1/8/2014— Jon McKay
Every once in a while, after a long day of work, the Technical Machine team will sit down, grab a couple of beers (except Jia… or else she’ll fall asleep), and bounce ideas off of each other about aspirations for our future products.
Most of our ideas are flat out ridiculous and will never come to fruition (I’m looking at you edible Tessel) but there are a handful of major underlying trends in the embedded space that we think could be important as a guiding principle for one of the next versions of our products.
You’ve probably already heard all the news about Google scooping up Robotics companies left and right. And with good reason, too. Robots are expected to start generating huge amounts of valuable data within the next few years. But on top of that, they’re a ton of fun to build and play around with.
In order to make a version of Tessel that’s ideal for robotics, would need to make some major changes including allowing for a beefier power supply up to 48V, more digital input and output pins, and a coprocessor with a realtime clock.
Wearables & Biofeedback
Wearables, are the obvious next step in making computers more mobile and closer to our senses. Some great examples of these kinds of projects are the MYO armband for controlling devices around you with your forearm muscles or Sensoria socks that improve your running style. Wearables can be more personalizable than other kinds of devices because they are so intimate with how your body works and what you physically spend your time doing. A wearable Tessel will need to be smaller, lower power (probably using BLE instead of WiFi) and maybe even flexible like a Limberboard.
Biofeedback driven products are even closer to the senses and often overlap with wearables. My favorite example of this is this is the Emotiv headsets for gathering EEG data and controlling devices with your mind. There are a ton of other biofeedback sensors that could be used to gather data about the body. You can bet that once we finish making Tessel, I’ll be working on a node Emotiv library.
If we’ve learned anything from the massive increase in photo and video production and consumption on mobile platforms, we know that there will be a huge demand for A/V technology on embedded devices. The camera module that we’re working on can only run between 10 and 15 frames per second so we’ll need much higher end camera hardware to get anything close to GoPro or Parrot Drone quality. To have a great user experience at higher resolutions we would need to make a pretty different version of Tessel with higher-bandwidth wireless transmissions, more on-board memory, and video codecs .
We still have a lot of work to do on Tessel V1 but the time to start planning or even prototyping our next products start now. Are there any hardware directions you think we should go? Let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org