Microsoft Gadgeteer

The Microsoft gadgeteer workshop offers an introduction to the Microsoft Gadgeteer program. Gadgeteer is a rapid prototype platform where you can develop electronic prototypes featuring lots of different sensors and actuators without soldering anything. We could just write a digital camera (camera + button + lcd screen) with just 4 rules of simple C# code!

This short introduction was a very nice and characteristic introduction of the simplicity of Microsoft gadgeteer.

The program in the afternoon featured the creative part of the workshop. We got 2,5 hours to build and program our own intelligent device. We could chose about lots of sensors that could connect with the gadgeteer motherboard.

After some exploration of all the sensors that were possible to use. We chose to pick a gas sensor (that could measure alcohol), a joystick, a gyroscope and a gps sensor. We would connect them to the motherboard that would control a screen and a servo motor.

With all these small devices we could make an kind of alcohol test. First it measures the alcohol level in your breath, than it would let you do a kind of balance test (using the joystick and servo) and finally if you failed both tests it could send your GPS coordinates to a person (for example; an email to your mother to pick you up at your coors….)

After finishing this device just in time we all had a min to pitch our device.

Also the other groups pitched their devices. They build very divers devices that could measure the hydration of a plant and let a speaker scream if the plant needed water. Another group made a walking robot. There were lots of nice devices, and this was the proof that Microsoft Gadgeteer was really easy-to-use, fast and functional at once!

A negative aspect of the gadgeteer set is (for my fellow students), the sensors that you could use with a Gadgeteer motherboard are not the cheapest ones but if you need some specific ones it worth to think about.

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