Monday, October 17, 2016

Controlling a Servo with Photon (#IoT) #progress


I'm continuing my exploration of the Photon today and am happy to report a couple new things that I've learned.  My initial goal was to get a servo up and running and to control it via Twitter.

Thanks to some open source code from MIT, shared on the Spark Fun website, I was able to get my servo to run at an established time and date, which is pretty cool!  The code that I'm using was designed to have a servo tip fish food into a tank at a certain point in time, but an additional Particle function in the code also allows the servo to be moved via a web request.
Wiskers is the name of my device.  Feed is the name of the Particle function.
Although I was able to quickly get the servo to work by calling the function in the command line that I set up using Node.js, creating the web request was a little trickier.  In order to call the function on If Then Then That (IFTTT), I had to provide the device ID and authentication code for my Photon, as well as a unique URL linking to Particle.  This took a while to figure out, but it's working now.  I just have to remember to refresh my recipe in ITFFF whenever I change the code in the Particle app.
In any case, I am trying to imagine how I might embed a tiny servo into a book to help advance a narrative. It would have to be smaller than the one I'm using now.  Off the top of my head, I can imagine a servo powering a tiny propeller in a steampunk book.  Now, I need to figure out a way to allow the servo to be triggered by someone other than me.  I'm not yet sure how to automate that, but I'll keep taking baby steps until I figure it out.