The first openPicus ConnecThing Hackaton is over (and it was crazy!)

Posted by openPicus | On: Jul 09 2012
Finally, on the 7th of July we held the first, marvellous, messy, super creative openPicus Hackathon.
It was crazy, we had like fifty people from all over Italy, software hackers, hardware geeks but even Interaction Designers coming from Rome University to familiarize with openPicus technology.

As always, Murphy’s law wisdom applied and air conditioning decided to broke up during one of the hottest days in Rome Summer – that can be very hot – and we actually needed to run out the bulding to buy some fan to cool the brains of our army of hackers.

After a brief introduction to the technology, IDE and overall possibilities, we unveiled the whole set of materials we we brought to the party: in fact, other than the classic Flyports and well know Nest boards already available (Serial, Proto and Lighting), it was possible to play with two new Nest going to production very soon: the mighty Music and Grove Nest. 

The Music Nest
The Grove Nest

The two products will be presented widely on the blog in the next few days but you’ve probably seen some teaser images on Facebook or Twitter stream.
The music nest is a Nest for Flyport Ethernet that is able to encode and decode music and audio files in general to and from Mp3, and the Grove Nest is a big news that will open you up to really endless possibilities being perfectly compatible with the Grove series of sensors and actuators from SeeedStudio.

After having introduced the materials available, and fueled a creative brainstorming session, four groups came out; here’s a short description of the projects they’ve been focusing:
  • a first project was a classic of web of things these days… empowering a plant – thanks to the Grove humidity and  temperature sensors - to communicate its health state and needs thanks to multi-coloured LEDs – first – and than making the plant actually talk, by using the Music Nest. The guys made a great job (connected the plant sensors to Flyport and the internet) but didn’t succeed to make the plant actually talk – that would be awesome to see so we left them with the boards to do some homework :)
  • another project wash much more related to music: the idea was to create a filter to grab social interactions and meaningfully transform those into commands to tune the music and lights according to a shared “feeling”. By interpreting tweets of a certain type the system would play a certain type of music – and change the lights accordingly (would be pretty awesome having it in a bar so that the crowd could cooperatively decide the music mood). Understandably enough the objective of the hackathon was to implement the basic social to music nest bridge with the intelligence to be developed later – the guys have some homework to do as well :)
  • Another project was looking to implement an handy device to track how many minutes to the next bus passage (ok, I admit, I inspired this as an heavy bus user :) ) and the project has been pretty straightforward (the nice idea was to use a stepper motor to pilot an arrow indicato :)
  • Last but not least, we had our guest stars – the Kent’s Strapper CNC team – with their 3d printer: the objective was to use the Serial Nest to connect the printer to the internet to interact via a tweet or a post on facebook (thanks to the paraimpu infrastructure) with the folks waiting for the printing piece to be finished.



Here you can see the complete Flickr set of pictures from the Hackathon.

The overall experience was amazing – even if challenging – and it will help us to prepare for the upcoming event Hackitaly (21st of July) where we are sponsors and we’ll be bringing our incredible set of new Nest (and the power of Flyport Modules) to empower the best Italian hackers to create the impossible!

Come and meet us there!

We can also anticipate that we’ll be organizing soon other Hackathons in Italy (we’re thinking of something also in Europe) – if you have an hacker community and you want to collaborate, please reach out! ;)

1 Comment

  1. Very good and helpful info you given here. There are certainly a lot of details like that to take into consideration…

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