This workshop was held in collaboration with SMU Grow and the School of Information Systems, to help get students and staff to learn about IoT hands on, beyond the theory. Using the Particle Photon, Light, Moisture and Humidity sensors, Wifi and a little something facilitator Saad Chinoy likes to call the “Char Kway Teow Code”, participants were able to assemble a plant buddy. This plant buddy, when placed into a planter, would be able to notify its humans by email when the plant needs watering.

The principle behind all of this is the Internet of Things –  the network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. The plant buddy is simply a processor connected to sensors, which are in contact with the environment – in this case, a planter. The whole system is connected to Wifi, and the code makes it come to life. The SMUgBug is programmed such that it does something (in this case, sends an email) when the values it detects from the sensor change beyond a set threshold. Using the internet and compatible software –  the Particle.io platform – you’re able to view statistics from your sensors in real time. 

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In addition to giving the participants an introduction to the kinds of processors, sensors and software that is available, the workshop allowed everyone to plug things in, work with hardware and learn by doing. Prior knowledge of code was not required, but obviously if you came in with some background, you’d be able to do more and think about more ways to apply what you’ve learned. And to be sure, there were a few students who had lots of ideas and questions that they were eager to share.

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Storytellers’ Kitchen is all about engaging with technology by doing, and learning how to apply those skills to a variety of disciplines and mediums. If you’re interested in bringing a Storytellers’ Kitchen workshop to your workplace/school, shoot an email to lily@tusitalabooks.com.  If you’re interested in co-creating a workshop with us, we’d be thrilled to hear from you too! If you have an idea you’d like to discuss, get in touch so we can iron out all the details. Here’s to more learning and more collaboration!

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