Tag Archives: UK

Video: Creating a DIY Spotify remote

The UK-based HackShed crew has created a DIY Spotify remote powered by an Atmel-based Arduino board paired with an LCD keypad shield.

The remote displays the current (playing) song, as well as supporting various functions such as play/pause, previous and next.

“The remote is made from a VB.NET application that listens on a select COM port for commands; it also broadcasts the current playing song via the COM port to the Arduino,” Steve from HackShed explained in a detailed blog post.

“You could add a Bluetooth module to this to make it completely wireless, which would be really cool.”

The HackShed crew kicks off the DIY Spotify remote project by building an Arduino sketch that scans the serial port for incoming characters (current song), “listens” for button presses and Serial.println() commands, while displaying the current song on the LCD with scrolling text.

“These three tasks are actually really simple to do; most of the hard work will be on the .NET application side that sends commands to Spotify,” Steve noted.

“The Arduino refreshes the LCD Screen every 3500ms. This is optional but it seemed better that it was constantly scrolling instead of just static text; moving text seems less boring.”

Next up? Visual Studio and the actual Spotify control class coded by Steffest way back in 2009. Essentially, the application works by listening and sending information on the same COM port as the Arduino.

“The application listens for 3 commands (play/plause, prev, next) once these get detected they send the relevant command over to the Spotify application. Information about the current song is then sent to the COM port and received by the Arduino, which outputs this to the attached LCD screen,” Steve added.

“As you can see, the only options you have is to select a COM port (this should be the Arduino’s COM port) and a connect/disconnect button. [Plus], the console window at the bottom updates in realtime as to what is getting sent/received from the Arduino.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out the project’s official project page on HackShed here.

UK invests big in the IoT

The UK government will reportedly spend an extra £45m on developing Internet of Things (IoT) technology. The pledge, made by British Prime Minister David Cameron, more than doubles the amount of IoT-related funds currently available to UK tech firms.

“I see the internet of things as a huge transformative development,” British Prime Minister David Cameron recently told CeBIT attendees in Germany in a statement quoted by the BBC. “[It is] a way of boosting productivity, of keeping us healthier, making transport more efficient, reducing energy needs [and] tackling climate change.”

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the IoT is essentially a combination of multiple market segments, tens of thousands of OEMs and hundreds of thousands of products.

“It is seen by many as the next wave of dramatic market growth for semiconductors. If you look at the different estimates made by market analysts, the IoT market will be worth trillions of dollars to a variety of industries from the consumer to financial, industrial, white goods and other market segments,” Dr. Reza Kazerounian, Senior VP and GM of the Microcontroller Business Unit at Atmel, recently told EEWeb.

“Companies that provide cloud-based services, service providers and semiconductor companies will also benefit from this market. The number of small or new companies that are showcasing connective devices has increased – there will be 50 billion connected devices by 2020. These nodes will have characteristics such as low-power embedded processing, a human-machine interface and connectivity.”

Interested in learning more about the IoT? You can check out previous Bits & Pieces articles on the subject here.