Arm Innovator Tour: Our Tokyo Event Recap

The first Arm Innovator Tour took place across parts of Asia (China, Japan and Taiwan) throughout June 2018. Our goal? To learn about the amazing work being done by developers on Arm technology, connect with our ecosystem and find 10 new talented technical leaders to join the Arm Innovator Program. This blog is part of a series detailing our experience running the first Arm Innovator Tour. 

For our second stop of the tour, we decided to hit Tokyo - one of the most dynamic and futuristic cities in the world, with extremely active Mbed and Raspberry Pi user communities.

Second stop: Tokyo  

Mbed fest, where I had a chance to meet Toyomasa Watarai as well as many members of the Japanese Mbed communityMbed fest, where I had a chance to meet Toyomasa Watarai as well as many members of the Japanese Mbed community

Before reaching Tokyo, I spent a day in Nagoya, where I had a chance to attend the Mbed Fest, a community driven event celebrating innovation on Mbed. This brilliant fest is held in a different part of Japan every four months and has been running for many years thanks to the dedication and commitment of the passionate community members. One of the driving forces behind this community that I had the pleasure to meet is Toyomasa Watarai, Senior Partner Enablement Manager at Arm.

The day started with a micro:bit workshop followed by community members displaying new developments on Mbed. This is the place where I first met with Takehiro Yamaguchi, and his selfie camera that has then become the mascot of our tour!

The weekend was spent gathering energy while strolling around the marvellous Akihabara (秋葉原) that is full of amazing electronic stores packed with brilliant hardware.

Akihabara, Tokyo

Akihabara, Tokyo

Following the Mbed Fest, we wanted to continue connecting with the local developer community so our next stop was a local maker space called Fablab – Kanda Nishikicho. We met with two of Fablab's members, who gave us a tour of the space and showed us some of the very cool digital signage and artistic installations that they have been working on.

Fablab – Kanda Nishikicho

Fablab – Kanda Nishikicho

The day of the event  

 Arm and Hackster.io teams with Eben Upton and Masafumi Ohta, Raspberry Pi

Arm and Hackster.io teams with Eben Upton and Masafumi Ohta, Raspberry Pi 

The event found a natural home in the Stratus Tokyo. The event space was in the start-up hub, Mistletoe, a place aimed at fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.

Community projects presented by some of Tokyo Raspberry Pi community members

Community projects presented by some of the Tokyo Raspberry Pi community members

Eben Upton was one of our keynote speakers so it was fantastic to have such a strong Raspberry Pi community presence at the event. Many of the projects showcased at our event were by local community members and interestingly, most of the projects had been developed using the ultra-low cost Raspberry Pi 0, compared to the bigger boards.

Our first speaker for the evening was Rex St. John, Senior Manager for the IoT Ecosystem at Arm. He provided a brief overview about how Arm and the Innovator Program support developers.

Rex St. John, Sr. Manager, IoT Ecosystem at Arm

Rex St. John, Sr. Manager, IoT Ecosystem at Arm

Rex Introduced the Arm Innovator Program, Arm Project Trillium (a new suite of AI enabling technologies), Platform Security Architecture (a framework to shift the economics of designing in security at IoT scale) and DesignStart (a program that provides the fastest, simplest route to custom silicon).  

Eben Upton, Founder of Raspberry Pi

Eben Upton, Founder of Raspberry Pi

Our keynote speaker for this event was Eben Upton, Founder of Raspberry Pi. Eben talked about the history of the organisation, and where they are up to now with 20,000 Raspberry Pis being shipped - every single day! He estimates that “over half of the Raspberry Pis sold go into industrial applications”, highlighting the Foundation’s efforts to ensuring developers have everything they need to be successful and go to production. Eben encourages developers to use Raspberry Pi compute modules to-go-to scale, leveraging on the economy of scale and the investments made in performance and stability.

Education remains an important focus for the Foundation. Eben illustrated how The Raspberry Pi Foundation is now broadening its reach with Code Club and Coder Dojo. These are platforms that will help the organisation to make Eben’s vision a reality. In his own words, “we need to give engineering the benefit of young people and young people the benefit of engineering.

