The Curious Cloud Contest

It has been a busy month getting ready for MIX 2011 in Las Vegas last week.  We put together a cool challenge for some of the attendees – a challenge that was maybe a little too challenging but still fun. 

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The contest was a demonstration case for the .NET developers to show that they now have the skills to work throughout the entire connected devices (Internet of Things) stack from Azure to the Web to the smallest devices.  To do this, we handed out NETMF devices that supported WiFi connections and sensor input from a photo cell, a thermistor, and a three axis accelerometer.  The devices were set up to talk with an Azure service back end that can be seen at

imageThe challenge was what crazy Rube Goldberg contraption that will trigger all three sensor to either of two criteria – either brighter, warmer, and smooth motion or colder and darker and lots of motion.  The contestants were also asked to retrieve and display the data from the cloud.  The contest submission was to be a video showing all this.

The devices were made of a Netduino Plus, a WiFly shield, and a custom PCB that held the sensors and three LEDs to indicate when the sensors met their target criteria. 

imageOnly seven teams actually made submissions – the rest ran out of time at MIX.  There was apparently not enough time with all the distractions of the ‘Strip’ but everyone we spoke to enjoyed working on the challenge and I am hopeful that we will get all the devices communicating with the cloud from the diverse locations that they have returned to. 


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