The Particle Photon is a neat little micro-controller board with an STM32 ARM Cortex M3 micro-controller, a Wi-Fi chip with on-board or external antenna, and multiple digital and analoge inputs & outputs.
As you can see by comparison with the breadboard, its really small. I added an external Wi-Fi antenna for more range, but is not needed if your signal is strong.
To program you create a cloud account, link it to your device, and then program in the cloud IDE and deploy to your device. Dead simple!
Even simpler is the Particle smartphone app. Just link it to your device and you can read and set analogue and digital values for the IO pins.
The smartphone app reads from and controls the Photon via the Particle cloud. Therefore when I’m standing by the board and pushing a button on my phone to make the light come on, traffic is going from my phone to the Particle cloud, then back to the Photon. Cool.
I’m hoping the traffic to and from the Particle cloud is authenticated and encrypted, but will be checking before I give it any serious use. I’ll do some packet sniffing with WireShark and also use an intercepting proxy with DNS spoofing to see how it fares against Man in the Middle attacks.
In the breadboard photo, the Green LED is connected to D0, which has been set to High using the App, and lo and behold, its lit up.
This makes it useful without any programming as by connecting TTL relays to digital pins, you can turn them off and on at the touch of a (virtual) button.
Interestingly, with suitable programming, you can link to the Amazon Echo, and control the outputs via voice.