Arduino, PHP, LCDs, XBees: Tactical Texting in Public Spaces

While the adventure in working on this project began months ago, I’ve finally sorted through the mess of files I made and put it all together in a nice handy zip folder. Using Arduinos, XBees, LCDs, and PHP, this project was challenging from a technical stand-point, but I think the project is now at a place where it can act as a foundation for a number of other projects I’m hoping to take on.

While the most-recent installation of this project was on view as part of SRSI, I’m already looking at the Arduino-TVOut library dreaming of what to do next.

Certainly, it’s no surprise that I really, really like working with text. I think there’s something about text that allows an accessibility to the work that isn’t always possible with an¬†exclusively¬†image-based presentation. So, while I had some loftier ambitious at the start of this project, it was actually the process of running into those walls that helped me to move this project into something that is more flexible and expansive (in the long-run).

I think there’s a lot of strong potential for this project — it’s possible for these to be battery-operated (though in my tests, you won’t get a hugely long run out of them), and even if you are tethered to a wall-based power source, you can still install these in a variety of situations. Being able to dynamically insert messages into public space is very fun and as this project continues to develop, it could provide the groundwork for a lot of new tactical activities.

Should you like to take on a similar project, I’ll detail the hardware/software requirements, code, and some general details below…

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XBees, Arduinos, Serial Data

I made some huge progress over the last week or so on this ongoing Arduino / LCD project — it’s finally gone wireless!

With some more silly mistakes behind me, I’m finally getting a better handle on how to break down the problems I run into and solve them a lot faster. I remember back in February, it seemed as though it was going to be impossible to actually get this wireless part happening, so I’m super relieved to know it’s at least partly working.

Also, there have been people asking for the code used in this project (in terms of PHP and Arduino scripts), I will upload them! I just haven’t had the time to go through and appropriately clean them up and comment them, so I’m not sure how useful they would be at this point. I just wanted to note that I will indeed be doing that soon though!

Lots of photos of wireless glory ahead…

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XBees + Arduino

Although it’s been a while since I last worked on this project, things are continuing to move along. I finally assembled the Ladyada XBee adapters and successfully passed a message between the two XBees.

So, I’m not the best solderer and the first adapter I worked on suffered from an overusing tip on my soldering iron, which made heating up the solder with the tip of the iron next to impossible. There were also some issues (that remain unresolved) in terms of configuring the XBees, but thankfully that step seems to be unnecessary (at this point anyways).

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