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If your business includes any vending machine, you've probably struggled with this issue: How can I trust that the machine is working correctly? Out of all the products in there, how do I know that it's giving the customer what they paid for? Kiosks are a great place to start when learning embedded software engineering. Let's look at an example of a simple coin-operated vending machine using an Arduino microcontroller and some LEDs.

For simplicity, we'll make our pattern consist of three lights on each side, one per product category. So, for example, we'll use green for beverages, yellow for chips, and red for candy. So at a glance, a customer can see whether the product they want is available. Even better, as the owner, you constantly indicate how many items are in each category and how much money you've made.

Kiosks are a great place to start when learning embedded software engineering. In the context of this article, a "kiosk" is a machine that carries out a specific function and has no keyboard or mouse. From simple automation projects to full-featured fanless embedded computer kiosks, here's what you need to know to get started.

In this guide, we'll show you how to make your touchscreen kiosk with an affordable Raspberry Pi kit and some free software called Raspbian Lite. With it, you can control industrial computers from another location over SSH, meaning the kit doubles as an internet-connected security camera when placed in a secure location like a server closet or data center!

We'll walk through setting up your Raspberry Pi, installing Raspbian Lite (an OS optimized for the Pi), and turning your touchscreen into an internet-connected kiosk. Along the way, we'll show you some security best practices that will help improve your kiosk's overall performance.

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is here! The new board offers improved power management to support more powerful external USB devices, lower power consumption for all models, two new connectors for the P5 pin header (including CSI), and removal of the yellow composite video out (mini-jack only now).

This issue of Nuts & Volts contains 63 pages filled with articles covering everything from robots to weather stations, Arduino accessories to high-speed photography—and much more! We also have tutorials, product announcements, and more!

Designing Your First Kiosk

So what does an embedded software engineer need to build such a project? First, let's discuss some of the standard components used in kiosks: 1) Operating system - The operating system (OS) runs all the other programs on your machine and provides services that those programs can use. Currently, there are three significant OSes: Windows (used by over 90% of machines worldwide), iOS (for iPhones and iPads), and Android (for phones and tablets). Embedded engineers typically use Linux due to its small size and relative ease of updating. Complex systems enable you to profit from operating systems with wireless connectivity. In addition, interactive kiosks provide self-service and reduce costs.

2) Monitor - A monitor allows the user to see what is happening onscreen. Most modern kiosks use touch screens or other human-machine interfaces (HMI).

3) Keyboard/Mouse - This is for users who need more than a basic HMI such as a full computer keyboard and mouse. Many laptops, especially newer ones with higher power processors, can be configured into kiosk mode, where they boot directly into your OS without requiring you to enter your password at startup. 4) Networking hardware - Connectivity is vital in most modern machines and networks allow them to access online services and transfer data between each other. We'll cover all of these topics in-depth throughout the rest of this series.

Are you interested in learning about embedded software engineering?

Kiosks are a great place to start when learning embedded systems engineering. In the context of this article, a "kiosk" is a machine that carries out a specific function and has no keyboard or mouse. From simple automation projects to full-featured computer kiosks, here's what you need to know to get started.

You'll learn how to build your first kiosk using Raspberry Pi 3 and Linux, as well as how to use Python and JavaScript for programming it. We'll also show you how to create an attractive user interface with HTML5 so users can interact with your project through touchscreens or other input devices like buttons or switches. Finally, we'll discuss some common problems that arise when building kiosks and offer solutions for these issues, so they don't slow down your development process too much! By the end of this tutorial, readers will have built their own fully functional touchscreen kiosk from scratch! Ready? Let's go!

What You'll Need For This Project

Arduino Uno - This is a staple of the maker community and one of the most popular microcontrollers. It's easy to use, has plenty of Arduino projects that you can modify for your own needs, and is programmable with your choice of programming language (C++ or Java).

LED Strip - LEDs are visible light-emitting diodes that come in strips called "Neopixels." These components allow you to control each LED's colour individually through simple protocols. The one we'll be using comes with an Arduino library preinstalled on it, so adding more functions will be very easy! Raspberry Pi 2 Model B - Another popular chip, the Raspberry Pi is an entire computer on a tiny (3.5 x 2.1 in) board with many expansion capabilities such as HDMI output and an ethernet port for networking. It has excellent support online, and it can be easily powered via your USB cable to your Arduino-compatible device.

Shopping List: Option 1 Option 2 Arduino Uno R3 (US $22) https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11021 Raspberry Pi 2 Model B (US $40) https://www.adafruit.com/product/2358 Neopixel RGB LED Strip - 5 meters / 16 feet (US $40) http://a.co/cjnMgJX

That's it! All together, this setup will run you about $100. Of course, you can spend as much or as little as you want on the case and monitor, but those aren't core to your kiosk operation.

Setting Up Your Software Environment

Let's set up everything we need before diving into an entire project.

