Monthly Archives: January 2015

Intel Maker IoT Roadshow 2014

Had this wonderful opportunity to mentor/volunteer at the Intel IoT Hackathon today!

Over a hundred Makers turned up and was really interesting to interact to get new ideas and what’s possible with the Internet of Things. Ideas like activity tracking for people who need care, smoke detection(Pun, the hall was all smoky for a while), tracking Rhinos, smart parking and what not!

And of course were three 3D printer demos – (see my twitter stream for photos) – two of them were very impressive!

a) CreatorBot’s low cost 3D printer for Rs. 20000 is sort of a hobby printer with innovation on the axis controls and open sourcing the software and the frame design! you can hack it yourself!

b) “Bramha 3D” printer – entirely indigenous design of high precision 3D printer from Bramha (I liked the name for this, literally implies Creator in Hindu mythology) and made completely from scratch in India – A true “Make in India” Project.

Envious of these participants for the sort of “Give away” devices they got.

First 100 participants got

a) Intel Galileo Gen 2 board
b) Intel Edison Board + Arduino Breakout Kit
c) Grove Sensor Kit (Sound, Temperature, Light, LCD, Pot, LED)
d) On demand sensors – accelerometer sensor, pressure sensors, gyros, LiPo batteries, Arduino shields and what not!

One guy turned up at 5AM in the morning and got a Basis Watch! Many guys got give-aways and cash for most active twitter users tweeting on #Intel #Maker stuff, selfies and stuff!

I’ve caught some of the glimpses from the event into this  album!


[experience dated Nov2014]


Intel Galileo and my DIY case for it

Last year I received an #Intel #Galileo board targeted at the #Maker audience and for educational purposes. Intel’s foray into the world of Maker movements and DIY stuff. My DIY case for the Galileo was a mod of the Ferrero Rocher Chocolate box! Hooked it up in a day


[experience dated Sep2014]

Road to Eternity!

Actually its Road to #Yosemite National Park #California. A long drive on an endless road is something I wished for and this did happen. You can drive away to #eternity. It’s Beautiful.

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A dream come true – my visit to Palo Alto!

I was fortunate to visit 2066 Crist Street Los Altos. Its where the first 50 Apple 1s were built.
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Yes, it’s Steve Jobs garage. I also visited 2101 Waverly Street where Steve Jobs breathed his last. Its a beautiful residence down 40 blocks from the Palo Alto Apple Store. Serene as you would imagine.
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Another place I couldn’t miss visiting was the #Apple Headquarters 1 Infinite Loop in #Cupertino. Most of the surrounding buildings are all Apple campuses there.

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Unfortunately I only had a Sunday to visit and couldn’t get a company tour. The place was deserted but it filled me with excitement!

I also visited Big Sur and Highway 1 – an incredible drive along the Californian shores. The day was filled with a very emotional experience.


[experiences March2014,Apr 2014]

Soundcard Scope – My computer is my oscilloscope

I really wanted an oscilloscope for debug of signals which I was sampling
on Galileo IO and came across this wonderful software Soundcard Scope –
by an amazing Christian Zeitnitz.

The software simply transformed my computer into an oscilloscope. It uses
the mic input to sample signals as if they are sound signals and plots it
for visual debug like an oscilloscope. The software uses the sound card’s
44KHz sampling frequency and if you have signals just below 20KHz, this
is a perfect DIY at home scope for makers. I don’t own a regular scope but
would guess them to be pricey enough to be NOT that affordable. Though this
is not a replacement for a regular scope, it sure is a feat for some one
wanting to just get a glimpse of those electrical signals and feel happy
about the wiggles!!
Sure it was a bit noisy but seeing those signals wiggle makes one feel like
a winner!

Connections for the mic also attached.
The software itself is a Windows executable. But then I have Debian wheezy.
I installed Wine and could run this Windows executable like a charm first
time. I tried to create a make-shift mic in cable with one of the spare
3.5mm jacks that I got for to make the USB to ttySerial serial cable for
my Galileo.

Worked pretty well! Have a look in the picture below – The breadboard has
a TSOP IR decoder decoding IR streams. Output of the TSOP is fed to the
Galileo as well as the mic in of my computer – and screen shows a nice
waveform. The IR decoded pulses are supposed to be 600us wide so my
waveform would be around 1.6kHz which should fall well within the range
for this scope.

PS: The Galileo still reads a different value as compared to what I see on the
scope though.
Mic diagram from


[experience dated Aug 2014]

Soldering Skills and PACE materials

I haven’t done much of soldering before – but seriously, this is one heck of a technology. The beauty with which the solder flows into the joints – wow! Last year, I started to get my hands dirty on #Makerstuff, and I planned to set up a mini work bench at home with components, breadboards, a soldering station, a nice Bosch tool kit and plan to accumulate stuff over time for a long term goal of mine [will share more details in future when things materialize]. I have a decent work bench now, so that’s an achievement over the last year which was good, which was hectic and was fun as well.

