The remote on one of my garage doors stopped working. Coincidentally, right around that time Trung mentioned the ESP8266, a very cheap (around $3) Chinese chip with built-in WiFi and a bunch of GPIO. Also, there’s a project called NodeMCU around this chip, which puts a Lua interpreter on it.
What does this all mean? That with very little investment and some time, I can create a small circuit that connects to the motor of my garage door so I can control it from my iPhone.
Long story short, I went through several different versions of boards with the chip. I started with the super cheap but barebones ESP-01 but using that required too many extra things (USB-Serial adapter, 3.3 V power supply, more wiring). I finally settled on the official NodeMCU devkit, which is extremely nice. I hadn’t done any electronics in many years, but that went well.
I ended up writing a general purpose web server for NodeMCU: the Open Source and creatively named nodemcu-httpserver. The garage door opener software is just a small web application running off the chip itself. It’s one of the demos I packaged with the server.
Without further ado, the video:
The nodemcu-httpserver project I started has gotten some traction. The server, while limited (the chip has very little memory), works relatively well. It’s pretty cool to see that other people are using the software and starting to contribute. And it’s making rounds:
A while ago, after we installed our Nest thermostats in our respective homes, Jaramillo and I got together and created a LabVIEW API for controlling the Nest – meaning it makes it super easy to control the Nest from your LabVIEW (NI‘s graphical programming language) program.
My guess is that the number of 1) LabVIEW programmers with a 2) Nest thermostat who want to 3) write their own programs to control it is quite small. But it was a nice little learning project.
It has since been posted in LabVIEW MakerHub and improved upon. They even made a video:
I expect zero The MKX® readers to use it, but at least it’s now been recorded here for posterity.
Favid Dinkelstein (not his real name) tipped me off on the fact that I now dominate the results of Google Image Search for the term “jewfro”. Go see for yourselves, I’ll wait.
Ok, I am not the first result. But close. This may be my biggest accomplishment ever. I beat notable jewfros included but defnitely not limited to:
In order to commemorate this, and knowing that Google will surely tweak their algorithms until I’m off the list because I don’t use Android, I took a giant screenshot which I have annotated and post here for posterity. Click on it to zoom-in.