Jun 102015
 
CamJam logo

There’s something special about the Cambridge Raspberry Jam. Firstly it’s in Cambridge, the birthplace of Raspberry Pi. Secondly it’s run by two of my good friends Mike @recantha and Tim @Geeky_Tim. Thirdly it’s held at the Institute of Astronomy, which is a brilliant venue for such an event. Fourthly, there’s always a lot of prominent Pi people there. It’s great to meet people from the community and find out what they’re up to.

The June 6th Jam was a “normal” jam. There was no specific theme, but there was a full programme of talks in the lecture theatre and workshops in the meeting room. This time I wasn’t giving a talk, running a workshop, demonstrating a product or running a stand. But I had three objectives for the day. I wanted to…

  1. Announce the launch of the RasPiO Duino on general sale
  2. Take lots of photos of the event and write a blog about it (having been too busy to do so at the last several I’ve been to)
  3. Talk to lots of people

Apart from the talks and workshops, there was a large marketplace area, a soldering workshop outside and a show-and-tell area. I spent most of my time talking to people, looking for photo opportunities and had a good long look around the show-and-tell area.

Ryan Walmsley and Andy Batey's t-shirt

Ryan Walmsley and Andy Batey’s t-shirt

The Talks Are Streamed and Recorded

You can never do everything, so I expected to miss most of the talks. I ended up not seeing any of them, but I know they are recorded by the fabulous Andy Batey @andybateypi, who is the IT Manager at the IOA, so I hope to be able to catch them later. They are already available at the CamJam Youtube channel.

I expect someone else will blog about the talks, so I will make the rest of this blog post a kind of photo-essay of the parts of the Jam that I did see.

Outside First

We’ll start outside, where I bumped into Rachel Rayns @RachelRayns, Creative Producer at Raspberry Pi, who showed me her fabulous Plantpot Robot board, which is part of an inter-generational workshop and exhibit currently at FACT in Liverpool. It’s coming to Norwich later in the year.

Rachel Rayns' Plantpot robot board

Rachel Rayns’ Plantpot robot board

It’s one of the nicest looking PCBs I’ve seen. :) To get one, you’ll need to participate in one of the FACT workshops.

Also outside was a soldering workshop, which went on pretty much all day. Here’s a shot of Jarle Teigland @jarjargeek supervising the soldering. Jarle also runs the Croydon Raspberry Jam

Soldering workshop

Soldering workshop

Show And Tell Area

Tweeting Dino

Tweeting Dino

Purple Rain Game

Purple Rain Game

Carl Monk @ForToffee had two projects, a twitter-triggered photo-tweeting dinosaur and a rather nice game using a Unicorn Hat, a duino board (but not a RasPiO one – boo) and a slider potentiometer to control your position as you try to avoid all the falling multi-coloured rain drops.

Albert Hickey's Flappy Brain

Albert Hickey’s Flappy Brain

Albert Hickey @winkleink had probably the most innovative demo of all. He’d made a version of Flappy Bird controlled by brainwaves. It looked very difficult.

I shot some video of that and will publish it in a separate blog post when I’ve edited it. Albert runs the Egham Raspberry Jam and is a moderator in the Raspberry Pi G+ community.

Kano brought a selection of different Raspberry Pi Add-ons to display, as well as their own speaker and case.

Kano display of various Pi add-ons

Kano display of various Pi add-ons

They also had a stall in the marketplace and Mathew Keegan gave a talk, which I hear was rather good.

Spencer Organ @mruktechreviews had a table with several cool projects on it. He’d reimagined the Polaroid camera using a Pi camera and Pipsta printer. I’m calling it a Pilaroid camera (although that sounds like an unfortunate compound of pile and haemorrhoid – so probably not a good product name). It also uses one of Jason Barnett’s @boeeerb Lisaparoi camera flash boards. Here’s Ben Nuttall’s @ben_nuttall photograph being printed out.

I'm calling this a Pilaroid Camera.

I’m calling this a Pilaroid Camera.

Spencer also brought the Pimoroni Unicorn Hat based tin man’s heart and had probably the nicest touch-based graphical user interface (GUI) I’ve yet seen on an Adafruit PiTFT internet radio.

PiTFT based internet radio

PiTFT based internet radio

If that wasn’t enough, he also had an Astro Pi SenseHat, which Jarle Teigland ably demonstrated and gave a talk on. Here’s Jarle showing it respond to pressure by changing the colour of the LEDs. Squeezing the bag also made his tongue poke out, wirelessly using the TPO protocol.