1) Installing Raspbian - This is the recommended OS for the Raspberry Pi, and running a 'headless' setup (meaning no monitor is connected to our build) makes configuring your machine very easy with only a few commands from SSH (secure shell). If you have an SD card reader on your computer, go ahead and download Raspbian from http://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads. If not, you can get a free online reader here.

2) Enable SSH - To configure your Raspberry Pi over SSH, you must first enable it. From the Raspbian desktop, open Preferences and click on Raspberry Pi Configuration, then go to the Interfaces tab and check Remote Access. Press OK to exit out of all windows. Next, go to Terminal and type in sudo raspi-config command. Select Interfacing Options > SSH > Yes > Ok > Finish . You'll be prompted for your password (default is 'pi'). This process will start automatically when you restart your Raspberry Pi by holding down Shift during bootup.

3) Connecting via WiFi - Setting up WiFi on the Rasberry Pi is very easy, thanks to a program called WICD-CURSES. Open Terminal and type in sudo apt-get update followed by Sudo apt-get install wicd-curses. Once installed, open up your WiFi settings by entering the command wicd-curses at the terminal. From this window, you can search for nearby WiFi networks, connect to them, edit their security information, and select the leading network your kiosk will connect to (if you have more than one).

4) Connecting via Ethernet Cable - If your Arduino project is far away from power outlets or you don't want another wire running across your floor, connecting with an ethernet cable is also easy with Raspbian. From Preferences, go to Raspberry Pi Configuration and then the Interfaces tab. First, enable the eth0 interface by checking the box next to it and pressing OK. Then, from Terminal, type in sudo ifconfig followed by your IP address (e.g., 192.168.1.102).

5) Finding Your IP Address - As mentioned above, you can use SSH or WICD-CURSES to configure your Rasberry Pi without a monitor (headless mode). However, if you want some feedback on what's happening as it boots up, you can also connect with the program called PuTTY (downloadable here ). To find your IP address for this method, run the ifconfig at the terminal and look for either an entry that starts with wlan0 or starts with eth0.

6) Setting Up Your Kiosk - I will assume you're using the Raspberry Pi (Raspbian OS) and an Arduino-compatible device for this tutorial. You can find instructions on setting up either of these devices here.

7) Installing Software Packages - Now it's time to install our software libraries! First, make sure your Arduino is plugged in via USB. Next, open Terminal (you may need to type in cd /home/pi followed by a space before running all of the following commands). Installing GIT: Sudo apt-get update followed by Sudo apt-get install git Installing Adafruit Neopixel Library: mkdir -p ~/git/Adafruit_NeoPixel cd ~/git/Adafruit_NeoPixel sudo git clone https://github.com/adafruit/Adafruit_NeoPixel Installing Adalight Processing Library: mkdir -p ~/git/delight cd /home/pi git clone https://github.com/dalecurtis/adalight-processing

Final Steps

There are a few more tasks that you'll need to do to get your kiosk up and running, but they're pretty simple! For this example, I'm using an Arduino Uno with an Ethernet Shield for WiFi connectivity. Still, the instructions would be similar if you used another Arduino or Ethernet shield.

1) Setting Up a Virtual Display - To simplify your coding experience, you can set up a virtual display that will mirror the physical LEDs of the Adalight Processing sketch. The linked article above has detailed instructions on installing and configuring X11 Windowing System on Raspbian OS. In Terminal, type in sudo raspi-config and navigate Advanced Options > Memory Split. Change your memory size from 64MB to 16MB in this menu and press OK. If you have an older Raspberry Pi with only 256MB of RAM, select 32MB instead. After restarting your Raspberry Pi, open up a terminal and type in init -- :1 -depth 16 followed by a space. This command starts up Adalight on virtual display 1 with a depth of 16.

2) Running the Adalight Processing Sketch - Once your virtual display has been set up, it's time to run the sketch! Open Terminal and type in cd ~/git/delight followed by a space before running sudo ./Adalight.sh. This will load up the Adalight Processing sketch in the X11 environment you configured above. If everything worked correctly, you should see all of your LEDs light up red (it always starts with red)!

3) Connecting to Your Raspberry Pi - Now it's time to connect to your Raspberry Pi through SSH (remember the IP Address we found earlier?). Navigate back to your PuTTY program after closing out the Terminal. Type in your IP address into the Host Name field and click Open. You should be prompted for your username/password. The default credentials are pi/raspberry.

4) Running Your First Sketch - Once PuTTY has connected, run sudo nano ~/.adalightrc followed by a space. This will create a new file that contains our Adalight config. For this example, we will control two digital pins on the Arduino to control two strings of LEDs with their respective red and green channels (pins 2/3 and 4/5). Please scroll down to where it says Virtual Pin Configs and delete all of the text under there, so you're only left with the number 2 twice and nothing else. Now press Ctrl+X to exit and save the changes you made in nano. Next, in Terminal, type in Sudo nano /etc/RC. Local followed by a space. This will bring up a text editor that contains commands that run at boot time. Please scroll down to the very bottom and add a # before the last exit 0 so it looks like this: Press Ctrl+X to exit and save the changes you've made in nano. Now your Raspberry Pi should be good to go!

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