GOTO Amsterdam 2014: Lego, music & the Internet of Things

For the past couple of days, I’ve been in the city of Amsterdam, for the GOTO Amsterdam Conference, at the beautiful Beurs van Berlage building.
It’s my first time in the city and at GOTO. I was invited to give a talk about Arduino and paper-bound books as part of the Internet of Things track on the Thursday of the conference.

The first session I went to on the Thursday morning was a talk by Sam Aaron about Sonic Pi – teaching kids with music programming. Sonic Pi is a programming environment to teach programming concepts by creating new sounds. Sam is hugely engaging, and his talk was inspiring, showing what children can create with the Raspberry Pi.

Sam is also half of Meta-eX, the duo who played the end of day conference party.

Meta-eX do live coding / pair programming of electronic music on a big screen in front of audiences, so people can see and hear what the duo are creating on the fly.

The next session was on teaching and learning with lego. Julia Dellnitz and Jan Gentsch got everyone playing with lego, making models of perceptions of time, and talking to other conference attendees about their creations. A wonderfully playful session.

After the lunchbreak, I went to the beautiful Glazen Zaal for the Internet of things track.

First up was Mark Stanislav on Failing to secure the Internet of Things. Mark’s talk was a prompt to think about data, where it’s going and who might have access. He created a great list of 10 hints to more secure IoT development.

I then spoke about enchanting books with Arduino and what happens when you play around with ideas.

Photo: @mintsource

My talk was also about how I think mobile is becoming a way of mediating experiences between objects and experiences.

The final talk on the Internet of Things track was from Andy Piper from Twitter. Andy’s talk was fascinating: combining context with signals in the Internet of Things. He talked about how Twitter can gather data to help create services with Gauge Map for environmental information; and Dronie, the new Twitter account for a drone with a video camera.

Finally, Andy did a fantastic live demo with 1Sheeld, Twitter and Arduino, to sense sound in the room. Everyone in the audience made as much noise as possible for 5 seconds, which generated a tweet automatically when the sound went over 80db.

GOTO Amsterdam was great fun – a very welcoming, friendly conference, with lots of new ideas to think about. Read more on the #GOTOams tag.