Txtzyme extends the reach of the USB bus to arbitrary electrical signals. It interprets throw-away programs encoded as single-character commands bundled into short strings transmitted to a USB enabled microcontroller.

A year of exploration has been documented in this series of posts initially written to colleagues in DorkbotPDX.

Interaction Explored


Shell Programming with Txtzyme introduces the language and its implementation.

Plotting Signals with Txtzyme shows 60 Hertz hum picked up from the air.

Txtzyme Javascope Feeds Java's 2D Graphics to make a complete general purpose instrument we will use in later experiments.

Visual Perception Study with Txtzyme wherein a perl script prepares the subject, produces the stimulus and records the response.

Action at a Distance

Web Interface to Txtzyme

Remote Control with Txtzyme via the Sinatra web server programmed with routes to the attached microcontroller.

Txtzyme Remote Signals captures and displays audio waveforms from a radio next to the server.

These Lights Were Made for Blinkin' runs multiple unix processes to control multiple Txtzyme computers at smooth animation rates.

Pre-Built Txtzyme Hex Files and More means one need not install any software to program any of four different microcontrollers. Includes a demo that can run straight from the internet to your microcontroller.

Opportunistic Measurement

Ultrasound Sensor on PlugComputer

Atmospheric Tides Wiggle My Barometer shows how continuous monitoring can expose unexpected signals in environmental sensors.

Yow Revisited (in Txtzyme) wherein we duplicate a colleague's clever animation using his startlingly simple hardware configuration.

Pulse Measurement with Txtzyme shows how we can extend the language with new instructions when the existing ones prove insufficient.

Beer Sensor Shows Value of Flow Control that lets us string together three computers to electronically record our colleagues drinking habits.

SensorServer Transitions to Txtzyme describes the conversion of our home sensor network from Arduino to a Txtzyme system that has proven to be both more flexible and more reliable.

Averaging Hum Away wherein we use carefully chosen integration intervals to overcome limitations in our sensors.

Place in the Universe

Photobot's Picture of its Creators

Martin Fowler Explains Txtzyme with the patterns in his new book on domain specific languages.

Txtzyme Sparkles on LED matrix wherein we duplicate another colleague's work and add a twist of our own.

Txtzyme Accepted for Open Source Bridge where I give away preprogrammed microcontrollers hoping to launch a movement.

Photobot Takes and Shares Photos from a restored robotic platform under the control of many users using their own cell phones.


The Txtzyme interpreter and these posts about its application are the work of Ward Cunningham.

Find more documentation and the source for the interpeter and the various projects on GitHub .

Read about our New Works on additional pages here. Especially note our work integrating the world of this with federated wiki.