I've been looking into a few personal tech projects with renewed vigour recently and what I have found is genuinely exciting. It feels like we are on the verge of a major technological revolution. I'm so excited that I'm going to write about it.
I started out by buying a USB Experiment Interface board from Velleman. I quickly assembled the kit with my new soldering iron and was beaming with pride when it worked first time with push-switches .
I had also bought an Arduino compatible board - it's a prototyping board that is extended through 'shields' e.g. a motor shield and even a Zigbee shield. The Zigbee network is interesting from my point of view as it has been used for ad hoc, resilient, flexible wireless networks. There's a cool development environment coming soon called Modkit Micro that is similar to the Android App development environment from Google/MIT. Very graphical with C behind.
I've also signed up for a Raspberry Pi which is a "Linux box for $25" and although I'm still on the waiting list a few of my keener friends have their's en route from Farnell.
These boards are for me to play around to find a way (I think) to work on embedded systems at home. I've worked on these systems at work where we could fork out for some serious kit and am keen to do the same at home for a tiny fraction of that cost.
I've also found a great article by Andrew Back called A Practical Internet of Things. It mentions a low-cost internet-connected alternative to Arduino called a Nanode and an online 'cloud' for sharing datastreams securely called COSM. Seriously exciting stuff I found worthy of blogging about.