Meet An ODROIDian: Laurent Caneiro

ODROID Magazine Meet An ODROIDian - Figure 0 - 2017_10_22_Laurent_01

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 40 years old and was born in Bordeaux, France. I live now in Los Angeles in California, with my wonderful wife Nathalie and my young daughter Hanaé, who is four years old. I work for DreamWorks animation studios as an animator. I have been working in the animation industry since 2000. I have worked on movies like “How to Train Your Dragon 1 and 2”, “Puss in Boots”, “Kung Fu Panda 3”, “Trolls” and a few more. I’m currently working on “How to train your Dragon 3” which is due to be released in March 2019. Prior to DreamWorks, I worked for several animation studios in Luxembourg, France, Belgium and Spain), which allowed me to discover different countries along with building my experience.

ODROID Magazine Figure 1 - Laurent at his workstation at DreamWorks Animation
Figure 1 – Laurent at his workstation at DreamWorks Animation

What is your educational background?
I was not very studious when I was younger, which placed me in a tricky situation at the end of middle school. I basically couldn’t choose my branch, and my only choice was between secretarial and accounting studies. I chose accounting, even though I didn’t even know what it was all about, but I studied 4 years of accounting anyway and eventually got my diploma. Fortunately, I never stopped drawing and painting during my spare time, and after my accounting studies, I decided to attempt the entrance examination of an animation school in Luxembourg (L.T.A.M.) and I passed it! That is when I fell in love with animation.

How did you get started with computers?
I started with computers when I was 8 or 9. At the time, I had a computer called Thompson TO7-70, which was released in France only I believe. I mainly played games with it, but my initiation in programming also started here. The computer used the BASIC language, and since my parents subscribed to a monthly BASIC magazine, I was able to learn a few things and start playing with the language.

ODROID Magazine Figure 2 - Laurent’s first computer, a Thompson T07-70
Figure 2 – Laurent’s first computer, a Thompson T07-70

I’m not a programmer and my knowledge is pretty limited in this area, but I’m fascinated with it. I’m self-taught and I like to write useful little tools to make my day to day easier at work. I mainly use Shell script language, but I also use Python, Squirrel, C/C++ and other languages sometimes.

What attracted you to the ODROID platform?
I had a project in mind that I really wanted to realize. I first bought a Raspberry Pi 2, which is a great micro-controller, but it wasn’t powerful enough for my needs, so I investigated other boards as a replacement. I found the Hardkernel website and discovered the XU4. I was impressed by the specifications, but I also wanted to know if the community was big enough, so I went to the ODROID forums and did a lot of reading. After a few hours, my conclusion was that the forum was very active and the members were always available to help and were technically excellent. I decided to buy an XU4 and migrate my current project onto it.

How do you use your ODROID?
I use my ODROID as a retro gaming console. I have been working on this project since 2015, because I’m very slow. My project is split in two pieces of hardware, one is the console itself and the other one is an arcade joystick for 2 players. For the console, I use a tiny PC case which I slightly modified, I designed an acrylic plate in which I attached all my components (XU4, USB hub, voltage regulator, HDD).

ODROID Magazine Figure 3 - Laurent has been building a custom gaming console since 2015
Figure 3 – Laurent has been building a custom gaming console since 2015
ODROID Magazine Figure 4 - Inside Laurent’s custom-built gaming console
Figure 4 – Inside Laurent’s custom-built gaming console

For the joysticks, I completely designed it from scratch, it’s also done with acrylic sheets. I use an Arduino combined with a RGB module board to control all the RGB leds inside the buttons. I use an IPAC2 to communicate between the button switches and the XU4. The hardware part is completely done and fully functional, I’m working now on the software side. I started with the OGST image from @meveric, but I’m customizing everything and I’m adding plenty of features to make it look unique and attractive.

ODROID Magazine Figure 5 - The joysticks that Laurent designed for his gaming console are a work of art!
Figure 5 – The joysticks that Laurent designed for his gaming console are a work of art!

Which ODROID is your favorite and why?
It’s very hard for me to tell, since I only own the ODROID-XU4, but I really love this board.

What innovations would you like to see in future Hardkernel products?
I would like to see a board with an integrated Wifi module, an efficient cooling solution available for it that would avoid any throttle when the CPUs are working at a 100% load, and a great GPU support on Linux.

What hobbies and interests do you have apart from computers?
I enjoy photography, and play guitar and piano.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to learn more about programming?
tart with a friendly language with a great support on the Internet, so that you can always find solutions to your problems. Challenge yourself with fun little projects. Don’t try to go too big too fast, because you need to challenge yourself step-by-step so that you can learn and stay motivated at the same time. You don’t want to feel completely overwhelmed with something which is way too complicated for a beginning project. If you plan your progress slowly, you will always be ready to solve the next problem that you’ll be facing.
I personally do what I call a “blocking” before starting an “elaborate” code, which is to create a schematic view of what I want to do on paper, so that I have an overview of my entire code before starting it. I also recommend using the Internet as much as you can as an education resource.

You can learn more about Laurent and his portfolio by visiting his website at http://www.laurentcaneiro.com/, and his IMDB profile at http://www.imdb.com/name/nm3140121/.

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