At work, we are a fast-paced team that likes to commit small and often. Every commit does not only have to pass the various tests run by our Continuous Integration machinery, but also gets extensively code reviewed before allowed to be merged. Since we are six and our internal code of conduct dictates two positive approvals for each new submission, the lack of responsiveness when it comes to reviewing, can impede the development process and speed.
A Google Home Mini recently made it into the collection of gadgets I use on a daily basis for casting music, setting count down timers, reminders, recipes etc. However the capabilities the software behind it, Google Assistant, expand way beyond that. We saw how it, one day soon, could be making calls and booking appointments for you during the Google IO 18 keynote. Additionally, it is expected to be the catalyst for driver experience, as brilliantly demonstrated by Volvo Cars in the promotional video of their next generation infotainment system. It runs native Android just like your smartphone! There is so much potential in this technology I had to try it out myself.
When developing something that solves a big, small or silly problem I ask myself, usually as a mental exercise: How can I make money out of this? Sometimes, this thought experiment is concluded by a crowdfunding campaign where my cool gadget receives support by like-minded enthusiasts who pitch in and help bring it to mass production. Additionally, as an open source proponent I enjoy publishing my work, however this is ultimately a business move. Unfortunately, the lack of insights on the matter deems such decisions difficult and, as the devil is in the detail, surrounds the initiative’s feasibility with uncertainty.
Always fascinated by portable, low power devices and new ways to interact with them, I was very happy to discover these LCD displays that used to be on old Nokia phones and their consumption is in the micro-Amperes range. As it often happens, I had a solution and was looking for a problem. And that is how Dialectic Ball was conceived!
During the past couple of years I have been involved in a couple of Hackathons, mainly as a member of the jury as well as the overall organization. One of the most fun tasks was creating the trophies for the winning team.
If you are like me and enjoy working on microcontroller projects it is more than likely that, at some point, you wished you had additional processing power, extra pins, parallel threads and so on. One way to tackle this is to get stronger hardware and another to optimize your code. A third is to… stack another microcontroller on top and thus Moltoduino was born!