DevFest Nyeri 2016

Posted By: Unknown On Saturday, 3 December 2016

GDG DEVFEST NYERI was another great success from GDG Kimathi University. It was a three-day event held from 11th November 2016 to 13th November 2016 at Dedan Kimathi University of Technology. The goal of the event was to push the limits of what we previously achieved, by organizing a three days’ event that features a technical Session where developers get hands on training, in depth tracks on relevant technical information on the latest Google technologies and products, a Hackathon where developers can build product on Google Cloud Platform and a Buildathon where developers can utilize different Microcontrollers and sensors including Arduino, Raspberry pi and Intel Edison. After the Buildathon & hackathon, developers presented their IoT solutions to Judges. DevFest Nyeri 2016 boasted of entirely new Drones all built from scratch, competing to reveal a never-seen-before performance at the Game of Drones.  
Additional sessions involved talks on women within the Technology space. There was also an introduction to the new Google IoT Developer Prototyping kit, the new Seeed Studio BeagleBone Green Wireless board which is tailored specifically for Google Cloud Platform and talks about the Google beacon platform.
During the event, we had attendees from 5 different universities:
  1. Dedan Kimathi University of Technology
  2. Meru University of Science and Technology
  3. Laikipia University
  4. Egerton University
  5. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
We had an amazing time working with different organizations, start-up companies, amazing volunteers and sponsors to reinforce the developing tech ecosystem. They worked with us worked with us from the start till the end of the event. We got awesome collaboration with the Tech community around Mount Kenya region, and also awesome sponsorship for the Three day DevFest event.
Day I: DevFest Hackathon/Buildathon

SESSION I: Hackathon

The DevFest hackathon was a 48-hour weekend-sprint development activity where the participants collaboratively worked together to address specific African civic challenges. The event was aimed at bringing together software developers, designers, data geeks, marketers and citizens of all types to create fun, interesting and useful civic tools that will go to solve some of Africa’s greatest challenges. Projects that were being targeted include apps for encouraging farmers to trade online, provide an efficient way of managing health records, tracking public infrastructure, improve local security and county government utilities such as parking and business licensing, encourage use of digital content for education, and understanding county government budgets. 

The participants engaged in 48 exhilarating hours of non-stop coding, working on 11 innovative solutions around agriculture, health, security and public utilities.
We had an idealization and team formation process. After this, developers began to hack into actualizing the suggested solutions.

SESSION II: Buildathon

During the same period, the drone teams finalized on their projects. 

DAY II: Deep Dive (Demos, Tech Talks, Codelabs, Dev Garages)

We had rock stars speakers and amazing women leaders speakers. They brought the energy and life into our Developers Festival.

SESSION I: Hackathon

Hacking continued for the whole day. Teams improved on their products.

We had a great session with Android insights facilitated by Valentine Rutto with an overview on what’s new on Google Cloud Platform.

SESSION III: Women In Tech

In a continued effort to empower women participation in the Google Developer Community, the event included a session on ‘women in tech’ facilitated by Margaret Ondeng’, the Women Techmakers Lead for GDG Nairobi who strongly advocates for women involvement in STEM.  She reverberated how Google was inspiring the next generation of tech women through their Women Techmakers program, and championed for an increase in women attendance in such events.

SESSION IV: Moringa School

We then had a great talk by Moringa School on how to become top class Software Developers. They train high-potential, pro-active students to learn how to code from a world-class curriculum with top quality instructors and mentors to support them in the process.

SESSION V: Live Hangout with Aniedi Udo-Obong
We were extremely lucky to have a live Hangouts On Air with Aniedi Udo-Obong, the Google Developer Relations Manager, Sub Saharan Africa. He gave an inspiring talk on how to get started with programming and why GDG is a great community. We are grateful for all he added to our event.

SESSION V: Firebase
We then had a firebase Codelabs session with Denzel Wamburu. Developers learned how to use the Firebase platform to easily create Web applications and how to implement and deploy a chat client using Firebase.


