By now, you’ve certainly heard of the forthcoming fifth generation (5G) wireless technology. There’s a tremendous amount of hype about 5G as the various cellular operators try to pre-sell you on the new benefits and services. Commercial 5G services won’t go online until later this year, but we should see plenty of 5G action in 2020. For that reason, you’ll need to know more about 5G to understand what impact it will make on you and the world in general. Here’s a status report to bring you up to speed.
The whole Internet of Things (IoT) phenomenon has been around for a while now. But have you tried to create an IoT device on your own? If so, you know it’s not easy. However, it is now easier than ever as many of the manufacturers of IoT wireless chips and modules are providing the hardware and software to make an IoT device happen with minimum work. One example is the Wireless Xpress BGX13P module starter kit from Silicon Laboratories.
Having read about the ESP8266 NTP clock in previous issues of Nuts & Volts, an idea came to mind to construct an interface camera using the ESP8266. In this project, we used an old Android phone as a camera source and linked to an ESP8266 based webserver. The phone acts as a camera server and the ESP8266 web server acts as a client to the camera server. The webserver displays the live webcam on its web page.
Here’s a quick beginner-friendly tutorial that shows you how to interface and read data with the popular serial protocol, I2C. In particular, we’ll be reading data from the NXP MPL3115A2 altimeter/barometer/temperature sensor. The principles found here can also be applied generically, even to your ambifacient lunar wane shaft positioning sensor of your turboencabulator.
Building digital clocks may not be the sexiest of DIY projects, but it’s still pretty fun. Try this version that utilizes the ESP8266 family of devices which makes incorporating the Network Time Protocol simple.
It’s not all that often that a different piece of hardware comes along that immediately captures the attention of the builder community. The ESP8266 is an example of this. It’s only about the size of a nickel, yet contains a powerful 32-bit microcontroller and a Wi-Fi interface, plus you can buy it for under $10.