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Despite significant advancements in technology, there are still many challenges faced by people with disabilities in their daily lives. ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES have the potential to transform the lives of millions of individuals, providing them with greater independence, access, and opportunities. However, there are still many areas where these technologies fall short or simply do not exist.


That's where the Build2gether Inclusive Innovation Challenge comes in. We're calling on innovators worldwide to design cutting-edge technologies that address the unique needs of individuals with disabilities, with a total prize pool worth up to $40,000. This competition is organized by ETH Zurich and hosted by Hackster.io.As a hardware sponsor, M5Stack will provide all-round support for the participants.

Participants are encouraged to build innovative solutions across three themes: GAMING for people with mobility impairments, TRAVELLING for people with mobility impairments, and SWIMMING for people with visual impairments. All themes will run concurrently, allowing participants the flexibility to choose and engage in any or all of them.

But what sets this contest apart is the opportunity to directly engage with representatives of the disability community through Discord channels. Participants will hear firsthand about their problems and needs, and work together to create truly inclusive technologies.

To help participants get started, 250 hardware kits are available for application until August 20, 2023, at 23:59 Pacific Time. M5Stack provides 50 gift cards of 40$ value, which can be used to buy M5Stack hardware, such as the Core2 and other powerful ESP32 microcontrollers as well as multiple sensors. And in addition to gift cards, M5Stack will provide extra support to contestants who choose to use M5Stack hardware.

The competition will end on November 30, 2023, at 23:59 Pacific Time. Join us in building a more inclusive and equitable future for all. Scan the QR code on the image or visit https://www.hackster.io/contests/buildtogether to access the competition page and learn more.



Born on July 2, 2021, the adorable Stack-chan has just celebrated its second birthday!

What is Stack-chan?

The name Stack-chan (スタックチャン) may sound strange, and what is its relationship with M5Stack?

Actually, Stack-chan is an open-source robot project created by a user of M5Stack named Shinya Ishikawa. The name "Stack-chan" comes from the fact that it is built using M5Stack hardware, which is a modular system that allows users to stack different modules together to create custom electronic devices.

"Chan" is the Romanized pronunciation of the Japanese honorific suffix "ちゃん", which is a suffix in Japanese that is often used as a term of endearment or to show familiarity, similar to "dear" or "sweetie" in English.

So, "Stack-chan" is a cute and friendly name that reflects the robot's playful and approachable nature. Due to its cute and interesting appearance, it has gained a lot of popularity among users and even formed a unique subculture.

The exclusive Twitter account for Stack-chan: https://twitter.com/stack_chan

"It's just so cute, you can't stop loving it."

At first, Shinya Ishikawa simply wanted to create a 100% open-source robot, but he never expected that this little robot would be loved by so many people, and even have the potential for mass production in the future.


Shinya noticed that most of the communication robots on the market are "closed", dependent on specific proprietary services, or their specifications are not disclosed to the public, and reaching the end of life as their backend services go by.


"Why don't they make communication robots more open and hackable?" It is the problem and why Stackchan was born. As a solution, He decided to create an open-source robot that anyone could build from scratch. This means that open community, rather than a closed, specific company or individual, will collaborate to grow the robot.


Based on this idea, in 2021, the prototype of Stack-chan was created. The robot consists of a case, an M5Stack’s controller Basic, which is a modular, stackable, and portable device with an ESP32-based microcontroller,  a dedicated expansion board, and firmware. Each component is fully customizable. The functionality as a communication robot is provided in the form of a framework, which users can easily access through applications (mods). M5Basic is equipped with wireless communication functions such as Wi-Fi and BLE, so it can be used with external services, smartphones, and other robots.


The most important feature of Stack-chan is that everything is open.

Stack-chan is open in two aspects.

First, All the resources of Stack-chan are distributed under Apache-2.0 license, including the schematics, the 3D model of the case and the firmware.

