So we gave up on trying to come up with a one-solution-fits-all device, although learned a massive amount about audio sampling, data rates and Manchester encoding along the way.
What has this got to do with Farnell? Well, after chatting online about the failure-that-was-almost-a-success, someone suggested using wi-fi. All phones and tablets these days seem to come with wifi: in fact, even with a working audio-to-data routine, the host device would still need to access the internet to share data around - so why not just make a board game controller device that uses native wi-fi?
It was almost 8pm when I found these little things:
Just the ticket!
Except on further inspection of my confirmation email, I realised I'd just bought a couple of FTDI chips on breakout boards, with some buttons - not actual wi-fi modules (as was shown in the picture). £13 for a wi-fi development platform did seem a bit cheap......
So then, some time after 8pm, I ordered a couple of these:
It's the wi-fi drop-in module for the development/test board I'd just bought. At £18 a module it was still a reasonable price (although with the dev board on top, a rather hefty £31+VAT each - though still cheaper than the older, out-dated Arduino wifi shield)
At about 10pm I got an email from Farnell to say that stock had been allocated to my order.
Nothing to get excited about - after all, it's not like they were going to turn up the next day....
.... at 4pm a courier knocked on the door and handed over a parcel, with the familiar blue and orange squiggly logo on it.
About 18 hours between ordering and receiving the wi-fi boards - and from an order placed after 8pm at night. I couldn't believe the effort these guys go to, all day, every day. Farnell, you rock!