Technological Innovation at the Maker Faire

The Maker Faire has always been a great technological event. It stimulates the inventiveness of everyone to create a market opportunity through a fun and innovative formula, combining moments of business with a series of professional workshops.

During the three-day event, there were over 100 thousand total attendances,and more than 28 thousand students participated in the Educational Day on Friday, while 25 thousand students and teachers participated in educational activities in the Young area of ​​the fair.

Massimo Banzi, the founder of Arduino (figure 1) and curator of the Maker Faire, said: “I believe that the Maker Faire is a place of positive examples where we bring people together, to create synergies and collaborations. There are 40 countries that exhibit, people exchange ideas, and the message that we want to communicate is that collaboration leads to the creation of beautiful things”

Figure 1: the Arduino stand

This year, the Maker Faire Rome was the first Italian event to show concrete sensitivity to climate change through the adoption of a carbon-neutral approach, as well as a plastic-free one. The intent is to start a virtuous path, which can reduce the environmental impact of the fair, transforming it into an event of great environmental value, as well as technological.

COMPANIES AND TALKS

ST Microelectronics had a booth dedicated to STM32 with its development kits. Applications such as “safe helmet” and “agriculture 4.0” were the main themes of the three days in Rome. A new STM32MP1 microcontroller and a versatile SensorTile.Box kit were also presented to meet the needs of various application activities in the IoT field.

The STM32MP1 series of multicore microprocessors will promote the development of high-performance solutions for industrial, consumer, Smart Home, health and wellness applications, also thanks to the support of processing and graphics, combined with real-time control and efficient power management. The STM32MP1 series is based on a single heterogeneous or dual Arm Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4 core architecture. The Cortex-A7 core provides access to open-source operating systems (Linux/Android) while the Cortex-M4 core leverages the STM32 MCU ecosystem.

SensorTile.Box is a versatile sensor platform for developing remote motion applications. Luca Fontanella, MEMS Business Manager at STMicroelectronics, illustrated the features of this new kit distributed at the Maker Faire. The kit allows you to design wireless IoT applications quickly, without performing any programming. SensorTile.box includes a firmware debugging and a programming interface that allows professional designers to develop more complex firmware codes using the STM32 Open Development Environment (ODE STM32), which includes an AI detection package with neural network libraries (figure 2, 3 and 4).

Figure 2: the ST Microelectronics stand

Figure 3: Luca Fontanella during his speech
Figure 4: SensorTile.Box kit

From business to transportation, passing through lighting, the aerospace sector, energy, and many others, that of Arrow Electronics was an all-around reality, which could not be missed in a context like the one of Maker Faire Rome. Arrow’s booth wanted to take a look at the smart city. With the “super-track” of cars, it was possible to touch the electronic novelties applied to the smart city. Other interesting topics were introduced by a noise simulator for electric vehicles, aimed at reducing risks for pedestrians and blind people; a demonstration of the 3D Time of Flight technology (by Analog Devices), useful for the recognition of objects, movements, distances and shapes, and an interesting talk on the new development kit, iCOMOX, designed in collaboration with Shiratech for the predictive maintenance (figure 5).

Figure 5: The Arrow stand

One of the objectives of industrial automation within Industry 4.0 is to reduce downtime, thus increasing production efficiency through digital solutions. Predictive maintenance is a real strategy, supported by intelligent solutions of IoT sensors and embedded control, able to offer advanced business models to create an additional value between company and customer and to achieve a considerable saving in maintenance costs. The sensors can be used to monitor the main equipment constantly, and to collect production data to be recorded, transmitted via wireless in real-time to the cloud for predictive maintenance analysis to optimize the production flow and achieve better levels of security.

The iCOMOX ultra-low consumption platform (Intelligent Condition-Monitoring Box) integrates vibration, magnetic field, temperature, and sound sensors to detect errors in various industrial equipment, assets, and structures. The wide selection of integrated sensors includes the ADXL356 low-power vibration sensor from Analog Devices and the 16-bit ADT7410 temperature sensor -55 ° C to +155 ° C, as well as a magnetic field sensor and a high-performance MEMS microphone.

During the talk, “iCOMOX: the smart platform for Industry 4.0”, Francesco De Andreis, Field Application Engineer at Arrow Electronics, introduced the new platform designed in collaboration with Shiratech Solution. “ICOMOX is a complete solution that allows you to manage a factory in a smart way,” said Francesco during his speech. “Through the mix of accelerometers, it is possible to observe all sorts of problems by running a frequency analysis, and to intervene so promptly to solve the problems”. During the talk, Snir Gafni, Software Engineer, from Shiratech Solution also spoke and highlighted the software aspects of the platform (figures 6 and 7).

iCOMOX operates with an Analog Devices ADuCM4050 processor and integrates an LTC5800-IPM wireless transceiver, also by Analog Devices. This open sensor-to-cloud platform combines high sensing performance, embedded software, and analysis resources for immediate recognition of a malfunction, as well as the ability to configure alarm conditions and track events. The LTC5800-IPM is a complete 2.4GHz SoC (System-on-Chip), IEEE 802.15.4e with embedded IP SmartMesh network software, which allows flexible connectivity and ensures high network reliability in the harshest industrial environments (figure 8).

Figure 6: Francesco De Andreis during his talk at the Maker Faire
Figure 7: Snir Gafni, Software Engineer – Shiratech Solution
Figure 8: iCOMOX platform

Being ready to accelerate the development of advanced systems designed to ensure the maintenance of optimal conditions in view of improving the productivity of the company, iCOMOX has an easy-to-use interface and incorporates analysis software for immediate recognition of malfunction conditions. Optional Cloud applications allow access to even more advanced analytical capabilities.

