Using WebSocket with PIC microcontrollers

[Blaise Jarrett] has been grinding away to get the WebSocket protocol to play nicely with PIC microcontrollers. Here he’s using the PIC 18F4620 along with a Roving Networks RN-XV WiFi module to get the device on the network. He had started with a smaller processor but ran into some RAM restrictions so keep that in mind when choosing your hardware.

This project was spawned after seeing the mBed feature a few days back which combined that board along with a WebSocket library and HTML5 to pull off some pretty amazing stuff. [Blaise] doesn’t have quite as much polish on the web client yet, but he has recreated the data transfer method and improved on that project by moving to the newer version 13 of WebSockets. The protocol is kind of a moving target as it is still in the process of standardization.

The backend is a server called AutoBahn which is written in python. It comes along with client-side web server examples which gave him a chance to get up and running quickly. From there he got down to work with the WebSocket communications. They’re a set of strings that look very much like HTML headers. He outlines each command and some of the hangups one might run into with implementation. After reading what it takes to get this going it seems less complicated than we thought, but it’s obvious why you’ll need a healthy chunk of RAM to pull it off.

Bluetooth Nixie driver lets you go almost-wireless

[Bob Coggeshall] has a nice Nixie tube driver board coming down the pipes. It’s not quite ready yet but you can see by the image above, it offers something that isn’t always easy to find; control for B7971 tubes which can display the full spectrum of alpha-numeric characters. This board is not limited to just one type of tube and it can be chained together with other boards to create longer displays. But perhaps the best development is the addition of a Bluetooth module. [Bob] has incorporated a Roving Networks RN-41 Bluetooth module which takes care of all aspects of the wireless protocol. This way the display is not tethered to a computer, or limited to data stored on a chip. We can’t really say that it’s wireless though, as we’d assume a set of these big tubes would rip through batteries pretty quickly. Keep an eye on this project, it will be open source once the bugs are worked out and [Bob] will also sell fully assembled and tested boards for those who choose not to roll their own.

We wonder if it would be easy to pair this with your phone and use it to display incoming call information?