Second, Shinya opened up not only the source code and model data for Stack-chan but also the entire process of creating it. In other words, he shared widely the background issues, the decisions I made, the troubles he had, and the mistakes he made so that users can learn how to make and customize Stack-chan. People can follow the process by searching its official Twitter hashtags #stackchan, #スタックチャン on Twitter.

As a result, more than 30 enthusiasts soon began making Stack-chan, with applications ranging from voice assistants to quadruped robots, making Stack-chan's applications diverse and interesting. To date, over 500 users have joined Stack-chan's Discord group.


AI Stack-chan


As more and more users joined, Stack-chan's form and use became more diverse. Earlier this year, Chat-GPT became popular, and many users started trying to connect M5Stack devices to OpenAI's API. User @robo8080 combined Stack-chan and Chat-GPT to create an AI version of Stack-chan. The intelligence level of the AI version of Stack-chan was significantly improved, and it quickly gained a lot of attention and popularity.


Stack-chan themselves has no special mission to solve. They just live. They have multiple communication modalities such as speech and gaze. In despite of its small size, Stack-chan has a very lifelike appearance with its eyes and breathing.


This behavior is achieved by simulating neurophysiological phenomena such as saccadic eye movements.

But who cares about the detail? However, what truly matters is that everyone treats Stack-chan as a real child and loves it dearly. In fact, some users have even started discussing what style of commemorative shirts to create for Stack-chan.


Recently, Nanyang Polytechnic's (NYP) announced the four winning teams for the M5STACK-NYP Exploration Project. 

M5Stack NYP Contest Winner

NYP Diploma in Electronic & Computer Engineering has developed an exciting new course that challenges students to design innovative smart technology solutions for retail, urban farming, smart factories, and healthy lifestyles using M5Stack's products and platform. The 30-hour course is divided into four parts, with a focus on learning about M5Stack and the UIFlow IDE, programming with IoT controllers and sensors, completing assignments and quizzes, and creating group projects.  

IoT projects with esp32 controllers and sensors

As a partner and supplier of software and hardware for this course, M5Stack is thrilled to see the creativity and enthusiasm of the students and believe the benefits of this course go beyond improving learning and increasing students' employability since it also creates opportunities for future technological advancement that will make the world better.

In the following paragraphs, we will introduce the top teams' projects and show how they have used M5Stack's technology to create amazing solutions for some of today's most pressing challenges.

Smart Energy Efficient Urban Farming  

Electricity tariffs in Singapore are rising, and research has shown that factors such as artificial light, plant competition, overwatering and humidity can affect plant growth in urban agriculture. In light of this, this project aims to develop sustainable and energy-efficient practices to address these challenges and promote environmental sustainability in urban agriculture.

To achieve this, the project includes several innovative technologies, such as a height checker that uses a TOF sensor to measure plant growth and plots the data on a dashboard. An automated sunroof adjusts the amount of natural light entering the greenhouse using a light sensor, while a moisture sensor monitors soil moisture levels to prevent overwatering. The project also features an air conditioner that uses the ENV II Unit to regulate temperature and humidity levels in the greenhouse.

Project Link: https://www.hackster.io/anti-semites/smart-energy-efficient-urban-farming-ef4777


Urban farming has become an increasingly popular way for people in urban areas to grow their food, but it also comes with its own set of challenges, including pest management. Traditional chemical insecticides can be harmful to the environment and can contaminate the food grown, making it necessary to develop alternative pest control methods.

This project aims to address the challenge of pest management in urban farming without relying on human intervention or chemical insecticides. The project utilizes  M5stack’s iot controllers and sensor, to simulate an automated pest control system that could be developed to effectively manage pests in urban farms.

It includes an antenna system and a robot to detect and eliminate pests. The antenna system has an automated water sprinkler that sprays garlic-infused water, which is a natural repellent, and produces ultrasound waves that some pests find irritating. If a pest that is resistant to garlic water and ultrasound is detected, the antenna system signals the robot to eliminate the pest.

