Monthly Archives: April 2016

Windows IoT Kit: Further Impressions

After the initial session of completing the setup and then succeeding with the first tutorial, I sat down and played with the other sample projects. (Well…all of them except for the photometer project. All of that wiring looked like a headache to me.) For the most part, the tutorials were very easy to follow, and they did a good job of teaching additional basics about peripheral programming with the Raspberry Pi.

On top of learning that the async and await keywords will become the peanut butter and jelly of the future in C#, I became aware of how easily one can leverage the power of certain namespaces, like System.Speech.Synthesizer. (I still marvel how APIs have become increasingly better over the decades, especially in terms of usage difficulty and general organization. If this standard of being easy has truly become prevalent, I’m now more inclined than ever to try some of Microsoft’s other new bold APIs and frameworks, like Cognitive Services and Bot Builder.)

My only complaint about the projects was that some of their results weren’t accurate. For example, the barometer project reported my sea level to be -50m…and though I would love to party with Aquaman, I’m afraid that isn’t the case. In another example, the RGB project reported a vivid red color as purple, along with other mistaken identities. After looking at a few of the calculations in both projects, everything seems fine…and since the kit was economically appropriate, my guess would be the hardware itself as the cause of any inaccuracies. All in all, though, I enjoyed my time with the kit.

So, feeling a bit more confident with the help of this kit, I think that it’s time to start applying my meager knowledge base towards a Haunted House. So, what should be my first prototype? Since a big part of the general design involves proximity detection, I think that my first step should be the creation of a process on the Raspberry Pi that uses a Bluetooth USB dongle to:

  1. Poll all phones with their Bluetooth receiver opened
  2. Measure their signal strength and then estimate their distance
  3. Report the Device ID and estimated distance to a listening Web service, which will write the info to a database table

At first, such a feat seemed a little daunting…but with a little assistance from Microsoft, embedded savants, and friendly helpers on Instructables, there seems to be a little light at the end of the “spooky” tunnel. 🙂 Hopefully, in terms of attainability, that project will turn out to be a pleasant surprise. I have my fingers crossed.