I was asked to do some research on the Arduino Ethernet shield for potential uses in interactive installations. So I spent a couple of days learning about it and creating a proof of concept working prototype that shows a two way communication of data via the Ethernet between a PC and an Arduino.
Strings and numeric data are used for two way control of a strip of LED lights. You can control it via hardware controls on the Arduino, or use a simple Processing GUI I created on the PC to send commands to it via the Ethernet. You can type a string command to change the colour, e.g. “red” and then press ENTER to send the command to the Arduino. You can also use the arrow keys on the keyboard to adjust the brightness of the lights. The GUI shows the state of the lights – its colour and brightness, being updated via Ethernet from the Arduino.
Here’s a short video showing how it works:
The Ethernet shield can be used in Internet enabled installations that require remote control and sensor feedback of hardware, since it enables internet connectivity to Arduino-controlled hardware via an Ethernet protocol.