Virtual Shields

Arduino_logo2Virtual Shields — what’s that and why is that exciting (at least to me it is)? It has to do with the IoT (Internet of Things) and Microsoft’s commitment to it.

Microsoft yesterday announced at the Build 2015 conference two new collaborations with microcontroller makers Arduino: Windows Virtual Shields and Windows Remote Arduino.

What is a Shield

Arduino is famous for its Arduino Uno series of development kits used by so many who are active in IoT development (an example is shown in the photo).

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By contrast shields are boards that can be plugged on top of the Arduino PCB – extending its capabilities. The different shields follow the same philosophy as the original toolkit: they are easy to mount, and cheap to produce.

That brings us to the virtual shields. Windows Virtual Shields for Arduino, which enables Arduino “sketches” (small programs) to access the built-in sensors on Microsoft Lumia phones. All that’s required is an Arduino UNO, a bluetooth module, a supported phone, and usage of the VirtualShield library and functions. The photo shows a prototype “weather station” controlled by a Lumia smartphone.

As Microsoft’s Steve Teixeira explains, “Windows Virtual Shield for Arduino enables developers to tap into the incredible power of Windows 10 devices through wireless protocols. A Lumia 530 contains well over $200-worth of Arduino shield sensors and capabilities, and we’ve made it easy to access all of those sensors and capabilities from an Arduino as if they were standard hardware shields. Imagine being able to create an Arduino project that includes GPS, Web connectivity/parsing, touch display, speech technologies and more. We’re particularly fond of the picture the weather project we’ve created that lets you bring your children’s drawings to life.”

For more information, see the full article in the Make: blog

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