WiFi hotspot and DHCP from a BeagleBone

Overview of the fully assembled BigTrak project.

The BigTrak project had to be mobile, and that meant having a WiFi card attached. This looked simple on the face of it, a USB host socket on the board and a modern 32bit Linux kernel, however it became more complicated partly due to the lack of sources for the embedded system and partly because of my ambitions.


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LOGO program interpreter

A snippet of logo code

I was wandering how to store and represent the programs for the BigTrak. I wanted to stick to the original spirit of the toy and make it programmable via the web so I naturally got to thinking of LOGO commands. Most of my experience with the language was in a program called "WinLogo" ironically running on an Acorn Archimedes not Windows at all.


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Hardware Interfacing on the BeagleBone

Photo of the BeagleBone ARM Cortex based development board.

The BeagleBone is an ARM applications processing platform that runs Angstrom Linux and provides a lot of 3.3V I/O connections, for more background see my unboxing and getting started article. In the unboxing review I ran a bit of bundled java-script that flashed a light on and off, but there's much more to using I/O on this powerful processor. Like with most embeded controllers these days half the effort is in getting the right function selected and enabling the pin drivers. There are several steps and modes of operation which I'll go through separately. I'll discuss command line tools and python control here, but there is a pre-written javascript library called bonescript.js that comes pre-loaded on the board that provides an Arduino-like syntax and runs on the node.js javascript interpreter, I'm not going to discuss that here as it is under heavy development and has only very rudimentary features at the moment. I'd recommend having a look through the code if you have a BeagleBone, it's accessible from Cloud9 IDE on port 3000 via a web browser.

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BeagleBone un-boxing and hands-on review

A photo of the BeagleBone board plugged in

The new BeagleBone from Texas Instruments is here! Farnell sent me a review copy this week, and are taking orders. I've prepared a video intro about getting up and running with the new board which is really easy. A few of the highlights are in the review below.


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