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Dare To Dream Different - status looking good

My "DareTo Dream Different" project progresses according to my plan and it looks not bad, if I may say so myself. I have a working prototype, where I have tested most of my ideas to be part of the prototype. I now know that my original idea can be build.  I have taken a few pictures which shows some of the additional hardware I'm using in my project. It is all going to be connected to my Tahoe-II development board. If you don't recognize the parts, then I can tell you that you can see a PIR movement sensor (detects infrared waves), an MP3 player module with a USB memory stick (which holds the MP3 files) and last there is a small construction of some electronics components. I'm not sure you can see that it is a loudspeaker in the background. These are not all of the parts for my prototype, but now you can start guessing on what it is going to be. You should not be able to guess it only from seeing these pictures. More pictures will follow later. Also I expect to …

Adding a hardware button keypad to the AMI board

One of the things you notice when you receive the AMI board, is that there are no hardware buttons on the board.  This article shows you how to connect hardware buttons so you can get started testing all the sample WPF applications that use the navigation buttons and of course write your own programs. Please note that AUG Elektronik already have a nice looking ready made solution as an add-on board for the AMI. This add-on board have a number of extra features and you can read about it here.  If you feel like making your own simple keypad, then keep reading.  AMI board The AMI board from the Austrian company AUG Elektronik, is in my opinion more than just a prototyping/development board like you have seen from other vendors. The board is ready to be used and incorporated in your own products.    When you develop software for this board, you will most definitely need a hardware keypad with a basic set of buttons, like the up/down/left/right/select buttons. But you have to add this you…

HACS - House Access Control System with fun doorbell

This is the video presentation I submitted for round 2 of the Microsoft "Dare To Dream Different" competition.  The main functions of the system are:  Guard dog barks when guests arrive at the door. Activated by movement detected by a PIR sensor.Doorbell playing different individual tunes, stored as MP3 files on USB memory stick. Using VMUSIC2 MP3 player module.Door access control with electronic door lock and door open/close sensor.Door access can be controlled remote by sending SMS to the system from a mobile phone. Using a GSM modem.Door alarms are sent as SMS to predefined mobile phone number. Guest can write a SMS message which is sent to a predefined mobile phone number. Unfortunately some parts of the video is a little dark, but I hope that you can see it anyway.

Controlling Servo Motors with .NET MicroFramework

This post illustrates how you can control Servo Motors from .NET MicroFramework using only simple output pins and C# code.  I have this idea of making a walking robot, so in order to test the basic servo control from .NET MicroFramework, I have used 2 servo motors and built a leg. Each Servo motor controls a joint in a leg. In my first test I have used the GHI USBizi development board, but no special hardware has been used, only simple GPIO pins. I wanted to use the built-in PWM feature of the GHI board, but the program locked up when I initialized the PWM feature! I don't know if this is an error in the GHI firmware or what, but instead of investigating this further I made my own Servo control class in C#, which implements the PWM control. 
Update 2015. The code running in the video, is as follows: using System; using Microsoft.SPOT; using Microsoft.SPOT.Hardware; using System.Threading; namespace PFJ.NETMF.Hardware.Motor { public class Servo { OutputPort servoPor…

Netduino - New boards in town!

Just in case you haven't already seen it, there is a number of new .NET MicroFramework 4.1 devices in town, 3 to be exact, - the "Netduino".  The company Secret Labs have made these nice boards of which 2 are Arduino hardware compatible (it can use many of the same "Arduino shields" (plugin interface boards) - some may need minor modifications to the signal levels!) and one is "Basic Stamp 2" compatible..  The Netduino comes in several flavours - all based on the same Atmel 32-bit ARM7 chip AT91SAM7X512 - StandardPlus and Mini. As of the date of writing this, only the Netduino standard board is available for purchase, but the other 2 will also be available soon, according to Secret Labs.  Like the Arduino concept, the Netduino is also Open Source. This means that you can get hardware schematics, board design files and software and reuse it for your own purpose :-)   Standard and Plus are Arduino pin compatible development boards, where the Mini is …

Distance measurement with ultrasonic sensor

Introduction It is very easy to use a .NET Micro Framework device to measure physical short range distance using a ultrasound range finder module. This article describes a hardware module and the software to make it work in a .NET microframework program. The module uses only 2 digital IO pins. You can use any MF device for this, but I have used the NetduinoMini in my project.  The module here can measure distance in the range of 3-450cm with a precision of around 4mm. I have written a .NET class that wraps the module in easy to use C# code. The code is free to use for you. Ultrasound module It is of course possible to build your own module from scratch but it is easier and also cheaper to use a ready made module. I looked at Ebay, and found several candidates which are dirt cheap, and chose the "DYP-ME007" module, which I orderedAll it takes to use this is +5V power and 2 digital IOs from a microcontroller, 1 output and 1 input. This particular module has a trigger input an…