118: Awesome and Frequently Useless

Morgan Allen (@captain_morgan) spoke with us about Sphero and Node.JS. This is all not-so-secretly a discussion of the BB8 robot.

Correction: Despite Elecia's repeated insistence that these are steppers, she's just wrong. The motors are DC which only makes sense in a consumer product. More details on this in a later episode.

BB8s from Amazon (probably won't arrive until next year)

More info on Elecia's teardown and talk: embedded.fm/hddg 

The BB8 toy is based on Sphero (buy). They have an open SDK and a wonderful education program. Check out the clear SPRK (buy). It also has a teach-your-kids-to-program app that is pretty neat (but doesn't seem to work with BB8 yet).

Morgan has been involved with NodeBots (@nodebotsSF). They use Node.js (wiki) to send Bluetooth serial commands to Spheros. Their issues list is where new meetups are posted.

Johnny-Five is also a popular way to do computer based robotics with an Arduino (or other dev board) as a hardware intermediary.

IPFS: Distributed file system

ESPruino is a Javascript board.

People's Open: Free Wireless Internet and Local Network in Oakland, California. Also in Oakland, check out Sudo Room hackerspace.