Step 3: Download and Install Bloom

Before I can connect the Arduino to SensorMonkey, I need to map the serial port assigned to the device to a TCP/IP socket. To do this, I download and install Bloom from the SensorMonkey support page.

Bloom is a serial port to TCP/IP socket redirector for Microsoft Windows. It comes with a fairly comprehensive help manual (which I would encourage you to read), but the basic operation is very simple:

- Run Bloom from the Windows Start menu
- Configure serial port settings for the Arduino and choose a TCP/IP port for Bloom to listen on
- Set a polling frequency to (approximately) match the sampling rate of the Arduino's sketch
- Press 'Start'

Bloom will listen for incoming connections on the specified TCP/IP port. When a connection is accepted, Bloom will open the serial port and transfer data back and forth between the TCP/IP socket and the serial port, allowing SensorMonkey to connect to the Arduino as if it were a networked device with an Ethernet shield.

I use the following settings:

- TCP/IP port: 20000
- Polling frequency: 50
- Serial port: COM8
- Baud rate: 9600
- Data bits: 8
- Parity bit: None
- Stop bits: 1
- Flow control: None

The choice of TCP/IP port is arbitrary (you can choose whatever you like, as long as it's in the range 1024 to 49151, inclusive, and not already in use). Also, please bear in mind that your serial port will be different depending on what your Arduino was assigned.

For operating systems other than Windows, you can download an alternative to Bloom (typically referred to as a serial-to-network proxy) from our GitHub account. The sketch, named SensorMonkeySerialNet, runs in Processing on Mac OS and Linux. Please follow the instructions in the project's README file.

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