The Digital Society is changing everything, and apparently new  technologies are going to disrupt our lives. Social media is in a frenzy  over the ‘Internet of things, ‘Cognitive’, ‘Big Data‘, ‘AI’, ‘Blockchain‘,  ‘Cloud computing’ and heaven knows how many other buzz words. So how  does an ‘Ordinary Guy’ handle all of this avoiding that bad case of  ‘F.O.M.O’ or ‘Fear of missing out’.   Well stick your toe in the water  and see how you feel.  Gain some experience and see how you get on.  The  bad case of ‘F.O.M.O’ could become ‘J.O.M.O’  or Joy of missing out.   If you would like more information or are curious about ‘FOMO JOMO’ head  over to the Australian Psychology Society.  Do a side project or two!

Side projects can be a lot of fun, informative and help keep your  skills up-to-date. Here I will introduce two projects that I found extremely useful. First “The Internet of Things” and then some “Robot”  talk.

The Internet of Things

A smart home sensor built from RaspberryPi

Based on a course I took with Coursera. ‘A developer’s guide to the Internet of Things (IoT)’

Shown here is a Raspberry PI with a sense hat fitted.   The PI is a fantastic piece of kit, and the sense hat is an extra  device. Shown here the PI is booting up. I am using various approaches  to communicating with the ‘cloud’ platform IBM Bluemix.

The PI comes installed with a Linux Distribution called Raspbian which supports node js and python 2.7.   This device is part of some formal research I am  doing, and I will create a new post to provide more details later.

Robot talk

PiCar-S under construction

This project also involves a Raspberry PI board. Here I have assembled and tested a kit which  includes the Raspberry PI, a servo to turn the front end and a motor to  drive the wheels. The little guy is rear wheel drive.  Programming is  performed using Python 2.7.

The robot is supposed to move around avoiding collisions by detecting  obstacles with the front sensor and taking avoiding action through  turning left, right or reversing.  The kit is available on Amazon, but  you have to buy the Raspberry PI separately.  The wiring is a little  tricky, but if you use a prototyping approach testing with the supplied  Python test programs, you will get there.

This device is more for fun, but I will create a new post to provide  more details later.  Combining the extra sensors from the Sense hat will  help greatly with programming which I hope to develop so that the  little guy can go on a mission.  ‘Fetch the paper’.  Tune in to read  more.  Should be a lot of fun when it works!

Side projects are good but make sure to keep them strictly ‘side’ and get on with the important jobs at hand.  Hack while you slack!