ESP8266 Pirates vs Ninjas Voting Dashboard – Quick Make

My first BarCamp!

I am going to my first BarCamp this weekend: Manchester Girl Geeks BarCamp.

I have never attended an ‘unconference’ before and I have been wondering whether I should have a go at speaking and if I did what I’d actually talk about. 

Well I decided I don’t want to speak at my first BarCamp, I want to see as many talks as I can and get the idea of what goes on. This event is well organised, people have gone to a lot of effort, so I feel like I should do something to contribute to the event. 

I’ve decided to do a make to display, something that is of the moment and I can set up and leave, with the Blackpool Makerspace name on and advertise our group a little bit. If I write the make up here before hand I can direct anyone interested to this blog post.  

Seems like the plan… However I decided this on the Monday evening (whilst I was decorating and missing eating my Kong burger with @blackpoolgeekup). So it will have to be a very quick make. I have 2 free evenings to get this done before Saturday…  Challenge accepted!


What to make?

A simple ESP8266 project that people could interact with using their phone seemed to be the right direction.  

I started with the idea of the Reddit Button it’s an interesting thing and there are a few articles about this April Fools phenomenon like this one.  It seems such a simple idea and if I could demonstrate something similar on the ESP8266 it might be good fun and a social game.  I had a think on how I’d implement it on the ESP8266 and it became clear I didn’t really have enough time to solve the issues before the event.

So I decided to stick to what I know… Servos… I know about them, hmmmm…


Interactive voting dashboard

The idea I settled on is an interactive voting dashboard.  People browse the ESP8266 on their wi-fi device and get a website with buttons to choose their answer to this or that or would you rather style questions.  Their responses are logged by the server and a servo moves a pointer in response towards the this or that they choose.

I haven’t worked out a simple way to restrict each person (device) to one vote only so it will be open to the abuse of people voting multiple times for their choice, maybe that will turn out to be fun. 

This idea could be extended to present a number of questions but I’ve decided I’m just going to do the one: Pirate vs Ninja?



The ESP8266 ESP-12

The Version of ESP8266 I will be using is the ESP-12. A write up on the various flavours of ESP8266 is here: http://l0l.org.uk/2014/12/esp8266-modules-hardware-guide-gotta-catch-em-all/

Getting started on the code…

If you are used to the Arduino environment the easiest way to program an ESP8266 is to use the ESP8266 for Arduino IDE bundle. 

This can be installed by following the instructions here: https://github.com/esp8266/Arduino

Since v1.6.4 (the current version when this post was written) the Arduino IDE has a boards manager and this makes it much easier to add boards. This is a great feature and it’s worth a side trip to learn what this really means on the Adafruit site:  https://learn.adafruit.com/add-boards-arduino-v164 

The ESP8266 Community module installed in the Arduino Boards Manager

  









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