The Esquilo team just returned from New York City, after attending the Hackster.io Hardware Weekend Hackathon in Brooklyn. It was a really fantastic experience, held at the beautiful Kickstarter headquarters. It was packed to the brim with enthusiastic and passionate makers with over 140 attendees! If you haven’t been to one of these, I really encourage you to go sometime. The people are very positive, welcoming, and raring to go. It takes all kinds and all experience levels. Really a great vibe to be a part of.
These events are turning out to be a great showcase for the Esquilo boards. Attendees only have a day and a half to build a working demo and presentation from scratch. So avoiding the usual setup rigamarole and learning curve that other systems have and simply plugging the Esquilo in and skipping right to coding really resonates. We brought six boards, soon we had passed them all out, and unfortunately had to turn folks away.
The teams made lots of great projects (see them all here), but two Esquilo-based hacks were particularly clever applied IoT: Motion Director and Drift Visualizer.
Team Motion Director used an Esquilo with a Freescale 9-axis inertial measurement sensor Arduino shield, a Seeedstudio Grove Arduino shield with several RGB LED daughter boards, and five battery-powered Particle Cores to build an array of wireless LEDs – all controlled with wrist movements. The system allows a movie director to simulate an object’s visual path (like a home run or moving car) by placing the LEDs along such a path and controlling LED color changes with a wrist movement. Actors can easily synchronize their gazes and reactions by following the color changes.
They also enlisted the fine folks at Leap3D to design and print a custom Esquilo case, complete with wrist strap, on the spot.
Thanks to Leap3D’s help, the team pulled together a really complete and impressive system done in less than two days. Great idea, great integration, and great execution that earned them the Freescale prize of the hackathon!
Then there was the Drift Visualizer team. What an awesome idea. Add sensors to a Local Motors Verrado Drift Trike, quantify how much drift is achieved in real-time, and give visual feedback using Electroluminescent light (EL) wires and RGB LCDs. The EL wire was driven with a Seeedstudio EL Arduino shield and the RGB LCDs with a Seeedstudio Grove Arduino shield. It was quite the tower with an Esquilo, IMU shield, EL shield, and Grove shield all stacked together.
The team hit the ground running with our demo IMU code, but soon realized that they needed to characterize the accelerometer readings so they could be converted to visuals. We pointed out they had 8GB of SD card to log to and they quickly hacked up some logging code in Squirrel and took to the streets for the dreary task of data collection (drifting away ). They returned with a file full of data points, popped the micro-SD into their laptop, and brought it up in a spreadsheet. A quick plot of the data and they figured out a short and sweet algorithm to detect drifts.
All that remained was to simply hook the drift detect and quantification visualizations up to the EL wires and the RGB LCD backlights and they had the top-prize winning project. They walked away with TWO Verrado trikes and the feeling of a job well done! Congrats to Team Drift. Nice work.
Thanks again to Kickstarter for the great venue, to Hackster.io for putting on yet another fast and fun Hackathon, and especially to all the folks that showed up to get involved and have a great time!