This episode is basically a deep-dive into one of my pet projects we released a little while ago: the Ondes Visible project.
The basic concept of this project is quite simple: making electro magnetic fields (aka EMFs) visible! EMFs surround us day and night. Some are generated by natural elements such as the Sun or the stars, others however are created by humans – mostly through the use of wireless technologies.
EMFs are invisible but scientists are not yet sure of the impact they have on our health, sleep patterns, moods, etc. especially when considering high-frequency fields (see for instance the results of the Interphone study, one of the biggest of its genre). So, visualising these fields is the first step towards awareness; plus it’s quite fun!
As hinted by Vlad on his last post, mobile phones and more specifically Android phones, are great actors of the Web of Things. The openness of the Android platform and the possibility of extending it both in hardware and software terms make it an ideal candidate for a universal Web of Things gateway!
As make magazine reports, our friends from Tellart just released a fabulous tutorial for a toolkit and code samples to build prototypes that bind any android device with Arduinos. You’ll definitely find some great examples to get started within the 25 samples included, so we encourage you to give it a try!
This week we’re happy to update that list of toolkits with a suite of materials focused on connecting any Android device (mobile or tablet) with the Arduino ADK microcontroller, with the Processing language to tie them together. The materials – a combination of “how-to” installation guides, working Arduino and Processing sample code, and educational exercises – walk through the set-up process and provide some basic starters for making a functional application or game. The 25 samples include modules such as the code you need to create a “color picker” on the Android and have it drive the color of an LED attached to the Arduino, or to send an RFID number from a scanner to the phone, or to create a basic oscilloscope by graphing the output of a potentiometer on the Android screen. It’s tailored to get beginners going, or to give more experienced coders a quick leg up in using the three (Android, Processing, and Arduino) together.
The Web of Things cries for wireless communication! As a consequence, as it is being deployed out there it contributes to a phenomena called electrosmog, understand a cloud of electromagnetic waves that increasingly surrounds us (and the exact effect of that cloud on us is still in the middle of many debates…).
The fascinating part about this cloud is that much like our electricity consumption, we can’t really see it or feel it (well except for electro-sensitive people who say they can). Back in 2007, we started working on a project to make electricity visible the Web way (Energie Visible!), hence trying to make electromagnetic fields visible sounded like a fun challenge.
Ondes Visibles! is an Android + Arduino application that I developed to help people experimenting with and raising their awareness of electromagnetic fields (EMFs). It features tutorials giving you the very basics of EMFs as well as interactive experiments for low (LF) and high (HF) frequencies using home-made sensors. Basically, we plug an LF and HF sensor to an Arduino board. Then, using a USB bridge, we route the measurements to pretty much any Android mobile phone through a USB wire (using the great Microbridge library). and visualize the data in graphs.
But enough tech, let’s have a look at what it is like:
Want to try it out? Simply build it for yourself! Get the sources and instructions on the official project page! Hope you’ll enjoy it at least as much as I enjoyed building it (code contributions are welcomed, fork us on GitHub!).