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Arkwood was having a conversation with Monita today. She had popped round to drop off my laundry and a bowl of pasta. Whilst I was busy munching on conchiglie, he told her about our morning post, the Ciseco RasWIK, a wireless inventors kit for the Raspberry Pi. ‘It is a tiny device, Moni,’ he said, holding the XinoRF development board in the palm of his hand, ‘which transmits radio signals with the Pi. It has all manner of sensors and actuators!’ My Hispanic maid raised her eyebrows. ‘Really,’ she replied, folding a sheet. Only a geek such as Arkwood would mistake sarcasm for intrigue. ‘Yes, really,’ he enthused.

raswik_board

The kit was impressive, though. We had ordered it on Thursday night, and the postman knocked on my door early Saturday. Now, that’s prompt. I discarded my weekend plans (combing the Shetland pony would have to wait) and began at once setting up the hardware and ploughing through the online examples. Head deep in jumpers and resistors, I was soon using the software on the supplied SD card to read temperature and light, and to switch on red, green and blue LEDs – all controlled remotely from the radio snap-in on the Pi to the XinoRF input/outputs. There were buttons I could push, a metal disc I could tap – and my Raspberry would detect all this, showing the results in a handy GUI interface.

raswik_breadboard

‘Soon they will make them the size of ping-pong balls,’ my small crooked friend ranted, ‘And cheaper too. We can put them everywhere, and know everything!’ It was true, big data was now affordable to all manner of dubious cretins. Why, the RasWIK kit itself was only £50. Imagine those evil marketeers with their sticky fingers on a plethora of these tiny agents, screwing up the airwaves with malevolent messages. Monita picked up on this whilst loading the washing machine. ‘Oh, my lovely. I don’t want you putting one of those in the bathroom.’ Of course, she was alluding to Arkwood’s conviction twelve years ago, for rigging up the town centre public toilets with a camcorder. It had made The Gazette.

Now we were programming the kit using the Python language. ‘Just think what’s possible,’ I said, ‘We can hook the light sensor up to our voice command software, so that we can congratulate ourselves on switching on a table lamp. Or perhaps we can read an internet feed, and use the green and red LEDs to indicate whether the next train is on time or delayed.’ Arkwood nodded, but I could tell what he was really thinking. How can we get it to do pornography. Well, each to their own. The point being, the future is about glue – sticking together different parts to make an endless amount of products. ‘It’s kind of like a song,’ Arkwood remarked, ‘each with its own arrangement of notes.’ My goodness, what a smart thing for a creep to say!