Thereafter, we had a talk about how developers can use a combination of Intel Edison, Firebase and Jonny five, (a Node Js framework for robotics) for IoT prototyping. While meeting common needs can be challenging at times, IoT development platforms such as Google Firebase provide services allow developers to meet many of these requirements.
They were introduced to diverse different microcontrollers including, Intel Edison, Arduino Uno, Arduino 101, Raspberry pi and the new Google IoT Developer Prototyping kit, the new Seeed Studio BeagleBone Green Wireless board which is tailored specifically for Google Cloud Platform.

They were also shown how Google beacon platform  enables developers to manage their beacons remotely, integrate with Google services and help users' devices to discover content and functionality across Android, native apps and the web.
They were taken through the process of getting started, where they can get the development kits and the kind of applications they can develop with the beacons.
 They were also introduced to the The Zephyr Project.  The Zephyr Project is an open source, real-time operating system released earlier this year by the Linux Foundation. It supports x86, ARM, and ARC processors on a growing number of boards, such as the Arduino 101, Minnowboard Turbot, NXP FRDM-K64F, and Arduino Due.
Intel started working to combine these two technologies in early 2016, with the idea of providing an alternative development environment for the Arduino 101 and future IoT boards using the Zephyr OS. Currently, Zephyr Project applications are written in C, and the programming model requires a fair amount of expertise. A JavaScript interface hides a lot of this complexity. We also wanted to explore the benefits of having JavaScript available at every level, from small embedded devices to the largest servers, and from prototyping to seamless end-to-end applications.

This session training involved presentations and hands-on demos. The platform was open to attendance by any interested party. The audience was taken through how to install and initialize the Node-RED server on the Intel Edison by Chris Barsolai. The main objective was to demonstrate to makers and developers on how to leverage Node-RED and its simplistic interface and workflow to go about realizing the Internet of Things, and how it can speed up their idea-to-prototype transition. 
Firstly, it was shown how one can install Node-RED on node.js platform running on the Edison, and consequently running the Edison to as a server to serve up Node-RED to the browser. In line with the ISP quarterly theme ‘Smart Homes, Farms and Cities’, the audience was taken on how to access the Grove Kit sensors and actuators via Node-RED. The Seeed Studio Sensors npm package was installed onto the Edison, and the audience got to see how the nodes were added onto the Node-RED dashboard. The MQTT protocol was also dwelt on, with attendees being shown on how to use as an mqtt broker that lets one publish sensor updates that all delivered to client subscribed to that sensor.

Given there was only one Intel Edison present during the session, a step-by-step demo was first done by the instructor, after which groups of students got to interact with the Node-RED on Edison in shifts.

DAY III: Presentations, xFair Game of Drones

SESSION I: Hackathon
The hackathon continued until Sunday 13th November, 2016. After this, developers laid down their tools and began to prepare for the final presentation and demos.
Below is an overview of the hackathon attendees and a brief description of all the projects that were built during the hackathon. A total of 11 projects were developed

SESSION II: Buildathon
The Buildathon continued until Sunday 13th November, 2016.. After this, developers began to prepare for the final presentation.  
SESSION III: Presentations
Upon completion, each team pitched their idea, and gave a demo on the functionality of the idea.  
At exactly 2pm, hacking was officially over. Eleven projects were then presented at the pitching session. At the end of it only 3 teams went home with prizes. While the judges deliberated, attendees kicked back, grabbed a brew and networked.

SESSION IV: The Ultimate Race for Glory

Drone Racing is the Next Consumer Fad. This was the climax of our DevFest. After the Buildathon, we brought the best pilots together to fly the two quadcopters head-to-head. Both drones used a single frequency. Walking into a drone-racing arena is much like walking into a 100m race. The audience looks on as pilots on either side make last-minute preparations, swapping out propellers and tucking in loose cables before the round begins. With a smooth flick of the joysticks, the drones zoomed into the air. To avoid interference, they were flown one at a time with the duration they take to complete 40m recorded. During the race, a moment’s carelessness takes a warriors to the ground, its propellers torn and its motors screeching in a futile attempt at liftoff.  Judges then left the arena to deliberate.

