The basics of controlling an Arduino with PHP

You can easily add Internet-based control for your Arduino if it is close enough to your server to be connected via USB. This tutorial will give the basics you need to get it working.

The gist of this method involves a webpage that includes PHP elements. When one of those elements is manipulated, a command is sent via serial connection to the Arduino which then reacts based on what it received. This example uses an Ubuntu box that is running an Apache server. The Arduino sketch sets up the serial connection and then listens for incoming traffic. Whenever it receives a non-zero character an LED will blink. On the server side of things you’ll need to make sure that the system user that runs Apache (www-data) has permission to write to a serial port.

This base example may seem extremely simple, but there’s no end to what you can build on top of it. Different PHP events can be added to push new commands over the serial connection with matching test conditions added to the sketch.

[Thanks Jarryd]

TI Evalbot development under Linux

We have some beefs about how Texas Instruments does things, the biggest of which is their lack of support for development under Linux operating systems. But if they build it, someone will try to get Linux involved in one form or another. This time around, [BLuRry] put together a guide to developing for the Evalbot under Linux. He got a shove in the right direction from the code package that went along with that nunchuck-controlled Evalbot. Picking apart that example to the bare essentials he wrote up the process of setting up the cross-compiling toolchain in a virtual machine so as not to clutter your system. From there he details how to set up and use Eclipse when starting a new project. What what did he choose for a Hello World experience? Well a plain “Hello World” was first but right on its heels is the “Hello Hack-A-Day” seen above. So if you’ve got one of these on hand get out there and start coding for it.

Open Source Your Rave with OpenLase

Without a doubt, Laser Projectors are a great way to project large, bright images on any surface you can imagine. With a high enough quality projector and software package, excellent images and visualizations can be displayed in real time. [marcan], of the openkinect project, decided that there were not any open source laser projection packages out there that suited his wants or needs, so logically he decided to write his own. Because home-made laser projectors often use the audio out port of a PC, building the framework on top of the JACK unix sound software to control the hardware made perfect sense. OpenLase includes plugins for audio visualizations, 2D and 3D gaming, as well as converting video streams into laser format in real time.

Be sure to check out the Chaos Communication Congress presentation [marcan] gave after the break, as well as all the extra demo videos on his website.

Continue reading “Open Source Your Rave with OpenLase”

Turning a one-armed-bandit into web slots

[Kyle Kroskey] just finished his first Arduino project, adding web control to a slot machine. He started with an IGT S+ model which were extremely popular in Vegas and Atlantic City casinos for years, but are now being replaced with more modern versions. His grand idea was to modify the machine so that it can be controlled from a PC, then unleash a live stream so that the Internets can play.

This turned out not to be too hard, there’s just a few controls he patched the Arduino into; the button for maxing out the wager amount, and sensors that measure coin inserts and payouts. In order to keep the peace he disconnected the speaker but rerouted the audio into a PC so that it can be played over the streaming feed. This make sure it’s quiet in the room without sacrificing the online fun. The PC is running Ubuntu and controls the video feed, a screen detailing jackpot data above the machine, and facilitates passing webpage player requests to the Arduino for machine control.

For another fun slot machine hack, check out this gaming device turned bartender.

Building Linux images for ARM architectures

Want to try your hand at building a Linux package for an embedded device? [SnowBot] decided to give it a try and set out to build Ubuntu for a GumStix. The single-board computer will cost you about $150 to get started, plus a way to connect to the device’s serial port. But once you’ve got your hands on it there is a lot of power in a tiny package.

He’s using the RootStock package to assist in the build. This is a suite of tools that generates the root file system that can be loaded onto an SD card for use with the Gumstix. It’s not quite building from the ground up, but there’s already enough hoops to jump through that this package is a welcomed shortcut.

Already rolling your own Linux packages for embedded hardware? We want to hear about it.

Nexus one gets Linux

Considering how hackable the Nexus One is already, we can only imagine a whole new host of interesting things thanks to Ubuntu running on the device. [Max Lee] set his heart out on getting not just Ubuntu on the Nexus One, but also Debian, and he wrote a perfect install guide to help out those wanting to give it a shot.

He cheated a little bit by having Ubuntu run in the background while the X11 interface is simply VNCed, but he still did an awesome job with plenty of pictures and details to help you achieve Ubuntu on your Nexus One.

Ubuntu on the ClarionMIND MID

[DeadHP1] has been rolling and optimizing his own Ubuntu distributions for the ClarionMIND. He calls his work Mindbuntu and he’s squeezing out quite a bit of performance from the mobile Internet device. The video is running at 800×400, as well as wireless, sound, Google Earth with GPS support, and even compiz. Install the image using unetbootin to place it on a thumb drive and you’ll have Ubuntu 9.04 to go in no time.

[Thanks Bob]

[ClarionMIND Photo courtesy of Mobile Tech Review]