Earlier this year element14 challenged its members to use Raspberry Pi’s to create a Sci-Fi inspired project! 25 Challengers were shipped kits that included a variety of Raspberry Pi boards and accessories. After months of progress and updates from the Challengers, four finalists were selected. Element14 thanked them with these awesome movie posters. After much discussion with judges from MAKE Magazine and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the winner has been selected:
Meditech is a portable examination kit that can measure heart rate, body temperature, blood pressure and blood glucose. It can also assess eye health and do body surface image analysis. Enrico plans to take Meditech into production and is currently working on pre-production of the first 10 units.
element14: What was your reaction to winning?
baliearicdynamics: Frankly I was speechless
As a matter of fact, I have been working on this project for quite a long time and it is now completed, but the project for me is going to evolve during next months until it can be robust enough to be tested with volunteers, then it will be an open-source device usable in the real life.
I can see now that this challenge works - formerly Meditech Phase 0 - for me was just the more complex step: from the idea to the prototype. I have enjoyed a lot following the other challengers’ projects, but I never considered too much about winner’s previsions...
element14: What part would you consider the most fun of the project?
baliearicdynamics: Well, the most fun aspects of the project were... many. First of all, I enjoyed while working with the Raspberry Pi, and as I was going ahead with the project building I saw as these small yet incredible devices were perfectly responding to the needs. Another fun and intriguing aspect of the development was the creation of an efficient communication protocol with its own parser to exchange commands between the micro controller and the Raspi.
I have also liked very much the hardware creation lifecycle, from molding the suitcase up to studying the better connections to fit all inside it, and the circuit design process, PCB milling, assembling etc. But the really first enjoying moment was when I received the box (the Kit), unboxed the stuff and spent the first two weeks to study every single component; it was great to discover that almost all of them was useful and with minimal adaptations to the initial idea these worked perfectly to cover the project needs.
element14: What was the most challenging?
baliearicdynamics: Surely the most complex part was the use of the ChipKit Pi micro controller with the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B. It was one of the core parts of the project so it had to be done. I had to spend over a week to set the system development environment so it was fit for both the micro controller and Raspberry Pi parts, data exchange etc. As the Chip Kit Pi is a quite young device, there is a lack of documentation on how things should be software and hardware reliably connected.
The other challenging part was developing a well working, simple to manage and simple to update system for the TTS - Text To Speech - system. The solution involved network communication between two of the four Raspberry Pi devices involved in the project, TTS implementation in the Raspberry Pi, some C++ development in the Linux environment and some automated processes managed by Linux bash scripts.
element14: What advice would you give to other members who are doing, or thinking of doing a Design Challenge?
baliearicdynamics: I think that when starting a Challenge, the community member should be as much collaborative as possible. In my opinion, that is the right way to work with this kind of project. Sharing ideas, suggestions, thinking, asking questions, getting suggestions and advice fromrm others. Totally ignore winning expectations, do not think in winning but making your own project at the best.
Then, an aspect I think it is almost underestimated is the publishing of frequent posts. Blog posts are not exams, they are important parts of the discussion in a challenge.
element14: Thanks Enrico, congratulations on the winning project!
baliearicdynamics: Thank you again for this great opportunity and the continued support.
For his design, Enrico will receive a replica of Boba Fett’s Mandalorian helmet created by the legendary Don Post Studios valued at $2,300 (£ 1,500).
We would also like to say “thank you” to all of the contestants, particularly those we identified as finalists.
Thanks again to all of our Challengers. Make sure to stay up current with the latest Design Challenge news at element14.com/designchallenges