All About FlashyFlash

What exactly is FlashyFlash?

FlashyFlash extends OTTO's hackability into physical space! You can add sensors, trigger relays, or just build an LED flash bulb for your OTTO.

Be warned: FlashyFlash is a *tool* for you to build on and extend OTTO. It is not a readymade solution to any one particular use. With a little effort, FlashyFlash can turn OTTO into anything from a facial recognition door lock, to a temperature-sensing time lapse camera... but only with your help.

If you've heard of Arduino, you know it's a set of prototyping tools which make it easy to write "sketches" (firmware) which run on low-cost microcontroller boards. Those "sketches" define some set of interactions between the microcontroller "brain" and any attached sensors or actuators.

For example, here's how you make an LED blink on and off over and over using Arduino:

FlashyFlash itself is just a good 'ol prototyping PCB with a couple neat tricks up its sleeve:

Those blue lines are hefty traces that make it easy to plug a DCCDuino or Arduino Nano into the staggered holes with a nice friction fit, and still have an easy way to wire up to each pin, plus add a pull up or pull down resistor as needed! The vertical traces are not connected by default, but can be turned into Ground and Vcc rails with a single solder blob or wire jumper. Easy!

Also, the little "filament" trace in the center of FlashyFlash is spaced such that you can attach any SMT LED from 0201 on up across its center, and then easily wire to it via the small through-holes on either side. There's nothing to say you can't use the same multi-function pads to attach an SMT microphone or sensor. Go nuts! :)

How FlashyFlash Works...

FlashyFlash is powered by an ATMega328P-based Arduino compatible microcontroller board called DCCDuino Nano. That board talks to OTTO via the front micro USB port, using the pleasantly yellow microUSB cable we provide with your Flashy Flash.

Out of the box, the DCCDuino is pre-loaded with a simple blink script that makes the status LED turn on and off every second like in the tutorial linked above. If you plug everything in, and the LED on the DCCDuino is blinking at you, everything is working correctly.

Using Arduino flashing tools, you can program new sketches that let FlashyFlash be a trigger or output for OTTO in concert with a custom mode. Because OTTO is really a tiny Linux computer wrapped up to *look* like a camera, you would integrate FlashyFlash into an OTTO mode the same way you would use an Arduino attached to a computer in order to add extra buttons or sensors.

There are tons of different tools to make that integration sing, but we recommend pyFirmata as a great starting point.

To learn more about how to develop sketches for Arduino, check out all the Arduino Tutorials

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