The IoT Challenge was a 5-day student hackathon focussed on building innovative uses with low-cost IoT devices and sensors. Modelled loosely on the School of Informatics Smart Data Hack, the event took advantage of the break in teaching offered by 2017’s Festival of Creative Learning.
The first couple of days were devoted to getting the basics in place for participants: hearing the challenges, forming teams, getting everyone registered on Slack, learning how to use LoPy devices, how to capture data from sensors and how to send data across the LoRaWAN network to the TTN server.
We started Monday with presentations from three partner organisations. George Lowder, CEO of Transport for Edinburgh (TfE) gave an overview of TfE’s new five year strategy, and emphasised the need to base transport decision-making on good evidence. He then posed the challenge of identifying gaps in the current data around travel, and exploring whether IoT technology could help close those gaps. [TfE Slides] Next, Simon Gage, Director of the Edinburgh International Science Festival, explained the goals and activities of the Festival, and raised two challenges for IoT: how can we improve the experience of visitors to the Festival; and how can we provide event organisers with better mechanisms for collecting feedback from attendees. Finally, Ritchie Somerville, Innovation and Futures Manager at The City of Edinburgh Council, picked up on the travel theme, and challenged participants to develop techniques for measuring the volume of different types of traffic — motorised, cycling, pedestrian — using only fixed sensors. [CEC Slides]
Kevin Power, CENSIS