• Say hello to Node 8!

    Wednesday, August 8, 2018

    In our effort to keep the Tessel 2 updated with the latest Node LTS (Long Term Support) version, we’re proud to announce the latest firmware release with Node 8!

    Node.js Release Schedule

    After becoming the LTS version at the end of October 2017, Node 8 will stay under active support until April 2019 and under maintenance until the end of that year.

    With Node 8 comes a slew of new features, including a speedy update to the V8 runtime and the introduction of async / await.

    An asynchronous function is a function which operates asynchronously via the event loop, using an implicit Promise to return its result.

    async function declarations allow for asychronous code to be written in a synchronous-looking way, which is very handy with hardware and networking platforms like Tessel. No more nested callbacks or Promise.then chains to manage wireless connections or messy conditionals for async responses. Because the Tessel API uses the standard Node-style callbacks, the built-in util.promisify function can be used to make the API ready for async / await.

    A nice example for blinking an LED where we want to wait 2 seconds between blinks:

    With async / await:

    const tessel = require('tessel');
    const green = tessel.led[2];
    const sleep = (wait = 2000) => new Promise((resolve) => setTimeout(resolve, wait));
    // no top-level await yet
    (async function blink () {
      await sleep();


    const tessel = require('tessel');
    const green = tessel.led[2];
    (function blink () {
      green.toggle(() => {
        setTimeout(blink, 2000);

    While the callback nesting is not too bad in the latter example, the former reads like more synchronous and readable logic.

    You can update your Tessel 2 through the t2-cli by running t2 update, which will take a few minutes to download and install. After it is complete, running t2 version should show the following output:

    $ t2 version
    INFO Looking for your Tessel...
    INFO Connected to ava.
    INFO Tessel Environment Versions:
    INFO t2-cli: 0.1.19
    INFO t2-firmware: 0.3.0
    INFO Node.js: 8.11.3

    Let us know what awesome projects you’re building with Tessel by mentioning @tesselproject on Twitter. Happy Creating! 🤖


  • Team 276linesofCode - Rails Girls Summer of Code 2017

    Tuesday, January 23, 2018

    A note from Kelsey, mentor for team 275linesofCode:

    I loved working with Brihi and Shravika through the summer, and am so happy to see them still commenting and contributing in the Tessel channels, four months after the official close of the summer program.

    Rails Girls Summer of Code provided just enough support (including requiring the mentees to find further technical help locally) that I could focus my role on finding the intersection between the project’s needs and my team’s interests.

    It was a pleasure to watch my team dive into challenges, struggle through frustrations, overcome shyness about asking for help, and really grow as contributors to the open source ecosystem. It also helped me to engage better with my own project, and was a wonderful source of energy for the Tessel Project as a whole.

    To the other open source projects out there: I strongly recommend becoming a project mentor– this year’s deadline is January 28th, so jump in soon!


    In June 2017, none of us had any idea what this journey would be like. RGSoC was the first Summer of Code or any other code mentorship program that we had been a part of. Our eagerness to grasp the most from the program kept us going all through the summer. We gained much more than we had even anticipated.

    We both believe that Tessel was the best project that we could have worked on, since it welcomes new contributors in a positive manner that motivates them to give back to the community as much as they can.

    Our Work this Summer

    As we look back into our two and a half months, RGSoC and Tessel have given us opportunities to explore and grow in all spheres of an open source project. We got our hands dirty with things like documentation, tutorials, code, hardware experiments, talks, presentations and even product design.

    We started our summer by exploring version control with GitHub and learning its intricacies. A professional open source project has a very different approach to pull requests and contributions than we were used to. We learned how to send pull requests, how to get them reviewed (trust us, reviews are the real deal for learning), how to squash commits, how to write clean code and clean commit messages, how to branch cloned repositories, and most importantly, how to voice questions and doubts on the issues that we don’t understand.

    Our Hardware modules were shipped by the Tessel team from the U.S., and we spent some time exploring them. This was the most exciting part: making circuits, seeing the LEDs shimmer, watching the accelerometer come to life, and much more.

