Kinoma Create webinar 3 – Hardware Pins Simulators

Sean Allen
  

Sean Allen

January 23, 2015

Please join us for a Kinoma Create webinar on Hardware Pins Simulators Friday, January 30, from 1–1:30pm PST!

Click here for the date and time in your time zone.

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About Hardware Pins Simulators

With the Kinoma Create Simulator, you can develop and debug the application for your project entirely on a computer. But how do you write the application code for the hardware components (sensors, lights, buttons, and servos) plugged into your Kinoma Create when running the simulator on your computer?

With Hardware Pins Simulators, of course! They provide an accurate simulation of hardware components by emulating the API calls of your BLL. That way, your same application code runs unchanged on both Kinoma Create hardware and the Kinoma Create Simulator.

Hardware Pins Simulators are a powerful tool for accelerating your project’s development. Not only do they speed development and debugging, but you can start building your application software before you have the hardware components.

There are many Hardware Pin Simulators available already and you can build your own, often in just a few minutes.

During this webinar we will:

  • Show several examples of Pins Simulators in use by existing sample applications.
  • Discuss Pins Simulators API’s and their two flavors: Data Driven and Custom.
  • Get our hands dirty by actually coding and deploying one of each type.
  • Explain the complementary relationship between the Pins Simulators and Pin Explorer debugging tools.

JTPA hosts Kinoma Create Meetup

Basuke Suzuki
  

Basuke Suzuki

January 23, 2015

Japanese Technology Professionals Association

The Japanese Technology Professionals Association (JPTA) is a non-profit that supports technology-oriented Japanese professionals working in Silicon Valley. JTPA also shares technology information between Japan and Silicon Valley.

Two of us on the Kinoma team are members, as are Kinoma Create developers Takako Oshima and Kyosuke Inoue.

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The Kinoma Create meetup was held at Hacker Dojo in Mountain View, and in total the event attracted 60 people.

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The make up of the group was interesting. On the whole, they were new to this type of technology. Approximately half the room was comprised of hardware people who don’t know JavaScript, and the other half was comprised of people of a software background who are not familiar with hardware.

After a lively introduction to Kinoma Create, and a few quick demos, all the JTPA members there were working with Kinoma Create, sensors, and were connecting LEDs. As a whole, they were able to run with instructions to make a simple, hands-on project work.

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Thanks to our JTPA hosts for making a meetup on Kinoma Create such a success!

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Exploring Pin Explorer

Chris Krueger
  

Chris Krueger

January 20, 2015

Introducing Kinoma Create Pin Explorer

Kinoma Create becomes a more hands-on, fun tool for making and prototyping with the introduction of its new Pin Explorer app, available as a free over-the-air software update Wednesday, January 21. Pin Explorer is the latest step in our commitment to making Kinoma Create the most powerful and fun platform for prototyping your digital ideas. Pin Explorer is a great way for new makers to learn more about the components in their project. For more advanced makers, Pin Explorer is a toolbox full of powerful diagnostic utilities.

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Try before you code

Pin Explorer lets you quickly try out many of the components you wire into your Kinoma Create before you start to code. Animated visualizations of sensor values, and direct manipulation of output values make making more interactive than ever before.

Clean interface

Pin Explorer has a clean visual interface so you can read the sensors and control the output devices you’ve wired into Kinoma Create. With just a few taps, confirm that many Analog, Digital, PWM, and I2C components are properly connected and ready for use by your project’s software.

Values

You can quickly learn how the component responds to inputs and about the range of values it delivers. Pin Explorer’s graphing shows the values delivered by analog sensors (such as Flex Sensors, Pulse Sensors, Light Sensors, and Temperature Sensors), and digital inputs. There are square, sine, and triangle wave generators with adjustable frequency and range, as well as manual buttons and sliders, to experiment with how output components (including LEDs and motors) respond to real-time inputs.

I2C

Pin Explorer’s I2C scanner automatically detects many I2C devices, allowing you to quickly confirm that the device is properly connected. For I2C devices based on SMB, Pin Explorer can also read and write values directly. This can be used to check that the device ID matches the expected value and to experiment with different configurations of some I2C devices before you start to code.

Test tools

Makers sometimes turn to hardware test tools like an oscilloscope, a signal generator, or a volt-meter, or Linux command line tools to check their wiring and explore components. Pin Explorer provides many of the same capabilities in a unique visual application built into Kinoma Create.


Previewing Pin Explorer for Kinoma Create at MIT

Peter Hoddie
  

Peter Hoddie

January 20, 2015

This past Thursday, I spoke at the IoT Festival hosted at The MIT Sloan School of Management. The IoT Festival is a weeklong event, including a hackathon for a select group of students of varying disciplines.

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BeagleBone

I co-keynoted the event on Thursday with Jason Kridner, co-founder of BeagleBone.org. Jason gave a thorough introduction to the BeagleBone product line and ecosystem. He is refreshingly open about the choices the BeagleBone team has made in their hardware design. Jason is an evangelist for hardware and software openness, as well as the use of scripting (particularly JavaScript) in prototyping and making. I now have a much deeper appreciation for the BeagleBone.

