Using Skype to control a model train

by Thomas Beutel

Small wireless spy cameras are widely available, and there are even a few available specifically for HO-scale trains.

This got me to thinking about letting my cousin in Germany run a train on my train layout, using Skype. Why not? Connecting the camera receiver to my laptop is easy and Skype allows you to select the camera source for video chats. For controlling the train, I can use the open source JMRI framework.

The only integration problem to solve is how to expose the throttle controls to my cousin. I could hack something together on a web page and have him work the controls there.

But is there a way to build this on top of Skype? After all, Skype supports instant messaging, so throttle commands could travel back and forth over IM. Skype offers an API, but I haven’t yet delved deeply enough to know what kind of applications I can build on top of Skype.

More soon.