Project H.E.R. wins Intel Expert Award for building a Deep Learning Neural Network on an Intel Joule at IOTSWC Hackathon

Adam Milton-Barker | Nov 5, 2016 | Artificial Intelligence | 4231


As some of you may have seen from my recent social media posts, last week I attended the IoT Solutions World Congress in Barcelona, an event where some of the most influential people in the world of IoT congregate to educate about / promote and showcase technologies that will shape the future of the Internet of Things. 

The Intel / Microsoft / IoT Solutions World Congress Hackathon....

The previous two days before the event started, Intel and Microsoft hosted a 24 hour IoT Hackathon where IoT developers from all over the world teamed up to create life changing new technology based on Intel hardware and Microsoft services. On arriving at the Hackathon, fashionably late, I was just in time to hear an introduction to one person's idea of integrating machine vision into their project, in particular a Deep Learning Neural Network. As I believe that Artificial Intelligence is the next stage in the road map of IoT, and have been working on my own integration and research, I was instantly sold on the idea and had pretty much made up my mind which team I was joining.

The formation of The Randoms....

Over the course of morning the developers spent time listening to people's ideas and choosing what teams they would join, the initial team of developers interested in Amir's idea actually split into two teams focusing on two different projects, The Randoms and Net Forest. The original Randoms team had five members, Adam Milton-Barker (myself), Amir H. Bakhtiary, Katerina Zalamova, David Soles & Roger Sindre-u. We entered our project in the healthcare category and the aim was to create an Artificially Intelligent camera that could identify family members, in particular dependent family members, and control a range of connected sensors and actuators in a way that could help assist dependent family members. As I have recently been working on a similar project prior to the Hackathon, TASS, I was very excited to get involved in this project.

Our team bonded very well, and each team member supported the next, we all played a part in various areas of the project offering our specific expertise, but also had our own individual roles in the project. Amir spent a lot of his time working on compiling the Caffe Deep Learning framework onto the Intel Joule, this was no easy task and took up most of the 24 hours (See part 1 of his blog post here about building OpenCV and Caffe on the Intel Joule). I was responsible for working on the gateway which was an Intel Nuc, and integrating the communication channels for the devices and gateway, for this I implemented the TechBubble IoT JumpWay Python MQTT library and also serial communication between the gateway and an Arduino 101 which had a range of sensors and actuators representing the smart home side of the project. David and Roger spent the early hours working on getting the gateway/devices and Azure set up so that we could begin programming. David was also responsible for making the Android application and the rest API which we used for our demo and also assisted me with certain parts of the gateway and devices. Katerina was the mastermind  that was able to translate our work into a human understandable format, and prepare our business model and demonstration slides. 

Technologies utilized....

In the end our project ended up using many different types of technology and many different languages. We tried to implement as many of the available resources as possible, which is where the initial name for the project was formed, Highly Enabled Resources. The final project consisted of the Intel Joule with Caffe in C++, the gateway with Python and MQTT/Serial communication, the Arduino with Arduino code and Serial Communication and several sensors/actuators, the mobile application which was coded in Java and the rest API hosted on Azure that powered the application.

The crunch....

Only a handful of teams managed to continue programming straight through the night, I am happy to say that our team was one of them. Around about 2pm the next day, after literally 24 hours of work and in a very exhausted state, it was time for our first demonstration to Intel and Microsoft employees and representatives of local enterprises. Katerina presented the initial introduction and each team member showcased the results of their individual role in the project. Our team was selected as one of the finalists which lead us to a live presentation in front of the entire group (See YouTube video below), our project won a special award from Intel, the Intel Experts Award, an award that was created to recognize the appreciation of Intel for the usage of their hardware in a unique way, in particular the implementation of the Neural Network on an Intel Joule and overcoming issues with the relatively new hardware. We were very excited to receive this award and appreciate the gesture for our efforts.

The future of Project H.E.R. 

After the initial success of the project, the remaining members of the team decided to continue the project under TechBubble Technologies. Amir has now taken on the role of CRO (Chief Research Officer), and Katerina has taken on the role of CMO (Chief Marketing Officer), plus we are happy to welcome Andrej Petelin and Irene Naya to the team who will be responsible for the application development for the project. We have attracted the attention of Sabadell City Hall, the Intel Enabling IoT Program and Microsoft Azure, and are in talks with them about moving forward with the project which is an amazing start. Thanks to the IOTSWC Brokerage Event we are also in the process of forming partnerships with companies around the globe involved in both A.I. and IoT to mutually extend the capabilities of our projects. 

Summing it up....

This was my first ever Hackathon, and I can honestly say that it was an amazing experience! I am very happy to now be working with an amazing team to push forward not only the capabilities of TechBubble Technologies, but a project that can truly make the world a better place. I would like to thank all of the people involved with the event, in particular Aaron Tersteeg the Intel person responsible for making these hackathons happen,  Matthew Ockerse - Sulamita Garcia Intel mentors at the hackathon and a special thanks to  Ron  Evans for his support and dedication to all the teams throughout the whole night. There were many more people involved and to each of those that did not get named, thank you for such a memorable event.

You can find out more information about the project on the official Project H.E.R. website and you can also follow our Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus page. Please feel free to check out the photos and videos below.