Using Particle Devices in the Classroom

I’ve been using Particle devices in the classroom for the last 7 years, teaching industrial design students about interaction design. For many years Particle was the only complete solution - an off-the-shelf prototyping system that allowed me to take students with no experience in electronics and have them prototyping interactive systems in under 3 hours. - thank you Particle.

In recent years however a number of changes to the Particle system has made classroom teaching increasingly difficult. These changes include:

  • no more public publish and subscribe
  • no ability to claim devices via the app if the devices are part of a product group.
  • no creation of access tokens in the Web API
  • no managing or reclaiming devices that aren’t physically present (unless they are part of a product group - but see above).

I know some of these changes have been in place for a number of years now, but their cumulative effect is taking its toll. If I can’t find a working solution I think I will have to shift to another platform.

This is what I used to be able to do:

  • Students setup their own Particle account and claim a device.
  • Students create an access token in the Web IDE and use it to prototype HTML to device interactions.
  • Students publish and subscribe to fellow students devices to prototype one-to-one, one-to-many, and many-to-one interactions.
  • If students don’t unclaim the device at the end of semester (even if they don’t return it) I would claim it back via the console.

The key points here are:

  • students have their own accounts
  • students claim devices to these accounts
  • I can view who has claimed the device and can unclaim devices as needed
  • students can send messages to and from the device via HTML
  • students can send messages to the devices of other students

If anyone has a way to do this within the current Particle system can you let me know?


Hi Scott-

These changes sound incredibly frustrating in a classroom environment. Right now I’m working to improve the user experience for Particle devices. Would you be open to talking to me for 20-30 minutes sometime this week? I can DM you my number.

Thanks for responding. Yes, happy to talk this through. It would be good to find a solution.
Next week is better than this one. DM me.


1 Like