Teeth Cleaning Application for the Micro:Bit

This will be my first application for the Micro:Bit and my first Internet of Things type application from idea to delivery.

The problem

Simple. I get bored easily. While doing the bedtime ritual I am not sure that I or the small person I am cajoling to bed are actually spending enough time brushing our teeth. We could simply put a clock in the bathroom but better still we can make a device that counts down 3 minutes and reminds us what we should be brushing?

Set up 

I had a micro:bit left over from my Hack Day’s and just needed to decide how to code the device. As I was waiting for jury service I tried connecting with using my iPhone which worked great. However, I found the Microsoft Touch Develop a little too difficult to navigate. Once I was back at home I played with the various other IDE’s. I toyed with the idea of using mbed a platform and operating system for Internet-connected devices based on 32-bit ARM Cortex-M microcontroller. Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 12.39.20 PM

However, I settled for the Microsoft Touch Developer as is code (rather than drag and drop based) and has a nice debug visual of the micro:bit.

Rules

My dentist would have been an ideal person to ask but as she wasn’t around I used a paste manufacturer to define the intervals of what should be brushed.

Trial and Error  

I had a few attempts at creating the code. Setting a variable for the count down and then showing a message at certain points. The logic was sound but the code circular and unwieldy. Until I discovered the Games functions.

Game Functions

There are two that we need.

  • Game start countdown. You can set a value in milliseconds to determine the duration of the game. In this case 3 minutes if teeth brushing equals 180000 milliseconds. .
  • Game is running. This returns a boolean value of yes or no.

Using these the applicaton worked a treat and was about two lines of code. So gergeous.

Finally

Update :  In the end I joined the Micro:Bit Educational Foundation as an  Advior and on my first the CEO’s daughter decide to take on the challenge for me

 

 

Science Museum Robots

Are Robots going to take over the world ?

Currently Robots have taken over a floor of the Science Museum in Kensington. Jesse and I headed over there  to meet them.

Much like the British Library’s Out of This World Exhibition the curators caught me off guard by starting much further back in history than I was expecting. 16th century mechanised monk. Fish catching mechanical swan gleaming like formal silverware and tin men that worked the various World Fair’s.

By far the creepiest Robot was the Japan Kodomoroid communication android by Osaka University and ATR Laboratories produced in 2014 to read the news. Jesse introduced me to the concept of Uncanny valley. Sadly is had nothing to do with valley girls. Instead it is the idea that human replicas elicit feelings of eeriness. To counter the weirdness Kodomoroid induced, I introduced Jesse to Pepper. Who was super cute and got the pair of them to teach me the American art of fist pumping (we even had to record it).

This exhibition really brought home how incredibly complex the art of creating and adapting humanoid robots are, even before we consider topics like consciousness. Making them walk. Recreating human eyes or skin. All will require a multitude of humans experimenting. Until Robots figure it out for themselves.

The exhibition which is running till Sep 1017 and is well worth checking out.

ADS-B receiver – Want Better Results ? Give away technology. 

A raspberry pi I bought in a NYC vending machine and left in cupboard in Faridabad, India found it’s way to Los Angles, USA in 2016. I was a little surprised, as I have also left a unopened bottle of Bombay Sapphire which was untouched.

The Raspberry Pi is a single-board computer about the size of a credit card.  My very clever cousin Ankush an avid aeronautical enthusiast turned the device into a ADS–B. I had to look it up too. Apparently ADS–B determines an aircraft position via satellite navigation. He told me that to buy a commercial device it would have cost him about $800-$1000 or more. This one cost him around $140 and it including dual band, weather and traffic reports.  On the ground trials produced traffic reports for a 60 kms radius but he is hoping to track 150+ when he finally gets the device on a plane.

He told me “It wasn’t a big deal. An hour. Just assembly and some tweaking. Need better spanners “!

CWT Health and Tech Hack Day 2 – Micro:Bit’s and More

CORE HACK DAY
Local Newspaper Hackney Writeup

Following on from our very successful Micro:Bit hack day we ran a second day at Petchey Academy.

The ‘Tech in Health Day’ has three aims: to fulfil the sponsors’ objectives of imparting new technology skills to children; to promote new healthcare software applications; and to build awareness for CORE, a new and radically innovative charity aiming to provide affordable osteopathic care whilst undertaking valuable research into chronic pain and illness. The event entailed a 1-day workshop for Key stage 2 students.

We used the donations  of award-winning Micro:Bit’s from the BBC and this time had Anne Currie speak about Medical technology and life as a developer.

CORE Hack Day 2

CWT Health and Tech Hack Day 1 – Micro:Bit’s and Beyond

Last summer the charity CORE, the Centre for Osteopathic Research and Excellence, signed me up to help run their tech hack day sponsored by a prominent multinational bank. I couldn’t resist. More than ever, we need to push technology learning for everyone. (read the press release)

During planning we were given amazing support including a donation of award-winning Micro:Bit’s from the BBC. We even roped in my good friend Karen Sandler, executive director of the Software Freedom Conservancy, who spoke about life as a Cyborg and open source software on the day.

The ‘Tech in Health Day’ has three aims: to fulfil the sponsors’ objectives of imparting new technology skills to children; to promote new healthcare software applications; and to build awareness for CORE, a new and radically innovative charity aiming to provide affordable osteopathic care whilst undertaking valuable research into chronic pain and illness. The event entailed a 1-day workshop for Key stage 3 students.

The first event was held at Hackney New School on the 20th of October 2016. Students from the school and the bank volunteers raced against time to create pain monitoring and alleviation devices. The students and staff of the school were incredibly talented asked great questions and produced a fabulous hack. They were very kind in their write up.

You will see from the presentation below that we had organised a demo to create a Micro:Bit’s step-o-meter and WordPress site. From which the teams consisting of students and volunteers came up with a range of different applications (also listed in the presentation). The winning idea as chosen by our esteemed judging panel was a posture corrector, using not one but two Micro:Bit’s.

Core Hack Day