JavaScript on Things: Glossary
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JavaScript on Things (JSoT) Glossary

This is an organic, motley, community-based assortment of terms relating to JavaScript on Things, the intersection of JavaScript and the Internet of Things (IoT).

The format of this glossary is modeled after HugoGiraudel/SJSJ. Wanna help? Great! Check out the CONTRIBUTING guidelines.


A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z


  • AC: see alternating current
  • AC/DC adapter: device that converts alternating current to direct current.
  • Actuator: physical device that converts energy into motion, e.g. a motor
  • Adafruit Industries: open-source hardware company and online store
  • ADC: See analog-to-digital conversion
  • Alternating Current: electrical current in which the direction of flow reverses periodically—the kind that comes out of the wall in homes and offices
  • Ampere or amp: unit of current
  • Analog-to-Digital Conversion: conversion of analog voltages to digital values
  • Analog-to-digital (ADC) converter: device that can perform analog-to-digital conversion
  • Anode: electrode through which conventional current enters (flows into) a polarized device
  • Arduino (platform): open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software, intended for anyone making interactive projects and prototyping products
  • Arduino (programming language):
  • Arduino Compatible: microcontrollors and development boards that can be programmed by the Arduino IDE
  • Arduino IDE: development environment for writing in the Arduino programming language and uploading sketches to Arduino devices
  • ARM (company): British semiconductor company that licenses the ARM architecture
  • ARM (architecture): family of RISC-based architectures for power-optimized processors, well-suited for (among other things) embedded applications
  • ARM Cortex M: family of 32-bit RISC ARM processors widely used in embedded systems
  • Atmel Corporation: American semiconductor manufacturer, known for embedded microcontrollers including AVR ATmega microcontrollers
  • ATmega, or megaAVR : family of microcontrollers manufactured by Atmel, used widely in IoT electronics such as Arduinos
  • AVR, or Atmel AVR: instruction set architecture (ISA) widely used in Atmel microcontrollers
  • avrdude: command-line software utility to download, upload or manipulate the ROM and EEPROM contents of AVR microcontrollers
  • avr-gcc: compiler that converts C/C++ code to binary code for uploading to AVR microcontrollers
  • avrgirl: collection of several npm packages for interacting with AVR microcontrollers


  • Backpack:
  • BeagleBone: An open-source hardware single-board computer produced by the Foundation with a Texas Instruments processor
  • Binary: numeral system with base of 2, typically using 0 and 1
  • Bipolar Junction Transistor:
  • Bit: the smallest and most basic representation of data in a computer, with a value of 0 or 1
  • Bit shift:
  • Bitwise operator:
  • BJT:
  • Board: any PCB, but in hardware-hacking parlance, often a development board, breakout board or shield
  • Bootloader:
  • Breadboard:
  • Breakout board: small PCB centered around a single electronic component, making the component more convenient to work with through easier access to the component's features like I/O pins, power inputs, etc.
  • Byte: a segment of data containing eight bits


  • Capacitor: passive two-terminal electrical component used to store electrical energy temporarily
  • Capacitive:
  • Cape:
  • Cathode: electrode through which conventional current leaves (flows out of) a polarized device
  • Charge:
  • CISC:
  • Conventional current: mental model envisioning current as running from positive to negative in a circuit
  • Continuity: an unbroken path from one part of a circuit to another
  • Coulumb:
  • cylon.js: JavaScript framework for robotics, physical computing, and the Internet of Things
  • Current: the movement of charged electrons, usually measured in Amperes and denoted as I in Ohm's Law
  • Current divider:


  • DAC:
  • Datasheet:
  • DC:
  • Decoupling:
  • Desolder:
  • Development board: hardware prototyping board containing (potentially among other things) processor, memory, and I/O interfaces (pins); may be microcontroller-based or a single-board computer
  • Digital-to-Analog Conversion:
  • Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC):
  • Diode:
  • Direct current (DC): electrical flow in a single direction, e.g. from batteries
  • DTR:
  • Duty cycle: the percentage of one period in which a signal or system is active


