12 | networking and communications
This week was a week of much more successes than in the past few weeks. Thanks to the help of Vernelle, Tiffany and few others, we were able to build the wired bus network, which included learning that my FabISP was indeed still working and that C does not really hate me. I was hoping to use the same bridge board that I milled and stuffed for the asynchronous bus network as a bluetooth node but I kept getting a serial error when trying to upload the sketch. I also got a case of the green moldly circuits, suggesting that there might indeed be fungus amongus, or well, somewhere in my life.

FINAL PROJECT PROGRESS - Touch-screen phone that wirelessly talks to a map of Dhaka

For the second week in a row, I met with a few experts from our class to get a better understanding of what was tractable for my final project in our now narrowing time frame. I originally wanted my touch map to be indeed a touch map, using the bi-directional capacitive power of LEDs. Thanks to Rob and Matt, I was able to do a small test of an LED's capacitive power but did not get great results and quickly learned that the fancy iPad does indeed have a lot of capacitive power in the glass screen, which would be difficult to replicate on acrylic. So instead I focused my energy this week on bluetooth communication between my Android and my Arduino and was able to build a customized Android app to hopefully soon talk to my map.

Amarino, App Inventor, and Arduino

The bridge between Arduino and Android has been a toolkit called Amarino developed by Bonifaz Kaufmann, a former resident of the Hi-Low Tech lab. His Arduino library and Android app are quite powerful esp given that they were designed a few years ago, much before Google's recent venture into the space. Since I also took a Google App Inventor class with Hal Abelson this semester, I thought it'd be interesting to design my own app that uses the Amarino library to talk via Arduino to a processor. The result (I think was promising) and I plan to continue to develop it for my final project.

Light Up Dhaka, Light Up

I was able to prototype this app in App Inventor in probably an hour or two - which is about a fifth of the time I spent milling and stuffing the basic asynchronous bus boards this week.

The Most Wonderful Time

I know that in the midst of finals and final projects, it's easy to lose sight of this festive time of year. So I just wanted to include a picture of my room with the lights all aglow -- it helps to keep me happy and remind me that the experiences that we are having, no matter how stressful, will one day be viewed as one of the great privileges of my lifetime. My final project materials are in the foreground.