The hackathon was a success highlight of the DevFest. After an exhilarating 40 hours of coding and hacking into solutions, the hackathon teams presented their ideas. The judges’ panel comprised of:   
·         Emmanuel Kinyanjui – Intel Student Partner Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
·         Esther Maina – Intel Student Partner Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology
·         Mr. Augustus Kamau – Patron, Computer Society of Kimathi
A 10-minute pitching session was allocated to each team. One after the other, teams showcased their ideas and gave knee-deep presentations on their ideas and progress made throughout the hackathon. Judges were treated to a difficult decision-making given majority of the teams had made significant progress and whose ideas were equally as good.


  • Originality of the Innovation & Demonstrated creativeness
  • Impact of the innovation
  • Viability of its application/ Implementation
  • Google & Intel Technology Used
  • Market Opportunity
  • Applicability 
With each idea having a uniqueness to their innovativeness, the judging process was not simplified and involved vigorous troubleshooting and hard hitting questions from both the judges and the audience. After an intensive prototyping session, the top three teams selected as the overall winners were:
Learn With the Rasp
Steps For Charity

After the pitching sessions and announcement of overall winners, Anthony (ISP JKUAT) held a talk on Intel’s mission in Africa and gave the audience insights into making an impact on the society using technological innovations.


At the end of the event, we were able to achieve almost all our objectives. We ensured that participants were skilled with handy information on the Google & Intel Architecture. We were able to bring out the hidden ideas and talents from developers in our community and submit them to the Dedan Kimathi University Incubation Centre for incubation. The hackathon gives three things: opportunity, environment and experience. Opportunity: to seek any kind of problems one ever thought of and tackle with all the resources present under one roof – technical and mentors. Environment: to encourage and get inspired by everyone around us. Experience: no need to say anything. The experience of working on such projects and creating a network with great minds is priceless.

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Posted By: Unknown On Wednesday, 26 October 2016

One of the things that our community pioneers cared so much about was sharing the GDG Love with everyone — reaching out to anyone interested about Google technologies and bringing them together to share ideas, to collaborate, and to learn. Members of our community are always eager to offer support, experience, and mentorship to different communities.

On 8th October 2016, The Computer Society of Kimathi led by Billy Rotich, Intel Student Partners led by Chris Barsolai, Microsoft Student Partners led by Arthur Otieno, and Officials from Dedan Kimathi University Incubation Centre, all members of our GDG Community left for the Meru University of Technology with a mission.

The objectives for our outreach are listed as follows:
  1. Increase awareness of the GDG Community to the university developer community in Meru
  2. Brainstorm ways to engage both communities in advancing the local tech ecosystem and Foster collaboration.
  3. Identify synergy opportunities between The Meru Community and GDG Kimathi University
  4. Have fun!
During the event, we had a single session with 5 different speakers. We first had Kenneth Njihia from The DeHUB. He talked about how their space helps to incubate research innovations. He also  explained how vibrant communities such as GDG Kimathi University engage in weekly programs that involves business talks, technical meet-ups and creatives’ sessions.

He was followed by Ngesa Marvin who talk about Open Source Community and Google developer Groups. He explained how enthusiastic developers interested in learning more about new technologies can come together to learn, practice, collaborate and share experience about Google technologies.

He also explained how they hold meetings and organize events like Code Sprints, Hackathons and schools challenges. He clarified that the meetings are and will always be free and open to anyone. He encouraged them to form and join such communities.

He was immediately followed by Evelyn Kaberere who gave a talk on what Women Tech Makers is all about and how the program provides visibility, resources and community. She gave them various reasons why they needed to be programmers to encourage them indulge more into code. Various Women Tech Makers videos were shown about various women in the Tech industry.

Kithinji Muriungi then introduced microcontrollers used in the Internet of Things projects. He explained what microcontrollers are and how they work. These are basically self-contained system with peripherals, memory and a processor that can be used as an embedded system. Most programmable microcontrollers that are used today are embedded in other consumer products or machinery including phones, peripherals, automobiles and household appliances for computer systems. He then explained the different types of microcontrollers such Intel Edison, Arduino and Rapbery pi. He talked about how developers can chose the best micro controllers for their projects. He then listed the various applications of microcontrollers and the projects they have worked on. He also discussed how developers could start working with them.

