Friday, 7 December 2012

3 Simple Scratch Tutorials

Here are 3 simple tutorials to get you started in Scratch. You will need a TES login for some of these, but most UK teachers will already have one and it only takes about 30 seconds to enter some details for everybody else. Click on the games to play and download them from the main Scratch Website.

Platformer using minimal code

Really uses very little code and students can spend their time making the perfect platformer.

Scratch Project


Everybody loves to fly spaceships and in this game you get to design a ship and move it around:

I developed this code into Space Rescue 2 to demonstrate how far Scratch could be pushed:
Scratch Project

Zap Bad Guys

This game is addictive and despite the ridiculously simple graphics, students love to play it. There is plenty of room for expansion both graphically and levels. 

Scratch Project

More Tutorials

Great Website with lots of enjoyable games to make.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Green Screen Studio or a TV and Raspberry Pi?

When you have a friend with an OFSTED inspection, hoping to teach an invigorating Maths lesson. You could go out and get a Green Screen Studio, multi-million pounds worth of special effects budget and some professionals in... Or you could leave it to us to knock it up for next to nothing....

So how did we do it?  

Well firstly, we used a Samsung Camcorder, a script, a nearby television and a video source on a loop. (The Raspberry Pi played the video)   We then edited in some library footage and we had a video ready to go.

Look for yourself, considering the DIY nature of the set-up it performed pretty well and opens up a wide range of applications. Imagine the possibilities for students to film themselves anywhere with anything in the background.

The Maths exercises to go with the video can be found at:

Monday, 3 December 2012

Game Editors Roundup

It would seem that every time I turn my back there is another games Editor. The classic and probably the one that started the genre is Scratch. Very simple to get started, ideal for primary, but limited in functionality. Scratch  (

Microsoft then thought they could make one for X-Box and Windows 7 and make it 3d to boot. Kodu was born: It's a lot of fun and a great introduction to some of the key concepts, the only real limiting factor is that you can't design your own sprites.

Now the real gap in the market has been to find something that's a bit more substantial than these kits, but not as complicated as a full-blown programming language.

Html 5 based
Tululoo -
Construct2 -

Java based
Greenfoot -

App Development
Stencylworks -
GameSalad -
Game Editor -
Game Maker -

For advanced users we have some very advanced kit, but the catch is that you really need to have at least grasped the basics before tackling a large project.

Programming language
Python & PyGame

3d Games kit
Tool for video game development, architectural visualizations, and interactive media installations

If you know of more then please, add it in the comments box.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

National Poetry Day: The Computer Swallowed Grandma

By Valerie Waite, Derbyshire England

The computer swallowed grandma.
Yes, honestly its true.
She pressed 'control' and 'enter'
And disappeared from view.

It devoured her completely,
The thought just makes me squirm.
She must have caught a virus
Or been eaten by a worm.

I've searched through the recycle bin
And files of every kind;
I've even used the Internet,
But nothing did I find.

In desperation, I asked Jeeves
My searches to refine.
The reply from him was negative,
Not a thing was found 'online.'

So, if inside your 'Inbox,'
My Grandma you should see,
Please 'Copy', 'Scan' and 'Paste' her
And send her back to me!

I thought I'd share this little poem in honour of national poetry Day. Students really enjoyed an unusual start to ICT lessons.

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

How Lego could lead the way for Raspberry Pi in attracting girls

In 2007 LEGO realised it had a problem attracting girls to play with their bricks, so they did an anthropological study. The results although not entirely surprising are a lesson for anybody planning to encourage girls into Computer Science and other subjects traditionally considered to be less girly.

Lego suffered from an aesthetic deficit. “The greatest concern for girls really was beauty,” says Hanne Groth, Lego’s market research manager. Beauty, on the face of it, is an unsurprising virtue for a girl-friendly toy, but based on the ways girls played, Groth says, it came, as “mastery” had for boys, to stand for fairly specific needs: harmony (a pleasing, everything-in-its-right-place sense of order); friendlier colors; and a high level of detail.

“It was an education,” recalls Fenella Blaize Holden, an under-30 British designer, on the process of getting Lego Friends made. “No one could understand, why do we need more than one handbag? So I’d have to say, well, is one sword enough for the knights, or is it better to have a dagger, too? And then they’d come around.”

Lego confirmed that girls favor role-play, but they also love to build—just not the same way as boys. Whereas boys tend to be “linear”—building rapidly, even against the clock, to finish a kit so it looks just like what’s on the box—girls prefer “stops along the way,” and to begin storytelling and rearranging. Lego has bagged the pieces in Lego Friends boxes so that girls can begin playing various scenarios without finishing the whole model. Lego Friends also introduces six new Lego colors—including Easter-egg-like shades of azure and lavender. (Bright pink was already in the Lego palette.)

Then there are the lady figures. Twenty-nine mini-doll figures will be introduced in 2012, all 5 millimeters taller and curvier than the standard dwarf minifig. There are five main characters. Like American Girl Dolls, which are sold with their own book-length biographies, these five come with names and backstories. Their adventures have a backdrop: Heartlake City, which has a salon, a horse academy, a veterinary clinic, and a cafĂ©. “We had nine nationalities on the team to make certain the underlying experience would work in many cultures,” says Nanna Ulrich Gudum, senior creative director.

The key difference between girls and the ladyfig and boys and the minifig was that many more girls projected themselves onto the ladyfig—she became an avatar. Boys tend to play with minifigs in the third person. “The girls needed a figure they could identify with, that looks like them,” says Rosario Costa, a Lego design director. The Lego team knew they were on to something when girls told them, “I want to shrink down and be there.”

Raspberry Pi with PiBow casing
The Lego Friends team is aware of the paradox at the heart of its work: To break down old stereotypes about how girls play, it risks reinforcing others. “If it takes color-coding or ponies and hairdressers to get girls playing with Lego, I’ll put up with it, at least for now, because it’s just so good for little girls’ brains,” says Lise Eliot. A neuroscientist at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago, Eliot is the author of Pink Brain Blue Brain, a 2009 survey of hundreds of scientific papers on gender differences in children. “Especially on television, the advertising explicitly shows who should be playing with a toy, and kids pick up on those cues,” Eliot says. “There is no reason to think Lego is more intrinsically appealing to boys.”

So one can see why iPads and Apple Macs might be the first choice of discerning ladies, because the aesthetics are pleasing to the eye.

Our challenge in Computer Science is to make it more social, to make it more design oriented and to show that it has value for both genders.  Quite frankly there's no reason why Computer Science is not seen as an excellent career choice for both genders. Perhaps even something as simple as PiBow could make Computer Science more attractive. I know my five year old daughter loves its colours and design.

There are some fantastic projects such as that being done by London Zoo, the Bird box from Manchester University and social media programming that should be equally attractive to boys and girls.

Read more about Lego study at:

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Building a Super Pi

A team at Southampton University have built a SuperComputer using 64 Raspberry Pis and LEGO.

The team, led by Professor Simon Cox, consisted of Richard Boardman, Andy Everett, Steven Johnston, Gereon Kaiping, Neil O’Brien, Mark Scott and Oz Parchment, along with Professor Cox’s son James Cox (aged 6) who provided specialist support on Lego and system testing.

Professor Cox comments: “As soon as we were able to source sufficient Raspberry Pi computers we wanted to see if it was possible to link them together into a supercomputer. We installed and built all of the necessary software on the Pi starting from a standard Debian Wheezy system image and we have published a guide so you can build your own supercomputer.”

The racking was built using Lego with a design developed by Simon and James, who has also been testing the Raspberry Pi by programming it using free computer programming software Python and Scratch over the summer. The machine, named “Iridis-Pi” after the University’s Iridis supercomputer, runs off a single 13 Amp mains socket and uses MPI(Message Passing Interface) to communicate between nodes using Ethernet. The whole system cost under £2,500 (excluding switches) and has a total of 64 processors and 1Tb of memory (16Gb SD cards for each Raspberry Pi). Professor Cox uses the free plug-in ‘Python Tools for Visual Studio’ to develop code for the Raspberry Pi.

Professor Cox adds: “The first test we ran – well obviously we calculated Pi on the Raspberry Pi using MPI, which is a well-known first test for any new supercomputer.”

“The team wants to see this low-cost system as a starting point to inspire and enable students to apply high-performance computing and data handling to tackle complex engineering and scientific challenges as part of our on-going outreach activities.”

James Cox says: “The Raspberry Pi is great fun and it is amazing that I can hold it in my hand and write computer programs or play games on it.”

Make your own at:

Friday, 7 September 2012

Cycling to Power Your Pi

It turns out that its relatively easy to power a Pi via cycling. You simply require a Dynamo and the appropriate kit. Whilst this is not a cheap way to power it and will require plenty of pedal power it is very environmentally friendly and enables people to use computers where otherwise it would not be possible.
This is one aspect of the Raspberry Pi that makes it very suitable for use in places where you would not normally put a computer.   If you are interested in using a Bicycle to power electronics you can find out more at:

Imagine where computers could go and you would not have to worry about the power. Of course another way to power it is with a Wind up mechanism and these can be bought for less than a tenner!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Rapberry Pi Now made in the UK

Sony UK Technology Centre (UKTec) in Wales will be manufacturing the Raspberry Pi version 2.0. They will initially manufacture 30,000 units and it will create 30 new jobs.

Mike Buffham, Global Head of EDE at Premier Farnell commented: “When it came to reviewing our manufacturing strategy we were always keen to bring the production of the Raspberry Pi to the UK. From the outset Sony UK Technology Centre demonstrated its enthusiasm for the product as well as its expertise in manufacturing.  Their site is highly impressive and I am very confident that the team in Wales can deliver, providing us with a high-quality product, within our designated timeframe, all within budget.  The Sony brand is known for its quality and to have its broadcast manufacturing site on board and building the Raspberry Pi product, within the UK, is very exciting.

“Since the Raspberry Pi was launched globally in February 2012 it has been a tremendous success story. The younger generation have been fascinated in learning how to build and programme their own computer device.  As such we have had huge interest from educational institutions in purchasing the product, innovative design engineers who are using the computer for exciting new applications and also the general public.”

Eben Upton, Co-Founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation said: “When Pete Lomas and I built the first Raspberry Pi’s for testing last year, we never dreamed it would become so popular so quickly.  The Raspberry Pi was built to develop young people’s skills in computer programming and electronic engineering; we had always intended and hoped that the Raspberry Pi would also be manufactured within the UK. We’re really delighted that Premier Farnell has been able to find such a reliable manufacturer as the Sony UK Technology Centre.  By bringing the production of a UK product back into the country alongside its development and distribution, we can help support our economy and demonstrate the capabilities the UK has in terms of technological innovation, invention, and manufacturing.

“We look forward to continuing our work with Premier Farnell and now, the Sony UK Technology Centre, in the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s next stage of growth.”

In the assembly of the Raspberry Pi, Sony UKTec will be investing in additional equipment to fulfil the order requirements, providing flexibility and scalability to cater for potential increases in demand. This will include additional automated circuit board equipment and double side reflow machinery.  Furthermore, the site will be extending its manufacturing process capability to include a technique called package-on-package (PoP). This process allows the processor and memory to be stacked on top of each other, reducing the PCB footprint and the distance that high-speed signals need to travel, improving overall reliability.

Steve Dalton OBE, Managing Director of Sony UK Technology Centre, stated; “...the Raspberry Pi Foundation, encompasses our view on developing young people’s knowledge of the technology industry.  Organisations like this one help build the technologists of our future by inspiring the next generation.”

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Video Tutorials from Liam Fraser

Liam has worked diligently on the Raspberry Pi something you can hear him talk about it in his presentation for Cambridge Raspberry Jam.

He has created a whole series of videos for the Raspberry Pi and a visit to his channel should be a first port of call for Raspberry Pi Newbies.

He is also a regular writer for Linux User and if you are getting into the Pi and Linux a subscription wouldn't half be a bad idea!  (Shameless Plug)

It also just shows what our young people can achieve when they put their minds to it!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Pi Face Video Presentation

Pi-Face Digital enables the Raspberry Pi to control and manipulate the real world. It allows the Raspberry Pi to read switches connected to it – a door sensor or pressure pad perhaps, a microswitch or reed switch, or a hand held button. With appropriate easy to write code, the Raspberry Pi then drives outputs, powering motors, actuator, LEDs, light bulbs or anything you can imagine to respond to the inputs.  It has the following features:
  • Allows you to control lights, motors etc.
  • Sense inputs
  • Creditcard size, stacks on top of Raspberry Pi
  • Buffered to protect the Raspberry Pi
  • Easy to connect with screw terminals
  • Program in Scratch or Python
  • Test with onscreen simulator

Dr Andrew Robinson presented PiFace at the Cambridge RaspberryJam, here is his presentation in full. Thank you to Leon for the high quality video.  

Further details can be found at:

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Big Trak Your Raspberry Pi

At the Raspberry Jam in Cambridge, one of the highlights was driving a Big Trak around the stage!  It was an amazing bit of kit and one can only imagine the possibilities of what it could be used for in future!

I've been asked quite a few questions about this project and I can now exclusively reveal that the author of the project is Leo White. Not only a whiz with RISC OS, but also has quite the talent with Electronics. Now if the following doesn't scare you, then I am sure you will be able to make your own Big Traks in no-time, but seriously this is NOT for the faint hearted. Remember Leo also enjoys hacking operating systems in his spare time...So here is what he did.

He stripped out the motor unit from the Big Trak, removing the existing controller board and then he connected a replacement motor driver chip. He then hard coded the circuit to control the motors, connected his Raspberry Pi, got that to control it and added an extra mobile phone type battery to power the Pi and extra electronics.

When he came to Cambridge, he of course tidied it all up... After all you can't be shabby when coming to the Uni!  And he told me that in the last couple of days he's been working on the rocket launcher!

You can keep an eye on his progress at his Google+ page:  and he says that he'll be putting instructions together at some point, but we'd better not disturb this genius at work. 

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Raspberry Jam Cambridge Presentations

Firstly I would like to thank everybody who has been involved in the Raspberry Jam and #TMEast yesterday it was an amazing success.  The presenter list below reads like a who is who of the Raspberry Pi Team and the foundation have been fantastic in supporting this event, especially Liz Upton who has helped out so much with PR for the event.

I would like to mention a few names that weren’t really at the front during the presentations yesterday, but were instrumental to making this happen, Graham Hastings who will be taking over the ‘local’ Cambridge event in September.  From the university, I’d like to thank Jon Crowcroft who did a wonderful job with the venue and Ian Burton-Palmer who also helped us with our numerous technical enquiries.  From CAS,  Simon Humphreys, Claire Davenport and Mark Dorling who very kindly sponsored the event.  Leon Cychs and Rosie Slosek who did the video and sound.   Mark Ellis from my school who was at the front constantly rewiring the system to keep the event going and kept a very cool head when we lost all sound 10 minutes before the event started.  Keith Dunlop’s RISC OS support team Bryan Hogan and Leo White.  There were four other key people who were constantly buzzing around and helping me with too many tasks to mention: Isabell Long, Neil Turner, Roeland Schumacher and Dima Tupikov, my wife Min Chee Shee, Alan's wife for giving him a day pass, Myra VanInwengan for lending me her Raspberry Pi Alpha and setting up the Lego set and finally the Preston Posse who just appeared and instantly jumped into help.

Secondly, I have tried to put together as many of the resources as possible from yesterday and I am aware that it isn’t a complete list, but I’ll edit the Blog as needs be.

Introductory Video

Presentations in Alphabetical Order

James Abela @eslweb
Using Scratch to teach Economics
10 Raspberry Pi Lesson ideas

Mark Allen @edintheclouds
Google Docs, Apps & Sites

Jo Badge @jobadge
Secret Google Searches

Sheli Blackburn Digital @shelibb
Digital Leader Network

Martin Burrett @ictmagic
Using sixth formers' mobile devices as an AfL tool

Keith Dunlop

Jamie Freeman @imvoto
Using sixth formers' mobile devices as an AfL tool

Liam Fraser @FraserLiam

Dr. Oliver Frey MD @DrOliverFreyMD
Teaching Health Skills

William Gardiner
USB real-time PC I/O controller

Maggie Hos-McGrane
Introduction to International Baccalaureate programmes

Andy Knill @aknill

Dr Andrew Robinson
PiFace IO Interface Board



Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Getting ready for Cambridge Raspberry Jam

It is a busy week with plenty to be done for the Raspberry Jam in Cambridge. The T-Shirts are ready, the Twitter Campaign is going well and I think we'll have plenty of people coming.

We've also got a fantastic line-up of speakers including Andrew Robinson of PiFace fame, Liam Fraser of the RasPi Tutorials and Keith Dunlop who is working on RISC OS.

Then there is the panel who John Naughton is chairing with Eben and Liz from the foundation and Alan from Raspberry Jam Preston.

We then host #TMEast with another line up of fantastic speakers. We've got a team from Google, Ann who is an amazing English teacher, two cracking geographers and a really innovative Maths teacher.

So I hope to see as many of my readers as possible and I will continue to share my ideas for teaching and using the Raspberry Pi.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

At the Opposite Extreme we have Chromium OS

I was super excited to hear about RISC OS making a comeback and then today I heard that they are planning Chromium OS for Raspberry Pi. Talk about opposites when it comes to OS. (Initial commit here.)  You see, Chromium is designed to make the most of the browser. It's designed for an always connected world where most of the stuff you want to do is on the Internet.

It is a great OS for the Pi, because it has the possibility of use in a truly embedded environment. It turns any semi-decent TV into a properly Internet enabled TV.   For possible consumer products it's great and if done well it will make high quality, fast, Web browsing a real feature of the Pi.

Of course that completely flies in the face of having a computer you can really play with under the hood. But the real difference with the Pi is that for the first time in a long time, it doesn't matter all you need for yet another OS is another SD Card.

That makes my OS Deathmatch lesson a whole lot more exciting...

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bringing RISC OS back to life

Picture courtesy of
There's a team hard at work to bring RISC OS to the Raspberry Pi. They've already got a pre-alpha version up and running, which can do vector graphics using Artworks. (Became Xara) Although most people remember the operating system from the early 1990's and associated it with Acorn. It has still continued to be developed by a loyal band of developers and has a non-profit license that enables people to try it for free, but profit-making companies are charged the princely sum of £20.

Furthermore it was designed to be run on specs far lower than the Raspberry Pi, so if it can be made truly native again without the need for too many services to be emulated, then it would run extremely fast.  From an educational point of view there's a large number of pros to using the OS:

1. Large number of educational applications already in existence
2. The best version of BBC Basic
3. A mature windowing system that is highly responsive
4. Excellent task management, which looks after every last KB and values every last scrap of memory.
5. Developed for ARM processors from the start.

Acorn who made RISC OS at the time was also the birthplace of many world-class inventions including the ARM chip, Sibelius, Artworks (Became Xara), Tomb Raider and ARM linux.

Bringing back a Super version of RISC OS would be a joy to behold!

Update: The RISC OS team have confirmed their attendance at the Cambridge Raspberryjam event!

About the Author: This Blog is being written by a shamelessly biased source who actually used to work for Acorn at the time the StrongARM came out.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

The future is tablets...

The future for primary schools is tablets. Think about it. They don't require their own rooms, provide beautiful colours, animations and an interface that's intuitive which weirdly is why the Pi is so important! Graham Hastings is leading the charge to make sure that what's left over gets spent on something that enables some real computing to take place. I'm really looking forward to his presentation on the 14th. I know it will be a highlight of #tmeast and what the Pi brings is room to imagine. That's what is magical about it and that's why we need to help the Pi in every way we can. Visit event page

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Pi for Nurseries and Early Years

When I first started playing with the Raspberry Pi I thought it would be a great tool for teaching Computer Science and Design and Technology, but then I thought wouldn't it also be wonderful at the other extreme. Where children and possibly teachers have no computer knowledge at all.

Think about it. It plugs-in, boots and goes to a menu screen. Children use a large Tracker-ball to navigate around and all this for under £100.  Imagine Interactive books, Colouring pages, videos and a whole host of other materials that could be put on.

There's no need for Multitasking, networking or anything complicated. If the program crashes, switch off and start again. The great advantage is that the Screen and Raspberry Pi can be kept out of the little one's reach and just the tracker-ball needs to be touchable. All you need is a cheap DVI Monitor, Large trackball and a Pi!  Children love Sandbox style play and in classes they could click on an Avatar of themselves for personal settings or it could literally be a sandbox with no set-up at all. 

Open Source Linux Software example -

There's quite a good selection of Linux software already available and if we developed the tools, interactive books could be developed very quickly indeed.

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

What's a Raspberry Jam Like?

Dan went to Manchester's Raspberry Jam yesterday and he clearly had a good time, "Yesterday I had the privilege of attending Manchester's first Raspberry Pi event, called (what else?) theRaspberry Jam, hosted by Madlab. It turned out to be a great day, and I'm glad everyone braved the rain to make it."  You can read more on his Blog.

So that's Manchester done, but what can you expect to see in the Cambridge Event and in short, EVERYTHING! 

But here's a few of the confirmed highlights:
  • The Raspberry Pi team will be around to show the very latest apps and developments
  • Gertboard Rev3 demo, which can be used to:  flash LEDs on and off, drive motors, run sensors and all that other fun stuff.Various Operating Systems and flavours of Linux
  • Beginner Guides
  • How it can be used in Education
  • Games Old and New
  • Cool Programming Gadgets
The event has been split into 3 parts. In the first half there's a hands-on session and because even in Cambridge we can only manage so many Raspberry Pis and kit, we've had to strictly limit tickets.

However even if you can't get a ticket, you should fit in the main theatre for the Q&A session.

After the Raspberryjam we're then hosting an event aimed at teachers, because we want to make sure technology gets into their hands. There will be presentations on using the Pi, but also on a wide range of other subjects.  Everybody is welcome to stay, but those not in education are welcome to head home or to the pub!  If you are a teacher, this is the ONLY event I know that you'll literally be able to walk away with an entire ICT & Computing Curriculum for your school and there's also plenty for other subjects too.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Let the kids hack the operating system to pieces

Half the techies in schools I know, don't even know what Linux is! Bandy words around like Debian, repositories and dependencies and it will fly over there heads.  The one thing, they know is that they certainly do not want somebody messing with the programs, never mind and the operating system processes and certainly not the OS itself.That's one of the beauties of the Raspberry Pi. You don't actually have to tell the school technicians and give them a heart attack!

Of course I also manage a network of PCs in my school and frankly, downtime is a killer and so I completely understand the technician's point of view. Fun it maybe for the students, but its a lot of extra work for them.

So why is it not a problem with the Raspberry Pi!  Well firstly the OS is on an SD Card, so if the kids mess it up, the worst that can happen is you reformat the card and copy the OS over again. Let's have a look at what Operating Systems and distros you can play with:

  • Arch
  • Debian
  • Fedora
  • Gentoo
  • Puppy
  • Raspbian
  • Amiga OS
  • Android
  • Symbian
  • QTonPi

Admittedly not all of these are fully working yet, but even if you just use the ones that are stable there's a lot of potential to play with the system!

Windows 8 - Not for now
They keep on talking about Windows 8, but the instruction set isn't compatible, that's not to say that in a couple of years time the Pi won't get an upgrade and then there's a chance it will work.  Microsoft have been incredibly generous to Education over the years and if they thought it is going to be worthwhile, then I think they'd do it!  The only OS I'm pretty sure isn't going to be there is iOS and that's not because it wouldn't work, but Apple hold onto their toys with a viper like grip!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Bringing back the golden age of space exploration: Elite!

Today we had the exciting news from @Jojoreloaded (Not a Twitter handle I'm afraid) that he's ported Frontier, which is the sequel to Elite and I can't wait to play that, but then I thought how difficult would it be to get the original game running again?  It turns out, not very difficult at all.   All you need is a Linux based BBC Emulator.  I selected B-EM  for the Pi, but also BEEBEm should work too. I believe the software is now abandonia and without putting too fine a point on it, here's the link to Ian Bell's page with the download.  (Some of the links on the page are broken, but the disc image is fine)

So now we're ready to play the finest Space simulation ever made! Of course we can't wait to get RISC OS back online to play the Archimedes version.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

How to make your own Arcade machine real cheap!

What a nice way to spend some of the summer holidays than to make a little Arcade Cabinet.  For this project you will need:
1. Raspberry Pi (About £25)
2. A version of Linux, no need for any fluffy windows, boot it straight into MAME. Details here.
3. An old Monitor / TV (An adaptor if no HDMI)
4. Joystick of some sort. You can buy USB pads for next to nothing. (May also need a 4 way adaptor)
5. Some design ideas for the cabinet and materials. Or you can buy ready-made ones.

You can comfortably do this for £200 and if you do everything yourself and haggle at every step, I reckon it's possible to do it for £100. Way cheaper than the £600 you'd have to pay for a ready-made one.  Plus you can change the games to whatever you fancy!

You'll be the envy of all your friends when they see your oh-so-cool Arcade machine!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

What is a Raspberry Pi?

A Raspberry Pi is a tiny little computer. A lot of people think that it's the next big thing in programming and in a way they would be right, but not in the sense a lot of people originally thought. Let's be honest Linux runs on just about any PC going and quite a lot of other devices too. So you probably wouldn't want to get a Raspberry Pi just to play with Python or Linux when there's probably a perfectly good PC on your desk?

However think of the cost of the Raspberry Pi! You could attach it to any TV and it costs less than a decent set of headphones. You can now afford to put a computer into virtually any Design and Technology project you fancy. It'll turn any flat-screen TV into a media server in a few seconds, it could easily be wired up to sensors and the maintain a web page for you, it could be put inside an arcade cabinet, used to show students networks and control robots.

The point is that the Raspberry Pi brings us back to where we can see the chips and the interfaces and that's what has been missing in the last 10 years in IT!
Raspberry Pi