Although we talk a lot about big developments in the Microsoft world -- Windows and HoloLens come to mind -- there’s quite a bit that flies under the radar, things that show Microsoft’s continued desire to change the way technology affects our lives. MSDN is seeking to bring attention to developers who share similar goals, using Microsoft technologies.
Using the hashtag #idevthis, this website showcases indie projects, divided up into categories that include microcontrollers, cloud, gaming, robots, and more. For instance, one developer was able to automate a t-shirt launcher to aim for the loudest section in a crowd. Another project combines your smartphone and microwave in sweet, sweet harmony -- use your phone camera to scan the type of food, and the microwave will fetch the cooking times and settings. Nifty!
Here's an example: "The Internet can make everything easier -- even lunch. Why bother reading the instructions on that frozen burrito? Just hack your microwave to get it online so it can query a Microsoft SQL Server database of cooking times and settings. Paired with a simple smartphone app, your IoT microwave can make the perfect burrito while you pay attention to more important things. Scan it, set it, forget it... and then eat it!"
These are silly examples, but they illustrate a point: the Internet of Things is real, and it’s the next step in our constantly connected lives. In fact, maybe these aren’t so silly after all. It’s not difficult to imagine an automated t-shirt launcher at a sports stadium, or a microwave that takes even one step out of the cooking process. After all, the people of 1995 probably couldn’t have imagined we would have phones with multiple times the processing power of their high end PCs. The conveniences we so readily take for granted would no doubt seem magical to those living just a few decades ago.
It’s no surprise, then, that Microsoft is taking the Internet of Things seriously and courting developers. The company announced that there would be an IoT version of Windows 10, and thus, while the mobile space certainly hasn’t been kind to Microsoft, it’s clear that they are determined to remain relevant. With strong platforms like Azure and exciting new form factors such as HoloLens, they are uniquely poised to do so.
What do you think of these projects?