links:

Grab a copy of my slides: http://1drv.ms/1wyqU4S

Intel Maker community: http://maker.intel.com

Intel Galileo Software Downloads:  https://communities.intel.com/docs/DOC-22226

Hello EduCake and 86Duino!

My good friend and Windows Embedded MVP Samuel Phung with ICOP introduced me recently to the 86Duino project.  Then he showed me an ultra cool device, the EduCake!

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I knew the minute I saw it, I had to have it!  The thing only costs appx $49US! And even though It’s only about 3”x3”x1” it still packs a punch.  It has a Vortex86ex 32bit x86 processor, so it is capable of running full operating systems like DOS, Windows, Linux, as well as 32bit RTOSes.

But what is super cool is that it is fully Arduino compatible.  From a firmware, programming, and hardware perspective.  That means that you can plug Arduino compatible shields as well as run Arduino code on this device out of the box.   You can see all the nice proto board connections on top of the box in the picture above!

Ok, so that’s neat.  Arduino compatibility on an x86 processor.  But, if you take a look at these pics, you can see it isn’t short on connectivity options either:

EduCakeFront
2 USB Ports, Audio In/Out, SD Card…

EduCakeBack
Ethernet, COM Port, and Micro USB Power.

After Terry Myerson and Joe Belifiore’s Intel Gallileo (and yes, I ordered one of those too) demo during their April 2014 //BUILD Keynote (at about 02:03:15), and all of the buzz around “The Internet of Things”, convenient packages like the EduCake give developers unprecedented access to developing software for embedded systems and custom hardware devices using a variety of operating systems and programming languages!

Sam and ICOP are working to make purchasing the EduCake and other 86Duino products easier for customers in the US, but I was able to order one (with surprisingly fast delivery from Taiwan, it only took two days) from http://shop.dmp.com.tw/INT/products/24 .  At approximately $49US (price varies with the exchange rate), this was a steal!  I can’t wait to start eating my EduCake!