I’ve been doing a lot of work with the Arduino microcontroller and Xbee digital radios. These little devices make all kinds of automation possible, including remote (two-way) applications. The Arduino has a bunch of I/O pins, does analog-to-digital conversion (ADC), and is pretty cheap. The Xbee’s, while acting as very capable wireless USB cable replacements, also feature a few I/O pins, limited ADC, and a variety of ranges and antenna options.
Here are a couple of my published microcontroller articles:
Here are a couple of Plug Computer stories that kind of go hand-in-hand with microcontrollers:
Time to get out the soldering iron and get busy on some projects.