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Give the maker movement momentum with some juicy projects!

August 11, 2015

Need some inspiration to spark a maker movement at your school? Across the world and throughout Australia Intel has donated over 50,000 Galileo boards to 1,000 Educational Institutions, all in an effort to promote innovation around Intel-based products. Check out the six intriguing Intel-powered inventions developed by some curious and creative Intel employees.

Thanks to Jason Cheah from Intel Employee Communications for the words that make them shine:


“I love my plants, but I hate watering them,” laughs Casey Kwan, gesturing to a spread of basil, thyme, and rosemary potted herbs laid out on a wooden shelf. The hardware engineer from Intel Singapore turned to technology, and created Soylent Green, a contraption that sips bottled water and spritzes plants on a preset schedule, all wirelessly managed via his cellphone. It took Kwan just 1 hour to write the device’s code. What’s next for this green-fingered engineer? “I want scale up, and have more sensors to monitor more plants,” he said. “Perhaps I’ll even hook up a webcam, so I can check in on them when I’m not around!”


For Moushumi Mazumdar, a strategic planning manager from Wireless Connectivity Solutions in Intel’s Communications and Devices Group (CDG), the concept behind the LED Light Cube – created by Intel engineer Raphael Hainneville – was simple: create something visually stunning. A tiny Edison chip controls a vast, 512-piece LED matrix, which pulses through 1000 different colors in sync to any song. Mazumdar said the creation can be used in any field, from concerts, and—burglars be warned—warding off intruders at home. “You can potentially scale this up for big entertainment venues,” Moushumi added, “or even have the LEDs glow blood-red as a visual deterrent when you approach.”


Spiders may give you creepy crawlies, but judging from the huge crowds that inched in to view the Intel Hexapod “robot spiders,” probably not this one. Complete with six 3D-printed legs—first shown off at CES earlier this year —the hexapods dance in unison and respond to hand gestures.


Smart homes are just an app away – meet Gabe II, a Galileo-powered smart home automation device dreamed up by a cross-functional team of makers from Intel Malaysia. By outfitting a mock home with IoT sensors that drip-feed information back to the cloud, this team showed how virtually every device in the house – lights, A/C, kitchen gadgets – could be turned on or off from a cellphone or tablet.

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If you love cool robots, you’ve got to meet Dr. Mike McCool (yes, that’s his real name). A principal engineer from Intel Japan and former university professor, McCool joined Intel six years ago when Intel acquired his software venture RapidMind. His latest creation—the three-wheeled OmniRover—requires no soldering, just assembly through plain old nuts, bolts, and glue. It drives itself through laser range-finders and positional sensors, scurrying around a table to the delight of kids cramming in to watch. Why robots? Why not? McCool hopes his creation will inspire Japanese school kids to pick up programming. His next project: building a tougher, grittier OmniRover to compete in Japan’s famed robot tournaments.

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Like most college students nowadays, 21-year old Illisha Ramachandran has friends from across the world. So she thought it’d be fun to build a box capable of translating phrases using Google’s speech API across five languages—Mandarin, Malay, French, German, and English. Using the device is simple: select a language, type into a cell phone wirelessly connected to the device, and hit Translate. She names her creation the “BabelFish Project,” a clear nod to her favorite movie. “I got inspired by the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and I sourced the parts from the local hardware store for under $100. My dad helped too!” she said with a laugh, as her father, Hari, who happens to be a principal engineer in Intel Singapore, grinned along. Will there be a version 2.0? “Yup, I definitely want to iterate, and make the next version smaller, cheaper, and faster to run.”

Inspired to get your students creating and inventing with technology? Check out all the projects and teaching resources available on the Innovation ToolBox . Afterwards don’t forget to drop the Intel Education Australia team a line to tell us how you went and share your story with the innovation community!