The Honeycomb platform

Honeycomb testbed with 48 nodes

Honeycomb is a microcontroller platform that can easily be networked into hexagonal lattices of hundreds of nodes to create novel materials that tightly integrate sensing, actuation, computation and communication. Recent examples of HoneyComb driven artifacts are

The tool-chain consists of the platforms, a viral boot-loader to virally disseminate programs into the network, a software library that facilitates sensing, control, and communication, and software tools that allow interacting with the network from a host computer.

Each Honeycomb board consists of an Atmel Xmega 128A3, LEDs, and various digital and analog input/outputs that can interface sensors and actuators such as servo motors. Boards can connect to up to six neighbors using standard ethernet cables, which are available in various lengths at low cost.

Come join us for a Honeycomb workshop at TEI!


Instructions on how to program it:

1.  Create a folder with the name of your project.  In this fold, create two other folders: one is called “xboot”, another one is named anything you want, let’s say “honeycomb”.

2. Put the source code of xboot in the “xboot” folder. You can find the source code here.

3. Put all your own code in “honeycomb”.Here is a screenshot of the folders.

4. Create a makefile for your project, and put it in “honeycomb”. Here is a template you can use: makefile template.

5. If you work on Windows, Click Start > Run > type CMD > click run. In command prompt, go to “Honeycomb” folder and type “make” to compile your project. If everything goes well, you get a .hex file.

6. Connect a usb serial wire to your board, power it on and then type “make program” to download the “.hex” file into the board.

This is an example for this project on windows:exemples, and mac:honeycomb.


  • N. Correll, N. Farrow, S. Ma (2013): Honey Comb: A platform for computational robotic materials (Studio).Seventh International Conference on Tangible, Embedded and Embodied Interaction (TEI), Barcelona, Spain, 2013




5 Responses to Honeycomb

  1. Jake Beal says:

    Adding notes from Shang’s email:

    1. Are all three boards powered from the single plug over the ethernet
         Yes. All the boards are powered over Ethernet lines. But you have to
    make sure the jumpers are connected. I label the jump in the image attached
    (blue label).
         These six jumpers only influence the power. Data communication  can  go
    on without them.

    2. What differentiates the two black wires on the power connector?

        All the black wires are connected. You can check this pages:

    3. Which of the multi-pin ports does the serial programmer attach to,
       and in what orientation?
      The serial programmer should attach to H7 connector, black wire to GND.
      I label the H7 and GND in the image (red and yellow) .

  2. Jake Beal says:

    Honeycomb connector locations, from Shang:

  3. Jake Beal says:

    Another email note:

    If you are using AVR Studio for the honeycomb, don’t click the menu “Clean
    solution” or “Clean Project” under the “Build” menu
    It will cause some problems and the bootloader will not work.
    We think the IDE will erase something from the bootloader section when we
    clean the project.

  4. Jake Beal says:

    If you are building from command line you will need to install the avr-gcc, avr-libc, and avrdude packages.

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