A GeekDad Goes to Guatemala

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Photo by Edgar Rene Martinez
Photo by Edgar Rene Martinez

Last week I took a trip down to the Galileo University in Guatemala City. The occasion was the Foro de Innovación Technologica, or FIT. This was the third FIT that I have attended and eagerly look forward to next year.

The third time was a charm, but that didn’t keep me from being nervous. A combination of work, life, and laptop failures managed to keep me from my last minute preparations so I landed in Guatemala with just 72 hours to finish 3 workshops and 2 conferences.

For the workshops I used the Texas Instruments Launchpad and Energia. The Launchpad is TI’s line of inexpensive development boards. We focused on the MSP430, but they have models for a number of processors. Energia is based on the Wiring and Arduino framework and makes it quick and easy to program the MSP430 Launchpad.

The first two workshops covered programming with Energia. We covered simple concepts like blinking an LED and progressed through timers and interrupts. For the last workshop we hacked up a HEXBUG Spider XL with a TI Launchpad and motor controller to create an autonomous robot. I’ll have more details on that hack in a future article.

The conferences were about the Internet of Things and Wearable Electronics. I really enjoyed presenting both topics, and discussing the issues of security and privacy with the attendees. I realize the Internet of Things (IoT) has become a buzzword, but with respectable futurists predicting a multi-trillion dollar market by 2020 it’s not a buzzword we should ignore. I have a couple posts about each of these topics in the works and hope to get them done soon.

I’d like to give thanks to the Universidad Galileo, Eduardo Corpeño, and Oscar Rodas for inviting me to speak and to everyone who helped me get ready for the workshops. You and your students have inspired me as much as I hope to have inspired you. Thank you.

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