UPDATE: See the building instructions for the GPS Box we built in Madrid!
Haaga-Helia’s IT Students have participated in the Student IT Seminar for thirteen times already. This yearly Seminar, which had its origins in Helsinki in April 2006, has been run every year except 2013, when all participants suffered from lack of funding, and 2020-2021 for the well-known reason of Covid-19.
But now finances are set, Covid-19 is receding, and we have a team of ten Finnish and international students ready to depart to Madrid.
The topic of the seminar, and its structure, has stayed constant all through these years. There are four participating schools: Universidad Europea de Madrid in Spain, HES-SO in Sierre, Switzerland, Copenhagen North in Denmark, and Haaga-Helia from Finland. Each school sends a team of 8 to 12 students, and the home team is usually some 20 strong. The country teams are then mixed and reformed into seminar teams.
Each school has one day of the seminar to run as it pleases, as long as it serves the overall topic: “How to be an IT Professional”. This way, students get to show the others something they have learned or built, and will then participate in information sharing with the others. The day usually starts with a lecture by a faculty member, after which the team leaders for the day teach their teams the topic they have brought with them.
These topics have ranged far and wide: one year Haaga-Helia students taught the others how to create games in Excel, while Danish students built a room size LEGO train set, complete with had five trains that were controlled by custom apps in mobile phones, and had railroad switches also controlled by apps. Spanish students once brought an Arduino-based system for checking the well-being of beehives: it listened to the hum inside the hive, figured out its frequency, and then deduced how well the hive was wintering. Given that there have been 15 seminars with 4 countries, the Seminar has seen 60 very interesting days full of vigorous activity.
Which, incidentally, is then balanced by the home team taking good care of the visiting teams, often into the wee hours.
The program usually includes company visits too: in Finland we have visited Remedy Games and Fujitsu, and in Spain, the students were treated to a day at the Santander Town. Sometimes the Seminar has also been to cultural events and locations such as the Prado Museum, or taken a leisurely boat trip in the Copenhagen Harbor.
And this time our team will present a self-contained, ESP32-based device that has GPS, temperature and barometric pressure gauge, and an LCD display. It will show the user its location and air data, then send that information to the Internet, where it will be displayed on Google Maps.
The teams were just issued their kits today, and the next few weeks will be spent learning how to do IoT, but as long as we abide by the legendary MIT Professor Harold Edgerton’s motto, we will be fine:
“The trick to education is to teach them in such a way that they don’t realize they’re learning.”
Follow the teams:
- Team 1, GPS data handling
- Team 2, air temperature and pressure with BMP280 sensor
- Team 3, 20 x 4 LCD display
- Team 4, ESP32 data writing to the Web
- Team 5, reading GPS data from web text file and showing it on map
See you in Madrid!