    After exploring the different repositories in Tessel, we started exploring issues which were “contribution starters”, issues that help new contributors get an idea of what Tessel is all about. A lot of the starter issues we took on were listed in the Tessel blog called “This Week in Tessel”; we started completing them one at a time.

    We made important tutorial modules for Tessel for their documentation page. This included Fritzing diagrams of the circuits, describing the functionality in layman terms, and writing code which would be easily understood, with the help of the comments. Along with this we started working on “Reach” during the last few weeks of the program.

    Apart from all the technical work, we learned about product design and how exactly a product makes its way to the open source domain. We made a draft of something called a Product Requirement Document (PRD) for our proposal of HAP (Humanoid Arm Project) that we had made during our application process.


    Before RGSoC had started, our mentor, Kelsey had sent us a Plan of Work to follow, which helped us to schedule our tasks. It included the various things we had suggested we would like to work on during our application process. It was a weekly plan with difficulty level slightly increasing every week.

    Here are some of the challenges we faced during the program:

    • One of the tasks we had to accomplish was to implement One-Wire Communication Protocol for Tessel. We worked for our initial few weeks on this issue, but we were not able to get much out of it. This was because we were not able to figure out exactly where to start. We tried mapping the Arduino code to Tessel, but still couldn’t succeed.

    • Since we were beginners in git, sometimes we weren’t able to figure out how to squash multiple commits into one for clarity, how to sync the forked branches with the master branch, and many other foibles. In the beginning, we did not even know how to send pull requests for different issues by making separate branches for each.

    • In the second month of RGSoC, during one of our weekly calls with Kelsey, we were introduced to Reach, which is a module that the Tessel community is currently working on. It requires the ESP32 hardware module. So, we got one for ourselves and started working on it, but got stuck since we were not able to push the Python code to the module. In the end, we were able to figure out the error in our approach with the help of one of our seniors at our University.

    • Tessel was all based on JavaScript. We were both new to this language and hence faced certain challenges while comprehending the code which was already there in Tessel. But, our mentor Kelsey, along with one of our coaches, Divam, helped us figure out the keywords used in the code snippets. With this help, we were able to make some tutorials for a few functionalities in Tessel in JavaScript.

    A shoutout to the amazing Tessel Community!!

    Our blog couldn’t be complete were we not to thank the awesome Tessel Community that made our descent into open source a fun and a smooth ride. Every call with Kelsey would begin with her asking us whether we had been achieving whatever we planned for. She even asked if the tasks for the week were a lot or too little. But she always ensured that we had the right amount of work on our plate for that week.

    Our weekly calls with Kelsey, our mentor, were the times where we learned the most. The timely response of the community members on any of our doubts were commendable. Any PR review would come in a day or a two, and the reviews gave us a different perspective on the issues. Nick and Kelsey, both Tessel Steering Committee members would leave comments asking questions about our code, which would force us to research more on the issue.

    On our third meeting with Kelsey, she had said that “It is better to over-communicate rather than under-communicate” and thus, we would (shamelessly 🙈) ping them on Slack or on the issues whenever we were stuck, and a descriptive solution to our questions would follow. Many a time, Kelsey would explain to us our doubts on our call. Despite whatever mistakes we would make, the committee members were always positive and ensured that we were able to rectify our errors and learn from them. Many times, they’ve tagged us in issues that they thought we should be aware of and sent us links and resources to escalate our learning.

    Tessel has provided us amazing an mentorship experience, one that is really hard to find. We are so glad that we began our journey into open source with such a welcoming community, so much so that we are more than willing to work for Tessel even after RGSoC is over. Tessel, We love you!


    In these three months, we not only focused on core development work but we also presented a few lightning talks. We gave two of them - one for Women Who Code, Delhi and another for LinuxChix India. The LinuxChix India Meetup focused more on open source contributions, RGSoC and Tessel. Our supervisor Vaishali had introduced us to the community and put us in touch with the organizer of the meetup. We spoke about RGSoC - How to apply, what we do, our work, our social media, our blog posts, everything. After that, we went on to demonstrate our project - Tessel. There were several open source enthusiasts who had loads of questions about Tessel, and we were delighted to answer them. One person even wanted to use Tessel in his project that he was thinking of starting!

