Xilinx turns the Innovation Center PYNQ

From band camps to robotics classes, students across St. Vrain Valley Schools were deeply engaged in learning new skills over the summer that would advance their personal growth and interests.
 
One opportunity at the Innovation Center was a PYNQ bootcamp for secondary students to get hands-on with engineering and invention using the PYNQ board technology developed by Xilinx and Python computer programming. Through a partnership with Xilinx, students engaged over five days with Xilinx experts to learn Python coding, engineering with the PYNQ boards, and design an invention to make the world more sustainable.
 
"Our project is a humidity sensor that schools can be utilized to test the humidity of the soil and control how much water is released by the sprinkler to prevent over watering,” shared Rakhi Kataria, a sophomore at Skyline High School. “Our goal is to help schools be more sustainable and save money,”
 
For students like Caitlyn Fong, a sophomore at Niwot High School, some of the best experiences come from seeing the many different ways that the PYNQ technology can be used for engineering and design. “ We had different shifts at the Innovation Center where we learned about different things we could do with the PYNQ board,” shared Fong. “For me one of the most interesting things was the session on computer vision because you can take a look at all of these different objects and you can get the computer to find out what it is – the programming that drives that is really interesting.”
 
At the end of the bootcamp, students showcased their inventions and competed to be recognized as the best project, including the award for best use of PYNQ which went to Team “Kids with Hats” who designed a janitor assistant robot that used sensors to identify trash and pick it up. 
 
Students were able to keep their Xilinx-donated PYNQ boards so they could continue their learning at home and share the technology with fellow students.
 
"The goal of the event is to teach the kids and the teachers how to use our technology, so that they can then teach other students how to use it," said Brad Fross, a distinguished engineer in Central Engineering (CE). "We want Xilinx PYNQ to be ingrained in their curriculum and in their general technology toolbox."
 
Skyline High sophomore, Rakhi Kataria, and Niwot High sophomores, Hannah Piersol and Caitlyn Fong showcase their PYNQ invention that uses smart sensors to measure humidity in the soil.