Sunday, 15 October 2017

developing ideas - create a computer system

Looking at the ideas of the possible achievement standards, I am working on the ideas of innovation and inspiration.

It has been good to see on the NZACDITT group that people are starting to share ideas.

The first idea is one around Aircraft Tracking.

Airways have developed some amazing software, including automation systems that allow for pilots to land in fog. This is illustrated beautifully in this clip of landing in Queenstown (where an astonishing 30% of landings are affected by fog) This is why we fly - Queenstown

We can bring some of this technology into our classrooms with a simple and inexpensive Software Defined Radio (SDR) such as this ADS-B Kit US$26 from RTL-SDR. SDRs can also be used to receive radio, tv, and to listen to aircraft and ATCs. Airways have put together the attached PDF file with steps on how we can set these up in our classrooms. They are really keen to support schools so that students are exposed to this technology.

The outcome is similar to what you see on

This is great, we are right near an airfield, what a great way to start to get students interested in this as a career.
The dongle has been purchased, and what do you know, it links in with a raspberry pi. So building and developing a system to track aircraft looks high on the list of projects to do next year.

Now to start looking at how we can set this up full time.

The second idea, Make an Impact with the IoT
The teacher has been working with a vineyard in the local area, and has developed a range of sensors to probe the environment, a great starter and something that I could possible look at, however, I am also thinking about broader applications. In some ways to carry on the ideas that I gathered in Christchurch, Sensing City (trust has now closed), but the ideas are still there...

This has been one that has been on and off since I started at the school. Internet of Things. 

The network has now been built and has good coverage

Now the difficult was trying to find a kit to make this work. thinxtra in partnership with sigFox have done this, it costs about $84 to have it land in NZ.

The kit is described here

The perfect way to get started with Sigfox, the Thinxtra devkit Xkit boasts a full suite of features and accessories to empower anyone to set up an IoT solution, even with very little hardware experience. Perfect for start-ups, design houses, universities and schools, the kit has everything you need to hit the ground running using the globally available Sigfox network.

Included in the box
  • The Thinxtra Shield, with embedded sensors: temperature, pressure, light, shock and 3D accelerometer, 2 LEDs and 1 push button, 1 USB port
  • Arduino Uno R3 board clone (already plugged in the shield)
  • External 8.5 cm antenna 8.5cm for best performance
  • USB cable (to plug to a Raspberry Pi or PC or to re-flash the Arduino board)
  • Battery holder (so the kit is independent of any external power source or computer)
  • 1-year connectivity on the Sigfox global network
  • 1- year warranty. 
A great place to find what to do and how to connect and develop is here

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