The Drawer of Plenty, an IOT hackathon, and "how it was successfully glued together"

> > When I worked at the Digital Catapult, we had an IOT hackathon, and a day to do it in. > >

Most of the entries were mockups, but two were not. Tweetmas was a Christmas tree which changed colour, dependant on the number of tweets.

The drawer of plenty was a plain old under desk drawer, with a physical push button, which told you when the drawer was open, or closed.

The drawer of plenty was filled with chocolates, sweets, and other choice confectionery (we had some posh items from Waitrose, and Fortnums).

The button was mounted to a bread-board, then attached with crocodile clips, to an Mbed board.

We didn’t have the time to get wireless going, so there was a ribbon (to USB) cable, which allowed open and close drawer events to be caught, plugged into a laptop. All of this was screwed to the underside of the physical drawer.

Python (with a pseudo serial connector package, for capturing the serial events) was the language of choice for gluing it all together, with a spot of C++ (for the Mbed hardware pin checks) .

The drawer of plenty had its own Facebook and Twitter social presence. We randomised messages to these, whenever the drawer was opened or closed.

I did the hardware, Mbed, physical drawer button positioning and Python “glue”.

We integrated with Tweetmas too :0)

An hour before the on-stage demonstration, I locked the Twitter account by sending a deluge of open / close events from the drawer :0/

Significant effort had been made to make the Twitter and Facebook accounts appealing. The UX guys rocked.

So, the demo slot arrived, and I felt like a contestant on the Generation game (or other cheezy TV game show).

Literally 90 seconds before the demo, the twitter account was unlocked :D

I couldn’t stop my excitement, and “just had” to open and close the drawer, half a dozen times. And yes the social media integration worked faultlessly.

Tweetmas Christmas tree was looking super colourful. Yay.

The drawer of plenty didn’t win the top prizes, but we integrated, glued together successfully, and did some physical IOT hardware, software, system integration.

I’ve always thought the Drawer of Plenty and Tweetmas were the best, but I’m rather biassed ;0)

Thanks to the Drawer of Plenty, and Tweetmas teams.

Author | Miles Davenport

Career programmer, who designs, assembles, fixes, and supports customers, software and systems.