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The Intel Galileo Board and Bee Mail Part 1: Overview

by Carlyn Maw on February 11, 2014, 5 comments

BeeMail at the Intel Pop Up Store Wrap Pary
BeeMail at the Intel Pop Up Store Wrap Pary

BeeMail at the Intel Pop Up Store Wrap Party

One of the benefits of working at the the Intel Experience Store was an excuse to play with an Intel Galileo Board. As a happy little AVR based Arduino programmer, the Galileo is not something I would have checked out otherwise. I’m glad to of had the opportunity because this project opened my eyes to the power of combining Python with low level I/O in way that I knew about but hadn’t really been attending to.

Starting from an article on SparkFun I combined pagermotors, springs, paper and a VCR case into a derivative of Tom Igoe’s classic email clock. In this example the pager motor bees shake with more and more agitation the more unread email in the inbox. The code I used is already in a GitHub repository called BeeMail. I’ll be adding the schematics there as I finish the write up. The project requires motor circuitry, wifi, an Arduino sketch and Python all to work together.

BeeMail Functional Diagram

BeeMail Functional Diagram

About the Galileo Board

The Galileo board is a welcome freshman effort for Intel into the EZ-Maker-Friendly-Protoboard community. The Galileo is Arduino Certified, but not the right choice for a first dip into the Arduino ecosystem. Those already attached to working with the powerful x86 architecture or experienced Arduino users interested in a change will be the most comfortable with Intel’s design decisions.

The best tutorials to date

Traps and Pitfalls

I’ve been struck by the fact that many things listed as optional in the official documentation simply aren’t that optional.  Many of these represent simple fixes that I suspect Intel will change in the next revisions as Intel seems to be soliciting  feedback from all the right people. In the mean time, here are my fair warnings of things to have before getting started to minimize frustration down the line.

Project walkthrough

This project required me to use a lot of accumulated troubleshooting skills.  Over the next week or so I’ll be going through not just what someone else can do that will work, but how I figured out what to do.

  • Part 1
    • This overview
  • Part 2
    • From Zero to Blink.
    • Creating an SD card image and getting a sketch to persist on the Galileo
    • UPDATE: Blink on an external LED
  • Part 3
    • Creating the bees and getting them to work on an Arduino UNO
  • Part 4
    • Setting up Wifi (very easy, library examples worked immediately)
    • Getting the SD card read & write to work (a missing libraries/symlink problem)
  • Part 5
    • Serial Communication to the Linux Core
    • Troubleshooting Python on the Galileo
  • Part 6
    • Revising the example String to Int code (lack of Null Termination problems)
    • Moving the motors over to the Galileo

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