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Meetings > Previous Meetings > July 2014


Beginners Guide to Interfacing
Neil Fazakerley
Monday 21st July 2014, 7:45pm

Anyone who has attended the London Show will be familiar with the sight of Neil Fazakerley's robots, controlled by the BBC Micro, RiscPC and, more recently, Raspberry Pi.

At this month's meeting Neil is aiming to persuade more people to have a go at connecting with real-world objects - 'physical computing'. This is as opposed to the usual virtual world that most code inhabits, in which its output never really leaves the system. To that end, he will be bringing along some examples to demonstrate simple, baby steps that can be taken for those who would like to get started with their existing hardware.

This will start with a quick explanation of GPIO access and a simple demo of how to activate LEDs. Then Neil will introduce a very early version of his current project - a model railway DCC command control system written in BBC BASIC - to show how controlling just a single GPIO line can have very powerful external results.

Finally, he'll cover the much under-used USB port, to show how it too can control external hardware - using the ubiquitous yellow Maplin robot arm as an example - and how you can write a powerful USB control program with just twenty-five lines of BASIC (yes, really, just half a screenful) - and no extra drivers, modules or libraries to load (unlike Linux).

There may even be a small goody bag for Raspberry Pi and Beagleboard-xM owners to take away to help them try their hand at GPIO programming in BBC BASIC :-)

Neil and his railway