[UPDATE: we have added a link at the end of the article to the project on GitHub. Many thanks to Lorenzo Monaco, who has made it open source!]
strange things happen these days.
It happens we surf the net and discover how the developer commmunity of UDOO is spreading.
So, this is the second appointment with UDOO in schools.
Surfing the Net we had the pleasure to talk with 3 brilliant dudes, Lorenzo Monaco , Gianluigi Spagnuolo, Massimo Metrangolo, who are hanging out at the edge of digital world, in the crossroads between new economy, Android/iOS development and Internet of Things. They work together at Altura Labs, a creative lab, a small Italian media company and also a master school for digital careers, with a focus on social media.
Well, I guess at this point you say: “What the hell does it have to do with UDOO?” Be patient, men and women of little faith 🙂
Because it’s been a refreshing talk. And it’s great to see that creative technology is not out of the garden of instruction, metaphorically. They realized two #InternetOfThings projects with their students and here’s what we are going to talk you about.
Quoting his Twitter page, Massimo is a “digital marketer, traveller, cinephile, Rock’n’Roll addicted, Roma Football supporter, biker, not-snob niche-person.” He’s a web bulimic, a teacher, a business manager and growth hacker for Altura Labs.
Lorenzo Monaco, but you can call him m3m3nto if you dare, is an app developer with a particular feeling for system integration. He’s passionate about music, programming, usability and MMORPG – like World of Warcraft, you know. Well, and he probably likes the namesake Christopher Nolan’s film – that we suggest you to watch, actually. And finally, he’s the mind behind the
Gianluigi Spagnuolo is a software engineer in love with Ruby, currently craving the Internet of Things arrival. He’s also a tech writer: you can read its work for tech-culture spreading on Html.it or on Linux & C, Dev, Computer Programming, hakin9.
But let’s go the point.
UDOO: “What’s the master all about?”
Lorenzo: “It is a Master in Web Marketing and Social Media Management by Altura Educational. This year we had the V edition. Our formula combines the study of new media communication strategies with the how-to of the main advertising platforms.
UDOO: Ok, but what does UDOO have to do with the Master’s program?
Lorenzo: It’s been an idea of my colleague Gianluigi Spagnuolo and I. We thought to propose a module on Internet of Things inside an educational path more focused on digital marketing. We have thought that showing the IoT potentialities to students would have been exciting.
UDOO: Was it the first experience with UDOO for the students?
Lorenzo: The students were at their first time with Internet of Things, but they immediately get interested in the projects. They take part to it, interacting a lot with the little experiments we realized in the classroom.
UDOO: What about the teachers? Have they ever developed something on UDOO?
Lorenzo: We are experienced software developers. Gianluigi Spagnuolo has worked for long time in the security branch in embedded systems and sensor network. I am interested in microcontrollers, IoT, embedded systems and I nurtured this passion through years.
UDOO What was the project about? Could you tell us a bit about it?
Lorenzo We hypothesized and developed two simple examples of application, which were supposed to show Iot dynamics and mechanicsms. We created a little musical jukebox with UDOO, that interacts with listeners through Twitter. If you tweet a specific tweet to @tjukeb you can choose which song or playlist to listen.
On UDOO we configured an app that manages all this through Twitter API.
UDOO moreover has been used like an access point to provide connectivity for our second demo/project.
It is an alarm you can interacting with through Twitter. For this second experiment we used a Raspberry Pi which we connected to an ultrasonic sensor and a camera.
If someone or something gets within 1m, an acoustic alarm rings, the camera takes a picture and sends it to the same Twitter user together with localization data regarding the detected object.
UDOO: Have you take advantage of video tutorials, guides or sort of?
Lorenzo: The Archlinux wiki has been very useful because to use UDOO as an access point you need to compile iptables functionalities directly on the kernel. UDOObuntu and other distros do not support them, apparently. We needed to distribute the Wi-Fi signal to the Raspberry Pi, because Raspberry Pi doesn’t have a WiFi module. Then we use the ultrasonic sensor datasheet to build the minimal necessary circuit to make the project work. [Note by the editor: if you want to go further with Kernel for UDOO with iptables you can check this useful piece of knowledge.]
UDOO: Why did you choose UDOO?
Lorenzo: Well, for a lot of reason. It’s a very powerful SBC, totally developed in Italy, integrated with a wi-fi module, a high audio quality in exit – something where Raspberry Pi doesn’t perform well – and a usb port available also in the basic version and ready for the debug: you won’t need anything else. Its one of the most complete prototyping boards, and its price/quality ratio is definitely interesting.
Having a processor and a microcontroller integrated in the same product, however, make it so comfortable for Iot sort of projects!
UDOO: What has been the greatest challenge during your project and how UDOO helped you to solve it?
Lorenzo: For the Twitter juke box actually we expected a shorter time from the API. But the real problems came using the other board – Raspberry Pi – for issues regarding the power source due to the high consumption of the components (camera, wi-fi dongle, ultrasonic sensor).
UDOO: What future do you imagine for your projects? Next year will there be an UDOO project again?
Lorenzo: Well, expanding the functionalities and potentialities of the Twitter JukeBox would be interesting, maybe extending the applications also to other fields.
We believe UDOO will be our first choice for a long time for Internet of Things kind of projects, especially educational ones.
In some aspects – software overall – is still a bit immature, but it has really wide margins for improvement, and we wish because of this a greater engagement from the makers community.
UDOO: What are the perspectives of a computer science education in schools in your opinion? What’s your vision instead?
Lorenzo: Take a look around. Kids always using smartphone and tablet of parents since the very first year. In my opinion, we need to tap the deep familiarity and propensity of digital natives and channel it in a proper educational path. We need to translate this potentiality positively in coding competence. Digital natives need to be prepared in coding or at least managing technologies which dominate the current world of communication. Altura Educational, in its field – communication and digital marketing – cares about this: it offer an operative education to start using in an absolutely professional way, advertising platforms and social networks, and make them highly competitive in the search for a job.
P.S.: Are you one of those brave teachers passionate by #InternetOfThings who wants to do something more for students? Are you one of those creative students who loves DIY IoT projects?
EDIT: I guess you would like to take a look at the real stuff behind this project – code, documentation, whatever. Well, we are very pleased to tell you that Lorenzo has cleaned all the code up for us and overall for you, and shared it on GitHub!