As another eventful year comes to a close, we can't help but look back at all that we have seen and learned.
Here's a quick look at some of the highlights of MATRIX Labs in 2019 categorized by community, development/content, and events. You can also see our live stream about it here for a more in-depth conversation with all the feels.
We opened 2019 with Arm DevDay, a day of webinars and workshops with Arm innovators. We showed how to use MATRIX devices with the Snips offline voice assistant using LED setting and temperature reading examples. Workshop guide here.
The image of creating a little studio in our conference room feels like yesterday!
We were guinea pig's for tariq.ahmad's first Project14 webinar. It was an amazing experience getting to speak with some of Element14's passionate community members. We learned about the makings and journey of sjmill01's life-sized R2D2 bot. Somehow (maybe intentionally), Tariq always picks the most awkward pictures of us when recapping in his blog posts like the one below
We appeared once again on a Project14 webinar and showed off our robot arm. This one was especially fun as we got to see robotics projects from several Element14 community members, including a giant Raspberry Pi engineered by gam3t3ch. I later appeared on a video call with Wesley's first maker class where they ran Google Hangouts on a Pi 4. That was fun!
Our last 2019 webinar with Project14 revolved around a security-focused version of Google Assistant dual authenticated with an NFC tag- one of many NFC use cases we were dreaming up after our MATRIX Lite NFC library release. During the live stream, Sean suggested using NFC for provisioning in warehouses which was a great idea. We also showed off our evil bowler hat Halloween project, Doris from Meet the Robinsons.
We hope to have many more memorable times with the Project14 community ahead!
We had our first online contest on Hackster with Snips and Arm. We got 86 idea submissions, gave away 20 devices, had 208 participants, and received 24 inspired submissions. Our winners included a voice-controlled 3D printer, voice activated vending machine, voice controlled Smart Terrarium, voice controlled music glove, and a voice activated glucose monitor.
We saw some amazing road tests from the Element14 community with a lot of thought, time, and passion put into them. We urge you to check them out!
We have interviewed 23 amazing humans in tech since we started our live stream series, including Tariq from Project14! We look forward to meeting and learning from many more great minds ahead.
We launched MATRIX Enterprise, the initiative to help companies prototype, create final products, launch their products quickly, and enable them to go into mass production.
We were inspired by companies like DeepScribe and Sound Life Sciences creating cutting-edge products utilizing MATRIX devices in the health and audio industries. We are excited to see all the companies in various industry verticals building with MATRIX in 2020!
MATRIX Lite revitalized our developers' energies early in the year with its easy syntax and the host of user-friendly languages it supports. Our developer Carlos (hermitter) poured his heart and soul into designing and abstracting our MATRIX HAL layer into not one but three languages with varying frameworks. We went on to convert the majority of our guides to use MATRIX Lite. It also enabled a successful hackathon with the winning team, Care++, creating a fall detection+health monitoring device with the MATRIX Creator for senior citizens.
We opened up the one part of our FPGA code that was closed- the microphone digital signal processing, and became a 100% open-source software platform. This has enabled the community to take deep dives into our infrastructure and customize parts of our boards like never before! Our FPGA getting started guide is linked here.
Our developer, Boris, swooped in mid-year and decided to vastly improve our NFC implementation, taking NFC with the MATRIX Creator to the next level. He wrapped NXP's existing library for the PN512 chip with MATRIX HAL and created a library that enabled developers to easily detect, read info, and write to NFC tags. This combined with the MATRIX Creator's other capabilities set the precedent for countless use cases!
We were very pleasantly surprised when a community developer made a major update to our kernel modules enabling one of the most heavily requested features of having multiple applications access any number of the MATRIX device microphones simultaneously. This means any number of voice assistants can run on a Pi with a MATRIX device. Who knows, maybe Alexa+Google Assistant+Mycroft could be useful?
Another mind-blowing community made project by one of our most active community members Romkabouter. He set up a MATRIX Voice to work as a standalone satellite audio streamer talking to a server that could essentially make a smart voice mesh network to control things as you like throughout your house. Amazing!
- Guides ranging from voice controlling lights with Snips, getting started with MATRIX FPGA development, running Chirp (data over audio), ESP32 standalone examples using PlatformIO & Arduino IDE to ease workflow, reading/writing to NFC tags, automated greenhouse, Doris evil Bowler hat from Meet the Robinsons for Halloween, MATRIX Creator sensor data streaming+visuals with Swim.ai, working with Jupyter Notebook, and Rhasspy voice assistant on MATRIX Voice. All viewable and follow-able through element14 and Hackster.
- Community built projects such as Thr33p10 by Alex from Hackster- NFC streaming telepresence robot, MATRIX Creator+Chirp mood light, MATRIX Voice with the Xilinx PYNQ board by Adam Taylor, and a series of projects from our Voice AI Hardware contest mentioned above.
This local event was jam-packed with innovative companies, students with projects, schools with STEAM programs, and more. We had a great time showcasing our demos and having children live code the MATRIX LEDs with wonder and ease. We met one of our amazing contributors, Alexis, at this Maker Faire. He later went on to create the MATRIX greenhouse and several ESP32 MATRIX Voice guides.
We demoed at Bay Area Maker Faire in the 96Boards/Arm booth. The event was gigantic and it felt like being in a different universe of tech and art for a couple of days. Our robot arm controlled via an open-source GUI drew in many people as they attempted to control the arm to pick up a 96Boards goodie bag. Below is Jayy's attempt.
We conducted a local workshop with the Miami Hackster MeetUp group going over how to set up Snips with MATRIX devices. It was a small but passionate crew and everyone got their setup working!
We went to VOICE Summit in New Jersey representing Arm with the MATRIX Creator.
Here we presented privacy-focused Google Assistant controlling a Minecraft server as a case for taking privacy with voice assistants of your choice into your own hands.
We had the honor of being in the main Arm booth at Arm TechCon in San Jose this year. The video below shows our main demos of the year.
Our final event of the year was at Arm's first AIoT Dev Summit. We conducted a robotics workshop of 30+ participants going over general MATRIX capabilities and how to leverage them through voice. Check out the guide here.
There we have it, some of the highlights of our community, development, and events through 2019. We are ever grateful for the privilege to have experiences like this. Happy holidays everyone and we look forward to sharing more great memories in 2020!