This week I took my first steps with .NET Gadgeteer. The .NET Gadgeteer system consists of hardware components plus software that allows you to create small devices such as mini-robots. The CPU is a small one with only 72 MHz speed. The software is a library that integrates with the .NET ecosystem. I created Zoltar — a device that can give you poker tips during a game.
I named my system Zoltar after the arcade fortune teller machine. My Zoltar has three components. The input is speech recognition; I have Zoltar connected to a laptop and a program that uses Microsoft Speech Platform 11.0 to accept commands like “I have a Jack of diamonds” and “Should I bet or check?” The processing part of the system does a real-time simulation to determine the optimal strategy at any given point in time. Currently I sort of cheat and do the processing on the laptop but eventually I’ll see if I can move the processing over to the Gadgeteer processor. The output is Zoltar’s crystal ball (actually a clear marble) where green means bet, red means fold, and blue means check.
Building Zoltar was very interesting. It was a bit troublesome to get .NET Gadgeteer up and running initially but once I worked through those issues, it was an interesting experience. If you’re interested in devices, I recommend that you take a look at .NET Gadgeteer.