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Make yourself an USB Interface

Make yourself an USB Interface

This document is written primarily for anyone who wants to create an interface using the CUI or CREATE USB Interface. It is also useful for anyone who wants to understand the process of developing applications for microcontrollers in general, and for Microchip PIC processors in particular.
What you get out of the CUI depends on what you put into it. It’s unlikely that there will be any “pre-canned” configurations that exactly suit your needs–you will generally need to add custom hardware on the board and create a PIC program specifically for your application. But that’s the fun part of the process!

To give you a taste of what’s possible with a PIC and CUI board, here are some projects that people could create using the CUI (or should be able to create):

A musical interface. The CUI board can be programmed to convert analog sensor inputs to a standard USB protocol, allowing you to control an interactive composition or performance setup.


A novel visual interface. The PIC can measure input from a sensor such as an acceleromoter, and the host computer can run a visualization algorithm which interprets user input as gestural data to control different aspects of the visual output.

An Ultrasonic Ranging device (for example, using devices such as the SRF04). The PIC is sufficiently fast to generate outgoing pulses and measure the results accurately.

A game controller. The PIC can be programmed to behave as a joystick-type device by enumerating (telling the host computer about itself) as a game pad. The addition of sensors for input and actuators for force-feedback can provide an easy way of getting data in and out of various host applications (e.g. Max/MSP/Jitter, Pd, SuperCollider, Processing, etc). Using the standard game controller input method bypasses the need to write your own driver for the USB protocol by piggy-backing on the HID (Human Input Device) standard.

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