Cloud-free Flexible Photon Communication

Hello people, I did some cursory searches and couldn’t find a specific answer. I have a general idea of the software, but I would like some guidance on choosing the hardware.

I’m looking to develop a project involving multiple photons: with only one acting as the “primary” device connected to the cloud. The primary photon pulls information from the cloud then broadcasts it to the secondary photons, which display that information on an OLED screen. Doing this with an event stream is easy, but I want to try something a little more flexible.

Is there a network-free line-of-sight or proximity way to transfer data between photons? Rather, which ones are recommended for sending a JSON (IR doesn’t seem feasible).

Example user-case to help illustrate:

There are 4 “secondary” photons spread around a room, and two users with “primary” photons. If USER1 walks up to a secondary photon (SP1) (USER1 triggers an ultrasound sensor, pushes a button, etc) this secondary photon updates its OLED screen to information broadcasted by USER1. USER1 moves to another secondary photon (SP2) and repeats that process.

Meanwhile, USER2 approaches SP1, and triggers the same event. Now SP1’s OLED screen is displaying information from USER2’s primary photon.

I’m ignoring the possibility of interference between USER1 and USER2’s photons, right now I’m only focused on how to update the secondary photons without pairing them.

  • Secondary photons accept data from any primary photon transmitting that meets requirements (no pairing, no cloud)

  • Secondary and primary photons cannot physically interact

  • Secondary photons do not broadcast back. Think of them as “mirroring the display” of a primary photon.

Thus to keep this “hot swap” flexibility I am trying to avoid blue tooth pairing.

I’ll appreciate any advice people have :slight_smile:

Thank you!

The best option would be the next gen3 hardware that focuses on Mesh. Ideal for a situation like yours. The current generation isn’t really designed for direct communication between modules. It might be possible, but it’ll involve some heavy lifting on the software side to make it work.
Using an additional radio is a feasible option at the moment, such as the NRF24L01. That should be relatively easy, and you could even use some ‘dumber’ microcontrollers as end-nodes, if you don’t need any of the Photon features.

It depends on you’re requirements what the best path is.

1 Like

I would definitely look into something more specialized if I was developing it further, but for now it is merely proof of concept for a class.

Thank you for the radio idea! I went and ordered a set to experiment with. Worst case scenario is I have some cool hardware for the future.

For a very specific example, I plan to have a secondary device mounted inside the acid hood of a clean room. To minimize contamination risk, the secondary device will wirelessly receive experiment parameters from the primary, then displaying it on the OLED.

I’m eager to try some things out with the radio :slight_smile: