It was a wet and windy journey but we made it to Cambridge in good time ready for the CamJam. I drove with Graham (raspberrypischool.org) and Harry (pibot.org) as passengers.
Unlike our last trip to Cambridge we decided to not bring any show and tell items so we could spend more time looking around and talking to people. We arrived just after the morning workshops were ending and it was good to see so many kids at the venue. To read about the morning Sonic Pi workshops take a look at claremacrae.co.uk.
Despite the threats of floods and road closures we headed into Bristol today to take a look round the DigiMakers event at At-Bristol. The last one we attended was great fun and my son enjoyed the Scratch workshop with robots.
This event was themed around computer games which gave the technology on display a different feel to the robot themed event in November.
Jim Flewker, a retired languages teacher, has written a horse racing game in Python for use with the BerryClip addon board. In the game you select one of six horses using the BerryClip button and then wait for the result of the race.
The result of the race is shown on the command line and via the BerryClip’s 6 LEDs.
If you are lucky your pot of virtual money will grow … but beware … the bookie always wins in the end!
Back in the old days I had an Acer N50 Premium PDA. For the youngsters out there it was like a Smart Phone but without the phone bit, the capacitive touch-screen, memory, apps, GPS or battery life. I mainly used it as a TomTom based sat-nav device connected to a Holux GPSlim236 Bluetooth module.
The module had been sat in a drawer for at least five years and I decided to see if I could get it working with the Raspberry Pi. Surprisingly I didn’t need to charge it as five years later it still powered up fine. It uses what at the time was a standard Nokia phone battery.
By default Raspbian configures the Raspberry Pi serial port (GPIO14-GPIO15) to provide boot-up information. It also allows you to login via a connected device. If you need to use the Pi’s serial port for something else (i.e. a specific add-on board) you will need to disable this default functionality.
It’s something I needed to do when I played with the Ciseco Pi-Lite and luckily isn’t too difficult as the instructions below will hopefully show.
In my Introduction to the GertDuino I explained how it allows the Pi to compile and send code to an Atmega328 micro-controller. In this post I will explain the steps you need to take to get it up and running with an example program called “blink”.
The example is fairly basic and turns on the onboard blue LEDs. Once completed you will have a working system ready for your own experiments. When I started I had never used an Arduino so hopefully this post will help simplify some of things that confused me when I took the board out of the box.
I’ve just recently got hold of a new board by Gert van Loo, the volunteer engineer who helped design the Raspberry Pi. It’s the GertDuino and follows in the footsteps of the Gertboard.
The GertDuino is a an Arduino based add-on board for the Raspberry Pi. It offers the same features as an Arduino Uno but with some additional functionality. What is an Arduino you might be thinking? Well take a look at the Wikipedia page to find out. I’ve never used an Arduino so this seems like a good place to start. I will create blog posts as I learn and will try to present them in a way that they will be useful to someone else that has never used (or heard of) an Arduino.
Today I went to the DigiMakers (aka Raspberry Pi Boot Camp) event held in the @Bristol Science Centre. I had booked a place for my son on the “Controlling a Robotic Rover with Scratch” workshop run by Alan from Dawn Robotics.
The workshop was an hour and a half long and aimed to introduce using Scratch to control a Raspberry Pi powered vehicle. The vehicle had to move around its environment and locate an “artefact” which was in an unknown location. The rover had a camera and was capable of recognising black and white patterns using some basic computer vision.
If I need to edit text files directly on my Raspberry Pi my text editor of choice is nano. There are other text editors available but I prefer nano’s relatively straightforward interface.
As a command line based utility it may feel strange for users who are more familiar with a graphical interface but it is easy to learn the basics. Syntax colouring is available which makes reading and reviewing scripts easy.
As soon as I ordered some Pi NoIR camera modules I also ordered some bits and pieces for testing. This included some standard IR LEDs and a couple of cheap IR CCTV illuminators.
These would allow me to test with the camera module and work out what sort of IR lighting I needed for different applications. Ideally I was looking for suitable lighting for an outdoor security camera and I wanted to workout if it would be easier to use ready made lights or make my own.