Covering students’ needs
One of the biggest challenges faced by developers was covering all peripherals that students typically work on for their projects in a small form factor. The team visited close to 80 engineering colleges for demonstration of their previous product and got to closely work with students to understand their project needs. Based on that experience, the team defined the specification for the carrier card and included interfaces commonly used for components like displays, sensors, communication and I/O.
For real-time applications
Even though there are generic embedded learning platforms available in the market, ALPS is the only product integrated with very high-end technologies specifically designed for the educational segment, claim the developers. Though cheaper, Raspberry Pi sometimes fails to provide high-end video processing required for complex embedded projects.
Another drawback is that Android, a very popular operating system these days, either does not run at all on Raspberry Pi or runs very slow. UDOO is a board that comes at par with ALPS SBC in terms of processing power. But, here the problem is that the interfacing of industry-relevant peripherals can be a difficult task for the student community.
ALPS is a real industrial design and not just a hobby kit. It evidently goes into mass production of real-time projects involving medical electronics, automotive systems, industrial automation, mobile technologies and multimedia.
Taking it to students
ALPS is a finished product and is available in the market. Along with the kit, iWave provides assistance in setting up the advanced embedded system laboratory in those institutions, installing software and drivers, training the faculty and students on how to use the kit and providing technical support for the development of industry-relevant projects. The firm is already associated with more than 50 engineering colleges across the country.
The cost of this kit ranges from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 25,000 depending on the interfaces required by customers. “We are not thinking about much margin to start with,” says Kumar Bhagavath. The focus is on getting the product familiarised in the educational segment. “Once this is achieved, we will work on our margin, not by increasing the product price but by reducing our manufacturing cost,” he adds.
ALPS kit comes with a number of basic and advanced projects and detailed documentation. These, along with the elaborate user guide, are meant to help students get started with the kit without any complications and gain easy hands-on experience with it.
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The author is a dancer, karaoke aficionado, and a technical correspondent at EFY. Find her on Twitter @AnuBomb.