Panda vivisection redux

May 5, 2009 19:43 · 338 words · 2 minute read arduino electronics hacks panda

[![Market Bear] Signing up for Howduino in Liverpool on May 23rd has been a bit of a kick up the proverbial for my otherwise somewhat-moribund Market Bear project.   The panda is now vivisected and has LEDs for eyes, with a rather alarming trail of wires leading from his tail.   Getting the LEDs to sit in place was something of a challenge, but I eventually hit on the idea of threading two legs of the LED through a four-hole button, and using the other two holes of the button to secure it with thread to the inside of the panda’s “eye sockets”.

Codewise, I’d originally planned on putting up a simple Ruby script that spat out a webpage which could be ingested by the Arduino code (via the Ethernet shield).  The problem with that approach is that an HTML page comes with an awful lot of cruft that the Arduino has to dump, which is expensive on memory.   So after a bit of head-scratching, inspiration struck and I’m now generating XML from the Ruby script, which is a) a much cleaner format to have to parse; and b) altogether smaller.

I’ve also used the project as a reason for bootstrapping my Git-fu, so the code is now up on Github for the world to laugh at.   Up until now I’d always thought that the “social coding” strapline of Github was a bit - well, possibly pretentious, and certainly abstract - after all, there aren’t many activities LESS social than coding (unless you’re pair programming.)   But taking the plunge and committing code that other people might see is suprisingly nerve-racking - what if it’s rubbish?  What if people laugh at it?  What if they realise that you’re actually doing more adapting of other people’s code than creation of your own?   All of the above are true in my case, of course.

In any case, the panda continues to be sacrificed in a noble cause, and I’ll be interested to find out what people make of it in a couple of weeks…