Spinning in The Wind

An IoT Project

Roop Saini
Published in
3 min readDec 21, 2020


“Are the turbine blades spinning yet?”

’Twas the start of another meeting.
My manager asked the new routine question.


“Nathan, if you’re talking, we can’t hear you.”

I did the usual count down in my head— 3, 2, 1…

“Sorry, my mic was on mute.”

Responded Nathan quietly. He then proceeded to share his screen and added:

“Everything is spinning…except for the blades.”

Nathan had been assigned the unprecedented task of moving objects within an iModel. He had spent all week playing email ping-pong with our display team, excavating new issues, and keeping his animations right. We had two days left before our final demo…and this was a key feature. In a sense…things really were spinning for him.

While he battled the most challenging task, the rest of us were enjoying slightly more comfortable times. For those of you who haven’t guessed yet:

We were in yet another Hackathon.

It was our next milestone while going further down the road to IoT (with our friends from Microsoft). Microsoft and Bentley were now in an official partnership, and we were about to take on our next big project — Renewable Energy.

The goal was to create a digital twin of a Wind Farm and make it smarter by hooking it up to the internet of things (IoT). Its smartness would include — monitoring energy production, and predicting future energy production (using machine learning).

It would also be capable of notifying engineers in case it ran into any trouble (such as temperature issues or a Don Quixote type).

But before we even think of super skills like talking turbines and future forecasting, the most important thing was to make the turbine blades spin!

I mean, how else could they produce energy?!

Nathan was our last hope.

Two days later…this is what we ended up presenting:

If you’re skipping the video…it’s all good :)

I’ll provide the key highlights:

’Twas the start of another meeting.

Nathan shared his screen…

Not a single one of us was stirring…

And then we…

Successfully demonstrated a Renewable Energy solution.

And yes, the blades did spin.

But despite the success…

At the end of it all…

We were all left wondering.

What would machine learning do to these turbines?

-Roop, reporting live from the basement.

Co-authored with Nathan Elrod.

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