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Working from home – either you enjoy it, or doing so has been thrust upon you. As a world-class introvert I’ve always enjoyed being self-employed and working from my own office. However others do not, as they have missed out on the activity and interacting with other people in their workplace.

I was recently asked by an associate to make up a simple messaging system, that would allow them to indicate their work status and also request a coffee or whatnot from their husband, which has resulted in the simple messaging system described in this article – which you can build too.

Being somewhat lazy/efficient I needed a simple WiFi-based solution that allowed for simple control of some digital output pins from a web page. A bit of research resulted with the Particle Photon, a compact WiFi-enabled microcontroller that includes all the Internet-connectivity without any hard work or recurring payments.

After consultation it was decided that there should be five messages that can be sent and will need to be indicated to the receiver:

“I’m in a meeting, do not disturb”
“I’m working alone, so I can be disturbed”
Bring coffee
Bring Water
“I’ve finished work for the day”
So that would need the control of five LEDs, and a buzzer to alert the receiver of new messages. Six digital outputs in total to be controlled remotely. Easily done with the Photon.

All the digital outputs on the Photon are 3.3V, and you can power the lot via the micro USB socket. Now let’s get started. I’ll go through the hardware first, then the software and connectivity.

First, let’s consider the hardware. We’ll need:

- Five 10mm LEDs
- Five 130 ohm resistors
- One buzzer that can be annoying at 3.3V DC
- One Particle Photon with headers
- Inline header sockets
- PCB (see below)
- M3 threaded standoffs and nuts
- USB power supply to micro USB plug to power system.”

Link to article