Pete Brown Geeks out on .NET Gadgeteer and Netduino

This past week, my friend and fellow Microsoftie, Pete Brown, ran a neat online symposium for the Microsoft Patterns & Practices group. As part of the event, Pete did an hour-long session introducing the .NET Micro Framework, and many of the cool things you can do with the various devices in the NETMF ecosystem, including Netduino, Netduino Go, and .NET Gadgeteer boards like the FEZ Spider. He was even kind enough to do a demo of the Meeblipiator project I put together using his Gadgeteer MIDI module (the demo is at around 45 minutes in). Here’s the video…enjoy!

Continue reading Pete Brown Geeks out on .NET Gadgeteer and Netduino

Grantophone on Windows 8 in NYC

Had to share this…Grant Kot, a cello student at Juilliard who also dabbles in C++, is the author of the fun and popular Grantophone app for Windows Phone. Grant was a special guest at the keynote of our New York City Windows 8 Developer event last week, and showed off his Windows 8 version of Grantophone (which you can get from the Windows Store if you have installed the Windows 8 Consumer Preview). Here’s the video, with Grant performing the Imperial March from Star Wars:

Fun stuff…I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next!

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

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Gadgeteer-powered Robot

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Gadgeteer Servo Control & Windows Phone Client

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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!

Gadgeteer Hello World

Introduction

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

Are you a Gadgeteer?

In a recent post, I mentioned that last week I received a very cool package, the GHI FEZ Spider .NET Gadgeteer Starter Kit. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to take the kit with me to Roanoke, but I did record an unboxing video last week.

The Unboxing

(note to self…need to get a macro lens for my video camera…sorry for the focus issues)

Continue reading Are you a Gadgeteer?

MADExpo Keynote Videos

Anyone who missed this year’s inaugural MADExpo missed a fun show, and one of the best parts was the day 1 Keynote featuring Wintellect‘s Jeff Prosise.

Instead of regaling us with his expertise on Silverlight or other technologies, however, we decided to try something different, so Jeff spoke on his passion for his hobby of building and flying radio-controlled jet aircraft…as in with real jet engines. These babies fly at scale speeds of upwards of 2000 miles per hour, and can cost 10s of thousands of dollars to build. Jeff brought a couple of models to show off, including his 1/6th scale F-16 model (photo by David Giard):

Continue reading MADExpo Keynote Videos

Video: Kinect-enabled MADExpo Session Finder

I’ve been working on a fun and cool project for the Mid Atlantic Developer Expo, which opens NEXT WEEK, namely a Kinect-enabled Session Finder.

The project uses the recently-released Kinect SDK for Windows beta, a custom version of the Session Sorter code from the MADExpo website, hosted in a WebBrowser control within a WPF application. The WPF application is useful since I can use it to capture audio from Kinect and enable speech recognition, as well as to run the app in kiosk mode. Meanwhile, in the background, I’m running the Coding4Fun Mouse Cursor sample that I blogged about earlier today, which captures my gestures and turns them into mouse moves and clicks. Continue reading Video: Kinect-enabled MADExpo Session Finder

New Features in Windows Phone “Mango” – with Video!

I just finished watching the press conference announcing many of the new features that will be coming with the next release of Windows Phone, codenamed Mango, this fall. I have to say that even as a somewhat jaded insider, I am very excited about some of these features, and several of them were a complete surprise (which is a testament to the ability of the Windows Phone team to keep things under wraps). Among the new stuff announced today Continue reading New Features in Windows Phone “Mango” – with Video!