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SurfPad: TCPIP Socket Connectivity

In the previous articles in this series, a UWP app was developed as an array of XAML buttons that acts as the UI for an app running on a remote embedded or IoT device. Once connected the remote app sends a configuration for the UI as a Json string. Connectivity between the UWP and remote apps over Bluetooth and USB Serial has been covered. In this article connectivity over network sockets is covered. The article includes 101 on TCPIP Network Sockets for UWP and Arduino.

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Connecting ESP8266 and Azure

I ordered a bunch of ESP8266 modules in November and I have been developing applications since then with the available environments: 1 - Arduino IDE 2 - MicroPython 3 - Native SDK Arduino IDE is great because it allowed me to re-use the code I wrote to access Azure through REST for my Azure Watering System. Having both WiFi and a low power MCU I decided to build a Wireless station to monitor Humidity and Temperature and report to Azure. Several SSIDs may be included in the program, therefore this monitoring device may be used inside and in the surroundings of my home - connected through home WiFi, or anywhere if I connect through my 3G+ phone. The actual challenge for a Wireless station is to be REALLY wireless, this means running on battery. I used a 400MAh 1S LiPo I had in stock to see how long it would run between recharge. The actual setup is as follows: This includes more than the ESP8266 and DHT11 shield (in the back) and Battery (in front), 1 - The display and resistors are used to measu ...

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SurfPad: USB Serial Connectivity

This article reworks the previous few articles that use BT Serial and the connectivity  so that USB virtual serial is used for communication. It covers in detail USB Serial connectivity between a UWP app and an Arduino devices as well as with a Windows 10 IoT-Core device (eg RPI).

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SurfPad: Bluetooth Connectivity-4/4 Win 10 IoT-Core Remote App

The second article in this series covered development of a BT enabled Arduino Sketch that send its required UI to the UWP app as two json text strings. Also when the app is configured, the UWP app can send the UI key presses as encoded characters. This article covers how to implement same as a Windows 10 IoT-Core app that can run on a RPI.

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SurfPad: Bluetooth Connectivity-3/4 UWP App

The previous article in this series covered implementing an Arduino device as the remote app that send the UI configuration at start up to the UWP app so that the UWP app can configure the UI for it as an array of buttons. The Arduino device executes a state machine. The article covers the BT connectivity from within the UWP app and the implementation of the UWP apps mirror of the state machine.

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SurfPad: Bluetooth Connectivity 2/4 -Arduino as Remote App

In the previous article, issues with and how to connect a Windows 10 system to an Arduino device using the Classic (Generic) Bluetooth Serial (SPP) connectivity  was covered in detail. This is so that a UWP app running on a Windows 10 device can act as the UI for an app running on a remote device such as an Arduino or IOT-Core device. The UI a dynamically generated array of buttons with multiline text that when pressed send a code representing the button to the remote app for interpretation. There is also a list box in the UI that can be used to display messages from the remote app. The UI specified in Json is passed via the serial medium from the remote app to the Windows system and used to generate the app’s UI dynamically in XAMl at runtime. This article covers the code to receive the json text from the remote device and how to interpret it within the  UWP app as well as how to pass the button code and get the remote app’s text messages.

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SurfPad: Bluetooth Connectivity-1/4

The Story so far: We are working towards rejigging an old Surface 1 or 2, or any old Windows Tablet/Laptop with a touch screen, to be the UI for a remote app running on a device such as an Arduino or Windows 10 IoT-Core. We have developed a Windows 10 UWP app that programmatically sets up the UI as an XAML grid of buttons. These buttons are rounded boxes whose content is a multiline TextBlock. If disabled, these buttons can individually just be fixed textual content in the UI. The grid and button’s text is specified in a Json string which is loaded from a file present in the UWP app. A ListView box was added so that the remote app can send back text to be displayed. The intention is for the UWP app to communicate UI button presses to the remote app over various mediums such as Bluetooth, RS232, Network Sockets etc. to facilitate the download of this Json content from the remote app. Later on we will port the UWP app backwards to Windows 8.1 so it can run on the WinRT( ARM) Surface 2.


This article covers Bluetooth connectivity between the UWP UI app running on a Windows 10 Surface Book 2 and an Arduino Uno (compatible). Button presses on the UWP app  are sent to the Arduino device as single (unique) character and echoed back to the app. Upon return the button’s text is looked up and displayed in the TextBlock. Special characters can initiate command actions in the remote app. One button press will get the remote app to send the grid Json configuration text to the UWP app so it can (re)configure the grid. In this manner the UWP app engenders some universality in that it can be configured for a variety of remote apps, by that app at runtime. The first part of this article covers the device to device Bluetooth Serial Port connectivity. The second part covers the Bluetooth connectivity fro a UWP app and an Arduino device.

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SurfPad: Text Output

Turn your old Surface into into a large touchpad. As part 3, add a Text Output control to the UI that can note which button is pressed along with (later on) output from the remote app.

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SurfPad: Json Configuration

Turn your old Surface into into a large touchpad. As part 2, specify the buttons and app config via a Json Configuration file. This reworks a previous GitHub project.

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SurfPad: Your old Surface as a Remote App Touchpad: The UI

Turn your old Surface into into a large touchpad:

Have you got an old RT Surface 1 or 2 gathering dust and don't know what to do with it?

  • Create a UWP app to run on a Surface (ARM or x86), or any touchscreen Windows laptop. Could even recycle an Windows Mobile (8.1/10) phone.
  • Uses rounded boxes a touch keys.
  • Can remotely act as the UI for an app running on any system that supports Serial, Bluetooth(serial) or has network connectivity.  Azure IoT Hub is also envisaged as a communication medium.

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