For the sixth year, Acea participated in the most important Maker Faire in Europe. “This is also a fair on the IoT that facilitates innovation,” says Massimiliano Garri, CIIO of Acea. The Internet of Things allows many other services that Acea is working on, Garri recalls. “Just think of the importance that sensors and data analysis have for our infrastructures, which are the core of Acea’s activities. The IoT will allow more and more constant monitoring of assets (networks, plants, etc.), and through analytics on the crops, it will be possible to make the networks more efficient and prevent failures by increasing the resilience of the network “(figure 9).

Figure 9: the Acea stand

Parconier presented a new way to design with Arduino development kits, by using a simple way to connect the shields through the telephone cable. In this way, the Cables cannot be mixed, and sensors and actuators are protected against connection errors.

Digi-Key was again a sponsor of Maker Faire Rome. Digi-Key has hundreds of traditional suppliers such as TE, TI, Microchip, ADI, and many others. In the Maker space, some of our suppliers include Adafruit, Sparkfun, Seeed Studio, Raspberry Pi, Kitronik, Lulzbot, Bantam Tools, Arduino, DF Robot, Pimoroni, and many others.

We couldn’t miss the VARIOBOT kits, which offer young people a new, exciting, and playful approach to electronics for the design of systems. The CEO, Tino Werner, has developed analog control methods and walking mechanisms for mobile robots and is dedicated to creating mobile robots with simple analog controls inspired by bionics. From 2004 to 2012, he developed artificial hands for prosthetics and robotics at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

Sma-RTy is a French start-up that faces the challenge of eHealth monitoring to provide adequate patient monitoring solutions, all based on Nvidia’s GPU technology. Continuous and constant supervisions are, in turn, exhausting and costly activities that may not be completely covered for all patients. Sma-RTy can help medical staff to provide better care and a better quality of life, without compromise.

Kamel Abdelouahab, a development engineer at Sma-RTy SAS, has demonstrated how electronics at the service of medicine will be a fundamental enzyme for the coming years. Sma-RTy is employed at the hospital of Clermont-Ferrand (figure 10).

Figure 10: the Sma-RTy stand

The Italian space agency could not miss this year’s Maker Faire with its interesting conference events on the future of space exploration, in particular, the activities carried out in collaboration with ESA and NASA on Mars.

A-Mint is an interesting start-up that makes artificial intelligence “musically human.” A-Mint is a sort of musical assistant, ideal for artists who like improvising on stage: its algorithm decodes the improvisation code of any musician after a few notes, it creates infinite alternative tracks that improvise without melody problems. It allows, therefore, to get on a stage without any base or track, making it possible to improvise with any musician and having infinite instruments available. The CEO of A-Mint is Alex Braga, a musician, radio and television presenter, record and television producer, television and radio author. His vision was made possible by the technological skills of the other two co-founders, both professors of Roma Tre, Prof. Antonio Laudani, and Prof. Francesco Riganti Fulginei (figure 11).

Figure 11: the A-Mint stand

The KTJ braces are the only ones on the market that propose the roto-translational motion similar to the physiological knee and differ from each other in the specific characteristics of the joint they use. The braces presented at the Maker Faire align perfectly with the axis of inter-condyloid rotation passing through the center of the knee so that the brace can transmit the maximum advantage to the user.

Secure Shelter is a system for real-time structural monitoring of buildings and infrastructures based on AI and Machine Learning algorithms that was presented to the Maker Faire. The mission of Secure Shelter is to create a tool that constantly monitors the good conditions of a building accessible to administrators of historical assets or of particular interest. This not only to allow the planning of extraordinary interventions following an earthquake or atmospheric crises affecting the building but also to offer the possibility of programming ordinary maintenance and care, following changes in the normal structural state of the asset to be protected ( figure 12).

Figure 12: the Secure Shelter stand

Human skin is a natural interface with the outside world that converts tactile stimuli into perceptions and our psycho-physical state into heat and chemical compounds. Image expanding these capabilities with new miniaturized wireless electronic devices in thin membranes that can interconnect our body directly to the Internet of Things. Professor Gaetano Marrocco, as head of the scientific project called Second Skin, presented his latest results and studies during the Maker Faire. SECOND SKIN technology will allow control of epidemics, define personalized medical therapies, and improve sports performance. We will be able to realize new compromise sensitized to restore those compromised by diseases and burns (figure 13).

Figure 13: Professor Gaetano Marrocco during his speech

Unidata has been involved for some years in the IoT LPWAN LoRa technology. This is a very innovative technology operating on the 868Mhz frequency, and Unidata is in the process of building a network to guarantee a very wide coverage. Marcello Marino presented the latest innovations and products that Unidata is fielding in the vast application market. Through the SmartManager solution, Unidata provides a complete network management and data access and delivery solution in various ways.

PowerMeter is another reality presented to the Maker that comes from the curiosity of knowing something more about domestic electricity consumption. With the skills in electronic and computational physics, it was possible to build a tool that can make this information easy to get.

Through the App, it is intuitive to understand your consumption in real-time and adjust it accordingly. Deciding whether to stop the dishwasher to prepare the herbal tea, turn off the boiler to dry your hair, or pause the dryer to prepare a toast will be a conscious gesture within reach of a child.

CONCLUSION

The fascinating atmosphere of the Maker Faire makes it possible to raise awareness of platforms and bring all the people who think it is too complicated for them closer to this world. It also motivates those who are already in the sector to do their utmost to achieve high goals to try to simplify our daily lives. “Makers” could be referred to as “the technological hobbyists of the near future.”