On the rear cover is written "Building electronic projects that interact with the physical world is good fun. But when devices that you've built start to talk to each other, things really start to get interesting." That's an open door to the MAKE magazine DIY project mindset.
Tom eases the reader into the basics of making things communicate - some basic electronics, electronic communication interfaces, tools for building electronics, and some unix commands - then traverses through simple serial communications, computer networks, infrared and radio, Bluetooth and X10. For each type of communication, once he describes the concept he builds a working device, then applies it in some intersting way. The cores of the technologies he presents are not detailed because the goal is for the reader to make things talk with each other as quickly as possible.
His examples are based on an Arduino microcontroller module with USB port, and you'll need a PC of some flavor to interact with it, along with other electronics "parts" to flash out the hardware design. On the software end some knowledge of Java and PHP computer programming will help, but the concepts in the example code snippets should be portable for those who have such programming skills.
The variety of examples that Tom uses could keep a tinkerer busy for quite some time trying, testing and learning. I can see myself basing some of my workbench projects on his designs. This is very much a hands-on book, which suits me fine. 9 of 10.
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