Chapter 5. ESP8266 / ESP32

The Internet of Things is a buzzword for embedded devices connected to the internet. Such devices are attached to all sorts of everyday objects making it easy to control or sense the object’s state via the attached embedded device. It means computers are in everything around us. We are surrounded by computing devices that are uniquely identifiable and interconnected over the internet.

Such objects turn the world inside out.

In a sense, we no longer have objects that do stuff; we just have computers: computers that light things, toast bread, water plants, keep time, air-condition buildings, fly in the sky, roll along rails, and drive on roads.

Such embedded computers allow us to do three things:

Sense stuff

Collect and share data about their environment.

Control stuff

Affect changes in the environment or device.

Compute stuff

Work out what to do with data or signals such that they are autonomously useful.

As Bruce Schneier points out, you can think of the sensors as the eyes and ears of the internet, the controllers as the hands and feet, and the computing power as some sort of a brain. He explains:

This is the classic definition of a robot. We’re building a world-size robot, and we don’t even realize it.

Bruce Schneier, Schneier on Security Blog

At the centre of this world we find devices based upon microcontrollers like the ubiquitous ESP8266 and its replacement, the ESP32.

The ESP8266 microcontroller has WiFi and a full TCP/IP network stack built ...

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