Thursday, October 22, 2009

Serial Communication Lab, Sending Multiple Bits of Data

Late last night I completed this week's lab for Introduction to Physical Computing class. Our focus this week was on expanding our ability to leverage serial communications to enable a computer and microcontroller to send and interpret multiple pieces of data to each other at any given time. The key challenge involved in this process is setting-up a protocol that can be encoded by the sender and interpreted by the receiver. Here is a link to the instructions for this lab.

We specifically focused on exploring two different approaches for this type of communication: (1) punctuation protocols; (2) handshake (or polite communication) protocols. I will not delve into these in detail here because I will soon post my full notes from this week's class that will cover this topics in greater length. Here is the video from this week's lab:

I am happy to report that I did not encounter any issues with either of these approaches. My previous experience setting up this type of communications was a great help. (here are some links to the previous projects and labs where I had already explored these types of serial communications: Fangs Controller; Etch-a-Sketch; Media Controller.)

That is not to say that I did not learn from this week's lab. For example, the "establishContact()" function on the Arduino easily solves a problem that I struggled with yesterday when building the first draft of the media controller project "middleware". Also, though I have been able to leverage this type of functionality previously, I am still a novice in need of much reinforcement as provided by this lab.