Discovering new passions
When you were growing up do you remember the first time you did something you went on to be passionate about? One great memory I have was a trip to the Colorado River in Arizona with friends. My friends family owned two dirt bikes, and I had never been exposed to off road or motorcycles before. I spent countless hours on that trip buzzing around the hills near camp for hours, stopping only to top off the gas and eat or drink. I rode so much I could barely walk because my leg muscles were so sore. I had never been so free, so alive, a fire was lit that would stay with me to this day. An appreciation for freedom, wind in my face, adventure, outdoors and two wheel motorized machines.
As an adult thankfully this still happens. One activity I’ve gotten involved with as a result of my adult curiosity is the maker movement. It has provided a lot of useful tools that have grown to find applications in my work here at Managed Solutions. It’s hard to not feel good about that, when the world of what I love collides with the career I love.
For the past several years I’ve been dabbling in the world of electronics – Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Python, and other related hardware and software that go with it. I have since started applying this knowledge to solve real world issues and needs for customers and to develop new products for the industry. This has made Managed Solutions a more valuable resource while also providing great enjoyment for me. One of my personal projects was an Arduino controlled power distribution unit (PDU) I can control from Android phone, Smart Things or my Logitech Harmony remote:
“Git” some open source code for your IIoT project
The world of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is an application of existing technologies to an industry such as manufacturing. The same tools and technology that drive the maker movement are benefiting industry. The maker side is much more robust and has numerous contributors. Individual makers tend to focus on open source and sharing while commercial IIoT efforts tend to focus on making propriety products. As a result the industry side benefits much more from the efforts of individuals.
As an organization we prefer the open source/maker approach. Elon Musk and Tesla weren’t afraid to share their electric motor technology. Why should we fear our competition utilizing our technology that is designed for the betterment of our industry? In fact while designing a product I always consider how others could use it. This is important in an industry where the typical approach assumes everyone will adopt their proprietary solution. Truly not seeing the forest through the trees, but rather seeing a forest of trees designed to their proprietary specifications.
There are always new things to innovate and create. If the passion of people in the maker movement is any indication, there always will be. Code examples to complete programs and instructions exist for just about anything you can imagine. If you can dream of it, someone probably is working on it. Even better, they may have already perfected most of the code and shared it on Github for your benefit!
Learn and believe, anything is possible
This is a brave new “open” world where an individual taking Mechatronics classes in Europe taught me how to use I2C communications with Arduino. It’s the same world kids can build stuff their parents couldn’t have dreamed of with very little money but plenty of imagination. The opportunity to innovate has never been greater. The tools are cheap or free, the hardware and software are cheap or free and the possibilities are endless. If you haven’t already started thinking about these possibilities, take a little time to visit Instructables, a local hacker lab, or maker space. You might be surprised by what is possible today.
Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. – Henry Ford
Updating this article to show how Python and Arduino can work with CIMCO Software inspired me to write this article. I hope it inspires you to find new things to be passionate about.