Bridging the gap between a web app and the physical world

By Cyber-Duck, Posted 3 years ago

Mozilla Festival (MozFest) is a playground for web developers and web designers, who come together to celebrate great ideas and shape the web of the future. Two web developers from Cyber-Duck, Benjamin Maugain and Alex Miller, presented a workshop explaining how JavaScript can convert a tweet into Morse code by flashing the LED lights on an Arduino.

 Arduino web app interaction at MozFestWe (Alex and I) began with a short presentation, where we introduced ourselves and how we started developing web apps for Arduino. We presented the concepts of connected objects and NodeBots (JavaScript controlled robots) and we described the technologies we use. We then presented the brief to the participants, which was to create Dashtag (the source code is available on GitHub), a simple application running on Node.JS that sits on your laptop and converts a Tweet into Morse code providing your Arduino is connected.

The objective of the workshop was to allow participants to get more familiar with NodeBots, a concept where web developers use Node.JS to control an Arduino. During the workshop, Alex and I split the audience into two groups:

  1. DashTag development group: I guided a group of attendees to develop DashTag, step by step, from setting up the hardware and installing the required software, to coding the application itself.
  2. NodeBot brainstorming group: Alex moderated another team of attendees and organised a brainstorming session to think about other creative ideas and applications for NodeBots.

Once the participants finished developing Dashtag and brainstorming, we showed them a video of a more advanced NodeBot developed using the same principles; the Cuckoo Quack. At the very end of the lab training, we gave the participants the opportunity to claim their Open Badge, specifically designed for attending the session. We thoroughly enjoyed running the workshop and the experience was very rewarding. Participants came from a range of different backgrounds, some of them were already web developers and some others never manipulated an Arduino board or wrote code before. Despite this variety of skillsets, all attendees showed a keen interest and understanding in the concepts covered.

We all had a lot of fun and I particularly enjoyed helping create a web app that displays tweets in Morse code with an LED! We thank all our participants for their enthusiasm and efforts, and all the MozFest organisation for letting us share and teach our passion. See you all next year!

Alex and Ben at MozFest

Alex and I enjoyed presenting a workshop at MozFest this year. 

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