Javascript and devices in the Internet of Things

TesselA few new devices have been recently released that distinguish themselves by using Javascript for their programming.

As time has gone by, I’ve been becoming a bigger and bigger fan of Javascript, both for doing things myself and for teaching kids with. It’s very accessible, there are countless examples to draw upon, and the results are incredibly flexible. So it’s pleasing to see the possibility of taking some facility with Javascript from the screen and out into the real world of the Internet of Things.

There’s the Tessel. Tessel is an open-source microcontroller that is programmable in JavaScript and compatible with Node.js. It features built-in WiFi support and “plug and play” modules that can be installed with one line to the Node package manager (npm). All that in short makes it very easy to jump in and get things happening. The Tessel is being sold locally by GPIO Australia although it must be said that it’s both expensive and large, especially compared to recent releases like the Spark Core. The basic board is $99.

The Espruino appears to be a more polished option. It’s low-powered, runs Javascript without drivers, has a free web-based IDE and even has a graphical, Scratch-like, editor. The Espruino Pico, which has only recently come out of Kickstarter, is the same but shrunk down to teeny-tiny size. The basic Espriono 1.4 is available locally through Little Bird Electronics for $60. The big gap for the Espruino is that it does not come with WiFi.

Now I have to admit I haven’t tried these out yet, but the idea of being able to work with Javascript opens up significant possibilities and I’m looking forward to exploring them further. I’m lining up for a Espruino Pico and will report back once I’ve had a play.

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