Looking back on our 2019 highlights
We started off 2019 by dispatching our latest set of kits to support Virginia Space’s STEM programme - that’s for the science projects and ThinSats thousands of school and college students will be building in 2020! See more later on XinaBox in Space!
Then we announced our partnership with Ubidots, who’s IoT platform allows users to display sensor data, and make awesome dashboards, set alerts and much more.
There’s ready to load code, tutorials and projects for you to follow. Try out the QR code below to see how warm our R&D team like to keep the office!
In April, we were so excited to see our xChips work in Space for the first time, gaining space heritage. They were launched as ThinSats by 40 US schools and colleges to gather data in a little studied part of the atmosphere. We have been inspiring learners with Space STEM for several years now, and this was a dream come true to see students build devices to run experiments and gather data in space. Later in the year, we launched a CubeSat kit to allow many more learners to learn about and build satellites using xChips.
Moving from Space to Software ... Breaking down barriers to building smart devices is our holy grail. xChips allow you to assemble devices in minutes. To extend that convenience to the software too, we released the XinaBox Uploader app, allowing anyone to flash code to XinaBox kit devices and cores. This includes a really neat solution for provisioning WiFi details as well as tokens and credentials for supported IoT platforms. Just assemble a device, plug it into your computer, and flash the pre-packaged code.
We released a cool app on our website that allows you to design 3D enclosures for your XinaBox devices. Lots of flexibility for different configurations, and opportunity to link 3D printing to designing devices and IoT systems.
In April our global distributor RS Components launched a new IoT distributor - OKdo. They also stock XinaBox, increasing the options for users in various geographies.
OKdo also introduced us to their IoT cloud partner, AllThingsTalk, and we quickly started work, integrating our hardware with their IoT platform to offer users a seamless experience across hardware, software and cloud.
Since the middle of 2019, we've been doing some really promising work with Microsoft on a new approach to exciting students about the power of Data Science, the Internet of Things, Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. In August we became a Microsoft Education Specialist Partner, and in September we presented at Microsoft’s EduDay in Joburg on this new curriculum, and then in October at similar events in UAE and Turkey. Feedback has been super, and we found almost every school excited to introduce practical learning of 21st century skills. The pilot will be run at Microsoft Showcase Schools in South Africa, UAE and Turkey, starting January 2020. We look forward to bringing to schools and colleges more broadly from Q2 2020. More to come on this in the coming weeks.
We spent a lot of the year rethinking and significantly upgrading the instructions and resources that come many of our products, including our most popular kits. If you bought one of our kits before, like the XK01 Starter Kit, please check out the new support materials, to help you get the most out of your device. We’ve released new getting started guides, tutorials, projects, and ready to flash apps with the XinaBox Uploader, so every user can build a fully working device in minutes. Also please
We were so proud that our work in South African schools was featured by BBC World during October.
Finally, keeping something special to last, we revealed a year's work with the launch of our micro:bit ready range, as well as a new interface for the micro:bit, turbo-boosting it for the first time with SD-card data logging and IoT capabilities.
While the micro:bit is a great device (and we should know - our European COO, Philip Meitiner, was part of the launch team!), we have always been excited to bring the MakeCode experience further. So we've launched 2 xChip Cores on the platform, allowing all users, including those progressing from the micro:bit, to use simple graphic coding to produce more powerful devices.
We also linked up with the nice people at circuitPython, making it easy for users to code several of our cores.
Looking forward to 2020, we've got two big events in Q1. The first is bringing the Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence into classrooms with Microsoft. The second - we're so excited to have a ride in February on the International Space Station (ISS) courtesy of our friends at Quest for Space.