Our Launchpad can communicate with people, other computers such as a laptop, other Launchpads, or devices such as televisions and table lamps.
We have used LEDs and speakers to communicate with people, and sometimes DC motors, servo motors, or stepper motors are used to communicate with people, by moving signs, or waving robot arms. An art piece such as a sculpture or jewelry could communicate with the viewer or wearer, and interact with them.
Communicating with a larger host computer allows the Launchpad to interact with the Internet, or with a person typing on a keyboard. The artist could thus control an art piece using the mouse and keyboard on their laptop computer, and send the Launchpad signals to control the piece. Or the laptop could send the host computer data such as the number of visitors it has interacted with, or the state of its batteries, or some error condition if the piece is damaged.
We have already played with using the Serial class to send information such as temperature or debugging messages to the host computer. We have also seen how to use the Serial class to control the brightness of 14 LEDs at once by sending short commands from the host computer.
Some projects might require more resources (pins, timers, or computational power) than a single Launchpad can deliver. Connecting two or more Launchpads together in a network allows us to have more resources to devote to the project.
The Launchpad is also able to control other devices and appliances. We have seen how we can control 120 volt power to lamps and motors, but we can also send infrared signals to anything that uses an infrared remote control, such as a television, audio device, camera, or even parts scavenged from a toy helicopter. Infrared remote controls use infrared LEDs to send the signal, and we are already adept at controlling LEDs.