I have been working on a couple of quick projects recently that I thought I would like to share with you. The first one was inspired my my recent trip to India. Myself and Alice wanted to make contact everyday to the UK to either of our families by email or text. It worked out that we both ended up sending a message each so that both sets of parents knew where we were, what we had been up to and more importantly that we were safe.
Looking back at the bill from O2, this did not work out too expensive. I thought there might be a better way, be using some kind of relay service. There does not appear to be anything designed for travellers in this respect so I thought, that seems like a fun thing to make.
Keep in Touch Abroad lets users make posts via the site, SMS or email and then pushes them in real-time to the users subscribers who can decide to have notifications via the site, SMS or email. Users can attach location, photos, videos or audio to their posts too!
I have not officially launched it yet but am thinking a closed-beta release due to the limit of texts that can be sent via the O2 API (20 a day).
If you are interested in giving this product a go then hit me up on twitter @dylan8902 or email email@example.com
The second little project answers the question: Is My Train Delayed? - very simple use of the National Rail live departure board API but a lot easier to use than their website and at a cool domain.
Yesterday, I went down to London (on the 0505 train) for Rewired State's Hack day, held at the Guardian Offices. A busy day in London with the Boat Race (well done Oxford) and a protest.
Using open data from data.gov.uk, the theme was to create a tool for government, citizens or businesses. We had about 6 and a half hours to do it. Obviously I went along with no plan and no data ready so I began by going through some of the datasets to see what I could find.
There was a crime theme in the air so I decided on using prison population data.
There were loads of fantastic hacks put together including games, crime mapping tools, complaint tools, weather, political and more.
This semester, I am working on the Arduino Platform to design and make an embedded system. We have been given free reign (as long as Dr Evans things it's do-able within the time limitations) to make whatever we like.
In the labs, we have been learning the basics of the platform, getting familiar with the IDE and code libraries.
My first idea was some kind of remote control doing various things, but then I remembered my Electronic Clothing idea I had last year! So, I am currently toying with this idea:
Introducing the MAC: Multimeda Access Coat
From the fantastic sketch, you can see I am hoping to have a screen and keypad in each sleeve, earphones, possible connected to an iPhone dock type thing, temperature and wind sensors, GSM receiver (so that you can text the coat), maybe GPS?
Although in the early stages of development, I have invested in an £8 coat from Primark.