This weekend we visited Microsoft’s European HQ in Reading to attend their first AzureCraft event for young people. There were some amazing workshops and competitions. Was it worth getting up at 5.30am ? Actually – it was definitely worth it! We had a truly ‘beast’ time.
Dave Coplin, from Microsoft, gave an epic talk about the future and how it will be down to us – young ones, to make it all reality. He talked about how important STEM subjects are for future coders, developers and engineers – Abbie Hutty talked about how she got to help design part of ExoMars Rover for Airbus too. The first proto-type was at the event, the one Tim Peake controlled from space.
The first workshop was really difficult – it was about how to set up IoT using the Raspberry Pi and Azure’s cloud services – run by Amy Nicholson. We didn’t get to set it up properly but at least we know a little more and, hopefully, come back to it later. The second workshop was the one I was most interested in (mum – not so much), the Build a Minecraft Server in the Cloud with Richard Conway. He was really amazing. It was really tricky setting up the Azure account but once it was up and running I was able to set up my very own Minecraft server – super swag!!! I can’t wait to share it with my friends. I’m definitely looking out for his next workshop.
Lunch was really great and the free flowing cans of drink, biscuits and coffee for mum was awesome. I even got a free t-shirt too. They had a Games centre for employees – with massive screens with Xboxes and loads of other gaming stuff. I could have stayed there all day, but mum made me go to the next workshop which was Build a Nano Satellite with micro:bit -run by Chris Brunskill. This was pretty amazing – we set up the little Nano Satellite boards with the micro:bit and then used TouchDevelop to take in data about ultra violet, visible and infra red light. We hacked it a bit to set up temperature too. That was fun. It gave us some ideas for the NanoSat Hack later on.
We missed the Space Race – with the nanosats. I have a confession to make – I kind of sneaked off to the Games room again while my mum made better use of her time talking with Marcus and his son, Jonathon, from @HackHorsham. We’d met them before at Egham Jam and the last Cambridge CamJam. Anyway – this was the best bit of luck because they decided that we should form a team for the Nano Sat Hack. Between us, we came up with an IoT devise and called it the Light Globe. From the Nano Stat workshop we’d all got to see how cool it was and then found a great use for it in schools. We started with reading UV light but changed to reading individual pupil’s exposure to light and physical movement for the day so over a set period of time data could be gathered and used to plot data graphs. Then we expanded the idea to make it so different schools from all over the world could compare results to make a world map of results that would be collected over the cloud and converted into graphs. This would make loads of school children data collectors – with the information available as open source. Can you believe it – the judging panel loved it and it won one of the three prizes. We got a Drone with a camera and t-shirts each. I would like to thank Jonathan for being so nice – cos he let me take the drone home – even though he put in more effort than me to the final idea. Elena Branet from Microsoft said we can develop the idea further with their help. How amazing is that?
Anyway – I’m still on a high! It was so worth the 5.30am start. Thank you Elena and Chris and to everyone at Microsoft who organised the event – it was a truly awesome experience.