We then had a talk on Google’s recently released library for Machine Intelligence, TensorFlow. Kennedy Jonyo explained how its flexible architecture allows developers to deploy computation to one or more CPUs or GPUs in a desktop, server, or mobile device with a single API. TensorFlow was originally developed by researchers and engineers working on the Google Brain Team within Google’s Machine Intelligence research organization for the purposes of conducting machine learning and deep neural networks research, but the system is general enough to be applicable in a wide variety of other domains as well.
Lastly we had a lengthy discussion and a mini — fireside chat where developers were free to ask any question that from the whole team. This include how we started, what keeps us to gathers, what motivates us among others.

We understand and know the potential of a developer community. GDG Kimathi University has in the past engaged with different communities outside their locality and help them grow in to vibrant communities. These include GDG Multimedia, GDG Egerton University, GDG Kabarak University among others. Currently we are working with the following communities:
·        Embu University
·        Moi University
·        Laikipia University
·        Muranga University
·        Riara University

We hope to work together, organize cluster events and see them grow into successful communities. Cluster events normally result into larger and potentially more impactful events. We hope to reach out to as many people as possible and share our pioneer’s vision with them — Sharing the GDG Love. Wes shall definitely keep you posted. Stay tuned!

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DevFest Nyeri 2015

Posted By: Unknown On Friday, 13 November 2015

DevFest Nyeri 2015 was a great success. This is the 3rd Devfest Nyeri that has been organized (by GDG Kimathi University) since 2013 and we have always had awesome feedback from newbie developers and experienced developers as well. During this event, we had three 3 GDEs out of the current 8 GDEs in the Sub Saharan Africa and top notch professionals speaking. People travelled from all over the country to Nyeri, making a conference of interesting speakers, great topics, enthusiastic audience and fun. We averagely have an attendance of 140 attendees but this year the event brought together 180 attendees with collaboration from GDG Egerton and GDG Kabarak.

During this event, we had a single session which run the whole day with back to back presentation from different rock star speakers. The session started at 8:45 even before the keynote and ran until 7pm. 
An inspiring keynote was delivered by +Mercy Orangi, the Google program developer ecosystem manager, sub Saharan Africa. Mercy is one of the notable women leaders at Google in the SSA region. She discussed her career and shared her insights on how women can increase their participation in the technical field. She also talked about how startups in the region can be successful by building applications and businesses on Google's platforms.

Next on stage was our very own lead, +GDG Kimathi University Lead, +Kenneth Kinyanjui. Kenju is a Software Engineer with many hats. He is an entrepreneur, the GDG country mentor, and a Google Developer Expert in Cloud Platform. As a GDG country mentor, Kenneth has been helping build the Kenyan Google Developer Group Community across the country.  He talked about service workers, a script that browser runs in the background, separate from a web page, opening the door to features that don't need a web page or user interaction. He also touched on how to integrate a service worker into an existing application to make the application work offline.

We then had +Dario Mungoi on stage. He spoke on what it takes to become an Android ninja.
Dario is android developer Expert from Mozambique who started his android development path after participating as a designer on the first Taylor Ling (Re) Design contest back in 2013.

Thereafter, we had +Eugene Mutai on stage.  Eugene is currently a software engineer/consultant at Andela. He has also been a consultant for iHub Consulting in Nairobi, where he also leads the JavaScript community. He believes in sharing, and dedicates his spare time to share his experiences and web technologies knowledge wherever he can.

 DevFest Nyeri 2015 was such a top notch conference full of deep knowledge, inspiration and amazing energy. The event greatly helped to improve the Skill of developers. Resourceful links were also shared with developers to help them in future reference.

At the end of the event, we had several community updates before the closing remark by Kenneth Kinyanjui. 

And as our tradition, we took the following final photos: 

GDG Kimathi University would like to thank all the attendees, the speakers and organizers for being awesome. We are also grateful to Sponsors for all the support, and Dedan Kimathi University of Technology for hosting the venue for the event.

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Posted By: Unknown On Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Calling all geeks, only a few days to go

Reserve your plans for 7th November 2015, because it’s that time again — when GDG Kimathi University stages the biggest Google tech conference in Nyeri,Kenya. Devfest Nyeri 2015 is expected to fire up the developer community once more, this time round entailing a deep dive into Android, Google Cloud Platform, Firebase and Polymer, from the world experts, from all around the country and even beyond.