So back to soldering, I came across this wonderful wonderful series of lessons on Soldering by PACE. Incredibly crisp and beautiful description of how to solder and hone your soldering skills – A must watch for any #Maker, electronics enthusiast!

Here take your lesson today – worth every minute spent, the guys’ a genius –

And yeah I tried building a Grove Seeed Studio GPIO expander – I think I did pretty ‘okay’ but that got me started! I can surely solder well these days :-)



[experiences dated Nov2014/Jan2015 ]

Raspberry Pi Madness

More Power to #RaspberryPi madness – Voice control your TV/TataSky

This is sort of an update post on my project where I started to put an year old Raspberry Pi board to real use at home after using it as a Media Center for sometime now. And yes I am enjoying the Media Center.

I had initially started out to implement this project with #Intel #Galileo  Gen 1 but gave up – Handling Infrared was simply easier to use on Raspberry Pi than Galileo. So here’s some write on my hobby project.

See Galileo at

Quick Overview on the Project
Implement a unified remote control system to control both set-top box as well as my TV. User interfaces can be voice controlled via Apps or Gesture based. For Gesture I am still going to try and use
Galileo with Open CV.

Raspberry Pi Hardware Set-up
The Raspberry Pi IO can be used to decode as well as encode Infrared Remote control streams. I wired up a small circuit on the bread board to power up the IR transmitter and receiver and then
used the awesome Linux package LIRC available for Wheezy for RPi, I could easily decode the IR streams for TV and the set-top box. So the RPi now could control TV and set-top box.

I got most of the IR related information from Ken Shirriff’s blog: A Multi-Protocol Infrared Remote Library for the Arduino

The LIRC site
for LIRC on Raspberry Pi

Web server
Wanting to use the node.js framework on Galileo to control and then forked off an implementation from which implemented web-server for GPIO control on Galileo – Most of my code here is reused and I should give credit for the original code and the coder for quality and readability.

I will add my code later on when I put in some security features into it. The web-server parses HTTP requests in a specific format and issues runs an LIRC command to transmit IR codes depending on the command being sent in the HTTP request. So I could now control IR transmission with a browser on a phone or any other connected device.

The Android App
I used an already available Android Voice recognition Android Speech Recognition – Example ( on the net to be able to send HTTP requests to the static IP:port. For now the user would have to speak the name of the channel example MTV and /select/ [key press – I hate it] one of the results of the voice recognized and then the App would send that channel to the web-server. The web server on RPi then looks up the IR commands and passes it down to GPIO!!
Future Stretch Goal Enhancements
Eliminate the need to key press voice recognition results.
Make App menu like Google Now starting off with Ok Google?
Enhance security by allowing Login sessions
Gesture Recognition – with Galileo to turn ON and OFF and probably even parse TV menu like Jarvis?

May be there are better things out there but it was fun learning to “make” things work


[experiences dated Nov 2014]

Back to Back blog updates! Sigh but anyway..

Am going to update a few posts on this blog back to back – Filling up the missing journal entries. I’ve had some good experiences last year with hobby projects and work, so these posts are pretty much technical stuff.

Recovering your Intel Edison board

Am going to make this notes because I’ve been struggling to recover my Edison – Even though the documentation is straight forward, it took me a while to get my Edison recovered. It’s silly, I had forgotten my root password. And even more silly, I tried and tried a good amount of combinations and it just wiped it off my muscle memory as well. So here’s the notes on the same.

Recovering your Intel Edison
[if you have a bad firmware or if you’ve lost the password ]
I followed the same thread as in one of the communities except that I
had limited luck with Windows – I think the MMC area was simply not
getting written or formatted at all. Linux-1 Windows-0

Keep ‘screen’ connected so that you can have a look at the log of
what’s going on with Edison

> sudo screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200

1) Download the latest Full Yocto Image for Edison from the Intel
software downloads website

2) Unzip the image into a directory

> unzip -d ~/edison-image/.

3) Connect your Edison to Linux machine – Windows didn’t work well for
me for the same procedure of flashing.

4) Make sure you see the Edison partition accessible in Linux.

5) Copy over the contents of the image [now in the edison-image
directory]​ to the ​edison partition that you see in the machine. I
executed the below command, since my partition was mounted at

> cp -rf ~/edison-image/* /media/usb2/.

6) Unmount the partition so that all the files get written to the
MMC. This might take some time.

7) Reboot your edison and keep pressing a button until it take you to
uboot promp with something like > boot

8) Execute the following command

> run do_ota

9) This command should read the ota_update.scr file and then also
flash all the partitions including root. This will take some time
and then the board automatically reboots twice. Keep track of the
logs you see on the screen