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Fun Archives - Falafel Software Blog

Read/Write data from/to USB thumb drive on a Windows IoT Core device

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, IoT, Microsoft, Multi-Device, News, Raspberry Pi, Visual Studio, Windows Universal Apps | One Comment

Currently, universal apps are sandboxed to the point of blocking you from reading/writing data files to a removable USB drive on Windows IoT Core devices. This post will show you a work around if you really need to do this. Now, understand that this is not for store apps. If you submit an app using this work around, it will likely get rejected. However, for internal projects, it will definitely work, and work well. This is a great way of reading application initialization data and writing log data in a test apparatus and laboratory setting. Particularly when a network or…

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C# Windows IoT Core Serial Communications with an ESP8266

By | Blogs, C#, ESP8266, git, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Multi-Device, News, Raspberry Pi, Visual Studio, Windows Universal Apps | No Comments

Windows IoT Core is great for connecting single board computers such a Pi2 to an ESP8266, via a serial link. The hardware for such a link can be found in my previous post here. The details for a basic serial communication C# framework are detailed in this post. If you have an ESP8266, there are numerous ways of communicating with them such as LuaLoader. However, I needed to communicate with my ESP8266 through a Pi2 running Windows IoT Core. This is part of a larger automated test project for an upcoming consumer project we’re developing. In this post, I’ll cover…

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Heart Rate Display with a Photon and a Microsoft Band

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, IoT, Microsoft Band, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Photon, Visual Studio, Windows Phone | 4 Comments

Those who know me, know I love sensors, and doing things with sensors. I’ve published many posts on accessing the various sensors on the Microsoft Band: Accelerometer & Gyroscope, Ultraviolet, Skin Temperature, and Galvanic Skin Response. One subject that I haven’t gotten to is the heart rate sensor. I’ve also started to publish a few IoT posts. For this post, I thought it would be fun to integrate the Band’s heart rate sensor with a Particle Photon so you can visualize your heart rate with an RGB LED. The LED pulses at the same rate as your heart and will shift…

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PIR Sensor with a Photon, Particle Cloud, and a UWA

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, IoT, Microsoft, Multi-Device, News, Photon, Visual Studio, Windows, Windows Universal Apps | One Comment

My latest sensor experiment involved the PIR Motion Sensor (HC-SR501) that comes with the Photon Maker Kit. The motion sensor didn’t have the best English documentation; however, there were enough translations and fragments out on the Internet to get the job done. I decided to interface the motion sensor with a Photon, and then feed the sensor output to a UWA through the Particle Cloud by using a Particle Event Stream. The sensor has two potentiometers on its PCB. One controls the sensitivity of the sensor and the other controls the output latch delay. Turning the sensitivity down essentially limits the…

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Controlling an RGB LED on a Photon with a UWA Color Picker

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, IoT, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Photon, Visual Studio, Windows Universal Apps | 3 Comments

The Particle Photon makes it easy to control the color of an RGB LED. There are a number of color picker controls you can use in Windows apps. I wanted to see how easy it was to hook a Photon RGB LED up to a Windows app color picker. It ended up being a snap by using the Particle cloud functions. In this project I wrote a simple UWA that calls a Particle cloud function called “setRGB” on my targeted Photon whenever I change the selected value on the color picker. Then I implemented an event handler on that Photon’s…

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Exploring Multi-Photon and Particle Cloud Functionality with a Useless Machine

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Photon, Visual Studio, Web, Windows, Windows Universal Apps | 2 Comments

There are many ways for Particle Photons to interact with each other. Even more ways for other devices and apps to interact with Photons through the Particle Cloud. To explore these capabilities, I created a useless machine. My useless machine is made up of two Photons. Photon 1 “falafel_1” has a photo resistor and a green LED. Photon 2 “falafel_2” also has a photo resistor and a green LED. However, Photon 2 also has a servo motor and a second red LED. The servo motor is mounted so that when it is rotated to 90 degrees, it covers both photo…

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Particle Photon Oscilloscope

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Photon, Visual Studio, Windows | 2 Comments

I previously turned my Windows IoT Core-based Raspberry Pi 2 into an oscilloscope, but I didn’t stop there. The next gadget in my target is the Particle Photon. This is an amazing little device. However ,unlike the Raspberry Pi 2, it doesn’t have an HDMI output (it’s only about the size of an HDMI connector). I wasn’t sure how best to display the signal data. I took inspiration from a post from Hackster.io – Sending sound over the Internet. They used the TCP capabilities of the Photon to stream audio data to a client. That’s all I needed to bring…

