Embedding IT and coding across the curriculum has become a vital part of UK education. However not all schools have the skills and expertise to teach the topic with confidence.
The Micro:bit Educational Foundation, of which we are a founding partner, has been set up to encourage and equip young people with the skills necessary to become the coders of the future.
The BBC micro:bit is a pocket-sized computer, which has been given free to every Year 7 student across the UK to teach them about coding and electronics. The Foundation now plans to expand in the UK and globally.
An initial project looked at using the internet to connect the micro:bits to each other, enabling students to learn about IoT. Due to the age of the students, the solution needed to be simple, safe, engaging, and educational.
We created a solution in which data can be sent between BBC micro:bits without storing any personal data. The potential for applications is endless, such as simple intruder alarms, with aggregating temperature data from dozens of micro:bits across a classroom. Through this solution, students will be introduced to programming in the real world, learning to deal with the practical challenges of the IoT.
The internet has the potential to transform the lives of people living with a disability or illness.
The IoT can help people navigate their lives, giving them a level of independence which was not previously possible. People living with cognitive or sensory impairment can benefit from help to organise their daily routines. For example, people living with dementia can find it difficult to make sure all the steps of a daily routine are completed and in the right order, such as showering before they get dressed.
To help deliver a level of independence, devices called Pips were placed around the home to guide users through the sequence of tasks that make up their daily routine. Pips prototypes flash and beep to show the next task that needs to be completed. This can be anything from taking medication to brushing teeth to feeding pets. Each Pip is a round button the size of a jam jar lid and is customisable with a variety of colours along with relevant icons or text as a reminder of the task. Once a button has been pressed, it turns off and activates the next Pip in the sequence.
This solution offers greater independence to people with cognitive or sensory impairment. We are also exploring using Pips to help visually impaired people to navigate their home environment and as a toy for visually impaired children.
“Nominet’s technical expertise and willingness to share the Pips code publically will hopefully encourage others to develop more solutions to overcome this current block in blind children’s development.” Tom Pey, CEO, Royal London Society for Blind.
Protecting plant and animal species and their natural habitats is a huge challenge as it is extremely costly to patrol and monitor their environments. For that reason there is still a prolific trade in illegally acquired plant and animal materials. IoT products can help organisations and charities to collect vital information to help combat this illegal behaviour.
Instant Detect is a multi-sensor alarm system for protected areas. It has been developed by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) to help save critically endangered species such as rhinos, elephants and tigers from illegal poaching. Covert, low-power sensors are placed in the field to detect illegal poaching of wildlife and send instant alerts to rangers. The rugged system communicates via the satellite network to provide connectivity anywhere in the world.
This greatly expands rangers’ capacity to monitor intrusion routes around the clock. Instant Detect has already been recognised as making an important contribution to conservation efforts. ZSL now wants to see how new developments in technology could help further improve the Instant Detect product in the future.
Nominet has been working with ZSL to explore how new IoT technologies can be applied to Instant Detect’s evolution. Our current focus is how our technology can analyse large amounts of data to assist in detecting poachers by providing gamekeepers with automated alerts and visual information in real time.
Nominet’s R&D team have a unique range of experience and expertise which can enhance your IoT project. If you’re keen to partner with an innovative team, we would love to hear from you.
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