  • Eagle:
  • Edison:
  • EEPROM: Electrically-erasable PROM is a kind of non-volatile memory that can be written and erased repeatedly; Flash memory is a kind of EEPROM
  • Electric Imp:
  • Electrically-Erasable Programmable ROM: see EEPROM
  • Electroluminescent wire:
  • Element: Name for common electrical component such as a resistor, capacitor, inductor, etc.
  • EL wire:
  • Embedded:
  • Embedded System:
  • Energy:
  • ESP8266:
  • Espruino:


  • Farad: unit for measuring electrical capacitance, named after physicist Michael Faraday
  • FET:
  • Field-effect transitor (FET):
  • Firmware : semi-permanent software written to the non-volatile ROM of embedded hardware
  • Firmata : protocol for communication between the software on a host computer and a microcontroller; the best-known implementation is for Arduino-compatible boards
  • Flash (noun) : electronic non-volatile computer storage (EEPROM) medium that can be electrically erased and reprogrammed
  • Flash (verb):
  • Flux:
  • FRAM:
  • Fritzing:
  • FTDI:


  • Galileo:
  • GND:
  • General Purpose I/O (GPIO): general purpose pins that can be configured to perform input or output
  • Genuino: Arduino's sister-brand sold outside of the US due to trademark disputes
  • GPIO: See General Purpose I/O
  • Ground:


  • H bridge: an electronic circuit that enables a voltage to be applied across a load in either direction
  • Harvard architecture:
  • Header:
  • Hexadecimal: numeral system with base of 16, using A-F to represent ten through fifteen


  • I^2C: (or I2C) Inter-Integrated Circuit. A serial bus for communicating between (multiple) chips and/or devices using only 2 shared lines.
  • ICSP:
  • Inductor:
  • Instruction Set:
  • Intel Edison:
  • Intel Galileo:
  • ISA:
  • ISP:


  • JavaScript on Things (JSoT): muddled portmanteau of JavaScript and Internet of Things—you know, for fun!
  • JerryScript:
  • JLink:
  • johnny-five:
  • JSoT: see JavaScript on Things
  • JST:
  • JTAG:
  • Jumper wire:


  • Kinoma:


  • LCD:
  • LED: see Light-emitting diode
  • Light-emitting diode: a two-lead semiconductor which emits light when activated
  • LiPo:
  • Lithium polymer:
  • Load sensor:
  • Logic level conversion:


  • Magnetometer:
  • Master Input, Slave Output: SPI input to master from slave device.
  • Master Output, Slave Input: SPI output from master to slave device.
  • MCU:
  • Mesh network:
  • Microcontroller:
  • MISO: see Master Input, Slave Output
  • Mosfet:
  • MOSI: see Master Output, Slave Input
  • Motor:
  • Motor controller:
  • MQTT:
  • MSP-43x:
  • Multimeter:


  • NAND Flash:
  • nibble: four bits, or, a single hexadecimal character (one hex character requires four bits to encode it)
  • nodebots:
  • NodeMCU:
  • NPN transistor:


  • Ohm: unit of electrical resistance (symbol Ω), represented in Ohm's Law as R
  • Ohm's Law: foundational set of relationships between voltage, current and resistance
  • OLED:
  • Onion:
  • Op amp:
  • Open hardware:
  • OpenOCD: provides communication with embedded targets that enables on-chip debugging as well as in-system programming
  • OpenSDA: provides communication with many NXP/Freescale embedded targets (via USB) that enables debugging/programming


