By Brian Bosire and Wachira Ndaiga
The Intel Galileo development board is the first product in the new family of Arduino-compatible development boards featuring Intel architecture. The first version of the board was officially released late last year. The R&D team at iHub Research was among the first in Kenya to get a hold of as well as a hand at testing out this initial batch. Our mission as accepted, was to help start-up a community of enterprising students from different academic disciplines, driven to ideate and develop social innovations built for the Kenyan context. Three Universities were identified and selected by Intel, these were the University of Nairobi (UoN), Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT) as well Kenyatta University (KU).
Over the past 2 weeks, Team R&D has successfully arranged and conducted Boot Camps at these three universities with the pivotal help and assistance of a number of individuals at these Universities; a hearty shout-out to you all for being so cooperative and instrumental! These Boot Camps were designed and executed to introduce and instil the following in the attendees:
- Empower University students to think critically & creatively on how to drive community-focussed innovation as well as learn by hands-on interaction.
- Provide University students with a tool to develop, enhance/improve their technical development skills.
- Provide a platform for the University students to collaboratively work in teams with their peers.
- Provide a rapid prototyping platform and support system for University students to test out their ideas given short lead times.
The turnout was very encouraging with a total of 113 students attending the Boot Camps! More specifically, 42 at JKUAT, 38 at KU and 33 at UoN.
The attendees were eager and really enthusiastic to learn about the board as well as hardware development, which in itself is a promising sign. The spread in experience was very diverse, with some having previously worked with different hardware development boards like the Arduino and others having only heard of the same in passing. Nonetheless, we only saw pure and driven effort from all our attendees and we applaud them for not only availing the time to attend these day long camps, but also being patient with the learning process.
The iHub Research R&D team also organised a competition under the auspices of Intel to test what the students are capable of and to give them a chance and opportunity to tangibly express their ideas and creativity. The students were given the challenge of coming up with a project that, using the Galileo board, could help address a societal problem in their communities, and possibly solve it! To better direct their efforts, we provided them with five grand challenge sectors. These were: Agriculture, Security, Water, Food and Waste. In groups of 4 members, the students have till 31st March, 2014 to complete their project and put up all their documentation on www.knowable.org for vetting and general public viewing.
An interesting experience it was, all in all. We can't wait to see what the students come up with!
Want to know more about our R&D team, get in touch: rnd[at]ihub[co]ke.