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30 Aug 2013 by Libby Miller

As mentioned in our IRFS weeknotes we’re half way through a two week sprint on Radiodan within IRFS in BBC R&D. Radiodan is a possible platform we might be able to use in some upcoming work on an EU project called Mediascape, and we have a long-standing interests as a team in new forms of radio and RadioDNS and related technolgies, many of which could be prototyped using Radiodan.

The idea of the sprint is to stablise the Radiodan gem so that other people inside and outside the BBC can pick it up and use it. This includes being able to quickly get started with it on a RaspberryPi with a button. Dan and I are also lucky enough to be doing a short talk at in early September, so we’ve been thinking a lot about that too.

Here’s what we’ve been doing:

  • Improving the installation on a RaspberryPi, including handling wifi connectivity as outlined here. When you connect to the generated network it automatically pops up a web browser window for you to pick the newtrok you want to connect to. It can be a little slow but it’s very nice.
  • Improving the Radiodan gem so it’s easy(ier) to create new types of radio on top of it, including some bugfixes and a few requirements arising from radio-democracy to do with playing MP3s
  • Improving the button handling code so it will be easier to add new hardware components and so that it doesn’t use 100% of CPU (as my original code did). This has been a voyage of discovery and a source of huge annoyance for Andrew.
  • Investigating a messaging architecture to solve some of the messy threading issues
  • Confirming that it’s ok to use the BBC’s shoutcast streams. The proviso is that they shouldn’t be relied on in the long-term or for support
  • Taking lots of pictures and video - some of the pictures are here
  • Preparing for our presentation on 9th September
  • Battling rubbish SD cards and our own partial understanding of electronics (thanks TomN!)

It’s early days still but there’s now a working demoable avoider in the office at least, and we’re feeling like we can start to build more applications on top of it.

I’ll leave you with a picture from our presentation - some wrong radios:

<img src=”/assets/wrong_radios.jpg” some drawings of wrong radios” width=”500” />