Recently we discovered some interesting uses of BlinkM, our I2C-controllable Smart LED, with LabVIEW. LabVIEW is a data acquisition system used by many school, labs, and research institutions. If you took upper-level science and engineering courses in college, you probably ran into it. If you’re already using an I2C-capable microcontroller to take data, BlinkMs are a pretty natural addition to your test setup, as they work great to indicate test states.
Some of the ways we found BlinkMs being used with LabVIEW:
Tod was recently interviewed for the Embedded.fm podcast, episode #90 “Stick it in a Pumpkin“. It was a lot of fun. We talked about blink(1), BlinkM, electronics production, Kickstarter, and a bunch of other things. You can listen to on iTunes or on the Embedded.fm website. And if you listen to the end, you’ll hear a special 25% coupon code for blink(1)s. :-)
If you’ve not heard of Embedded.fm, and you’re interested in electronics, you might like it. It’s all about electronics. The host Elecia is awesome and wrote a pretty great book a few years ago called Making Embedded Systems.
Chris Matthieu at Octoblu has been playing around with Punchthrough’s BLE LightBlue Bean and created a fun video showing how to hook a Bean up to a blink(1) through Octoblu. Octoblu is an extremely powerful connectivity platform for connecting any protocol to any other and is targeted at IoT applications.
Our network at Curious had some partial outages recently (one portion of the network was down but others weren’t). I set these up to monitor each portion of the network’s ability to connect to the internet. Some are connected to switches, others are connected to WAPs. They each hit a different deadmanssnitch.com url so I can see their status remotely and get notified.
The blink1s are at less than 25% brightness (#005500) to keep heat down and are still plenty bright.
Having a single physical object for each monitored network might seem like overkill at first glance, but for network monitoring this could be ideal: each RasPi is a self-contained full computer with network connection on the net segment in question. The RasPi could perform all sorts of diagnostic tests on a specific Ethernet segment without tricky switch/router configuration changes. A great solution, John!
Snarl does quite a bit and you could use it instead of our Blink1Control app if you wanted. (And if you want to use Blink1Control and Snarl, just replace blink1-tool with blink1control-tool when following the tutorial)
The folks at Hackaday have been commissioning some great artwork for their site, most all by artist Joe Kim. We just found out that he made one for blink(1) and it is awesome. Thanks Hackaday! Be sure to check out the Hackaday Omnibus 2014 print edition for great projects with more of Joe Kim’s art.
If you’re handy with shell scripts, you can whip up a quick bandwidth monitor light alert with blink(1) in a few minutes. blink1-tool is pretty easy, for instance, this causes the blink(1) to flash cyan five times:
Long ago we wrote test code to interface blink(1) with ChromeOS. We were working towards a notification system for Chromebooks. It was shelved because our test was a big hack and proper USB HID device support for Chrome was on the horizon but wasn’t available yet.
Now a year later, as of Chrome 39.0.2140.0, the chrome.hid API is public and Google created a blink(1) demo showing how to use chrome.hid. It’s just a simple set of RGB sliders but it’s wonderful.
We’re very excited by the development of USB HID and blink(1) support in Chrome. Note that this works both Chromebooks and on Chrome for desktop OSes. If there are any wizards out there who would like to help us get further on integrating blink(1) with Chrome, please drop us a line.