I was thinking about using the Arduino platform as the base for my sensor nodes. It is a widely support platform for the microcontroller world, and there are many sensors, libraries, and supports from the DIY community. This link to their website is here http://www.arduino.cc/
I had quite a very good experience with Arduino platform, especially the Uno and Mega board. They are great board, with many I/O and great selection of sensors that ones can buy and integrate easily with the Arduino.
Here is the picture of the Arduino Uno and Mega.
So in order to use these, i need to setup the development for programing the board. For so long, i was using the Arduino IDE comes with these board. The IDE itself is easy to use. It is great for users to develop software and program the Arduino-compatible boards they have. But i want something new, something different.
I already have Visual Studio (11) installed on my computer for my C# and python development, so why not use Visual Studio 11 as my main development for all of my projects? It is a good idea. Searching around and i found this add-on for Visual Studio to talk to Arduino. The add-on is called Visual Micro. Website at http://www.visualmicro.com/
So i went ahead and install Visual Micro onto my PC. it was an easy installation, everything went very quickly and easily. No error was found. The Visual Studio 11 i have figured out the Visual Micro Add-on at once. Here is the visual micro screenshot obtained from the visualmicro.com website.
The only one problem with the Visual Micro is that it doesn’t show up the template for Arduino when i start a new project. So i started with opening the Tool/Visual Micro /Platform Explorer and select the examples already given by the Arduino IDE. It opens up quickly and compiled correctly. I was able to compile, write to the Arduino Uno, and verify that everything is working perfectly.
I decided to create a template of my Arduino Project in Visual Studio so that in the future, i would be easier for my to develop any other software for this platform. I choose File/Export Template in VIsual Studio 11 to export my Arduino template into a zip file. It also added the same template into my Project selections. So when i create New/Project, the Arduino Project template will be available under Visual C++.
So my groundwork for this Smart Home project is ready. Time to start searching for the right Arduino Platform and sensors to integrate together.