    It was a great experience for both of us because we were able to pass on our knowledge to an enthusiastic crowd, get rid of our fear of speaking in front of unknown people, and gaining in depth knowledge of the topics involved. We had to explore every nook and corner of the topics in order to make our sessions productive.

    What’s next?

    RGSoC provided us with a whole lot of things that we didn’t even imagine gaining in this interval of three months. As it was a wonderful journey for both of us, we have thought of recommending this program to more and more people by conducting a few related meetups at our University under our Rails Girls Summer of Code, Delhi Chapter. Apart from this, we had discussed way back with our mentor during the application process that we would love to contribute to Tessel even after RGSoC ends. The months might be over, but the memories are here to stay!

    Who would know that two confused, scared and shy humans who had absolutely no idea how they would survive the tech world could successfully complete RGSoC, loaded with experience and confidence?

    Check out Rails Girls Summer of Code (it’s not just for Rails), and get involved as a mentor or a mentee for 2018!

    #RGSoC #Tessel #mentorship #mentoring #programming #code #women who code #rails girls #rails girls summer of code

  • Team 276linesofCode - Rails Girls Summer of Code 2017

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017

    Hey all,

    It has been a long long ride since February (when we had to write our applications for RGSoC 2017) and it’s finally July!

    This is when we start our Rails Girls Summer of Code (RGSoC) 2017 program, by working and contributing for Tessel. Having seen Tessel as a project in the RGSoC project list of 2017, we were eager to take it up at once since, we felt that through this project we would be able to discover both the horizons - Hardware and Software.

    Who are we?

    Team 276linesofCode

    Team 276linesofCode is an amalgamation of all things tech and electronic. The Team comprises Shravika Mittal and Brihi Joshi, a duo from New Delhi, India, in their sophomore year of College at IIIT Delhi. We are a dynamic duo that believes in learning and strengthening concepts while on the way to developing something.

    Shravika is an Undergraduate majoring in Computer Science and Engineering. It’s been hardly a year since she’s got her hands dirty with programming, and it’s already a vital part of her daily schedule. She brings out dedication and hard work in the team, excelling in whatever she does.

    Brihi is majoring in Electronics and Communication Engineering and loves to mix and fiddle with creativity in code. She brings in the caffeine-induced, late night coding sessions along with fresh experiments in the team.

    About our mentor - Kelsey

    Kelsey is the team’s mentor. She has been at Tessel since its beginning and is a member of the Tessel Project Steering Committee. All of the members of the Steering Committee are very excited to work with our RGSoC team– both to improve internal processes and mentoring capabilities, and to have the benefit of two full-time contributors building on Tessel!

    What is RGSoC?

    Rails Girls Summer of Code is a three month long award-winning global fellowship program aimed at bringing more diversity into Open Source.

    It is about helping introduce newcomers to the world of programming and further expand their knowledge and skills, by contributing to a worthwhile Open Source project. The focus is not on producing highly sophisticated code, but rather participants learning transferable skills from their project work. Apart from experience in large-scale projects, RGSoC also inculcates community building by introducing its scholars to people who maintain these projects and other members of the community involved in it.

    The RGSoC team structure goes like this : 1. The Students - A pair of Students who are enthusiastic to work on a chosen Open Source Project. 1. A Project Mentor - Usually an active contributor in the Open Source Project that is chosen. He/She is responsible for guiding the students in the project related tasks, features that are to be added and overall development of the project. 1. The Project Coaches - They are selected by the students during the time of the application and might be local (present in the same location as the students) or remote. They usually help the students in handling technical difficulties throughout the course of the program. 1. The Project Supervisor - They are the representatives of the RGSoC organisational team and guide the rest of the team with the procedures of the program.

    RGSoC has both the sides - technical as well as social. Apart from working on the project, we even need to get involved in social meets such as a team call with the project supervisor, maintaining daily logs about what was achieved and what challenges we encountered that day, writing blog posts about our experiences etc.

    This year, 20 teams were selected among which, 16 are Sponsored teams (We are one of them :smile:) and 4 are Volunteer teams.

    What are we here for?