Austin Blackstone, Developer Evangelist for Mbed

Austin Blackstone, Developer Evangelist for Mbed

Next up we had Austin Blackstone, developer evangelist for Mbed (Arm’s cloud and edge solution for IoT). Austin introduced the uTensor framework, an open source project designed to enable deep learning and AI on microcontrollers. The uTensor framework was created to help developers run their deep learning models on low-cost, low-energy Arm devices.  

Johan Euphrosine, developer programs engineer for Google introducing Android Things.

Johan Euphrosine, developer programs engineer for Google introducing Android Things.

Following Austin, we had Johan Euphrosine, developer programs engineer for Google. Johan introduced Android Things, explaining how Google has created an optimized version of Android for embedded devices, achieving a faster boot time and a smaller memory footprint. Android Things enables developers to build fast prototypes and then seamlessly move to production with the System-on-Modules (SoMs), based on Arm processors.

We also heard from Aki Mizutani, Sr. FAE for Silicon Labs, who provided an overview of the wide variety of products and platforms available to the Japanese ecosystem.  

Arm Innovator open-mic session 

The second half of the evening saw numerous speakers from the local community joining us on stage to share their projects during our open-mic session. Speakers included:

Alex Glow Developer Advocate – Hackster.io
Yoshihiro Tsuboi Vice President of Product, GM of Japan – Seeed
Masafumi Ohta Founder Raspberry Pi Users Group Tokyo
Koichi Nakamura CEO Idein Inc
Daryl Binks Senior Application Support Engineer – BNP Paribas
Genki Shiozawa CEO Webiot
Takehiro Yamaguchi Manager – Nada Electronics
Hitoshi Kikuchi Director, Smart IoT Division – SoftBank Corp.


Alex Glow, Developer Advocate at Hackster.io

Alex Glow, Developer Advocate at Hackster.io

Alex Glow, from Hackster, started off the second part of the evening by introducing her creation, Archimedes, an owl based on the DIY Vision Kit from Google that reacts to people’s emotions. She also talked about the thriving Hackster community and the many original community projects that are being shared with Hackster, including the series of projects from the Arm Innovators. Learn more about the Arm Innovators and their projects.

Yoshihiro Tsuboi, VP of Product, GM of Japan for Seeed

Yoshihiro Tsuboi, VP of Product, GM of Japan for Seeed

We then heard from Yoshihiro Tsuboi, VP of Product, GM of Japan for Seeed, about what Seeed is offering to developers and how they are enabling new IoT solutions to be developed by the local community.

Masafumi Ohta, founder of the Tokyo Raspberry Pi users group

Masafumi Ohta, founder of the Tokyo Raspberry Pi users group

Another great talk was given by Masafumi Ohta. His energy and passion are contagious. He is an outstanding advocate for the open source community and its potential.

During his talk he presented a plethora of great innovations from various members of the community. A very interesting project he introduced was the cucumber sorting system based on Raspberry Pi, a camera and deep learning, which were developed by an engineer trying to automate its parents farm. This may seem like a simple system but it demonstrates how a single engineer, when part of a supporting developer group and having access to open source resources, can easily innovate successfully improving everyday life for the community.

Koichi Nakamura, CEO Idein Inc

Koichi Nakamura, CEO Idein Inc

It was exciting to hear Koichi Nakamura, CEO of Idein, speak about his server based on Pi-zeros, as well as Pi-zero drone HATs and many other very interesting creations.

Daryl Binks, BNP Paribas

Daryl Binks, BNP Paribas

Daryl Binks spoke about his very own innovative approach to gold panning. In his spare time Daryl has created a Raspberry Pi-based gold panner that allowed him to be much more efficient in finding gold during the Australian Gold Panning Championship last year!

Takehiro Yamaguchi, from NADA electronics, showing his selfie camera to Eben Upton, Founder of Raspberry Pi

Takehiro Yamaguchi, from NADA electronics, showing his selfie camera to Eben Upton, Founder of Raspberry Pi

Interested in finding out more?  

We had a great time in Tokyo experiencing the culture, witnessing the innovation, meeting the local tech community and hearing all about their projects. We hope to return to Tokyo soon, thanks for reading!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Innovator Program, or if you’d like to share your innovation based on Arm technologies, click on the link below. 

Learn more about the Arm Innovator Program

Thank you to everyone that joined us in Tokyo!

Thank you to everyone that joined us in Tokyo!

Anonymous