Wednesday, April 23, 2014

IoT lab in Bangalore - where ideas can take shape

IoT, that is, 'Internet of Things' is becoming quite popular these days. Check out this wiki page, I don't have a good grasp on the subject. I actually shudder to think if all objects we use in our daily existence get connected and remotely controllable through world-wide-web.

As is norm these days, came to know via facebook that such an event is going to happen. I was only mildly interested. The IoT lab is in JP nagar, about 15km from my room in Indiranagar. After speaking to Yatin (from whom I came to know in fb) and combining the commute with bib collection for RFH 5k run (Jayanagar), I reached about 15 minutes early on Sunday afternoon, April the 20th. Hardly one vehicle was parked outside, so I cycled around, ate Gudbud and came back few minutes past 3 PM.

This time three others were hanging around entrance. After parking my two wheeler inside the gate (for extra safety) I joined them. We introduced ourselves and went to the lab (one floor below). There was a sizable crowd already assembled! Perhaps many had come in car and parked somewhere else or by public transport.

IoT lab Bangalore
IoT lab, Bangalore (Picture procured from IoT FB page)
A recently painted room with tables, chairs, equipments, white board bespoke of nerdy environment. I usually keep away from electrical and electronic components - afraid that I might cause some damage without knowing how to handle them. What attracted me was a rather large telescope kept at a corner (learnt later that there is plan to make the telescope automatically point to particular planet/star in the sky!)

Knowledge Sharing

There being no specific agenda for the meeting, enthusiasts of many kinds were present - jobless people like me, s/w engineers wanting to get a taste of h/w, start up specialists, marketers distributing brochures, students, researchers and even media! And of course exchanging names, contacts, business cards, etc (surprised looks when I corrected my name's spelling to S'u'ndeep and more surprise/pat-on-back when I told I was jobless). Causing a very noisy environment - difficult to communicate beyond 2-3 feet.

What stood out was knowledge sharing - from Arduino to Raspberry Pi, Smart grids to self driving cars, IP rights to IoT standardization issues, Energy saving to Energy harvesting, it was all too much to take in really. A 9th standard kid and college 2nd year student using equipments with confidence motivated a few and showed there is fun too in serious stuff.

Moment of the day

Vivek, a researcher from IIT Bombay, was particularly active and popular. He had come all the way to Bangalore mainly for this meeting. I was interested in his work and asked many questions (some silly too). Noted that students can apply for two month paid internship in IIT Bombay (to convey when I visit my college next). Then when he was writing his contact details for Anoop (a student who has signed up with Aditya (Entrepreneur) for a project at IoT), he noticed 'psg' in my email-id and inquired whose it was. After so much talk we hadn't realized we were alumni from same college! :D

Lab facilities and projects

Though not my cup of tea, I felt good in coming to the place and that there are choices beyond routine work. Especially, perception of Bangalore being only a s/w hub gotta change or is already changing. Not sure of details, but one can use lab facilities for monthly fees.

Already four projects had been put up on white board with details of lead and contact number. From what I gathered, they are comprised of both students and professionals. Anyone with interest and commitment are welcome - it is a place which encourages doing than just theoretical learning.

Links and Contacts

IoT meet ups: IoTBLR and/or FB Group
IoT contact: Nihal Kashinath
Other meet ups:

Other Works

Square Tic Tac Toe
Get it on Google Play

Beginner's guide to Command line and Scripting