The robot acts as a natural deterrent to birds and has flashing lights and vacuum guns to eliminate pests. The project offers an alternative solution to traditional chemical insecticides and promotes natural pest control in urban farming.

Project Link: https://www.hackster.io/500784/project-pest-terror-3ba3f2

Bee Integration into Commercial Urban Farms

Many commercial urban farms are closed systems, meaning there are no natural pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and birds to provide pollination to crops that need it. This can result in inefficient manual pollination methods being used, which may decrease crop yield and quality.

The project aims to solve the issue of pollination in commercial urban farms by using sensors to integrate bees into  farms and optimize pollination rates while tracking the health of bees automatically.

To achieve successful integration of bees, the project focuses on two key areas: high crop yield and automation. The solution for achieving high crop yield involves a checkpoint system that counts the number of bees and manipulates their movement to achieve optimal pollination rates. The solution for automation involves using sensors to monitor the temperature and humidity of the beehive and indicating the health of the bees using an LED.

Project Link: https://www.hackster.io/jschong117/bee-integration-into-commercial-urban-farms-9dabb3

Urban Farming Overseer

Urban Farming Overseer With IoT Controllers

Challenges in urban farming include fish deaths due to toxic ammonia levels from fish waste, difficulty growing certain foreign plants due to inadequate weather conditions, mass crop deaths from inconsistent watering in soil-based vertical farms, increased expenses and prices due to manual monitoring of plant and fish health, and reduced crop yield from pest and disease outbreaks.

This system helps urban farmers remotely monitor internal conditions in their farms without needing to manually do it themselves. By measuring ammonia levels in fish farms, moisture levels in soil, and overall temperature and humidity, Urban Farming Overseer allows farmers to quickly identify suboptimal conditions and notify personnel to arrange for more efficient maintenance.

Project link: https://www.hackster.io/gawain2/urban-farming-overseer-eb0fd4

CoreS3 is the third generation core device in the M5Stack development kit series. With a familiar 5*5cm appearance, it's a modular, stackable, scalable and portable device like the previous generation, and is compatible with hundreds of functional modules and sensors,  and supports Arduino IDE and M5Stack’s low-code platform UIFlow, all designed to provide users with a rapid development and prototyping experience.
Three years after the launch of the previous generation Core2, M5Stack has made a breakthrough evolution to CoreS3. Based on the ESP32-S3 chip, CoreS3 includes a camera, an optical sensor, two microphones and a microphone chip, thus it can be used in computer vision, data analysis and other scenarios requiring machine learning and AI/speech recognition.
Based on the ESP32-S3 chip, the CoreS3 is equipped with a dual-core Xtensa LX7 processor that can operate at up to 240MHz, giving it tremendous processing capabilities and a wealth of features.The 2.0-inch capacity touch panel is made of high-strength glass and has a resolution of 320x240.The display effect is sensitive and clear. It boasts a long service life, supports multi-touch, and is wear- and scratch-resistant.
The CoreS3 is equipped with a 30w pixel camera GC0308, an ambient light distance triple sensor LTR-553ALS-WA, a high fidelity 16bits-I2S amplifier chip AW88298 and a 1w speaker as well as an ES7210 audio decoder chip and dual microphones for video and image capture and processing, sound output and playback.
CoreS3 integrates various sensors such as the six-axis attitude sensor BMI270, the magnetometer BMM150 and the RTC chip BM8563 to provide multi-dimensional data acquisition such as acceleration, angular velocity and direction of motion, geomagnetic field strength and geomagnetic direction, as well as precise timing and hibernation-timed wake-up.
It supports WiFi connectivity for wireless communication and remote control, as well as downloading programs via the TYPE-C interface, OTG and CDC functions for external USB devices and burning firmware. And, CoreS3 also features a low power consumption design with the AXP2101 power management chip and a 4-way power flow control loop, allowing for power switching and management.
Moreover, CoreS3 comes by default with a DinBase, an extension base designed for the Core series that can be easily mounted on a Din rail, wall or other flat surface. The DinBase also offers two GROVE interfaces and an M-BUS interface for connecting additional M5Stack modules and sensors.
In short, CoreS3 is a development kit for IoT development, DIY project development, smart home control system, industrial automation control system, computer vision, data analysis etc.  And now, it's available on the M5Stack website, and comings with a UI demo firmware for easy guidance.

