Month: July 2014

Playing with my microview

Today I had a few problems working on other projects, so I started to get going with this lil fella:



As this was my 21st birthday present, my daddy darling picked the 75 dollar reward tier which included a nice learning kit:


It’s pretty sweet as particularly for people who don’t always have the gear to start with arduino straight away, this provides lots of things: LEDs, including 1 RGB LED, resistors, sensors like temperature, photoresistors, flex, but also a motor and a servo, and lots of other things I’ve not mentioned.

Initial thoughts:

As soon as I plugged the microview into my surface, it popped up with a welcome message, a few demos and then a tutorial showing where to plug in wires and eventually, an LED which flashed on and off. This is a brill use of the screen and means it’s literally a plug and play device.

I went on from this to try and get going with changing the code and went over to codebender – I’ve never used this before but heard good reviews. After a few minutes of installing things of which codebender provided all the links for, my microview popped up with “Hello World” and a little image, so sure enough, I signed up for codebender with my github account. As both a windows user and a surface user, I was dead impressed at how easy this was and well, the fact it definitely works with a surface pro 2 is a big plus (bit like the Swiss flag…)…although I’m still thinking of getting rid of my surface. Gotta be honest.

Further thoughts

Anyhoo, that was a few days ago – I then put it down to work on other stuff and to wait for my heart rate sensor to get set up this weekend, but this eve was at a loss for what to hack, so I cracked it out and went through the tutorials which come with the kit ( for anyone who has the same tier as me).

Once again I’m impressed at how smooth all of the tutorials are and how well it explains everything, plus the codebender plugins meaning I don’t have to open up the codebender page and duplicate all the tutorials is amazing. Soon enough I was addicted to completing the tutorials and I’ve now done 9 of them – I’ve only stopped because it’s half 12 and I think I need a break.

^^doing the glowing RGB LED tutorial.

I’m hoping they continue to add to these as there’s still a flex sensor and a shift register unused in my box, but if not I guess that’s a good project to work on, figuring out how the flex sensor works…

What I don’t like

There’s only 1 thing I don’t like: whilst the MicroView kit didn’t cost me anything as it was a present, I’m probably going to reuse it rather than buy another one as they’re a tadge expensive for me while I’m on a student budget. My first intended project is a necklace using my heart rate sensor (I really like making jewelry that lights up, ok!) , but if I for example, connect a jumper up to the pins necessary, that leaves several that will leave pocmarks around my neck…so I’m thinking of 3D printed pin cover with hooks for a necklace chain, but it would be nice if the pins could be retracted or flipped 90 degrees to the sides.


#FWIC2014, @ghc and microview

There’s a few things and opportunities I’ve yet to write about so far.

I’m aware recently my posts have been more about the awesome places and events I’ve been able to go to, rather than “hey I got this from pimoroni” or “hey I made something containing LEDs”. Don’t worry – my hacker posts will be back in a little while, although there’ll probably be another big lull during third year.

Anyway, the last event I went to: FWIC, or the future of wireless international conference. I haven’t written about this yet because I’m supposed to be writing something for the official blog, but I figure an abridged version couldn’t hurt.

For this conference I managed to get free entry, due to being of the millennial generation and entering a competition for one of 5 free places – that is, essentially, anyone who’s grown up whilst technology as we know today has been evolving, so anyone under the age of 30ish, the aim being to attract young people into the embedded and in particular, wireless embedded industry.

I had a really good 2 days at Churchill college Cambridge, and went away with lots of confidence in my ability to get into this industry (if that’s what I want?!) and several contacts to make it happen.

Next up is future things: this week I received word that my microview – you can go back in my archive and see what I wrote about that – arrived at Godley HQ, so I should get that by dadtaxi (parents are visiting for the Bristol harbour fest, and to ship some things home as I’m moving out soon) this weekend, so you can expect at least a couple of blogs about using that if I get time in the next couple of weeks.

Last and probably the most exciting announcement I’ve ever written is that last Saturday I found out I’ve won a full scholarship to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Phoenix, Arizona this October. I’m still finding it hard to believe this is happening and I have lots of things to book and do before this point, but thanks so much to the Anita Borg Institute, and to the companies who sponsor these scholarships every year, for giving me this chance.

I’m incredibly excited. GHC is probably the biggest women in tech event held in a different state in the USA every year, and it should be a great opportunity to network, learn, share and meet more people from around the world.
Plus, y’know, who’d ever pass up a free trip across the pond.