Jarle demonstrating the Astro Pi SenseHat

Jarle demonstrating the Astro Pi SenseHat

Ryan Walmsley @ryanteck had some of his stock robots on display and his lovely looking new Traffic Hat board.

Traffic Hat

Traffic Hat

Brian Corteil's Zoetrope 2

Brian Corteil’s Zoetrope 2


Brian Corteil @CannonFodder had two beautifully made projects. I think Brian must live at the Cambridge MakerSpace, he turns out so many good things and to such a high standard. The first one was his Zoetrope 2, which is a modern take on primitive motion pictures. It’s very clever – he’s using 12 tiny screens, which required some SPI chip-select hackery. The whole thing spins around (by hand for authenticity) and you look through the slats to get an old-fashioned ‘moving picture’. But he’s also made it so people at different positions can see a different image.

He also displayed this fabulous game controller box…

Brian's arcade game controller

Brian’s arcade game controller

It looks just as good inside as it does outside. There will be some photos of the inside in the next MagPi edition, so watch out for that.

Xian had this rather nice model B controlled Lego Technic car that he’d built. It was controlled over wifi and streamed the camera output to a laptop…

Xian's Lego technic car

Xian’s Lego technic car

The HackLab had a stand in the show and tell area as well, giving a flavour of the sorts of things they do on their holiday camps for kids. I spoke to Pippa Moss, who told me the emphasis is very much on fun.

Pippa and the HackLab crew

Pippa and the HackLab crew

The enormous Space Invaders display you can see in the background was shown by Steve Upton. It looked great.

Marketplace

In the marketplace area Mathew Keegan had a Kano stall demonstrating their product.

Kano Stall

Kano Stall

Cannybots showed their racing line-follower robots, which are surprisingly fast and lots of fun.

Cannybots race track

Cannybots race track

IQAudio were showing and selling their high definition audio Hats. I don’t have one, but @Geeky_Tim tells me they give very high sound quality indeed.

IQ-Audio stand

IQ-Audio stand

Jamie and Hollie Mann the Makersify and The Pi Hut stalls (pun intended).

Jamie & Hollie Mann of PiHut and Makersify

Jamie & Hollie Mann of PiHut and Makersify

The Pi Hut has been a stalwart CamJam supporter for a long time. A few months ago, Jamie branched out and started Makersify – a UK place to buy things for makers, many of which are hard to get in the UK. If you don’t want the shipping delays and uncertainty of importing your own parts, Makersify is ideal for you.

Joseph Birks @RedfernElec from Redfern Electronics was displaying and selling his Crumble Controller and some robots made using it. I didn’t get a chance to chat with him as his was a popular stall and we didn’t coincide. He also gave a talk, which I heard people saying good things about. I’ll catch that one on Youtube.

Crumblebot from Redfern Electronics

Crumblebot from Redfern Electronics

Mihaly Kritch @PiConfig had a stall with his Eduboards and PiConfig USB sticks on display and sale.

Mihaly Kritch and PiConfig

Mihaly and PiConfig

He also had a really cool clocking in/out project using NFC tags and an online database application. He’d like to get this made into a product using the compute module. I think he’s going to be in touch with Gordon about that.

NFC clocking in/out system

NFC clocking in/out system

The Piborg @PiBorg crew were there with a new product. As if Diddyborg was not awesome enough, they’ve now done a metal version (limited edition 40).

Diddyborg Metal Edition

Diddyborg Metal Edition

Tim also told me about some upcoming stuff I can’t yet tell you about, but keep an eye on Piborg.

Tim Freeburn of PiBorg

Tim Freeburn of PiBorg

There were one or two others I didn’t get to – sorry if I missed you. But let me end with this shot of co-organiser Mike @recantha. He was the second person to stand on the mezzanine level and make use of the wireless TPO protocol.

This is what organising CamJam does to you :)

This is what organising CamJam does to you :)

Cambridge Jam @CambridgeJam is a highlight in the Raspberry Pi calendar. If you haven’t been to one yet, try and get along to the next one if you can. They are wonderful.

  4 Responses to “CamJam June 2015”

  1. Looks like there was lots going on! Shame I wasn’t able to make it to this one, but hopefully I’ll be at the next. Great picture of Mike! ;-)

    BTW – “CamJam June 2016” ???

  2. This all looks great. I was gutted to miss it, although 2.5 weeks in Canada was some compensation!

    • It was a good one. I believe there’ll be some coverage in an upcoming MagPi too. I expect there’ll be another one around September time and then PiWars in December.

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