December 30, 2012
It started with a heat beat sensor project I wanted to work on. Equipped with a pulse sensor for Arduino and a Beaglebone I’ve set out to create my very own heart rate monitor. I know what you’re thinking: a Beaglebone is not the same as an Arduino. But how hard can it be to convert a simple project designed for the Arduino to work on a Beaglebone? Very hard, it seems.
Before I explain, your probably wondering why I bought a Beaglebone instead of an Arduino, and why I like to make my life so hard. Well, a Beaglebone is cooler. It has all the analog/digital inputs that an Arduino has, but hey, it’s a full blown Linux server to boot. It think there’s something really awesome about having a self contained server that can be accessed through the Internet from anywhere. Plus on the Beaglebone you can code in Ruby, Node, C, Python – you name it. However, none of the code written for the Arduino works out-of-the-box on a Beaglebone. But for me it’s a great way (i.e. the “hard way”) to learn something.
With my “simple” project in mind I set out to learn everything I need to know to build it:
- Learn about the Beaglebone – the platform and hardware is different than the Arduino
- Learn Processing – Processing is used to graphically display your heart beat
- Learn about socket.io (to communicate between the Beaglebone server and Processing) – this is to communicate in realtime between the Beaglebone server and a web browser
- Throw in a little electronics, and I’m on my way
What am I going to do with a heart rate monitor anyway? I’m not quite sure. I could be the start of a massive opensource medical instrumentation company. Or perhaps just a hacker project.
It doesn’t matter really because I’m having a riot.
By the way, if you have any questions, suggestions or ideas please let me know.