Consumers increasingly expect embedded systems to have associated apps that allow them to be monitored and controlled via the Internet.
The week before last, I was thrilled to be giving the keynote at the Electronics of Tomorrow (EOT) Conference and Exhibition in Herning, Denmark (see Electronics of Tomorrow in Denmark Today).
Shortly before my presentation, I was waylaid by a wandering film crew, who posted this video of yours truly happily ambling around the show.
Now, we've all been to conferences before, so I'm not going to bore you an endless stream of photos of people standing around booths, but there are a few things I would like to highlight as follows. First, the whole event was incredibly well organized. The show floor was clean, crisp, light, and airy, and the workshop, speaker ready room, and press areas were all integrated into the flow of things rather than being hidden away down dank, dimly-lit corridors as has been known to occur at some conferences (that shall remain nameless to protect the innocent).
In the case of the theater in which I gave my presentation, rather than have large loudspeakers blaring out and annoying the inhabitants of nearby booths, the members of the audience were equipped with individual wireless headsets, thereby enabling them to enjoy every sumptuous syllable that dripped off the end of my tongue.
Perhaps the best way for me to convey how pleasant a conference this was is to note that scattered throughout the exhibit area were "meeting tables" for people to stand around and chat. On each table, in addition to a cheerful bunch of flowers, were a few bottles of water and a small basket of fruit, all of which were constantly replenished throughout the day. Furthermore, I kept on encountering big containers overflowing with tempting produce as I strolled up and down the aisles.
Of course, upon seeing such a display, I could not help but think of my Don’t Be the Second Banana column featuring the legendary Hutzler 571 banana slicer, but let's not wander off into the weeds.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: "Show me a flashing LED and I'll show you a man drooling," so you can only imagine my surprise and delight when I made my first encounter with an IoT-Enabled Love Potion Generator.
Yes, you're right, you don’t tend to see many of these around. In reality, this little beauty provides a demonstration of the services offered by a small Danish company called Seluxit (I love small companies because I used to work for one). Seluxit has somewhere around 25 employees, including interns from 15 different nationalities. Self-funded, they've turned a profit every year since their founding in 2006, which is no mean achievement.
The folks at Seluxit note that many developers of embedded systems tend to focus on the core electronics, because this is what they find to be interesting, but this can lead to them neglecting the final form of the product as seen by the end-user. In particular, consumers increasingly expect embedded systems to have associated apps that allow them to be monitored and controlled via the Internet.
In the case of the love potion generator, which is, in fact, an automated fruit juice cocktail mixer, the user can control the system using a variety of apps, including a "wheel of fortune app" for a random cocktail or an app that generates a drink whose color represents the current temperature in the city of the operator's choice.
As the folks from Seluxit told me: "These demonstrations are intended to illustrate what we’ve termed IoT Rapid Prototyping. This method allows the developers of embedded hardware on the one side and user interface developers on the other to build around a common data model of the thing they are producing, unified by an IoT platform. This method helps reduce costs and time-to-market by creating an optimal workflow."
Well, I can certainly attest that the resulting fruit cocktails were delicious; in fact, I wouldn’t mind having one right now. You can discover more about this at Seluxit - IoT Rapid Prototyping, including a link to a hackster.io recipe for Pumpkin Pi to try out Seluxit’s IoT Rapid Prototyping tools for yourself.