SB Hacks II, UCSB, April 2016

Hello everyone!

My name is Gustavo Correa, and I am a second year electrical engineering student studying at the University of California, Riverside. Besides studying electrical engineering, I am very passionate about sculpture, photography, solid modeling and computer science. I try to incorporate all of these disciplines in all of my projects as much as I can.

I competed alongside my friends, Jiunn Siow(center) and Agustin Balquin (left), at UC Santa Barbara's, SB Hacks II 2016. Going in we didn't know what we would be making. It wasn't until we spoke with IBM representatives, Gaya Magie and Michael, that we thought of a cool way of using IBM's Bluemix platform.

WHAT WE MADE - Mr.Watson

The overall concept was to create a physical IBM Watson (similar to Jarvis from Iron Man) that could interact with the real world and communicate information from the Bluemix platform. We wanted to create Watson's face and animate it like Jarvis from Ironman or other forms of humanoid A.I. Watson would then provide different apps  like a weather app that would display a bit image representing the weather, or a music spectrum visualizer which would represent the different frequencies of a song.

Check out the slideshow to see our progress throughout the event!


This Project was created with Node-Red on the bluemix platform. The code on the bluemix platform contains only the simulated weather data that was run on the raspberry pi. The Raspberry Pi program filtering the data is present on bluemix and connects to an arduino with python scripts edited by Agustin Balquin and myself. For the weather app, the Bluemix connected arduino would send 1 of 8 binary signals (3 bits giving 8 possible combinations) to the arduino controlling the cube. Each of these 8 signals corresponded to a weather type such as rain, sunshine, or cloudy. The cube arduino would then read the 3 bit signal and would display which ever preset the 3 bit signal corresponded to. 


To communicate with Mr. Watson. Jiunn Siow configured the leap motion technology that would allow us to "swipe" left and right to navigate through the LED Matrix interface. This swiping feature would be the main source of controlling the different apps present on the Cube.

Experiencing IBM's Bluemix

Overall it was a great experience learning about the Bluemix platform and all of the project possilibities. It was my first time being exposed to such a platform so it was cool to see what my friend Agustin could do with it in the short amount of time available. It was awesome to see what we could do in those 36 hours with all of our individual skillsets in computer science, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering. 36 hours later and we were excited to receive the award for the IBM IoT Watson Challenge 2016!


Months after the hackathon I am still working on the project! I redesigned the cube using better technology. I chose to go with RGB LED Matrices which require less pins from the Arduino and are much bigger and brighter than the older single colored LED Matrices.

Upon completion of the actual cube I will be researching more about the Bluemix platform and implementing the cloud services on the updated RGB Cube.

Mr. Watson

This was our final product. We designed and created a 3D LED Matrix Cube to act as Watson's head and display. We used LED matrices for the displays, a custom 3D printed frame, and all of the circuity that was needed to communicate with the Arduino and Raspberry Pi.