How about Use Grove w/o Programming?

Since decoration in new office is ongoing (photos will be posted later), we have to use a water tank to receive the water from air conditions. It will fill up about every hour, and needs manually emptied. It’s OK as a precious exercise, but the water fill speed is a bit random, we set up a water level alarm like this:

The device itself is a waste, not including the time we spent programming. Instead of bothering with USB cable, adapter, computer, IDE, compiling error… Can we make an “If…then…” hardware similar to

We are providing Grove system, a whole collection of quick prototyping sensors and actuators. What’s needed is a hub module like “Stem” with one connector as “condition” and another as “execution” . The condition threshold is set by “learning”, and the execution output is decided by a potentiometer.   Adhering the above example, you just need to set the output volume,  immerse the water sensor while pressing “learn” button. Programming done and ready to use.

To apply more complex functions like delay and loop, we could add a light sensor to this stem, so you can use some APP on your smartphone, do some simple tinkering, then use the flash light to program the “Stem”.

Just some thoughts, would you be interested in helping this project? Especially on the App part. 🙂


6 thoughts on “How about Use Grove w/o Programming?

  1. @ESP, this is a great project you would undertake on, specially that it is for the grove system and grove integration is really cool.
    It will be a great teaching tool too for those that would like to prototype but not get too involved with Ohm’s law, C programming, datasheets and soldering (basically the whole electronics thing) hehe 🙂 Like those starting at robotics who want to get straight to building – Lego RCX/NXT is the go-to set.

    I agree that we can make some specialized stems that can trigger simple logic. For something like a loop maybe we can resort to the more basic components like those simple counter ICs that we may have left out in favor of coding uCs. Maybe these new stems can also help those beginning with electronics too as it will present us the basics like logic gates, analog circuits and counters. Maybe there can be also a configurable timer twig (555 hehe) if we would like to add delays to our logic.

    It came to me that it would look like breakout boards for the more basic components like those 74xx/40xx’s or 555s but they would be packaged as “Counter Twig”, “Condition Twig” hehe. Just a thought 🙂

  2. @wendell very insightful, we are getting lazy using MCUs, since it’s getting cheaper and easier.

    Maybe we can make the stems programmable logic module themselves, which means it can be “IF.. THEN”, “While… {}”, “Delay”, simple logic cascaded…

    Would come up with some prototype to play with. 🙂

  3. Maybe we can add in a hardware version that looks like Lego NXT-G programming language. We can add “IF-ELSE” twigs or “LOOP” twigs that have on board configurable settings (just gates). They would snap in the “learning STEM base” much like the mama shields but they may be tinier (so they are now “twiggies” hehe). That is if we would need logic. For the learning part, we can design a simple mechanism that utilizes flip flops on the learning STEM base board (hehe maybe we can call it a “SPORE board” since it can produce logic in itself) to store some state data, instead of expensive RAM. The result is everything can be done on the board through hardware and leaving out the funky app stuff.

    An example on this will be:

    H20 Sensor out –> IFELSE ‘twiggy’, pot’s analog value set to something –> gate on IFELSE twig pulls up with analog value && H20 sensor –> trigger buzzer twig;

    and everything will be done on hardware 🙂

    I hope I relayed the idea clearly hehe…

  4. Right, I didn’t mean to suggest actually using app inventor – I meant to suggest writing something akin to app inventor for writing code/conditions for an Arduino connected to a Grove.

  5. Surely the APP inventor + Android phone could work. But cheaper special hardware would be better when need permanent installation.

    The device is going to learn the “IF” by physical conditions, and set the triggered output level.

    I need to comb the idea better with a drawing. 🙂

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August 2011