We know from experience that start-ups want to leverage the investments and innovation available in the mobile ecosystem today to come up with their next product. Students want to learn on real-world chipsets and technologies so they can prepare themselves for careers after graduation. And makers are eager to tinker with the same technology that is found inside their favorite mobile devices. Given the choice, we expect that all of these groups would prefer to develop on development boards based on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.
Qualcomm Developer Network has excellent tools and support that have the potential to help bring out inventions that will address serious problems and make our world a better place. However, we can’t do this alone. We need our ecosystem and developers to play a part in this process. In order for that to happen, we knew we had to democratize access to this technology, and that begins with the DragonBoard 410c.
In recognition of our Maker Month Contest, we’ve invited a couple of people to share their experience using the DragonBoard 410c with us. In this post, we spoke with Sean Noble, Senior Manager/Strategic Development at Qualcomm Technologies. Based in Virginia, Sean has been with Qualcomm Technologies for just over a year, and he made it clear to us that using the DragonBoard 410c is really child’s play—and he means that in the best possible way.
Part developer, and part maker, Sean is using his DragonBoard 410c to work on an educational project for children. As a parent with school-aged children, Sean is getting rapid feedback from users that accurately represent his target audience.
Below we have the highlights from our conversation with Sean. Read on to see how he is using the DragonBoard 410c, his plans for future projects, and his thoughts about the Internet of Things.
Sean Noble, Senior Manager/Strategic Development at Qualcomm Technologies.
When you got your hands on the DragonBoard 410c, what was the first idea that came to mind? What sort of project did you want to work on?
The first idea that came to mind was using the DragonBoard 410c for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics) education for children. Three of my children are old enough to use a computer (I call them my Three Test Engineers). They like to use MIT’s Scratch, which is a graphical software development environment for teaching young children how to program. Scratch is rich with multimedia, with colorful sprites and a wide array of sound effects. Given the opportunity, they will play with Scratch for hours.
With the Linux operating system on the DragonBoard 410c, I installed and launched Scratch. It worked with no special procedures required. The next morning, one of my kids looked at the computer monitor and asked, “Is that the DragonBoard? Can I use it?” He is only five years old! He finished his first creation 30 minutes later.
Have you been able to bring this idea to fruition?
This is an ambitious project that will not be completed in the short term. I am dividing it into smaller projects. I was able to get Scratch running on the 410c within minutes. I also installed the Idle environment for Python. Using Python, I developed a vocabulary building application that combines graphics, text, and voice clips.
Do you think of yourself as a developer, or maker? Maybe both?
A little of both. With my education, I am a developer. Working with kids and education is bringing out the maker in me!
In thinking about your next project with the DragonBoard 410c, what features/functionality of the board do you plan to use?
I would like to use the multimedia capabilities in hardware. I think these capabilities will distinguish the DragonBoard 410c from competing single board computers.
How would you categorize your next DragonBoard 410c project? For instance, will it be for use with a Smart Home type of project or some other use?
I am looking at how to use the Dragonboard 410c to build a mobile Cyber Security tool, probing for network weaknesses and detecting intruders. I think this could be useful in the home as well as for business use.
What advice would you give to someone who has never used the DragonBoard 410c before? What would you recommend for that person to get started on his/her own projects?
You don’t need to be an expert! We need people who want to use the board for different use cases, as this will help further the capability. If you are passionate about an idea, the expertise will come. One of my ecosystem contributions was the observation that little kids have trouble using a full-size, adult keyboard. My innovation was to use the small keyboards that are designed for rack consoles. After I made the switch, my kids spent a lot more time using the computer.
What does the phrase “Internet of Things” mean to you? How does it apply to your project(s) with the DragonBoard 410c?
With advances in low-power processing and networking capabilities, the Internet of Things will help us live more effectively and efficiently. I have a home irrigation system for my garden. Every day, it waters my garden, whether it is raining or not. There are systems that sense if it has rained and do not water. What if this system could be connected to the internet, knew the forecast for rain tonight, and adjusted accordingly? It might reduce today’s watering and compensate tomorrow if it does not rain.
Similarly, my home’s heater/humidifier adjusts based on inside and outside temperature. If it knew that a snowstorm is in the forecast, might it adjust differently? It might be able to make my home more comfortable and use less energy.
We hope that Sean’s project and ideas provide you with the inspiration you need to create something amazing of your own with the DragonBoard 410c. Stay tuned for the next installment in this series where will share more cool DragonBoard 410c projects with you. In the meantime, check out the DragonBoard 410c Tools & Resources on QDN.
And, if you’re interested in the DragonBoard 410c, be sure to sign up for our Maker Month Contest and get started today. We can hardly wait to see how you use it!