What to expect

There will be a keynote followed by tech talks and then workshops on various Google Technology topics. GDG Devfest Nyeri has been carefully crafted for you, customized to meet your tech thirst and tailored for the local audience, and here are the reasons why you can’t miss:

Learn new tech ideas that involve your field

During the sessions, top notch speakers will share new techniques and tricks about Google technologies. Attendees will get priceless knowledge and some cool developing experience during the sessions. Attendees will also have a chance to freely talk and interact with the presenters, one-on-one, about what they are working on. They may even give you advice on how to develop your project.

To meet people, both social and professional.

GDG DevFest Nyeri conference brings together people from different geographical areas having wide range of backgrounds. It will be a great chance for attendees to make valuable connections, meet old friends and create strong bonds. This especially important when you are looking for collaborators for your startups, or even jobs.

 Welcoming new members/leaders into the community

During the festival, GDG Kimathi University shall officially welcome new members in the GDG community and probably a new generation of leadership.

Women and Tech

We will also have a panel discussion on Women in Technology and the challenges they face. This session is intended to empower the Women in Tech and also to get them not to shy away from Tech events and jobs.

Meet Google Developers Expert(s)

We will have Google Developer(s) Expert in our event. Attendees will get a chance to ask the Experts anything! Have they ever failed? What inspired them most?

When does it kick off? The venue?

The fun starts at 9 a.m. sharp, Saturday November 7, 2015 at the Auditorium, Dedan Kimathi University in Nyeri, Kenya.

This event is free but slots are limited. To join the Google family at GDG DevFest Nyeri 2015, grab your free ticket here, now. Meanwhile stay tuned for updates on our website, like us on Facebook, check Twitter or add to circles on Gplus, and be sure to join our mailing list. Don't forget to mark your calendar!  See you then!

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Google I/O Extended Nyeri 2015

Posted By: Unknown On Wednesday, 27 May 2015

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Almost here: Google I/O 2015

Posted By: Unknown On Sunday, 3 May 2015

GDG Kimathi University is excited yet again. The moment we have been waiting for is almost here. This is going to be a major developer’s event conference for everyone who builds apps for Google software platforms. We expect a highly technical, in-depth keynote sessions focused on  web building, mobile and enterprise applications with Google, and open web technologies such as  AndroidChromeChrome OS, Google APIs, Google Web ToolkitApp Engine, and more. This  premier event will take place on 28th May 2015 and run through to 29th may at the Moscone Centre West in San Francisco.
During this event, as usual, the company will take this opportunity to launch several new products with various improvements for its products and services and maybe announce a bunch more that will come later. With Android being the most popular platform, it might take the lion’s share of attention again. Last year for instance, among many reveals, Google used the conference to showcase its latest version of Android, Android 5.0 Lollipop simply named Android L. The company also unveiled its platform for smartwatches and wearables, Android Wear, its Material Design mantra, Google Fit, Google Glass, Android Auto and Android TV among others.
In the L release, a new Battery Saver mode gives a detailed statistics on what's draining your battery thereby improving performance by making the ART engine the default. We were also introduced to Android Auto. Google took some of its best features to the car. It allowed the user to plug in their phone into their vehicles and the display provides simplified, car-friendly controls for key apps. Some killer new features for the Chromecast were also announced. This included the allowing anyone to cast content to their TV without actually having to connect to the same Wi-Fi network.
So what’s exactly is coming this time round? We are not so sure, but Chrome and the larger family (like the Chromecast) will undoubtedly play a major role.

In addition to the actual conference taking place at San Francisco, Google will hold there I/O Extended event right here, at the Dedan Kimathi University’s DeHUB. There will be live streamed sessions, local developer’s demos, presentations and many more. Everyone is invited to attend. To be part of this great event, kindly register here, it’s absolutely free.  

Follow the updates on twitter: #ioextendedNyeri15. Feel free to ask any question on that hashtag. 
 +Ngesa Marvin 
(Thematic Lead, GDG Kimathi University)       

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