CastDuino a narrow casting solution for Arduino

posted 2 Sep 2011, 13:40 by JO3RI Read Grab Share   [ updated 6 Sep 2011, 06:42 ]
Master CastDuino broadcast page
A couple of weeks ago, I started working on my new project CastDuino. My own solution for a Public Displays showing "TIME" and a scrolling message, running on Arduino.

Showing some text and a clock on a screen, isn't that hard to program, but I wanted to do more. I wanted more displays showing the same message, or groups of displays showing the same message. Or maybe one display needed an alarm clock too. So I started to work out my concept and here it is:

CastDuino gives you an Arduino (master) that can send 8 text (80 characters for now) and 16 action messages to other Arduino's (slaves), which will show the messages on a screen of your own choice or/and can do an action predefined by yourself. All this can be done through the Master Arduino's embedded webinterface. Why would you need such a thing? Well I can tell you why I needed it.

Back in 2009, I was asked in our company to get some Real Time Clocks with a big digital Display and they all had to run the exact same time. When I started looking for those (with radio connections for time updates), I found out it would be quit expensive.Then the next question came. Isn't there something that can display short messages as well, and while you're at it, we need something that makes a sound at lunch breaks.

So I contacted a friend and we made Lumay, a casting solution running in Adobe Air. It showed a digital clock and a txt message on a computer running Ubuntu. I hang up some 19" LCD screens, used a VGA-splitter and connected all my screen through a VGA-to-CAT5 converter. This way, I only had 1 computer showing the same thing on multiple screens.

Now the day has come, they want different messages on different screens, different sounds on different locations and so on. Our Lumay solution would do, but becomes to expensive this way. Mind you, 19" or 21" LCD screens are still the cheapest solution, but multiple computers, VGA-splitters and VGA-to-CAT5 are not that cheap any more.

That is why I started CASTDUINO. A narrow Casting Solution based on Arduino that can send text and action messages to other Arduino's showing and doing the stuff you decide it to show and do.

But I can think of a lot more reasons to use it: Schools can use it for daily announcements on screen, or repeating announcements over the intercom (sound), You could use small screens or LED or LCD next to the classrooms door to show the next class info. Or you could use it in shops for advertising messages, or make it do things like unlocking doors at certain moments... Well if you have a great idea, let me know.