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Reflecting about using AI in IoT applications


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I am retired. I did study mechanical engineering at the technical University in Braunschweig, Germany. But I have worked most of my time in the semiconductor industry.

So I had to set for myself a hobby that would combine my mechanical engineering and model building hobby. i use to build sailplanes, but this time I decided to enter the field of naval modelling deciding myself to build a sailboat from scratch. It began with designing improved plans, then of working with wood and glass fiber with epoxy. As I came to the moment to start building the stuff within the hull I started to think and plan for doing thinks my way.

It began with a disappointment about the implementation of a pretty expensive system to control multiple functions using just one channel to control up to 8 functions. Having been in the semiconductor industry for so long I sat down one afternoon with a fellow naval modeller and we realized the decoding of the control information for the 8 functions as they came out of the R/C receiver. We digitized the 8 channels of information encoded on a single R/C channel from the R/C receiver and displayed its values on a small 80x4 alphanumeric display. We used the mega8 microcontroller from AVR and used the BASCOM basic compiler. Seeing what this technology offered, how inexpensive it was the appetite to use the technology for additional purposes came to live. The Bascom compiler has in its instructions many ones that implemented functionality that is used to implement many functionalities. This did happen about 20 years ago.

Getting deeper and deeper into the related topics I found out that my mathematical skills had eroded dramatically over those 4 decades. So I did consider to join the mathematical institute of the technical university of Munich. Going to an event there I had a very constructive talk with one of its professors. I told him that I did love the analysis curse from professor Tao from the UCLA because it started from the theory of numbers to build the whole construct of mathematics starting from there. The professor replied that today the focus of mathematics and the definition of mathematics had changed to the study of structures. I had no clue what he might mean and so I did investigate the topic to find an outstanding preparation course of professor Keith Devlin, Introduction to Mathematical Thinking available through a MOOC course available in the Internet from the university of Stanford.

Sadly my health has deteriorated heavily due to serious problems that have made me get slow in doing any stuff. One advantage of this was keeping track of the development in quite a few sciences and technologies. So AI became a topic of my interest. To shorten this first contribution I want to address the topic of using Alexa related technologies to implement a voice controlled and pursued interface to setup the systems in my sailboat model.

Here I found out soon a fact that I did not expect. To implement a what is called Skill in Alexa speak you have to look onto the topic being addressed from a different angle. You have to define the steps that you want to implement as a Alexa skill from its own perspective. So I have decided to develop the Alexa skill to drive a stepper motor through a stepper motor controller from Trinamic taking its IDE as the frame work to drive through Alexa.

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