  • Particle:
  • Particle Photon:
  • Particle Electron:
  • Passive component: an electrical component that dissipates, stores or releases energy, but does not produce it
  • PCB: Printed Circuit Board
  • Perfboard:
  • Photoresistor:
  • The Physical Web:
  • PIC:
  • Piezo:
  • Pinoccio:
  • Pinout:
  • Pins:
  • PNP transistor:
  • Potentiometer:
  • Power:
  • Printed Circuit Board: see PCB
  • Program memory:
  • Programmer:
  • PROM: Programmable Read-only Memory (ROM)
  • Prototyping board: see development board
  • Proximity sensor:
  • Pulldown resistor:
  • Pullup resistor:
  • Pulse-Width Modulation:
  • PWM:



  • RAM:
  • Raspberry Pi: A closed-source single-board computer produced by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with a Broadcom processor
  • Raspbian:
  • Read-only memory: see ROM
  • Real-time clock:
  • Reed switch:
  • Relay:
  • Reset (button):
  • Resistor: passive two-terminal component that reduces current flow and lowers voltage levels in circuits
  • Resistance:
  • Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive: see RoHS
  • RISC:
  • RoHS: Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive, adopted in 2003 in the EU, restricting the use of certain hazardous materials in the production of electronics
  • ROM: Read-only memory. ROM is non-volatile, meaning that its contents are retained when the memory does not have power
  • Rotary encoder:
  • RX: shorthand for receive; used with UART/USART communication


  • SBC: see Single-board Computer
  • SCK: SPI clock signal
  • Segment display:
  • Sensor:
  • Serial:
  • Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI): synchronous serial interface that provides communication between electronic components and devices
  • Servo:
  • Shield: a board, typically focused on one functionality (e.g. WiFi), with a form factor is designed to fit and work well with a specific development board
  • Shift register:
  • Single-board computer (SBC): analogous to a tiny motherboard, a small board with general-purpose computing functionality; sometimes also a development board (e.g. Raspberry Pi)
  • Single-pole dual-throw switch (SPDT):
  • Single-pole single-throw switch (SPST):
  • Sketch:
  • Slave Select:
  • Slide potentiometer or slide pot:
  • SMD: see Surface-mount device
  • SMT: see Surface-mount technology
  • SoC:
  • Software serial:
  • Solder:
  • Solder stencil:
  • SparkFun:
  • SparkFun RedBoard:
  • Spec sheet:
  • SPI: see Serial Peripheral Interface
  • SPDT:
  • SPST:
  • SS: SPI "Slave Select": each SPI device in a circuit gets its own SS connection. Determines active device
  • ST-Link:
  • Surface-mount:
  • Surface-mount Device (SMD): component that solders to pads on the surface of a PCB
  • Surface-mount Technology (SMT): describes the production of circuits that utilize SMD.
  • System bus:
  • System on a Chip (SoC):


  • Teensy:
  • Tessel:
  • Thermocoupler:
  • Through-hole:
  • TMP 36:
  • Toggle switch:
  • Transceiver:
  • Transducer:
  • Transformer:
  • Transistor:
  • TTL:
  • TX: shorthand for transmit; used with UART/USART communication


  • UART:
  • USART:
  • Universal Asynchronous Receive/Transmit (UART): basic asynchronous RS-232 serial communication.
  • Universal Synchronous/Asynchronous Receive/Transmit (USART): basic synchronous or asynchronous RS-232 serial communication
  • USB OTG:


  • VCC: positive supply voltage
  • VDD: positive supply voltage
  • VSS: negative supply voltage
  • Volt: unit for measuring electric potential, i.e. voltage, named after physicist Alessandro Volta, represented in Ohm's Law as V
  • Voltage: the potential to produce current, measured as a difference between two points (unit: volts)
  • Voltage divider: By connecting two elements (typically resistors) in series, the voltage available at their intersection can be reduced to a desired level.
  • Voltage regulator:


  • Wall wart:
  • Watt:
  • Web Bluetooth:
  • Word: the size of the unit of data or instructions used in a given processor's design


  • XBee:



  • Zetta:
  • ZIF socket:
  • Zigbee: