Sensing The World

Sensing The World (For Web Developers)

June 23, 2016 Jean-Philippe Côté

One of the key aspects of physical computing is the ability to gather information about the real world. In order to do that, you must know which sensors are available and, more importantly, how to use them. This is precisely what the “Sensing The World” chapter of my upcoming book on physical computing is about. For a limited time, I am giving it away to all web developers who want to break free from the confines of the digital world and start exploring the physical world.

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NW.js & Electron Compared (2016 Edition)

March 26, 2016 Jean-Philippe Côté

If you wish to create a desktop application from web technologies, the open source world offers two main choices: NW.js (formerly node-webkit) and Electron (formerly atom-shell). Deciding which one to go with is not so obvious. In 2015, I released a first version of this comparison between the two tools. However, the release of version 0.13 of NW.js brought on so many improvements that an update became necessary. Hopefully, the chart and comments in this article will help you choose the right tool to build your next project.

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NW.js + Johnny-Five + Arduino

NW.js, Johnny-Five & Arduino: A Wicked Trio

February 14, 2016 Jean-Philippe Côté

With the availability of version 0.13, it becomes trivially easy to use NW.js with the Johnny-Five robotics library. Combined with a microcontroller such as the Arduino, you get a very powerful end-to-end toolchain for physical computing. In this tutorial, we will show you how easy it has become to control external devices and gather data from sensors in such an environment.

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The Gamepad API & Physical Computing

The Gamepad API & Physical Computing

December 13, 2015 Jean-Philippe Côté

HTML’s Gamepad API has been created specifically with online games in mind. However, this does not mean it cannot be used in other contexts. For instance, gamepads have been hacked to assist people with physical disabilities, repurposed for artistic goals or altered for the sheer fun of it. Whatever your physical computing project, this article will show you how you can use the Gamepad API within TangibleJS’ preferred deployment platform: NW.js.

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Web MIDI - Music and Show Control in the Browser

Web MIDI: Music and Show Control in the Browser

October 6, 2015 Jean-Philippe Côté

Earlier this year, Google released Chrome 43. This release marked the official introduction of an amazing new feature: MIDI in the browser! The magnitude of this news for fans of physical computing cannot be overstated. This means you can a) control external MIDI devices from JavaScript and b) use MIDI devices to control what’s happening in your web browser. I almost cried… And the best part is: it actually works!

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Electron & NW.js Compared

NW.js & Electron Compared

August 30, 2015 Jean-Philippe Côté

If you wish to create a native desktop application from web technologies, the open source world offers two main choices: NW.js (formerly node-webkit) and Electron (formerly atom-shell). Deciding which one to go with is not so obvious. That is precisely why I created the comparison chart found in this article. Hopefully, it will help you choose the right tool to build your next physical computing project.

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Using Phidgets Sensors in JavaScript

Using Phidgets sensors in JavaScript

August 4, 2015 Jean-Philippe Côté

In a typical physical computing project, you will need to gather input from the real world. For instance, you may need to sense distance to an object, vibration level, gps position, amount of light, air pressure, force applied, etc. How can you bring that external information in your JavaScript-based physical computing project? One of the easiest way is probably to use a sensor board made by Phidgets Inc. This article will show you precisely how to do that.

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Getting Started in Physical Computing USing JavaScript

Getting started with physical computing in JavaScript

May 15, 2015 Jean-Philippe Côté

So, you want to start leveraging your JavaScript skills to interact with the physical world ? You have come to the right place. This article will paint a broad portrait of what can be achieved in the tangible world by using JavaScript. It will also point you in the direction of various tools, libraries, frameworks, devices and tutorials that can help you get started. Here we go!

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Create a Native Application with NW.js

Creating a Desktop App with HTML, CSS and JavaScript

March 18, 2015 Jean-Philippe Côté

The NW.js project lets you create apps with full native capabilities in HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Even better, it lets you access all Node.js modules directly from the browser environment. This means your web-platform-based application can now retrieve input from sensors or control hardware devices. This is the perfect environment for physical computing projects!

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Using Real World Switches in JavaScript

Switches, keyboard emulators & JavaScript

February 12, 2015 Jean-Philippe Côté

Perhaps one of the easiest way to get started in physical computing is to use the simplest input of all: the on/off switch. You might think a switch is a pretty boring way to sense the world but you would be very wrong. In this article, I will discuss some of the possibilities switches can offer as well as how to use them on the web platform and more specifically with JavaScript.

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Anypixel

Anypixel

An open-source software and hardware library that makes it possible to use the web to create big, unusual, interactive displays. Anyone can fork the code and the schematics to create their own display at any scale.

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Gibber

Gibber

Gibber is a live coding environment for the web browser, using the Gibberish.js audio engine, the CodeMirror code editor library and wrapping Three.js for 3d graphics and shader support. It also features mapping abstractions and a server/database backend for collaborative live coding.

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p5.js

p5.js

p5.js is a JavaScript client-side library for creating graphic and interactive experiences, based on the core principles of Processing: to make coding accessible for artists, designers, educators, and beginners, and reinterprets this for today’s web.

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