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Friday, November 16, 2012

Hardware Hacking: ParisEmbedded Meetup #1

I recently attended the first ParisEmbedded meetup hosted at JoshFire. I was curious about what sort of community was building up in light of the democratization of open hardware like Arduino and Raspberry Pi. It used to be that the gatekeepers of that field were all the specialists of the compilation on proprietary hardware. We now are seeing the opening of the hardware as well as a seamless increase in their capabilities sometimes allowing full framework to be readily installed on them. This is a feat once thought impossible unless you knew about the steamrollers. Since compressive sensing aims at reducing the workload at the sensor level and use a potential cloud based infrastructure to reconstruct signals and make sense of them, I  naturally thought it was a good meeting to attend.
We first had some of the Open Picus hardware presented by the good folks at G-Media. It looks like it is a direct competitor to Arduino and seems to be cheaper. The presenters featured a very nice weather station but also mentioned that one could use this same microcontroller to read directly from some of the small electronic weather station sold in retail. 
Boris Defreville who is in the voice/noise recognition business, was/is looking into targeting some of his algorithms (mostly DSP) on some of the lighter platforms enabled by Arduino, Open Picus and so forth.
Thomas of Green Communication presented a set of wifi-routers for on-the-go deployment, including those situations where these routers are not connected to the internet.

Some students presented MyRobotics, a start-up incubated within their engineering school at ECE Paris. They designed a microcontroller that uses the .Net framework and therefore can use language such as C# for its programming (may be the microcontroller could also be programmed using Python or F# ?) .

Guillaume Pellerin presented a suitcase like system that is up and ready for people who want to give talks while at the same time record and stream their presentation. He used his suitcase to record a large segment of the meeting. You can watch the result below (it's all in French though).

Finally, some students from ParisTech showed us the result of one of their school project: a persistent retina screen made out of a row of LEDs. The wow factor came when they showed us a full 30fps movie on it . I believe it was Star Wars Episode 1.

All in all, a very nice community of hardware hackers. Maybe next time, I ought to talk about starnav, geocam, randomized cameras and some of the unique sensors coming out of the compressive sensing revolution.

Thanks to the organizers Pierre and Sylvain for making the meeting happen and Guillaume for the recording.
-update: Yoan has a similar write up in French that also include the persistent retina LED movie screen -

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