IoT developer kit sets up pinewood derby race on steroids
Silicon Labs recently released its new Thunderboard React, a cloud-connected, Bluetooth-enabled, sensor-driven IoT developer kit that lets customers demo, evaluate and develop their own projects. To show off the capabilities of the new platform, Silicon Labs hosted a pinewood derby race with IoT-enabled cars.
The company invited more than 200 innovators, tech leaders, and influencers from civic organizations, STEM based non-profits, schools and tech companies from Central Texas to participate. Four weeks before the event each of them received a Thunderboard React Car Kit for them and their pit crews to modify as desired, with instructions to show up at Austin’s Google Fiber Space to see how they stack up against the area tech community in the Days of Thunderboard Derby.
The kit included a plastic shell of a car, rectangular wooden base, stickers, wheels, instructions and the all-important developer chip. Some of the hardware features on the chip include small LEDs, buttons and a lithium battery.
The teams arrived with technology-enhanced cars and coordinated outfits ready to try to win the competition. The Thunderboard derby cars showcased everything from design skills with the use of 3D printed spoilers and LED lights, to chip enhancements that supported propellers and motorized wheels. The teams mingled and trash-talked the competition as they waited for their chance to show off how they had modified the Thunderboard React in their own way, according to Silicon Labs.
The derby consisted of 12 heats with more than 40 cars and only three teams taking home a prize. The three categories of fastest car, hottest design and most team spirit were voted on by a panel of judges, with winners each awarded $500 to donate to the local STEM non-profit of their choice. Bulldog took home the award for fastest car, equipping their car with a motorized fan.
The Thunderboard React is just one of many developer kits that is simplifying the creation of IoT-enabled devices.