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Student-friendly development kits offered by major semiconductor and embedded system players. Centre: A solar-powered rough terrain vehicle developed by students of Hindustan University, Chennai at the Graphical System Design Competition,
IoT is a DIY dream!

The Internet  of Things  comes as a  huge stimulus for the student-inventor
By Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore, December 8 2014: In his book "The Road Ahead" Bill Gates  reproduces a famous 'New Yorker' cartoon that shows two dogs, one sitting on a chair in front of a PC,  telling  a second dog sitting on the floor: "On the Internet, no one knows you're a dog!" It underlined the fact that the Net was a great equalizer --  serving all who accessed it .  
Two decades after that seminal comment, we are facing another  technology  leveler: the Internet of Things (IoT) --  the interconnection of  billions of  devices ( 20 billion and counting)  within the existing Internet, without requiring human interaction.
The beauty of IoT,  is that applications are limited only by our imagination  -- and whipping together a cool tool is  something even school and college students can do  -- thanks to availability of  many affordable development tools and kits,    offered by  leading Indian and global electronics  companies.
Last week,  I got to serve as one of the judges at a national IoT contest organised by Intel in Bangalore. Some 300 teams of youngsters, were each provided with  Intel  "Galileo"  and "Edison" kits --  student-friendly   development platforms, where you could connect chips, memory, storage and sensors,  to  create  interesting applications. They worked round the clock for 24 hours   -- and  landed us in a serious dilemma: how to select the best  from  dozens of clever solutions:  a shopping cart that scans every item before you reach the checkout;  a street lighting system that switches on only when a  vehicle approaches; an SOS  mobile alert sender for women , activated when the  owner just taps  her feet...
Only weeks earlier, I had dropped in at a similar contest hosted by  National  Instruments, where one of the top prize winners went to a team from Hindustan University, Chennai which  created a solar-powered rough terrain vehicle useful for bomb disposal. And  earlier this year,  a students from the Karamveer Bhaurao Patil College of Engineering, Satara, Maharashtra,   developed a  hydraulic robot  controlled by a human arm at the Texas Instruments  Innovation India Analog Design contest.
All theses student inventions are made possible because these companies  have launched  affordable development kits which can be quickly  turned into computer-based  tools. 

-            Intel's Edison is an  Atom-powered  system-on-a-chip,  with all the bits required to  add memory, storage and a WiFi connection to the Cloud. You don't need a soldering iron, everything is click-n-fit.|
-           NI's myDAQ is a low-cost data acquisition (DAQ) device that gives students the ability to measure and analyze live signals anywhere, anytime. It  can mimic 8  instruments, including a function generator, oscilloscope and digital multimeter.
|-           TI's myPartsKit  comes with the building blocks of all electronics, including op-amps, an instrumentation amplifier, a comparator, voltage regulators, switching regulators, timers, temperature sensors, data converters, transistors, resistors, capacitors, LEDs, switches and more.
-           Analog Devices'   Wireless Sensor Network Development Kit allows users to establish a working wireless system in as little as 15 minutes to remotely analyze various types of sensor data, such as temperature, humidity and motion.
-           iWave,  a leading Indian product developer, has put together an Advanced Learning Platform enabling  students to deploy  several new displays, sensors, and interfaces,  based on ARM and Freescale solutions while  introducing them to a rich world of Embedded Systems.
-           Many of these kits will also work with the most popular student platform today   the Rasberry Pi wallet computer.  Most of them cost Rs 3000 or less.
Who knows, the Next Big Thing in IoT may be dreamt, designed, developed and delivered from the electronics lab of an Indian school or college! Get to IT, guys



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