Making Things Talk

Looking back, I am surprised at how electronics has quietly advanced to the point where we can buy small programmable computers on chips for a dollar or two.  These are microcontrollers of course, and in my lab we are working on programming them to handle the tedious tasks in our robotics projects.

At, I stumbled on this gem of a book titled “Making Things Talk

It is packed with 26 electronics projects that involve getting these tiny computers to talk to each other and the internet over both wired and wireless connections.  I have ordered all the requisite parts, and when purchased, they amount to around $280.  I am looking forward to summer vacation when I get to go through each of these projects one-by-one:

  1. Making a computer “mouse” out of a stuffed animal monkey and flex sensors.
  2. Making the monkey wireless
  3. Negotiating in Bluetooth with the BlueSMiRF module
  4. Setting up a networked webcam
  5. Connecting a microcontroller to the internet without a computer
  6. Networked Air Quality Meter
  7. Networked Games
  8. Infrared Communication
  9. Radio Communication
  10. Duplex Radio Communication
  11. Bluetooth Communication
  12. Broadcasting Messaging
  13. Directed Messaging
  14. Infrared Rangefinding
  15. Ultrasonic Rangefinding
  16. Reading Signal Strength with XBee Radios
  17. Reading Signal Strength with Bluetooth Radios
  18. Reading the GPS Serial Protocol
  19. Heading with a Digital Compass
  20. Attitude with an Accelerometer
  21. Color Recognition with a Webcam
  22. 2D Barcode Recognition with a Webcam
  23. Reading RFID Tags
  24. RFID and Home Automation
  25. IP Geocoding
  26. Email from RFID

OK, I wont be making each of these.  I will get an idea halfway through and take off and work on that.  But it should be fun!

Kevin Knuth
Albany NY