on March 6, The International Innovation Policy and Practice Conference was held in Shenzhen, China. Aiming to promote the establishment of the World Innovative Cities Cooperation Organization (WICCO) and build a platform for exchange, cooperation and resource-sharing among the world's leading innovative cities, this meeting brought together in Shenzhen mayors of some of the world's innovative cities, heads of famous technology enterprises, research institutes and venture capital institutions, and representatives of international organizations in China to discuss innovation, seek cooperation, and build an international innovation ecosystem.

Takasu Masakazu, a world-renowned maker, visiting lecturer of Waseda University, and partner of Switch Science Inc., elaborated on the development history and advantages of Shenzhen's hardware supply chain industry and introduced the characteristics of Shenzhen as the world's "Silicon Valley of Hardware". Notably, in his speech, Masakazu Takasu devoted nearly a quarter of his speech to introducing a Shenzhen-based open-source hardware company, M5Stack, to the audience.

What's so special about M5Stack, a company with such a strange-sounding name at first glance?  And why is it being showcased to represent Shenzhen-based open-source hardware companies?

Founded in 2015, M5Stack is a famous Shenzhen-based startup. In Japan, M5Stack is a popular presence among makers. There are 44 operation guide book books about M5Stack on the Japanese Amazon website, and many Japanese companies, universities and colleges use M5Stack for prototyping, validation, teaching and working.

Additionally, many makers all over the world have come to love M5Stack because of its plug-and-play, modular, adaptable, and stacking capabilities. M5Stack also partners with major companies in the industry like Microsoft, Sony, Ericsson, Amazon Web Services, Foxconn, and Siemens.

Link the World by Open Source - the Story of M5Stack

01 The idea

The story of M5Stack began with an idea from the founder Jimmy Lai. He was leaving Southern Grid and found a pile of discarded development boards in a drawer in his studio, which had become useless after having proven the product's functionality. In Jimmy’s opinion, these traditional development boards, with their exposed circuit boards and wires, were not only "crude" in appearance, but also complicated to operate and not conducive to further expansion.

And for individual developers, it can be costly in terms of time, effort and money to turn a rudimentary prototype based on a development board into a product that can be used in everyday scenarios.

"How about developing a modular development kit that could assist developers in swiftly developing and validating their concepts and working directly from idea to product," Jimmy Lai founded his company based on this notion.

02 Open source product system 

The "Stack" product, which has a modular design and a standard size of 5 cm by 5 cm, is plug-and-play, stackable, and extendable. Users can stack the modules with various functionalities to speed up product verification and development, and as a result, "M5Stack" was created. Today, M5Stack has 300+ SKUs, covering the full range of products from embedded controllers and communication modules to sensors, with high performance, reliability, scalability, and quick access to cloud platforms like Azure, and AWS.

03 A convenient graphical platform-UIFlow

Hardware development can be simplified by modular design, but software programming is still a challenge for most individuals. UIFLOW, a low-code graphical programming IDE, was introduced by M5Stack with this problem in mind to offer the greatest experience for prototyping IoT applications from entry-level hobbyists to experienced developers. With UIFLOW, a user can construct a solution out of a single block or use many blocks to achieve more complex scenarios. 

04 Community operations and rapid development

On social media platforms and communities, M5Stack always shares new ideas and real-time product development processes with the fans and makes quick adjustments based on the inspiration and feedback from the users. As a result, it has promoted a positive community culture, with many users regularly offering their thoughts, open-source projects, and practical advice. This has helped to shape what M5Stack is today.