Friday, January 10, 2014


Recently I've been thinking of starting to play with electronics. Devices like the Raspberry Pi and Arduino have 'GPIO' (General Purpose Input Output) pins. You can write code on the device which sets each pin to be on or off. You then connect the pins to circuits of your creation. The simplest circuit would be something like using a GPIO pin to light an LED. I find this exciting, as it allows your code to reach out of the 'virtual world' inside the computer, and do things in the real world.

After some thought and research, I found that Numato have GPIO boards which work with PC's. You plug their GPIO USB device into your PC and then can control the pins from your choice of many different languages (you need to use an API which can write to a serial bus).

I'm excited by PC based GPIO programming because:
  • The project I'm thinking of working on does not require a tiny portable computer.
  • I get to work in Visual Studio in a Windows environment, which is what I'm used to.
  • While Raspberry Pi and Arduino are not expensive, the $20 USB device is cheaper :)
Numato has four different GPIO devices (1, 2, 3, 4). This week they have a giveaway to win the bluetooth version.

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