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Windows IoT Core Remote Wifi Scanner

By | .NET, C#, Fun, IoT, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Visual Studio, Windows, Windows Universal Apps | 3 Comments

Windows IoT Core has a nice web-based device management interface. This app can configure many aspects of the device, such as connecting the device to a WiFi network. Because the web-based device management was just a web app, I thought it shouldn’t be difficult to write a remote app to do the same. I ended up with a remote app that could query WiFi networks visible to a Windows IoT Core device and connect or disconnect that device to those networks. To get started, I connected my browser to the web-based device management app for one of my Windows IoT Core…

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Windows IoT Core Oscilloscope

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Hardware, IoT, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Telerik, Tools, Visual Studio, Windows Universal Apps | 2 Comments

In my continuing quest to see what the Windows IoT Core is capable of and my desire to push my gadgets to their limits, I came up with an interesting oscilloscope project using a Windows IoT Core-based Raspberry Pi 2 and a simple ADC. Now, I’m not claiming that you can just quickly build an oscilloscope using a Raspberry Pi 2 and an ADC and never need to spend the money on an oscilloscope ever again. The one shown in this project is limited in its temporal resolution to the millisecond range. For an oscilloscope, that’s slow, but it may…

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Microsoft Band Galvanic Skin Response Sensor

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Microsoft, Mobile, News | One Comment

Before I get to the sensor, Microsoft updated the Band SDK today. From what I can tell, this update did not significantly change any of the sensors I’ve covered on the API level. Once I’ve had a better look at it I’ll post any changes I do find. The next Microsoft Band sensor in my target is the Galvanic Skin Response sensor, or more simply the Contact sensor. This sensor is designed to give you an indication of if the Band is actually being worn or not. This sensor sends a small electric charge from the metal frame around the…

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Microsoft Band Skin Temperature Sensor

By | .NET, C#, Mobile, News | One Comment

I’m continuing my Microsoft Band exploration by investigating the skin temperature sensor. Just like the pervious Band sensors I’ve already covered, the accelerometer and the ultraviolet sensors, the skin temperature sensor follows the same general pattern. Connect to the band. Set up an event handler to sensor ReadingChanged event. Start the process of reading the sensor by calling the StartReadingsAsync() function. Read the sensor value from the event args SensorReading property. Here is the code snippet to accomplish this:

The ReadingChanged event handler returns the value of the skin temperature sensor in Celsius. Also included in the event args…

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Microsoft Band Sensors – Accelerometer & Gyroscope

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Windows | 11 Comments

Microsoft just released the Microsoft Band SDK Preview and I’m excited. Just like with any other electronic gadget, I’m interested in the sensors. The Band is stuffed full of sensors, but the first ones I want to look at are the accelerometers and gyroscopes. From the preview site you can download samples for Windows Phone, Android, and iOS. You also need the documentation. To get started with my sensors investigation, I downloaded the Windows Phone sample code and followed the instructions here to get started with my own project. Accessing the accelerometers and gyroscopes is easy and follows a familiar…

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Accessing the Unity Gyroscope

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Unity | No Comments

In my continuing desire to explore the capability of Unity accessing the device sensors, I’m exploring the gyroscope. The gyroscope is an instrument that is used to measure the change in rotation along its axis. The first versions of this instrument started off as large and heavy mechanical tops, then progressed to very small MEMS that can now fit into our phones. To demonstrate the gyroscope I’ll use the same code base that I’ve been using in my previous Unity posts; Unity Accelerometer Device Attitude Alignment and Displaying the Device Compass in Unity. So you’ll see the device orientation cubes…

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Displaying the Device Compass in Unity

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Mobile, Multi-Device, News, Unity, Windows | 5 Comments

In my last Unity post we looked at integrating the accelerometers in a Unity app. In this post we look at integrating the magnetometer. A couple of years ago I published a magnetometer application in the Windows Phone Store. That app shows the magnetometer readings in 3D in relation to the orientation of the phone. The magnetometer sensor is how your device senses true north for the compass. For some devices (like my Nokia 1520), the Unity magnetometer API hides the 3D vector and only gives you access to the 2D vector “compass” data. I’ll live with that for now. In…

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Unity Accelerometer Device Attitude Alignment

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Microsoft, Multi-Device, Unity | 4 Comments

