My wife and I were talking about the E14 site and she asked something about doing a team project. It was a very interesting idea, but most likely we all have enough of that in our day jobs. I still liked the idea of having to work out design details and specs as part of a design challenge with people from literally all across the globe. I mulled the idea over and over and this is what I have come up with.


The concept is as follows:


Each participant must create some soft of IoT enabled device. (Not too bad, right?)


The device must do three things:

  1. Get some sort of input from the World Wide Internet
  2. Do something
  3. Post something else back out to the World Wide Internet.


Sounds pretty simple, huh?

There's a catch - this is a "relay race". That means that when Participant "A" posts something, that is the trigger for Participant B's project - which is armed and waiting for A's post. Once "B" is complete, that will trigger Participant C's project. This means that there will be an input and an output for each person that must be sequenced.


For Step 2, "Do something", It could be simple or complicated. It could be as basic as turning on an LED on an Arduino, display something on an LCD, calculate Pi to 'x' places, or complicated like having a MeArm waiting to manually peck at a keyboard to post something on Twitter. You could have your model train turn on and start driving until it breaks a light beam to trigger the output.


For the web interconnects, we can get creative here as well. Twitter works pretty well, but we could also use a public MQTT server (Mosquito), parse an email, or send via RF/Ham/ Morse Code / semaphore if you are close enough (and licensed) to another participant. Any API for any platform that two users are able to work together on. Users could apply in groups for highly specific interconnects, and we could have the E14 team assign the rest of the order.


The format would be pretty wide open - each participant will agree with their two "co-workers" on the exact interconnect methods. The Input and the Output method could be different for any given project, depending on the users (i.e. read from Twitter, then send an email when done). The project could be as simple or as complicated as the user is able to do in the allotted time. I'm thinking 30-60 day project).


One challenge would be the exact timing (time of day/elapsed duration) of the final run - we are a global community from all corners of the earth, so some people would have be up at late hours to record the event. Ideally each unit would complete its task in less than 1 minute (or really a few seconds for simple things), but perhaps we could build in time gaps... i.e. if you have hacked your washing machine, it would start running when it gets the trigger, and when the clothes are done some 35 minutes later, it would trigger the next person. That way, we could build in some delays.


So this would end up a world-wide Rube-Goldberg, but we would call it "The Ignoble Internet of Things Relay Race"


This made me think back to this post, but now imagine each Arduino is 1000 miles apart!

Celebrating Arduino with a Torch Relay!


During the final run, everyone could record a video and we could edit them all together.


Since "success" is defined by the entire project going from start to finish, there would't necessarily be a winner, but we could vote on most creative and try to con rscasny into making up some T-Shirts.


Post your comments - What would some unique interconnect methods to talk to devices which are far apart? What would your project do before sending a response?