Build Yourself an AI Powered Microscope – DevConf 2024

Thank you everyone who attended my session at both DevConf Cape Town and Johannesburg
I met so many awesome people during DevConf inside and outside of my session! Thank you for making DevConf 2024 the incredibile conference it was!

I’ve included the slides for those interested in building your own DIY Microscope, or something similar to help you with your own accessibility challenges. If you have an imaging device with some intelligence, there’s so many things you can do!

The project is using a Raspberry Pi 3B (4 and 5 works too). It is build using C# and .NET 8. The user interface is created using AvaloniaUI. There’s nothing better that Avalonia if you need to create small, incredibly fast user interfaces on Linux using .NET. I really recommend trying it out!

The backend is using Azure CosmosDB for storage. The MongoDB VCore Implementation. This is chosen for it’s vector search capabilities. Perfect for a conversational solution using OpenAI.

The slides can be found below

The whole premise of the talk was to inspire developers to think about using all these tech components in your toolbox. Both AI and IoT bits and use it for good. There’s so many solutions that could be created especially for accessibility, to make people’s life a little easier. This is also exactly why I created this Microscope, to solve my own accessibility problems when building IoT solutions. Think about what you could do!

Recorded Demos

Demo of analysing a Gigatron board
Unicorn HATs and dynamic lighting!
Using a Conversational Interface
Looking a ZX Spectrum RAM Chips
Helios Speaks Afrikaans!

The Microscope Tech Stack

.NET 8 (C#) https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/dotnet/core/whats-new/dotnet-8/overview

Avalonia UI https://avaloniaui.net/

SkiaSharp https://github.com/mono/SkiaSharp

Azure CosmosDB https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/products/cosmos-db

Azure AI Vision https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/products/ai-services/ai-vision

Azure Speech https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/products/ai-services/ai-speech

Azure OpenAI https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/products/ai-services/openai-service

Azure IoT Edge https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/products/iot-edge

Docker https://www.docker.com/

Mosquito MQTT https://mosquitto.org/

The components used can be found here. You can put this all together yourself!

Some photos of the session at DevConf 2024

I hope to see you next time! Happy building and learning with cool tech!!! ๐Ÿ˜

Keeping your .NET Apps Alive with Supervisor

Supervisor as a Background Service Manager

Supervisor is a service which can be used on a Raspberry Pi to ensure processes keep running. If there’s an app that requires execution 24 / 7 then SuperVisor is perfect for this. Perfect for kiosk solutions.

1. Install Supervisor

Log into the Raspberry Pi

At the command prompt type: sudo apt install supervisor -y

2. Start Supervisor the Supervisor Service

At the command prompt type:   sudo service supervisor start

3. Create a Supervisor Process

Use an editor such as nano to create a project file project.supervisor.conf in the /etc/supervisor/conf.d/ folder

Add this to the contents of the file

Create file project.supervisor.conf in etc/supervisor/conf.d/
and put:

[program:microlights]
user=pi
directory=/home/pi/MicroLights
command=sudo dotnet /home/pi/MicroLights/MicroLights.dll

autostart=true
autorestart=true
stdout_logfile=/home/pi/MicroLights/stdout.log
stderr_logfile=/home/pi/MicroLights/stderr.log


4. Request Supervisor to re-read configuration and Update

sudo supervisorctl reread
sudo supervisorctl update

5. Staus of Commands

sudo supervisorctl status microlights
sudo supervisorctl start microlights
sudo supervisorctl stop microlights
sudo supervisorctl restart microlights

Data Saturdays Cape Town 2023

Thank you so much to everyone that attended my session. It was a lot of fun and the audience was great!

Also thank you to the sponsors for making community events like this happen, the organizers and the amazing venue at the University of the Western Cape.

Here’s the slides as promised and also all the links to further learning and also links to our Cape Town MS Developer Community was more tech learning fun.

Home Agri-IoT experiment Part 2 – Composting

The home farm is working well, but time to try and make some improvements. I’m going to try my hand and “Smart” Composting. Going to start with a Bokashi and also some worms with VermiComposting.

More on the home Smart Farm here. Since this talk at DevConf 2023, I’m so happy and also inspired to see so many new home farm smart farmers!

Composting is a given as the soil here in the garden is not great.

Sensors and likely some AI is a given here to mazimize the output of the compost. I’ll post more on how things go and what I’ve learn from the process. It will be a lengthy process to measure the benefits.

Step by step instructions, when I know what I’m doing will follow. ๐Ÿ˜Š

But the progress so far is below in pictures.

DevConf 2023 – Create the sustainable home farm of your dreams!

Thank you everyone who attended my session at both DevConf Cape Town and Pretoria
I met so many amazing people excited about creating a more sustainable future.

