Communicating at a Distance


I just got my dev kit and I’m super excited to start programming some of these. I’ve been looking for an answer to this question for a bit now and haven’t found one.

Is it possible for Blinks to communicate with each other over a short distance aka when not physically connected? I know they use an IR sensor which is the same as most remotes so I feel like it should be possible, but I haven’t found anything about it.

I would still, of course, have them grouped together for the initial teaching and even some set up, but then I’d like each person to have their own blink and for a signal pass from one to the next (or to all if that’s the only way). Is that possible?


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Yes and no. You can communicate over a short distance even if the Blinks are not touching, but that distance is very small (maybe half a centimeter?) and communicating like that would be VERY unreliable. If you have any reasonably strong IR sources around you, it will be basically impossible.

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Welcome @NerdGeek42!

The simple answer is no. If you are curious to learn more, read on :slight_smile:

I figured I could share a little insight on this. The IR is tuned on Blinks to communicate reliably once the Blinks are attached. The design thinking behind this is that a user can correlate two Blinks being connected or aware of each other only when they are physically connected. The reality is a little fuzzier, but that was the thinking.

From a game design standpoint, information can be passed from player to player, but would require a sort of “cheers” mechanism. We tried this for the PAX Unplugged Omegathon (and was a ton of fun). If information needs to be distributed to all of the Blinks, it will require them to have physical contact as well, which might look like a hub, or a cluster.

Blinks are open source and it is possible to use the IR in ways that are not intended from the Blinks library. You can think of this as backcountry skiing, in which you are out of bounds, but if you know what you are doing, have fun⛷. @bigjosh has a couple of demos like this and we love seeing stuff like this created, but I recommend starting within the constraints of what the Blinks library is designed to do well.

I also want to mention that feature requests are welcome and we should create a dedicated place for them, so thanks for requesting :slight_smile:

I hope that sheds a little light (pun intended :man_facepalming:)