Easy Network Config For IoT Devices With RGBeacon

When you’re hooking up hardware to a network, it can sometimes be a pain to figure out what IP address the device has ended up with. [Bas Pijls] often saw this problem occurring in the classroom, and set about creating a simple method for small devices to communicate their IP address and other data with a minimum of fuss.

[Bas] specifically wanted a way to do this without adding a display to the hardware, as this would add a lot of complexity and expense to simple IoT devices. Instead, RGBeacon was created, wherin a microcontroller flashes out network information with the aid of a single RGB WS2812B LED.

In fact, all three colors of the RGB LED are used to send information to a computer via a webcam. The red channel flashes out a clock signal, the green channel represents the beginning of a byte, and the blue channel flashes to indicate bits that are high. With a little signal processing, a computer running a Javascript app in a web browser can receive information from a microcontroller flashing its LEDs via a webcam.

It’s a neat hack that should make setting up devices in [Bas]’s classes much easier. It needn’t be limited to network info, either; the code could be repurposed to let a microcontroller flash out other messages, too. It’s not dissimilar from the old Timex Datalink watches which used monitor flashes to communicate!

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