This is a quick blog post which includes the presented slide deck. I hope attendees found the talk useful. It’s a very broad topic and fitting months of content into 40 min is a little challengening. So the presentation is a broad overview of the completed farming project project and there’s links to more deeper content within the slides. This includes content and github repositiories with some source code examples. The plan is to also release ALL the content eventually as a full OSS project when I’m happy with it, including the Mobile App and integrations with the cloud components. I’m currently rounding everything off to do this. So expect a few more posts about this and source code.

The slides can be found below

DevConf YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/-74owkJbfEQ?list=PLZgTMWtBnKkopU5DZbP7so-f3z7eMFYqq

There is also Agri hacks planned where we can hack and learn about this topic together over a few sessions where you can learn hands on how to build something like this project. This will be a free to attend event held at @CPTMSDUG in Cape Town. Keep an eye out here: https://www.meetup.com/cape-town-ms-dev-user-group/events/

This hack series be similar in format to our current IoT AI hack series currently running. You can see some of the fun had here at the all day iot hack events: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23iotaihackdays&src=typed_query&f=image

Additional Information

I received so many questions on how to get started. I suggest getting the off the shelf kit I mentioned in the talk that I started with. It contains everything you need to grow your first plants. This is also an indoor grower, so you can start with growing from seeds indoor and not worry about weather and protecting the electronics against sun and water. It will also make your home office a lot prettier. ๐Ÿ˜Š

What’s in the kit

Arduino

4 x Solenoids (for 4 plants)

4 x Relays

4 Moisture Sensors

1 Pump

Silicon Piping

The kit is great to learn with as it’s not a “black box” watering system. It’s an arduino where Elecrow provides the source code to flash onto the arduino. It works out of the box, but it also allows you to learn from it and also make changes.

Please don’t start by hacking it like I did. I decided it should to be connected to Azure IoT. That’s definitely not needed especially when starting out. But the instructions are there if you want to do that too. ๐Ÿ˜Š

For the beginner this is great and as you could see in the talk, once plants start multiplying, you are forced to scale from there. ๐Ÿ˜

Link to github repository:

https://github.com/apead/SmartWateringKit

Link to blog post on the kit:

Where to buy the kit in South Africa:

https://www.robotics.org.za/AAK90039K?search=smart%20watering%20kit

Once again thanks to everyone that attended both my session and DevConf 2023 and made the conference the amazing conference it was!

Azure Percept – AI on the EDGE

Thank you for everyone that attended the two AI on the Edge talks at MSDUG Johannesburg and Cape Town.

As promised I’m sharing the additional content from the Azure Percept.

https://www.meetup.com/cape-town-ms-dev-user-group/events/287139061/

https://www.meetup.com/johannesburg-ms-dev-user-group/events/287592457/

Some more information about Azure Percent

Learn aboutย Azureย Perceptย 

AZURE.COM page
Product detail pages
Pre-built AI models
Azure Percept – YouTube

Purchase Azure Percept
Available to our customers โ€“ Build your Azure Percept
    

Product Launch
Roanne Sones & Moe Tanabian Presentation from Ignite
MyIgnite – New innovations to bring AI to the edge (microsoft.com)

Announcement blog

Architecture and Technology

Technical Overview of Azure Percept with Microsoft Mechanics by George Moore 
Build & Deploy to edge AI devices in minutes

Azure Percept enables simple AI and computing on the edge: Check out the blog here

Audio Demo:

How to easily set up and use audio Edge AI with Azure Percept – YouTube

AI Models:

AI models supported by Azure Percept DK (microsoft.com)

Getting started with Advanced Development on the Percept DK via Jupyter Lab and Azure Machine Learning: Access here

Industry Use Cases and Community Projects

Internet of Things – Microsoft Tech Community

Azure Percept showing Edge Computing and AI in the Agriculture Summit keynote by Jason Zander – YouTube

Using Azure Percept to build the next Smart Building

BlueGranite’s Smart City Solution

Building the next smart city with Azure Percept

Industrial IoT and Preventive Maintenance

Technology for Ranching | upperyellowstone and Smart Video Cameras | upperyellowstone

Set up your own end-to-end package delivery monitoring AI application on the edge with Azure Percept

Live simulation of Azure Percept from Alaska Airlines: Azure Percept dev kit to detect airplanes and baggage trucks on an airport runway.

Using Azure Percept to build an Aircraft Part Checker

Azure Percept Audio – Home Automation with Azure Functions, Azure IoT Hub and Raspberry Pi

Face your fears, learn new stuff, and push out on the edges with Azure Percept

Perceptmobile: Azure Percept Obstacle Avoidance LEGO Car