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Introducing Kinoma Create

I then introduced Kinoma Create to an audience that had never seen one before. A student remarked that it reminded him of a Nintendo product, reaffirming our goal design goal of making Kinoma Create fun and approachable. One of the wonderful things about an audience in Cambridge/Boston is their openness to new ideas. As I presented the many distinguishing capabilities of Kinoma Create, I could feel the energy and interest in the room rise.

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NFC + SomaFM + PubNub = fun demo

Early in the presentation, I demonstrated an IoT concept created by the Kinoma team. I’m a fan of SomaFM, an eclectic internet radio broadcaster, so the concept started with our SomaFM sample app. We wired an NFC card reader into Kinoma Create over an I2C connection. Next, we took plain white NFC cards, printed out the station logo for SomaFM on heavy paper, and glued them to the cards. Then we modified our SomaFM Radio sample code so that it automatically tunes into whatever SomaFM station card is nearest to Kinoma Create. The station plays as long as the card is detected, stopping when the card is removed. It is a very cool, very casual way to select music to play, almost like putting a record on a turntable, but now touchless and nearly instantaneous.

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Our team also modified our SomaFM app to publish the now-playing station to the cloud using our KinomaJS port of the PubNub SDK, allowing anyone in the world to visit a web page to see what station I’m listening to. I then briefly walked through the JavaScript code to show how everything – the NFC I2C driver, user interface, cloud access, internet radio streaming – was implemented.

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The SomaFM NFC demo shows the value of all the hardware built into Kinoma Create. It used the screen to show the app user interface, the pin headers to wire in the NFC reader, Wi-Fi to communicate with SomaFM and the PubNub, and speaker to play the music. And all that hardware is readily scriptable from our KinomaJS framework.

Previewing Pin Explorer

Pin Explorer is the latest application for Kinoma Create, which we’re just about to launch. IoT Festival attendees received its first public preview. Pin Explorer is an interactive tool that runs on Kinoma Create that combines some of the capabilities of an oscilloscope, signal generator, and volt-meter to help developers explore the capabilities of components wired into the Kinoma Create, and to debug their wiring before they begin coding.

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Pin Explorer is unique in the world of making. It is possible because of Kinoma Create’s built-in touch screen, allowing Kinoma Create to be a partner in your project development, not just the development target. I showed how Pin Explorer drives Digital outputs by blinking an LED (Maker 101!), how it can graph Analog inputs by graphing my heart rate using a Pulse Sensor, and how it automatically scans for connected I2C devices and then can read and write registers on those I2C devices using SMB using an combination Ambient Light / Proximity sensor. There’s much more that Pin Explorer can do. Kinoma Create developers are going to have a lot of fun using it.

DouZen Sushi

The KinomaJS framework that powers Kinoma Create can also power mobile apps. Kinoma Studio easily generates Android and iOS apps from your KinomaJS code. App developer DouZen has built some beautiful mobile apps using KinomaJS. Julian, their main programmer, joined the event to show their latest work. DouZen designs and implements beautifully fluid user experiences to visually navigate through large collections of data. They have applied their skills to create the Dynamic Sushi app now in the Apple App store. The only way to appreciate it is to see it, so download and explore. Beyond a beautiful demonstration, Julian shared a little bit of his KinomaJS programming experience. He has also contributed some animation samples to our sample code repository (Kangaroo Disco, Kangaroo Text) so you can learn some of his animation techniques.

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The people

The IoT Festival was organized by Brian DeLacey, whose skills at organizing fascinating technology events traces back to his work with the Boston Computer Society’s Mac user group. Brian started the event with an introduction that somehow managed to mention the venerable Multics operating system. We were then treated to an impromptu lecture on the history of Multics by Jon “maddog” Hall, who happened to be in attendance.

DeLacey MIT

At the end of the keynote presentations, Jason and I were joined by Bob Frankston and Oliver Steele to take questions from the audience. Bob is the original programmer for VisiCalc, arguably the application that launched the personal computer revolution. Bob has an incredibly well informed perspective on software development, and is generous in sharing his knowledge and experience. Oliver was a graphics engineer at Apple when I began working there. One of my early jobs was to test his code. He is among the most clear thinking, clear speaking software engineers you will meet. Earlier in the day he shared some of his experience working at Nest, including an overview of the hardware/software architecture of their first thermostat.

With Bob Frankston

Perhaps it is no surprise given Brian DeLacey’s guiding hand for this event, but it reminded me very much of the best of the Boston technology scene from my time at Boston University. The event attracted an incredibly intelligent, diverse group of individuals — industry legends, technology veterans, business people, students, and technology enthusiasts. They effortlessly and generously share their impressions, ideas, knowledge and experience with the simple goal of learning more and helping others.

Video Replay

The event was live-streamed, and is now available as a replay. Check it out.


Video Highlights of Kinoma Create at ACM’s UIST

Rachel Bennett
  

Rachel Bennett

January 19, 2015

We’re smack in the middle of winter. So there’s no better time to take a video tour of ACM’s Student Innovation Contest at UIST, which took place in sunny Hawaii.

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Let the palm trees sway while we highlight the impressive work of students developing for the first time with Kinoma Create. The theme of the contest was “connected devices for the home.” Catch a glimpse of the future of household tasks, safety, cookery, and management.