What Can You Do with .NET Gadgeteer?

A better question might be…what CAN’T you do?

So, for folks who might have missed my earlier posts, here are a few posts that provide background on .NET Gadgeteer:

Are you a Gadgeteer?

Gadgeteer Hello World

Great Sites and Blogs for Learning about .NET Gadgeteer

Introducing Devhammer’s Garage

In today’s post, I want to show some examples of the cool stuff folks are doing with .NET Gadgeteer. One great place to find out about projects is the .NET Gadgeteer Showcase. There are currently 20 projects in the showcase, which run from simple demos to tutorials.

Some of my favorites include:

Gadgeteer Binary Clock


Gadgeteer-powered Robot


Gadgeteer Servo Control & Windows Phone Client


The cool thing about Gadgeteer is the speed with which you can come up with and execute on your ideas. With the right modules in hand (or a breadboard), you can build something fun or practical, prove out the concept, and then pull it all apart again and build something else.

The current project I’ve been working on is controlling a Syma S107 infrared remote control helicopter using my Gadgeteer board. I started on this several months ago, with a very simple setup that could record a stream of IR commands and replay them. So I could basically get the copter to launch and land (or perhaps crash), but not much more. You can see an example in Part 6 of the video series of myself and Pete Brown talking Gadgeteer at CMAP Code Camp.

I’m planning a series of blog posts about the development of the helicopter controller, but the TL;DR version is that I now have a full replacement controller for my helicopter, built completely with .NET Gadgeteer. The only part that didn’t exist as a module was the infrared emitter, which I ended up designing myself. Here’s the result:

Syma S107 Remote Control with .NET Gadgeteer from G. Andrew Duthie on Vimeo.

There are more videos on my Devhammer Demos channel on Vimeo.

Hopefully, some of the projects you’ve seen here give you an idea of the broad flexibility of the .NET Gadgeteer platform. As I said earlier, I’ll be sharing more details on my helicopter project in future posts, so stop by again soon!

A Knockout in Charlottesville

Just saw the agenda for the next meeting of the Charlottesville .NET User Group, which is tomorrow night (Feb. 16th), and it looks awesome. The title is Knockout.js, MVC with Style & .Net 4.5. They’re doing a triple-header featuring:

  • Joel Cochran talking about the Knockout.js MVVM library for JavaScript
  • Kristy Moon talking about MVC with Style
  • Stuart Leitch talking about async features in VB and C# (and a bit on Windows 8)

That’s quite a lineup, and I’m wishing I could make it for the meeting (Dane Morgridge and I will be recording a new episode of the Community Megaphone Podcast that evening), but if you’re available, I would strongly suggest making it out for this meeting.

image_2And a bit of speaker trivia…Kristy Moon, who was one of the wonderful volunteers for last year’s inaugural MADExpo conference, volunteered her talents this year to give our website a fresh new look for MADExpo 2012. Personally, I think it looks great.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from three of the most talented folks I know in the Mid-Atlantic!

Charlottesville .NET meets a the McIntire School of Commerce at UVA. You can find a nice map of the location on the Charlottesville .NET UG website.

Dave Ward’s Advice to Programmers

In a nutshell…“write about programming.”

blanknotebook_2Longer version (the quote comes from an interview Dave did with The Code Project):

What advice would you offer to an up-and-coming programmer?

Write about programming. Start a blog, answer questions on The Code Project or Stack Overflow, or whatever else suits you, but find some way to write about programming.

I can’t count how many times I began writing about something I thought I knew thoroughly, only to find that I had to fill in several important gaps in my knowledge to write about it competently. Just as important, you have to learn topics more comprehensively to distill and teach them in simple terms. The combination of writing about programming and making that writing as clear and simple as you can is a powerful exercise.”

Continue reading Dave Ward’s Advice to Programmers

A new Gadgeteer blog – VB Magic

Well, so the blog isn’t only about Gadgeteer, but I love the title, and the fact that his most recent post shows the beginnings of an RPG (open source, no less) running on the FEZ Spider Gadgeteer board, is Awesome in my book. A definite Critical Hit.


I love Gadgeteer, and I love RPGs, so it’s a great combo in my book. He’s also got some good posts on Windows Azure as well, so don’t just stop at the Gadgeteer posts…lots to learn here.

Gadgeteer Hello World


Some time ago, I posted an unboxing video for something new, my FEZ Spider .NET Gadgeteer starter kit. Since then, I’ve been busy with both my day job, and spending a lot of my “free” time playing with my Gadgeteer stuff, learning about breadboarding, and generally diving head-first into the world of electronics hardware and microcontrollers.

At first, working in this world was quite intimidating, and I felt almost completely lost. I plugged my first board into my computer with the LCD screen hooked up, and all it showed was some debug information. OK. Where do I go from here, I asked myself?

To help other folks who might be in the same boat (whether you’re a software geek just jumping into Gadgeteer, or someone experienced with other electronics work, but not familiar with Gadgeteer), I’m going to start posting some blog/video posts walking you through the basics of working with .NET Gadgeteer. Some of this information (such as breadboarding, for example, which I’ll cover in a future post) may be applicable to other microcontroller environments, while some will be Gadgeteer-specific.

In this post, I’m going to take you from receiving a .NET Gadgeteer mainboard to the “Hello, World” of embedded electronics, which is flashing an LED.

Continue reading Gadgeteer Hello World

MADExpo 2012 Call for Speakers is Open!

MADExpo_2Last year, it was my privilege to be a part of the team that brought a new conference to the Mid-Atlantic, the Mid-Atlantic Developer Expo (or MADExpo for short). The conference was born of many conversations and discussions in the community from folks wanting to do something a little bigger and bolder than some of the usual events we were used to. So I, Steve Bodnar, Steve Presley, Kevin Griffin, Sara Faatz. Kevin Hazzard, Pete Brown, Rich Dudley, and a team of volunteers planned and executed the first event last summer.

Why We Did It

Our goal was to create a fun and informative conference with some unique aspects. We included a full-day kids conference called MadKidz, run by Kevin Hazzard (with help from his family), which was a big hit. We included a dedicated room for hardware and NUI demonstrations, featuring a local FIRST robotics team, Chiptunes demo, Kinect and Surface demonstrations, the founder of Secret Labs, maker of Netduino, and all the geeky toys Pete Brown could pack into one table.

We had a keynote by Jeff Prosise, a Wintellect co-founder, on his passion for radio controlled flying, including a 1/6th-scale F-16 onstage. We brought folks to one of the finest facilities on the east coast, the Hampton Roads Convention Center, in the heart of Virginia’s Tidewater, a short drive from the beach, theme parks, and all the history you could want for a summer vacation. And with the assistance of great sponsors, we kept it affordable enough that just about anyone could come.

And now, it’s time to do it all over again.

Continue reading MADExpo 2012 Call for Speakers is Open!