Max Holliday – CircuitPython in space, SmallSats and more! @circuitpython @maholli404 @SmallSat @Stanford #KeysightIoTChallenge @zacinaction #KickSat

Max Holliday has been Integrating CircuitPython into many aspects of his PhD research at Stanford University, we had a great time together chatting (video), thank you Max! Topics included:


KickSat-2 development yielded the PyCubed project and after Max’s talk at SmallSat 2019 over 60 universities have reached out wanting to use and/or incorporate PyCubed into the Cubesat development efforts.

Python In Space

All of the radiation testing, data collection, etc … for the research is collected using CircuitPython


Sx1280 On Adafruit

Max is really excited lately with the time-of-flight ranging capability of the Semtech SX1280 radios. So Max built a breakout that fits existing HopeRF footprints and published a working (albeit rough around the edges) CircuitPython library!


Max was in NYC for this Keysight IoT competition. Using the KickSat-2 CircuitPython platform (the small form-factor sprites), Max’s team worked with a chemical engineering group at Stanford to develop a completely new means of measuring ammonia concentrations in water. The mesh network: gateways, sensing nodes, etc… are all using CircuitPython.



Max’s contributions to the maker community and Stanford curriculum include:


Max developed the SAM32 board as a “catch-all” or swiss-army knife for student projects, it’s is now part the curriculum in 5+ courses in the fall.


One example, Eng240, is a MEMS course that’s historically been purely theory-based. However, Prof. Roger Howe and Max have overhauled the class to include labs in the fall. The first of which have students assembling their own SAM32, the second has students designing their own “marco” accelerometer using PCBs. Everything is driven with CircuitPython.



Max is a self described soldering nerd – and was completely dissatisfied with resources online for folks learning to solder. Max made a very polished tutorial with a self-assessment quiz. Then coupled it with a soldering practice + exam board for Stanford students to use.

Blinka In Space-1

We’ll be posting more later, wanted to get this out there now so it made it in to our Python on Hardware newsletter!

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