Fulfillment.com in the CommunityMon, May 11th, 2015
Development team members from Fulfillment.com’s (FDC) Savannah facility gave a presentation on real-world technology applications to area middle school students.
Two Savannah development team members took their tech to the road to show Savannah’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Academy students how low-cost computers like Raspberry Pi can solve high-cost business issues. The duo presented to three different classes, some of whom were familiar with Raspberry Pi, and some of whom were not. One of the engineers spent a few hours the previous day writing about 300 lines of code to show the students a simple program on the Pi, using it to send color-coded, two line messages, and comparing it to 90s pager technology.
A second demonstration showed how a wireless Pi attached to a weigh station scale can send real-time weights, applicable to Fulfillment.com for calculating precise shipping and postage costs for our clients. By coding the Pi to recognize and capture a stable weight, FDC’s developers were able to “program out” the likelihood of human error; for example, weighing a package with your hand on the scale. Similar solutions that the team witnessed in other facilities cost as much as 30x more than the one implemented at FDC.
The demonstration was interactive, keeping the students’ interest by allowing them to take turns trying to stabilize the scale weight with their hands and the ability to closely inspect two different Pi computers. Comparisons were made between the Pi and a MacBook Pro as well as an iPhone 6, and the capabilities of the Pi were surprisingly superior to the costlier products, showing students that, with some creativity and a few Google searches, they can create their own computer for less than $100.
The discussion continued to include the Internet of Things (IOT), and how an internet interface can make a garage door opener useable from anywhere in the world with internet access, turn a video camera into a live streaming device, and more. Students and teachers alike were impressed with the narrative and the real-world applications of how simple ideas and technologies can make a big impact.