I was away in Februrary, so missed the 7th Raspberry Jam. However Easter Sunday saw me up bright and early (even earlier than it would have been due to the hour going forward) heading for the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park for the 8th Milton Keynes Raspberry Jam.
Despite being held on Easter Day, the event was more full than I have ever seen it. There were 30 to 40 people there and lots of projects on show. So many that it was difficult to get to see them all.
Paul, on his first visit, had brought along his PI hooked up to a webcam demonstrating face recognition.
Ant had brought along a little red car chassis on which he had mounted an arduino which he could program from the Pi and which would then run the program to control the car’s movements.
Robert was thinking of ways of bundling collections of bits together so that people could buy sets that would allow them to try out different things on the Pi without having to source all the different components from different places.
Dave Whaley gave a fascinating talk about his work as a STEM ambassador, taking the Raspberry Pi into schools. He described his experience of students falling into two camps, one type who wanted to download things and get them working on the Pi, the others who wanted to actually program the Pi. He also talked about Minecraft as an interesting way of engaging students. I’d recommend a visit to his blog for some inspirational ideas.
There was a guy who had designed and built a very attractive artefact incorporating a Raspberry Pi with big colourful buttons. More about this later.
One of the museum volunteers (sorry, I’ll remember his name later) was using the Pi to enable disabled people to play music, chatting about the challenges of reproducing not just the note of a guitar string, but also the way it fades in as you press your finger on the string, was really fascinating.
I brought along some technology used in OU technology modules. The senseboard used in the current TU100 “My Digital Life” course. This uses Sense, a modified version of Scratch, to teach visual programming. Unlike the Pi, it needs to be connected to a computer, however it has some nifty features including build-in LEDs, audio input, various sensors and a stepped motor that you can attach and program using sense.
I also brought along the old Desmond used in, I think, the 90s as well as a microprocessor.
After the jam, I went around the museum. I would definitely recommend this to anyone. It was absorbing. The talks were well worth listening to, and colossus was amazing. We had to be ushered out as they were closing the doors at 5pm! Definitely going again.