In my last post I explored how easy it was to display the device camera onto a Unity 3D surface. This time I’m exploring how easy it is to access the device accelerometer sensors and use the data to align 3D objects in Unity to correct for the attitude of the device to give that floating compass look. Although for this post, I’m only interested in the accelerometers. The magnetometers will come later. I started with my camera project from the last post and added a series of cubes into a parent GameObject to plainly show the orientation and a…

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Main camera

Showing the device camera in Unity

By | .NET, C#, Fun, Microsoft, Mobile, Multi-Device | 4 Comments

Back in March I helped my Nokia buddies out with the DVLUP Days 2014 North American Tour in Dallas. During one of the sessions, I got introduced to Unity. From my numerous posts about XNA and most recently about Open GL, you can’t be surprised I went to that session. From my previous XNA work you can see that I’m deeply interested in the AR aspect of mobile devices. To do that, however, you need access to the device hardware. With Unity being a cross-platform framework, I was not hopeful that this would end up being an easy task. My…

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Falafel Blog

Microsoft OCR Library

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Microsoft, Multi-Device, News | 2 Comments

Microsoft recently announced that their OCR Library for Windows Runtime has been released as a NuGet package. This library enables you to add text reading capabilities to your Windows Phone 8/8.1 and Windows 8.1 Store apps. I wanted to get a simple working example up and running and found it to be quite easy and functional. I created a basic Windows 8.1 Store app. The XAML for the main page is listed below.

The code behind has only one event handler for the button click and because this is just a simple working example contains all of the code necessary…

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Picking your Challenges – Luminance for Points

By | .NET, Blogs, C#, Fun, Windows | No Comments

One of the things I’m learning as I’m settling into my #2520orBust challenge, is picking which challenges I’m going to tackle on DVLUP.com. You have to consider the requirements of the challenge and the due dates. You also have to consider the amount of free time you have to devote to the challenge. For me, that’s not much time. So, I’m looking at the low hanging fruit right now. The next challenge on my list is the “New App Special“. It’s 250 pts, and I’ve got until the end of August. The app I have in mind is a lux…

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Surface Pro for Developers

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

For years I’ve always liked the idea of having the ability to develop on the road. Few who know me would ever deny that I’m a true road warrior, although I’m beginning to slow down. Whether it was taking my kids all over the world to fence, chasing storms, hiking off the trail, or even jet skiing at the lake, I often had my laptop with me. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas while on the road. However, the size and bulk of my various laptops always had me wishing for something else.   The Surface RT…

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Handling the AdControl with Flyout Settings Pages

By | .NET, C#, Fun, Microsoft | No Comments

In my last blog post, Using Generic Attached Properties to Simplify Windows 8 Settings Charm Pages , I talked about how to easily add Settings Charm pages to any Windows 8 app. If your app happens to have an AdControl, you might have an issue that you need to handle. The issue is that AdControl is hosted in a WebView Control, which causes the control to always be on top. When flyout Settings Charm pages overlap AdControl elements you get unexpected behaviors. It’s a known issue but is easy to handle. I’ve updated the GitHub example to include a couple of AdControls on the…

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A Salute to the Falafel Rock Stars

By | News | No Comments

Every year, October kicks off a very busy season at Falafel : “Conference Season”. Multiple members of the team travel across the country and around world to share their expertise on a number of technologies. All Falafel Software team members spend their days, and often their nights, helping design and build cutting edge solutions for our customers. Their technical presentations draw from these real world experiences and are assembled, practiced, and presented in what little spare time they have. That’s why we call them “Rock Stars”. This weekend at Silicon Valley Code Camp, Falafel’s entire team from around the world…

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DevReach Conference Viewer is Live on the AppStore

By | News | No Comments

You can now DOWNLOAD the DevReach Viewer for iPhone from the AppStore.  The app will allow you to view all sessions, speakers, schedule, agenda, tracks and also view the latest NEWS about the conference as well as as mark sessions as favorites for off line viewing. Hope you enjoy the application and find it useful while attending next week’s DevReach Conference in Sofia Bulgaria.    

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DevReach Viewer available on the Android Marketplace

By | News | No Comments

  Falafel is pleased to announce the availability of the DevReach Viewer on the Android Marketplace.  You can scan the QR barcode below or head to the Android MarketPlace and search for DevReach now! Hope you enjoy the application and find it useful during the conference next week in Sofia Bulgaria! Now the DevReach Viewer is available in the AppStore for iPhone, the Android MarketPlace for Android and the Zune Marketplace for Windows Phone 7.

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