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.