I had a very busy time at the Cambridge Raspberry Jam last Saturday. I was speaking and demonstrating the prototype RasPiO® baseboard that I designed. More on that in a bit.
Because I was speaking, I decided not to do a show and tell as well. I was glad about that, as I tend to get stuck next to my show and tells, which stops me from going around and seeing what other people are doing. Since Mike “Recantha” Horne had asked me to judge the show and tells competition, I had to have a good look around. There was some great stuff on display, particularly noteworthy were…
Matthew “TheRaspberryPiGuy” Timmons-Brown had done a slick Tkinter-based GUI to control the speed of his model train with an on-screen slider and MOSFET controlled by a Python script. The guys set him a challenge for next time to make it bi-directional and still maintain speed control.
Leo White had an awesome robot arm on his BigTrak, controlled by six servos, and a PS3 controller. I had a play with that. It was great fun. The robot arm was a bit expensive, but looked and performed very well indeed.
I awarded “Best in Show” to Daniel Bull because his arcade cabinet restoration project was outstanding.
Daniel found a rotting Astro Blaster cabinet in a barn, gutted it and remade the wooden surround from mahogany, salvaged from an old school desk. Needless to say, the electronics were mostly new, but the buttons and joystick externals were original. The whole thing was driven by a Pi running MAME. He’s documented the build on the Milton Keynes Jam forum
I had a game of Space Invaders on it, which was my all-time-favourite arcade game from 30+ years ago. I was delighted to see that I could still clear the first sheet of aliens.
I met lots of people
I also met Matt “RaspberryPi-Spy” Hawkins, Matthew “TheRaspberryPiGuy” Timmons-Brown, and Phil “Gadgetoid” Howard. I don’t think there’s ever been such a concentration of popular Pi bloggers/vloggers in one place before. Let’s try to make it happen again guys!
My Talk – RasPiO® demo
The idea was to show those capabilities of the board which allowed interaction with the audience. I wanted to engage and involve the children in the audience, as I knew there would be plenty there. Unfortunately, demonstration theory struck and the analog to digital converter program crashed out on me, which meant the light and temperature sensors demo didn’t work well. It wasted a couple of minutes, but didn’t totally skupper the demo because about 2/3 of it was with other parts of the board. Needless to say, the next day, at home, I tried it again and there was no sign of any issue at all. GRRRRRRRRR. I wonder if the laser pointer emitted evil rays of demo-destruction? Here’s Andy’s video of the whole talk.
For the last few minutes I gave a quick demo of the RasPiCamcorder.
It was a long and very successful day, superbly organised by Mike “Recantha” Horne and Tim Richardson. Andy Batey made the IT side run very well as well. He’s created a new YouTube channel and uploaded all the talks to that. Special thanks to the Institute of Astronomy for hosting. I thought it was a superb venue.
A full and comprehensive review can be found at Mike’s site here.