My plans for the Hologram Nova Challenge hosted by Hackster.io and Hologram

In October of this year I applied for the electronics competition organized by Hackster.io and Hologram called The Hologram Nova Challenge. For the competition, you had to submit an idea for a device or hardware solution that used the Nova Cellular USB Modem and the Raspberry Pi Zero W. Thankfully, my idea was one of the ones chosen and the organizers sent me over a free kit for further experiments!

Happy me on the left, opening a package from Hologram. Connecting a TV set on the left

The idea I submitted.

The idea I submitted was called Hola Connect! Me and my dad came up with the idea, and what it does is converts any unconnected device in a house to an Internet-of-Things device by using the Hologram Nova and Raspberry Pi. Essentially, it would make it where anything with a USB port is IoT capable : an old TV or an outdated car record player, or any other device with a USB port — a receiver, a projector, an MP3 player, etc.

The device needs to have a USB input so it can be connected to any storage cloud, like a Dropbox folder or Google Drive folder.

One idea that me and my dad came up for this, and one that we absolutely loved was taking a digital picture frame and making it IoT capable. These digital photo frames were popular for awhile, but now that can be better utilized through the cloud and IoT. We decided to synchronize one of these photo frames that my grandparents had back in our home country with a folder on my iPhone here in Novato. They’ll be able to see photos I share with them 9,000 miles away seamlessly.

Why am I excited about this project?

There’s a great demand for making older equipment useful in a time where cloud storage capabilities is on the rise. It also could help in places where distribution of outdated or old generation devices is still relatively high. People do not always use the capabilities of the contemporary cloud services which allow you to play videos, music, etc. directly from basically anywhere in these areas.

The experiment itself

Over the last week or so, me and my dad did a lot research on how to bring our project to life. We went through the following steps to bring our project, Hola Connect!, to life — using a Raspberry Pi and a Hologram Nova dongle:

1) Connect the Hologram Nova dongle to the Raspberry Pi

The dongle is Raspberry Pi compatible, so it worked as a turnkey solution.

2) Mounting a Google Drive folder to a Raspberry Pi + Hologram Nova

We needed to use a Linux console to make the Google Drive drivers work on the Raspberry Pi/Hologram Nova dongle set up.

3) Make Raspberry Pi receive and store files from the cloud

This was a challenge, but I coped with it. My home Mac now sees the Raspberry Pi and the Hologram Nova as a USB drive now. I was able make the system work and can now send files from my Mac to my Raspberry Pi and store them there.

4) Google Drive local folder on Raspberry Pi + Hologram Nova synchronization with the cloud

What have I learned during these two weeks of experimenting? More about hacking Linux, installing new packages, and new device emulation.

There’s more to this story to come! Photos and a video of the project is on the way! Meanwhile, make sure to subscribe to my Youtube channel and Facebook Page to stay updated on everything I’m working on!

Savva Osipov, Ilya Osipov, Semen Orlov, Max Filin and other from WOWCube. Our story, invention and startup

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