Tag Archives: Massachusetts

IoT hits college campuses

Writing for EdTech Magazine, Tommy Peterson reports that students attending the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts will soon be able to use their smartphones to check whether washers are free in their dormitory laundry room.

As Ellen Keohane, the director of IT services at Holy Cross confrms, the campus is one of many where apps based on the Internet of Things (IoT) — are moving beyond their established role in facilities management and into classrooms, laboratories and student life.

“It’s interesting to think about the convergence of several trends, particularly the cloud and mobile app ­development, which are related,” Keohane explains. “We have an increasing variety of mobile devices with access to cloud-based information services. The possibilities seem endless.”

Eric Matson, associate professor and director of the Robotic Innovation, Commercialization and Education Research Center at Purdue University in West Lafayette, expressed similar sentiments.

Indeed, students already access the IoT through their smartphones, says Matson, and they expect their available network of connections to grow. Although the IoT promises to make enterprises more efficient, Matson emphasizes that bandwidth, security issues and the adoption of ­standards for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication must be ­addressed as the space grows.

“If we want to set high-level policy and let machines make lower-level decisions, we need to understand the machines, the network and the ­implications of the policies we make.”

Meanwhile, Sanjay Sarma, professor of mechanical engineering and ­director of digital learning at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), says he believes security will improve as the IoT expands.

“It’s not as though the world is secure now. As more devices are connected, we’re going to be forced to recognize our vulnerabilities,” he adds.

The full text of “IoT Goes to College” by Tommy Peterson can be read on EdTech Magazine here.

Interested in learning more about the IoT? You can check out Atmel’s recent IoT SoMa panel on the subject here, Patrick Sullivan’s EELive! 2014 presentation here and our extensive Bits & Pieces IoT article archive here.

Video: Confectionery cannon fires…

A team of engineers at Olin College in Needham (Massachusetts) have created an Arduino-powered “confectionery canon” designed to track targets before launching a… marshmallow!

“To control our mechanical and pneumatic system we developed a robust electrical system,” the engineering team explained on the project’s official page.

“We use a custom protoshield on our [Atmel-based] Arduino to connect and control our four servos – and we trigger our pneumatic launcher by controlling a solenoid on a sprinkler valve.”

Face tracking technology for target acquisition? OpenCV for Python and motor actuation via serial communication between Python and Arduino.

The total cost? $250, with the entire platform designed using SolidWorks and tools offered at the school, including laser-cutting technology to construct specific pieces of the platform.

“Most of the parts are acrylic, which we chose primarily for its cost and ease of laser-cutting,” the team added. “Acrylic isn’t very strong and is quite brittle, but it’s less than a third the cost of acetyl (Delrin). The three aluminium parts were made from shop scrap.”

The confectionery cannon was designed by Forrest Bourke (’16, ECE), Saarth Mehrotra (’16, ECE), Michael Searing (’16, MechE) and Elliot Wyse (’15, MechE).

Interested in learning more about the confectionery cannon? You can check out the project’s official page here and additional coverage on Boston Magazine here.