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Congratulations to the winners of IS&T’s Raspberry Pi giveaway
April 14, 2016
Phil Johnson
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Rspberry Pi 3 box
Photo: Phil Johnson

Last month, Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) asked MIT students what they would do with a Raspberry Pi if we gave them one. The ideas that came our way did not disappoint.

IS&T received submissions from both undergrads and grad students, representing a range of departments. We chose the ten ideas that most piqued our interest and gave those students a new Raspberry Pi 3 and related accessories.

In no particular order, here are the winners of IS&T’s first Raspberry Pi giveaway and their plans for using their new Pis:

  • Janelle Wellons, an undergrad in Course 16 and a member of the MIT Space Balloon Team, will use her Pi to record data during a high-altitude balloon flight. The flight will be part of the Global Space Balloon Challenge later this month.
  • Anubhav Jain, a Course 6 grad student, wants his Pi to detect when he walks into his room based on WiFi packet sniffing and his phone’s Wi-Fi address, then play his favorite music and adjust the lighting.
  • Lucy Yang, an undergrad in Course 20, says she’ll use her Pi to control an LED light fixture in her fish tank. “I plan to have an optimal spectrum of light (because plants are picky) for 8 hours of the day,” she writes. “Moonlight (i.e. blue) during the night, fun color transitions during sunset/sunrise, party/rainbow light mode, and more!”
  • Matt Deyo, an undergrad in Course 16, proposes to measure traffic through the Infinite Corridor with the help of his Pi – based on vibrations, sounds, and infrared heat. “The resulting data can be displayed as part of data visualizations for the MIT centennial, celebrating how the Infinite Corridor facilitates movement and collaboration across campus,” he tells us.
  • Caroline Mak, a Course 6 undergrad, will use her Pi to live-stream the goldfish in her room. She may also use it to control an automatic fish feeder for the times when she’s away for long stretches.
  • Dhaval Adjodah, a grad student at the Media Lab, plans to use his Pi as the brains for a robo-dog. No word on whether the dog will fetch his slippers.
  • Richard Swartwout, a grad student in Course 6, will use his Pi to create a smart tomato and herb garden that will tell you when it’s time to harvest. “The grad students need more fresh vegetables,” he notes.
  • Piper Lim, a Course 2 undergrad, plans to create a real-life version of a Weasley Clock from the Harry Potter series. Using the Pi, the GPS coordinates from her phone, Google Maps, and a servo controller, her clock will indicate where she is at any given time.
  • Eric Ma, a grad student in Course 20, wants to pair his Pi (and a few others) with Bluetooth low energy tags to create a marine mammal tracker.
  • Derek Barnes, a Course 16 undergrad, plans to use his Pi to, well, as he explains it, “collect data from a small camera and IMU and use it to run an odometry algorithm (in real-time) I have been working on. The algorithm uses a kalman filter to update the body state using tracked features from camera images. The algorithm is an alternative to SLAM and allows for the system position to be tracked over a long period of time with less computational cost.” Sounds good to us!

We hope all the winners will keep us posted on their Raspberry Pi exploits.

Of course, other students submitted great ideas too, but we just ran out of Raspberry Pis – for now. The ideas were so much fun that IS&T plans to do similar kinds of outreach in the future. Stay tuned!