Our recent Hallsten Innovations and Digi-Key Electronics presented “COVID-19 & RPI Round Table Discussion” event included over 50 participants representing IOT industry and COVID-19 stakeholders from around the world. We were especially pleased to have special guest Randall Restle, the VP of Applications Engineering at Digi-Key join in the discussion of the ongoing impact of COVID-19 and RPi-centered solutions.
The HI team included Jon Hallsten (CEO) as the moderator, HI lead from our Chicago office (Gregg Bieser), HI lead from our UK office (Andrew Chilcott), and Matt Orley (Illustrator) who captured a graphic snapshot of the event live.
Didn’t get to attend or want to revisit the discussion?
The conversation started with HI and Digi-Key team intros and ground rules. HI further explained why we were passionate about hosting the event and that our intent was just an initial kickoff to more granular interactions with interested participants going forward.
From there we explained that the Raspberry Pi (RPi) was once a napkin idea itself, targeted specifically at improving interest in STEM education with the hopes of initially selling a modest 1,000 units. The RPi has exceeded the founder’s wildest expectations, earning massive worldwide interest and adoption such that today, nine years after the popular form factor was introduced, it has sold over 30 million units, has become a permanent fixture in the technology enablement scene, and most importantly, has been the centerpiece in millions of projects the world over, realizing countless napkin ideas itself.
Yes, napkin ideas can change the world – so can yours!
HI also explained how we have leveraged the RPi platform in rapid product development cycles for our clients, from prototypes through to production launches (please see further explanation here). The RPi Compute Module is an important tool in HI’s arsenal to realize commercialized solutions as it promises years of guaranteed supply chain availability and has been used to great success on various projects. And, yes, all flavors of the RPi can be purchased at Digi-Key including the Compute Module variant!
Lastly, and most importantly, we discussed using the RPi to specifically address challenges in our COVID-19-rocked world. First up was Forsad Al Hossain, a graduate PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, who discussed their RPi-based “FluSense” project which listens to coughs to aid in triage in medical waiting areas, potentially detecting Influenza and COVID-19 like illnesses (read more here).
We then opened the round table to insights from attendees related to their own perspectives before starting the discussion of specific napkin ideas. Several concepts were introduced and discussed including using the RPi in machine learning / AI applications.
Napkin idea highlights included a high-school student’s clever RPI-driven medical delivery drone concept focused on third-world countries heavily impacted by the pandemic. Additionally, Randall Restle shared how Digi-Key is working with the University of Minnesota on COVID-19 medical challenges and the how many people’s incredible world-changing innovations have happened with “young people in their twenties”, challenging the audience to not let their age be a hindrance in their entrepreneurial aspirations.
Thank you for being part of our round table event and for sharing your napkin ideas – we would love to hear from you.
If after participating first-hand, watching the video recording, or reading this summary, you’d like to talk to HI or one of the other participants on the call, we’ll be happy to connect the dots and make it happen.
If there are any napkin ideas you didn’t get a chance to share please feel free to send them to us via firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember our napkin reviews are always free!