In areas where access to technology is restricted it is not illogical that there would be less developers. That’s not to say we shouldn’t look to encourage developing economies to focus on prosperity that comes from being able to service the world’s need for good developers.
The first step towards creating that prosperity is always Education. Educating students around what’s possible with modern technology is ultimately what will bring them on to understanding how they should plan for their future successes.
To teach, you need great inspirational teachers who have the energy, expertise and drive to show, illustrate and demonstrate how relatively simple it can be to get started and continue a learning journey in technology.
One such professor is Marco Zennaro. He is a Research Officer at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste, Italy. And, he is a seasoned organiser of events that bring students together all over the world, in fact he’s done more than 30 training activities on IoT in Developing Countries from Bhutan to Myanmar to Kenya and many other exciting locations. He’s used Pycom kits for a few of his events and is a pro at getting people hooked on programming, electronics and LPWAN networking.
We spoke to Marco about his experiences using Pycom technology over the past few years. Here’s what he told us:
What challenges did your students create solutions for using Pycom products?
The main challenge for students is in setting up the development environment. Once that is solved, they are ready to start their projects.
How have Pycom products helped you in your field?
I have been using them in my 5-day workshops around the world as they allow students to develop quickly.
What most attracted you to our products?
Quality and adaptability. With the LoPy students can use Wi-Fi, LoRa and BLE.
How do you use our products in your field? (Please include as much technical detail as possible)
In developing prototypes for scientific experiments. The ocean drifter is one example and a low-cost weather station is another one. And more are coming soon…
What results have you seen since implementing them?
I have been involved in a variety of different projects with Pycom boards. For example, I have used them in trials to see how to extend the wireless communication range of weather stations using LoRaWAN. This was focused around developing countries, so we had to bear in mind the need for low cost and low power devices. We found the LoPy4 a particularly good option as connects with alternative networks such as Sigfox. It also lasted for between 141 and 1478 days, depending upon the transmission interval in minutes.
Read more about the project here: https://arxiv.org/abs/1906.02998
Another interesting use case for Pycom boards was when I was involved in a project for creating a LoRaWAN gateway with autonomous servers for disconnected communities. The project presented a low cost and with low power solution that involved connecting local IoT end-nodes to a LoRaWAN gateway without the need for internet access.
Read more about the project here: http://wireless.ictp.it/Papers/TLTN.pdf
I was also part of a project that used a messaging system based on LoRa technology. We used a LoPy device as well as a gateway based on a Raspberry Pi. Our proposed solution presented an easy-to-use and reliable messaging service that could be powered by a solar panel.
Read more about the project here: http://wireless.ictp.it/Papers/lora-communications.pdf
What would you tell others who are undecided about Pycom?
Using MicroPython is great as it allows you to put your ideas into practice in a very short time.
If you want to know more about Marco’s work at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics please check here: ITCP