My friend Thomas Edwards has added another component to his Phy2Phy project series, his mission to link one physical locale to another over the Internet. His first component was Touch-over-IP. His latest creation is Breath-over-IP.
To communicate breath over the net, he used an Arduino, a SparkFun Protoshield, an AdaFruit Xport shield, and a Lantronix Xport Direct for the control and communications modules. For the fans, he used Kestrel anemometer impellers housed in FastSteel. The breath sensor is composed of a side-looking NTE 3029B IR LED and a NTE 3034A IR Phototransistor detector. For the package on “the other side,” which he plans to send “all over the planet,” he mounted the impeller and IR LED/phototransistor sensor inside a piece of PVC pipe and JB Welded the pipe on top of the fan. The pipe is long enough so that the wind from the fan doesn’t make the impeller spin.
At the September 2007 Dorkbot DC, we tested Thomas’ Touch-over-IP, with our group in DC and Thomas on the West Coast. It was amazingly… touchy. It really did feel like you were having a physical interaction with someone thousands of miles away, on the other end of the wire. Very cool. I wonder if Breath-over-IP is similarly effective.