is a comprehensive development suite that serves as both an educational device for tech enthusiasts interested in physical computing as well as a helpful prototyping tool for experienced makers looking to harness the full power of the Raspberry Pi. Comprised of three components—a Raspberry Pi add-on card, a mobile app available on iOS and Android devices, and the GraspIO IoT Cloud—Cloudio offers a wide array of applications ranging from voice assistance to sensor monitoring.
Powered by an Atmel AVR ATmega32U4 8-bit microcontroller, Cloudio includes three digital output ports, three ADC ports, and various on-board sensors amongst other features. The mobile app features an intuitive drag and drop method of programming that allows users to quickly map out various actions directly from their phone or tablet. Cloudio also allows for IFTTT (If This Then That) functionality as both an action and a trigger, with integration possible with thousands of apps and smart devices.
Speaking to the product's appeal among individuals who might not have extensive physical computing experience, Hari Kalyanaraman, Global Head of Emerging Businesses at element14, notes, "Cloudio's intuitive drag and drop-based mobile app makes it very easy for anyone to prototype and build IoT applications using the Raspberry Pi in minutes. Element14 is strongly committed to fostering innovation and helping startups bring their ideas to life. Our manufacturing and distribution partnership with GraspIO is a perfect example."
When asked about the inspiration behind the product, company co-founder Shanmugha T S explained that "the goal of the GraspIO company is to make the world of robotics and IoT less technical and more practical for prototyping, play, and learning." He recognized the popularity of the Raspberry Pi and decided to utilize this device as a platform for his own product that would grant novice makers further accessibility into the world of IoT, while also appealing to experienced builders.
Despite marketing Cloudio as a device designed for both beginners and experts, Shanmugha acknowledges that the company is primarily operating within what he describes as "a developers and makers ecosystem." This is due in part to what has traditionally been perceived as a steep learning curve that deters novice tech enthusiasts from feeling comfortable engaging with a product such as Cloudio. But Shanmugha remains confident that, "[GraspIO has] a very good role to play in the education setting" since the product can be effectively utilized by all, including those individuals without extensive engineering backgrounds.
During the development process, the GraspIO team experienced challenges concerning varying performance speeds across different models of the Raspberry Pi. Shanmugha wanted to ensure that Cloudio was compatible with each generation of the Raspberry Pi without compromising the overall user experience. Unsurprisingly, when used in conjunction with the newer models of the Pi, the team noted that Cloudio operated much faster when compared to the older Pi computers. Shanmugha admits that his team has not yet reached a full resolution regarding performance speeds across Pi models, but he is satisfied with the fact that Cloudio still provides the user with a positive experience, even on the early generation Pi computers.
After developing a working prototype, Shanmugha, along with co-founder Kishore Varma, presented Cloudio at an IoT contest hosted by the University of Cambridge's Robinson College. It was here that the partners met representatives from element14 who saw great potential in the product and were interested in developing a working relationship with the company. Shanmugha immediately recognized the value that element14 would provide for GraspIO "in terms of experience, management, distribution, and manufacturing," calling this relationship "a homerun" for the company.
The democratization of physical computing is a goal as ambitious as it is noble, but nevertheless it's one that Shanmugha has adopted as his company's slogan and one that he hopes to bring to fruition within his lifetime. He looks forward to "building a future where [students] are not only going to carry books and tablets; they're going to carry one single-board computer," and he wants to ensure that the GraspIO platform can empower those same students and help them harness the full potential of the computing power at their disposal.
If you are interested in learning more about Cloudio and how the product functions, you can check out the recent RoadTest that was hosted on the element14 Community. There, you'll find in-depth product reviews, descriptions, images, and videos submitted by Community members who tested the product and demonstrated its various applications.
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