It's important for editors to get out of the office and into the real world once in a while. Doing so gives us a chance to connect with what engineers do, as opposed to the everyday tasks of editing and posting content. One great thing about being based in Boston is having a wealth of technology companies and universities within an hour's drive.
On July 15, I visited The MathWorks, publisher of Matlab and Simulink computing software. The MathWorks is based in Natick, Mass. What should have been a 20-minute drive took 45 minutes on this day. Having not commuted to work for two years made me forget how hard it is to get around in the morning -- and I was doing a reverse commute.
At The MathWorks, I met with Eric Wetjen, product marketing manager for test and measurement. Our conversation covered current issues surrounding test and measurement, which led to a discussion of sensors. That, in turn, led to a discussion of the Internet of Things. When you think about it, the IoT has a significant measurement component. Many of the devices we hear about need some kind of physical measurement. Also, the popularity of inexpensive open-source hardware such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi has allowed hobbyists, engineers, students, and would-be engineers to make things that were impossible or impractical to make a few years ago.
In support of the "maker" community, The MathWorks has developed a program called MakerZone, where you can learn how to develop gadgets, share your experiences, and compete against other makers of things at a Maker Faire. Students can get Matlab for $50 and Matlab bundled with Simulink for $99.
MakerZone consists of three sections: Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Lego Mindstorms. Support for Lego Mindstorms means that LabVIEW isn't the only game in town when it comes to graphical programming for Lego and other robotics projects.
See the following pages for sample projects from MakerZone.
To Page 2: Arduino projects