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WebUSB is an interesting attempt at standardizing access to USB devices from the web browser.  It’s under review as a formal HTML specification but currently implemented and available in the latest version of the Chrome web browser.  You might have seen Ladyada exploring WebUSB on the Desk of Ladyada too!  There’s an interesting post on Nick Moore’s blog about thoughts and plans for using WebUSB with MicroPython to enable REPL and other access directly from a web browser.  Nick describes how WebUSB could make fast development cycles for robot and other projects a reality:

I’m a big fan of developing in the REPL, for the reasons outlined here: Software development at 1 Hz.

But doing this kind of thing isn’t limited to Lisp-y langauges, Here’s a demo doing the same thing with shaders You can see that the left side of the screen is source code, the right is a rendered surface, and when Harley changes the source code the render automatically updates. This encourages a very exploratory way of working.

I put together a little visual language Flobot which works this way too: as soon as you change anything the device gets updated and behaviours change. I gave a Live Demo of this at PyConAU 2016 which probably gives you a good idea of what it’s about, live debugging and all.

I’d like MicroPython to work somewhat similarly … my first stab at this is mpy-webpad which I need to put together a decent demo of, perhaps for PyConAU 2018. It’s rather similar to Jupyter Notebooks only controlling hardware.

Check out the blog post for more details and updates as Nick makes progress experimenting with WebUSB and MicroPython!