Wireless Arduino Message Board


[uhclem] was looking for a novel yet easy way to remind his kids to do their chores, and instead of using a series of post-it notes, he constructed a nice wireless Arduino-powered message board.  The message board is powered by an Arduino Pro, and communicates with his computer via a pair of series 1 Xbee radios which relay a series of canned messages to an attached VFD.  He installed all of the components in an old cigar box, and mounted it on the wall, making for a nice overall presentation.

Programming of the messages does not require any special software as the user interface is handled by the Arduino and accessed via a standard terminal session. [uhclem] mentions that the his code consumes nearly all of the device’s RAM when running, so he keeps a handful of canned messages stored in the Arduino’s flash memory, recalling them when needed.  The optional EEPROM is used to allow for streaming messages to the device as well.

16 thoughts on “Wireless Arduino Message Board

  1. That is weird.

    (’cause that’s our old wall paper!)

    The project looks great!

    But why stop there? Most computer modems are obsolete. Still most have the smarts to provide caller ID. Grab that and send it off to this display. But why stop there? You can harvest loads of information over the Internet. For instance you can get the outside temperature or even tomorrow’s weather. All can be displayed on your device. But why stop there? You can insert the time of day between messages. And alternate that with the date. This can go on and on…

    …I’m thinking I need one of these boxes.

  2. Ummm… this sounds about like the 1950’s/1960’s line about how many computers (at the time, taking up a full basement excluding ac/electrical requirements) might be needed/used in the future with the answer/reply being no more than ~6-8.

  3. @rasz: I think you meant to say “instead of talking to your kids”. Because you know what’ll happen “but daaaad, the commander-box didn’t say I should do that, honest!”.

  4. uhclem is a name given to the main character by a faulty computer in a comedy album by Firesign Theater called “I Think We’re All Bozos On This Bus”.

    Although made in the early 1970s before computers were commonplace, some of the material seems oddly prophetic.
    I myself, recently named a PC I built Ahclem.


    I don’t usually explain my references, but I will here because it means someone else might discover this album and enjoy it as much as I do.

  5. If used for the weather, great. If used for where personal and family interaction is needed, bummer. Communication in interpersonal relationships is at an all time low. How impersonal and cold. In a small shop work environment this could be used many ways. Paint or sanded off labeling and finish needed. Flash, fail.
    Careful with that pliers, crush the dwarf memory chip.

  6. Sam: “Why doesn’t he just send them a text? Are there still kids over the age of 5 who don’t have cell phones?”

    I gave my kids the option of paying for text or not using it. Guess what, they don’t use it. Deceptively simple solution isn’t it?

    Humm, which gives me more ideas …

    If you could make a client of, say, Textfree you could “text” right to this device. And, by using Textfree to send them, you could do that for free!

    You could follow tweets! BTW, if you think tweets are for the NationalEnquirer.com crowd think again:




    (-ideas, I want more ideas out of all of you.)

  7. Mike,

    This is a great project and I am using it as a model for a church / youth group activity (a remote wireless texting device to guide youth around a course).

    Do you have the source code posted anywhere besides instructables.com? I can’t download it for free from their site and I would like to avoid one more expense in this project if I can.



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