Check out the new Blynk Board and the tutorials that have sprouted up around it.
Last week we released the Blynk Board -- an ESP8266-based development board, with extra goodies like a temp/humidity sensor, WS2812 RGB LED, and a LiPo battery charger added on. The edge GPIO and power connectors are designed to be "alligator-clip-compatible," so a user doesn't have to do any soldering or breadboarding while they're just feeling their way around the board or any associated electronics.
The Blynk Board was designed in partnership with our friends at Blynk, who have an iOS- and Android-compatible app called...Blynk. The Blynk app helps bridge the gap between embedded electronics and the magical computers we have stuffed in our jeans pockets. You can use Blynk for projects like blinking LEDs from your phone, automating your lamps, or relaying sensor data via email.
To reinforce the relationship between the board and the app, each Blynk Board includes a QR code, which, when scanned within the Blynk app, adds 15,000 Blynk energy points to your account. "Energy points" are Blynk's form of currency. Adding widgets to a Blynk project consumes energy, but removing that widget refunds all of that energy back. So, while the energy system can certainly feel a little too microtransaction-y, the energy recycling system and an initial bank of 2,000 points both go a long way towards eliminating any energy-related worries. (Learn more about Blynk energy points here.)
The Blynk Board was the culmination of not just a ton of hardware, firmware, and production work, but also a lot of support-tutorial-writing. There's the Getting Started with the Blynk Board tutorial, which lays out the provisioning process -- a no-programming-required method for connecting your Blynk Board to a WiFi network and your Blynk account.
That tutorial leads into the Blynk Board Project Guide, which documents over a dozen example projects that help familiarize the user with both the Blynk Board and the app. All of those projects are built into the Blynk Board's firmware -- continuing the no-programming theme.
And finally, there's the Blynk Arduino Development Guide, which provides all of the tools you need to start loading your own code onto the Blynk Board.
As the primary engineer on the project, I'm still in a Blynk "cooldown" phase. I've at least stopped dreaming (read: nightmare-ing) about Blynk every night, but it's still hovering somewhere around the top of my mind -- I haven't stopped thinking up projects I can center around the board/app combo. The latest project I've drawn up is a laundry machine monitor.
The monitor combines the Blynk Board with an MMA8452Q Accelerometer Breakout to detect the persistent shaking of a washer or dryer. When the shaking stops, the board sends a notification to your phone.
The project was a nice exploration into hysteresis and accelerometer-based shake detection. Check out the source code or read through the tutorial to learn more about it, and may your laundry days be just a bit more efficient!
Keep an eye out for more Blynk-related news, including an upcoming Hackster challenge!