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!
Working at Delphi (soon Aptiv) allows me the luxury of being immersed in a high-tech and innovative environment that provides constant inspiration for creating new and exciting gadgets. One day, some colleagues mentioned gesture control being one of the recent trends in automotive. This got me thinking of ways to bring gesture control to the broader audience in an affordable and easy to use package. And thus, Nevma was born.
After finishing a project, I torment myself on what to make next. While riding the bus home one day, an idea struck. How cool would it be if there was a small handheld gadget, able to encrypt USB sticks and SD cards just by plugging them into it. And thus the Cryptopuck was born!
For some years now, I have been on a never-ending quest to discover the cheapest way for a miniature vehicle to position itself. One that performs decently that is. My latest idea involved the, less-than-a-dollar, HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensors to acquire a holistic view of the surroundings. But let’s take it from the beginning…
In Gothenburg we are fortunate enough to have the local public transportation company, Västtrafik, maintaining its live schedule online and providing a public API for whoever needs to query it for their own applications. Consequently, there are plenty mobile solutions that provide access to the schedule, allow you to plan your trip etc. I have a problem though. In order to figure out when the next bus is arriving, I have to take my phone out, open the application, tap on my bus stop and finally check how many minutes I have left until I miss the bus.
At Delphi in Gothenburg, where I am currently employed, we create all kinds of cool products for the automotive industry. To organize our development process, we use SCRUM and abide by the Agile principles. Every morning, we have a short meeting where we discuss what our progress has been since the previous meeting, what we intend to work on until the next one, as well as mention any obstacles that we face. This meeting, the “daily stand-up”, is supposed to be short and should not last more than 10-15 minutes. However, we used to have a problem: As our team is full of talented and passionate developers, we love to talk about the tasks at hand, details of the conducted work, engage into technical discussions about issues etc. Sometimes… too much! This stretches our meeting time and keeps us from getting the most out of our work hours. To solve this problem, here comes Scrumtato, a gadget to make daily stand-ups agile again!