Finally found a great tutorial on using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) with MIT's App Inventor for Android. The guide is well written with lots of details on the connection process. This isn't surprising since (I think) the author is one of the people who created the BLE extension for App Inventor.
Check out the tutorial at Hackster.io
I've been using App Inventor with Bluetooth classic for a while now and am comfortable shipping data to and from several versions of Bluetooth modules. But the new BLE extension for App Inventor looked like it was a lot more complex to use, so I had avoided it until now. I still don't understand what all the extension's functions do, but the tutorial allowed me to get connected and communicating in just a few minutes.
Got a basic interface created and it's talking to the Feather board well enough to control color, speed and direction
And they already have free apps for both Android and iOS for communicating with the BLE version of the Feather board. The apps are powerful and easy to use, but I wanted to create some custom functionality.My first project is to create an interface to give me more control over the Feather NeoPixel shield. This will come as no surprise to most of you - I always start learning new platforms with NeoPixels.
I'm not ready to talk much about the project yet. It's functioning and stable, but it's awkward to use. It's also a lot more complex than most of my Android projects, so I'm forced to get back into the whole UI/UX thing for the first time in years. Giving all those cues to the user is taking up a lot of my coding time, maybe more than the basic functionality.
In fact, I will probably have to break down the (soon to be released) tutorial into multiple steps - connecting, tracking settings, packaging data and UI manipulation - for both the Android side and Arduino side of things.
I'm telling myself all this work is worth it because I will finally have a full stack of parts that will allow me to create both household and wearable items that can be controlled over a phone by a non-techie. Stay tuned...
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