Education Technology

Binary Output

Published on 10/05/2016

Activity Overview

How is light used to send text, images or sound? In this activity students convert a text message into binary code using the ASCII character map, the binary code is then used to oscillate an LED on the TI-Innovator according to the strings of 1’s and 0’s corresponding to their text message. Even a relatively slow signal is difficult to read prompting students to consider the next stage of this project.


  • Investigate how digital systems represent text, image and audio data in binary. (ACTDIK024)
  • Convert numbers from decimal to binary
  • Understand and use the ASCII character set
  • Understand one of the many stages in Australia’s biggest infrastructure project, the NBN.
  • Basic familiarity of the TI-Innovator
  • Improve coding confidence and experience


Mathematics Coding TI-Innovator
  • Binary
  • Bit
  • Byte
  • Nibble
  • For / Endfor
  • IF / Then
  • Dim
  • Wait
  • Send
  • Set
  • Light
  • On / Off

About the Lesson

In this activity students write a short text message. The ASCII table is used to convert the text message into decimal numbers and then binary. The string of binary numbers it turned into a list that will be used by the program to turn the LED light on the TI-Innovator on and off according to the string of 1’s and 0’s. The initial result causes the LED to flicker as even the 10Hz bit rate is too fast for the human eye to translate. A wait command is used to slow the signal down to see if students are able to read the signal and then make suggestions on how to improve it.