Swisscom Hackathon Wrapup

Swisscom Zurich Hackathon 2015 Wrapup : ARMmbed + ST Nucleo + Semtech LoRA + Actility cloud

Last weekend the ARM mbed team attended the LoRa-focused Swisscom Hackathon at Impact Hub Zurich. With 100 hackers organized into 14 teams and a tremendous amount of support from the mentors some truly amazing projects were created.

The Swisscom Hackathon was focused on using the low power LoRa radio network that Swisscom are piloting in Zurich and Geneva using 30 LoRa gateways. Hackers used the ARM mbed ecosystem ( or ?) to build code for the Semtech LoRA shield on a ST Nucleo board that connected to the Actility front end for the Swisscom cloud platform. Prior to the event the mbed team had hosted a series of workshops on Getting started with LoRA using Semtech shields and Getting started with the Actility cloud. With over 110K packets sent and less than 0.00001% packet drop the LoRa network really shone through as a stable backbone for enabling the Internet of Things (IoT). /media/uploads/mbedAustin/swisscomhackathonbp_qIIwZT6.png

Friday: Ideas, team building, and start of the hack!

Friday night was a huge rush of ideas, presentations and team forming. Kicking off the night was a presentation from Christian Stammel from Wearable Technologies ( on the future of IoT, wearable devices on and in your body, and how LoRa is poised to be a key enabling technology in the future. Following the intro, presentation of challenges from Swiss Rail and others to use IoT to increase customer happiness, and dinner, teams formed up and the hacking began.

The mbed team started the hack with a ton of Semtech Lora shields, ST Nucleo boards, and Seeed Grove sensors. By Sunday night every piece of hardware was used in epic hacks!

Saturday : coffee and tea and cucumber soda oh my!

Saturday was a flurry of activity from early in the morning to late in the evening. With an active coffee bar open at Impact Hub all day and evening everyone was fully fueled and hacking all day long.

Various Prototypes started, fell and evolved over the course of the day. Lots of the coolest discussion happened on the DribDat forums that were spun up for the event.

Smart Train pass

These guys put together an automatic train ticket system that relays the position of the user back to the main base using LoRA, thus enabling the back end to determine if the person has entered a train or not and charge them appropriately. They had some really cool error detection algorithms that accounted for pedestrians walking near but not on the train and likewise for users in cars near the train but not on it. : the umbrella corporation

These guys had an awesome vision and implementation for connected umbrellas that took two forms, one personal and one commercial.

The personal application used the low power LoRA radio to connect to the internet and visually display the expected weather for the day on the hilt of the umbrella, so the user could know if they would need the umbrella that day depending on the color of the hilt. In the morning with just simple touch on your umbrella, you’ll know if you need it for that day or if you're good to go.

The commercial application was an umbrella rental / loaner system that would encourage customer and brand loyalty by giving the user an umbrella for free, and in return periodically reminding them to come into the store. There was even a suggested idea for gamification to use the umbrella as a rewards card / interactive system for user engagement at stores and around town.

GrosiAlarm - Non-invasive elder care for dementia patients

The GrossiAlarm team put together a wonderful elder care device that both gave piece of mind to those responsible for the elder patient while still respecting the personal privacy and dignity of the patient. The basic premise of the device was a watch that would use LoRA to report the location of the user back to a home-base server. The location however would not be given to the care-givers unless the patient wandered outside of a set safe zone boundary, because as one hacker said he "didn’t want to know when grandma was going on her dates". The only exception to this privacy rule would be if the patient activated a special emergency button mode that then would report the patient’s precise location to loved ones and if no response was received in a set amount of time, emergency services would be notified.

iPusher - BLE notifications for delays using LoRA backend

The iPusher team developed base stations that connect to the backend over LoRA and notify those around the base stations via Eddystone of events pertinent to their location. The idea was to have one in every train station, so if a delay was affecting a particular station, the message would be sent out over Eddystone beacons to notify those at the station with up-to-date information on their cellular devices. Think interactive in depth reports and real-time updates as they actually occur.

Sunday : Sleepless Swiss Shenanigans and Presentations

On Sunday everyone got an early start and worked on polishing their demos and presentations for judging. After a tremendous amount of effort, caffeine and nerves all the presentations concluded and the judges announced the following winners:

In first place:

Team MechartLab+ with their Grosi Alarm - A tracking and alarm watch for dementia sufferers, allowing a geofence to be defined that triggers the alarm, if the wearer strays outside. They took home first price for their excellent total concept presentation.

In second place:

Dr. M & Friends’ - LoRa-connected smart ticket sharing its position and speed through the LoRa network, allowing automatic charging when you travel on a train.

In third place:

Mila’s Umbrella-as-a-service - Showing that as a service business models can be applied to low cost products.

And, the audience award (measured by applause):

Team Panda’s SBB Chill - allowing you to find a suitable train seat based on the profiles of travelers – quiet, working, listening to music etc.

All in all, a very good event with lots of innovative prototype products using LoRa and the other technologies and really good feedback at the end – all questions about event support and technologies etc received close to the highest grades. As all us people offering technology and support got to work very close together, and we are all looking forward to the next event!


Awesome 48 hour LoRA focused Hackathon hosted by Swisscom at Impact Hub Zurich. Using the ARM mbed IoT Device Platform, ST Nucleo boards, Semtech LoRA radios, and Actility frontend for the Swisscom Cloud 100 hackers build awesomeness. Some won, some lost, some walked away with venture capital connections, but everyone had a great time and learned a lot about how to use LoRA to enable IoT in products and projects going forward. For a full list of groups and their projects see the DribDat page for the Hackathon.

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