    First and most important of all, to have fun! We are way too excited to start contributing and giving our best to this community.

    Before the program started, we went through the Tessel repositories, got our development boards and familiarised ourselves with JavaScript. Soon after the program began, we sent in a few PRs to understand the contribution protocol of Tessel.

    Soon as we complete the Tessel tutorials, we would be kicking off with an implementation of the 1-wire protocol in Tessel, which requires a lot of reading and working from our end. Then we are looking forward to move to a real world project, which can be solved using Tessel.

    Before the beginning of RGSoC 17, we had formulated a plan to work on a project called Humanoid Arm Project (HAP). We would like to continue our work on this and bring it into realisation for solving some day to day problems using technology.

    Having experienced a few IoT developmemt boards before, we cannot wait to delve deeper into the various functionalities and modules that Tessel has got to offer us. Also, Rust and JavaScript is a new experience for us. This would be the first time both of us are contributing to an Open Source project and we would like to learn the most we can from it.

    We really hope RGSoC would help us transition from Team 276linesofCode to Tesselators so that we can be a part of this community even after RGSoC is over.

    Here’s to an exciting summer! :tada: :confetti_ball:

    #tessel #rgsoc #railsgirls #programming #mentorship

  • This Week in Tessel: Fun with Open Source

    Tuesday, February 28, 2017

    Hi, Tesselators!

    Engineering work feels good. You work concretely toward a solution. You learn while you work. When you fix a bug or add a feature, you get a surge of accomplishment.

    Looking for something to sink your teeth into? In this issue of This Week in Tessel, we’ll give you suggestions for a few tasks to tackle.

    Here are some open Tessel issues you can dive into. Feel free to jump in and ask questions, even if it’s something new for you!

    What’s something I can finish in an evening?

    What’s something that will let me work with peers I can learn from?

    How do I claim an issue?

    If you see an issue you’d like to work on, comment that you’re working on it and ask for any information you need.

    Comment on the issue with any progress or problems– if you’ve tried something, even if you don’t resolve the issue, it might be useful for someone else who comes along later.

    Join us on Slack while you work so we can support you!

    Other stuff we’re up to

    • Want reimbursement for materials you need to work on Tessel? Conversely, want to financially support our work? Check out Tessel’s new Open Collective page
    • We’re one of the projects for RailsGirls 2017 Summer of Code! RailsGirls is an inclusive code mentoring organization, which (despite the name) does more than just Rails. We are excited to be a part of this– applications are open if you or someone you know wants to spend three months working on open source.


    The Tessel Team

    #TWIT #this week in tessel #tessel #news #update #updates #open source #contributions #contribute

  • This Week in Tessel: Thanks for all the PRs

    Wednesday, November 23, 2016

    Hello, Tesselators!


    tessel.io is ready for a redesign

    The original design of tessel.io was focused on promoting and pre-ordering the Tessel 2, showing off its many features, modules, and example code. Now the Tessel 2 is out in the real world, available at SparkFun, Seeed Studio, and even Micro Center, so its time for tessel.io to focus on the Tessel Project and the incredible community around it. If you want to help design and build front page of an open-source hardware and software platform, check out the open issue and let us know how you want to get involved!

    Hacktoberfest Review

    Hacktoberfest was a rousing success yet again for the open-source community on GitHub. Thank you to the new and current contributors who participated because we appreciate every PR opened. There are still plenty of starter issues available for anyone who wants to get some practice in for next year’s event.

    Build cool stuff with SparkFun and Tessel 2

    Our friends at SparkFun and Bocoup put together some amazing project tutorials using parts from the Johnny-Five Inventor’s Kit, along with a few other materials. These projects are great for anyone who wants to move past the hardware basics and construct a full-featured machine or Internet-connected service with Tessel 2. If you haven’t bought the Inventor’s Kit yet, it will be a part of SparkFun’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals!

    Shoutout to the Tessel community

    That’s all for this week! Feel free to submit to the next newsletter. In the meantime, see you online.

    With love,
    Everyone at the Tessel Project

    This Week in Tessel is where we highlight the latest news, projects, and events, from code, to community, to hardware manufacturing.

    #twit #this week in tessel #update #updates

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