15th International IT Seminar in Sierre Blog
Hi! We are Team 4, part of the Sierre Seminar 2023. Our group is made of two second year students from Haaga-Helia, Helsinki, Finland, studying degree program in business information technology.
We could say that we are beginners in this field. Arduino and building IoT devices.
Our project was to build portable GPS device that also senses the weather and temperature and shows its on LCD screen. The device sends the data trough satellite to web and shows the location on online map. Last year’s Finnish team already did this project, so we knew it is possible to do. Still, we had our own difficulties to make this but together with other teams help we managed to do that.
Our team was in charge of collecting data from the device and sending it to the server. We used ESP32 to be aware of the device and sensing the satellites. At first, we thought that we only need to do our part but quickly we leaner that first we need to do the other steps also. Without the data our device can’t send any information to web. We found some tutorial and first we got the LCD screen work easily. But when we needed to chance the code for this project, things started to get more complicated. Following the tutorials is easy but understanding by yourself what you are doing and how the code and device work, is quite hard.
For some reason, the corner of classroom was best spot to find satellites. In the end, we managed to build the device and learned enough that we could teach the building part to others.
Pic. “Don’t worry, this will be easy thing to do.” said our teacher. We disagreed at first but managed to build this after all.
Our seminar week didn’t start quite well. We had arrived late day before after sitting on the train’s floor for 3 hours. When we got to the Sierre’s hotel, our neighbor drank and blasted TV in night, so we didn’t get much sleep. In morning on our way to school we got lost and ended up at the wrong school at first. Despite little mishaps and being late, we finally got to the right school and got to do the first assignment.
The first day was for Swiss students and they taught us almost the same topic as our project. The task was to code a miniature model of a car that is controlled by a phone. The code was partially ready, we just had to edit it, and the toy car was already built. We were in a small group with Spanish team and were guided by a Swiss student. Even though the topic was the same, we still learned a lot because Raspberry was used for this project while we used Arduino.
As another subject, we were taught the differences between VR, AR and MR. We also got to test how to create AR through the computer camera. The idea was to show a selected picture from your phone to the computer’s camera, and the object we created appeared on the computer’s video following the phone. The rest of the day we got to test Oculus and at the the evening we got pizza.
12. 4 Wednesday
Wednesday was Spanish teaching day. We had been instructed in advance to download Unity and Blender to our computers, so we knew that they are teaching to us some kind of game-related project.
The day started with getting to know and learning basics of Unity. We followed step by step as one student made a room in Unity. Although the topic was simple, it was a first time for many of us to use Unity, so everything was new to us and we had some difficulties to following up. Still, we learned a lot new and basics of using the Unity. After that, they taught us how to use Blender and we built a simple robot. Some of us were somewhat familiar with the Blender, but none of us have done more than a basic course before so again, we learned a lot!
After lunch, we were divided into two groups. First group get to play a escape room. The Spanish team had put an incredible amount of effort into the game. They had done it on the phone and with the camera you could interact to your surroundings. The idea was to play small puzzles and after clearing that we got a number from each puzzle to create a code. And after the code was created correctly, we completed the game. The phone-operated escape room was well made and fun, only downside was that some of the tasks were quite difficult.
After the escape rooms, we moved on to play Beat Saber with Oculus.
Due to the changed schedule of the day, Spain had less time available than originally planned. However, they cope well with this and the day was fun and educational.
For the rest of the day, we visited nearby hydroelectric power-plant.
Pic. Not a power-plant but a beautiful view on the way there.
Thursday was our, Finland’s, day. We divided into small groups and taught how to build our device and how the code works. We had the code ready, but we built each part piece by piece and finally the whole device. The construction phase went well, it seemed that each group was able to assemble the device quickly and the cooperation between the teams worked well. Finally, we got to the egg hunt part. Our teacher hide outside with his device and tried to find his locating with our device. Unfortunately, our device and couple of others didn’t find the satellites at outside suddenly, so we couldn’t participate to the hunt. Still, It seemed like the students had fun anyway, which was the main thing.
Since we were fast, our teacher taught us how to pair our devices with AI chat.
At the end of the day, we went to see the nearby castle. After that, we returned to our hotel and taught those who wanted to say, what Sitsi is.
Last day of the seminar. The day was shorter and at the beginning we followed a presentations made by guests and alumnis. At the end we got our diplomas and food. Some of the students left after the official program, but our flight left the next day, so we stayed with the Spanish team at a nearby lake to spend time because their flight also left tomorrow.
The week was fun and educational, but also tiring. But still worth it and I recommend everyone to participate in the seminar week if it is possible. It’s Finland’s turn to hold the next year’s seminar, and we hope that we can participate even as an alumni.