I was at a Hackathon last night at PennAppsXII and mentored students with their hacks.
(For those who don’t know, a Hackathon is an event where students from high school and colleges come together to code and implement projects with great ideas and present them to public at the end. Some of them are awarded prizes and even end up starting their own ventures, and others take home awesome experiences and something new to learn)
At PennApps, We had a hardware lab which was allowing students to checkout dev kits for using in their projects.
One of the problem many students faced was the in-ability to re-use the Spark/Particle Core or the Photon after it was returned to the checkout counter.
The problem becomes even more worse when a dev kits has been claimed by a user at a ‘previous’ hackathon event and then a new user tries to use it later after 6 months.
Here’s the use case:
- Student Group A checks out a dev kits
- Claims ownership of the dev kits after creating a new account with Particle
- Uses it for their hack
- Returns the dev kit to the Lab
- 6 months later, Student Group B checks out the same dev kit again
- Tries to claim it with a new Particle account, but fails.
- Student also tries to factory reset the core, but fails to claim the core.
Upon discussion with event organizer, it was learned that they had to email Particle Support for resetting the dev kit ownership and it took a couple of days typically to do that.
What really made me sad is that I had tell the student groups to try another dev kit only to realize it was a problem with many of them and no one new what which dev kit was claimed and released and which ones were not.
This not only resulted in a wastage of their precious time, but also forced the groups to switch to a different hardware platform and faced a new learning curve.
I think it’ll be a good idea if Particle can roll out a special set of accounts to be used by dev kits whose ownership can easily be reversed by event organizers. I am sure Particle engineers have many great ideas to address issues like these.
Hearty Thanks to PARTICLE for being such an awesome help to the Young minds of this world. A lot of ideas were implemented using particle’s dev kits and I can’t even tell how easy it was for students.
Any suggestions or recommendations for future are welcome.