RASPBERRY PI II – July London Raspberry Jam

[Fig.1] Attendees of all ages showing interest, all are welcome and all can benefit from the expertise and experience of others. It was a joy to see students of all ages enthralled in the various projects. Click on any of the Images to be taken to the full album.

After a month of emails thrown back and forth, the other co-conspirators and I presented the second London Raspberry Jam. Alan (@teknoteacher) compared for a second time and we saw a wide variety of projects, some returning, several new, as well as a call to action from three teachers. If you click on any of the images, you will be taken to the full album [HERE].

Held again courtesy of the hospitality of the Mozilla Foundation (@MozLDN) at the Mozilla Space, people from all over the capital and surrounding counties arrived to discuss progress with projects as well as glean inspiration from what others had achieved. After catching up with old faces and greeting the new, the off duty BBC guys set the camera recording, and we kicked off with our first speaker.

Adam Precious (@raspieman) described and demoed the multimedia potential of the Raspberry Pi by augmenting his presentation with videos, downloaded, edited, combined and subsequently played on a Pi running Rasbmc. Rasbmc is a media centre style UI designed for home theatre applications based on Debian and XMBC and their website can be found [HERE].

[Fig.2] Adam discussing the payload of the near space mission Pi 1.

He showed videos of the Pi in the Sky project by Dave Akerman (@daveake). He launched a high altitude weather balloon with a Raspi in the payload, from which he tracked GPS data, filmed video, and transmitted images back to ground stations via radio signal. The balloon went up to 40km and took some wonderful images of near space. The full details can be found on Dave’s website [HERE].

Adam then went on to mention the potential educational applications. He described that a kit could be produced, including all the necessary expertise and support material to allow it to be a school science project could be incorporated in a product costing around £1000. This is a very low cost when you consider all involved and would be a great way to inspire teens in the fields of computer science as well as science itself.

Next up we had Tom Preston (@tommarkpreston). He is part of a team working at the Manchester University school of Computer Science. They are working on the problem of making coding appealing to young people at all ages through schools. The website for the project can be found [HERE].

[Fig.3] Tom introducing the crowd to the University of Manchester’s project, PiFace.

PiFace is a breakout board that clips directly on top of the Raspi and allows you to attach devices to the GPIO without the difficulty of soldering directly onto the pins. This simplification help make the Raspi accessible to younger children. Pre-made libraries are available that use the PiFace in Scratch, Python & C. The devices supported are as far reaching as door controls, rocket motor igniters, motion detectors & pressure pads. They have successfully wired up Scaletrix sets, Whackamole games and even a robotic chicken.

Keith Dunlop, member of the RiscOS user group of London (@rougol), followed on from last month with an update about how easy it is to update RiscOS. Billed as the shortest presentation ever, things did not go exactly to plan, but the theory is sound. The RiscOS can be updated in literally a matter of a couple of minutes, and in system to boot. RiscOS also supports Beagleboard [HERE] and Pandaboard [HERE]. RiscOS also have something planned for the September educational product launch of the Raspi. The website for the project can be found [HERE].

[Fig.4] Keith Dunlop discussing progress with the RiscOS build for the Raspberry Pi.

Leo White took to the stage next talking about his hack of the modern incarnation of the classic Big Trak toy. The six wheeled device has been stripped down to remove the existing microcontroller and replaced with a Raspi. He has wired in a PS3 controller for control and even got the rocket launcher working using an infra-red packet signal. You can follow his progress [HERE].

Following him was one of my co-organisers Peter Blatchford (@555). He has been tirelessly working on a project he calls the Super Pretendo. He has always been passionate about computing and although his SNES broke 12 years ago, he is trying to resurrect it. He is planning on setting up an emulator, and patching in all the ports on the original console, so that he may use the original controllers. Combined with a battery and a pico-projector, allows him to play Mario Kart anywhere. He wants to complete the project by designing his own user interface that gives credit to the game designer in the menu.

[Fig.5] Peter discussing his potential GUI for his project.

Carrie-Anne Philbin (@missphilbin), Jen and Sarah-Jane are all teachers. They threw down a gauntlet. They would like to organise a small project that could be incorporated into a curriculum while simultaneously appealing to young girls in a predominately male dominated field. This is a problem that is way beyond the space available here but something I have agreed to collaborate on with them later. Miss Philbin has a couple of websites, Geekgurldiaries.co.uk [HERE] is a new project just started. ICTwithmissP [HERE] is coverage of her curriculae, and her full call to action can be found [HERE]. The following chatter this triggered continued for hours in the pub afterword.

[Fig.6] Three young teachers discuss the problems engaging youngsters, particularly girls in computer science.

Stephen Lockyer (@mrlockyer) described the UK first Makey Makey board. This Kickstarter project can turn anything conductive into an input device. The banana keyboard awaits! It will help with the idea of taking ownership of your own computer. It’s not a device that you use, more it is yours, something that you can customise, modify, explore. So far it has been used to make a keyboard glove to be used by a paraplegic. The project can be found [HERE]. Stephen’s website is also very interesting for teachers looking to engage “digital natives”, and can be found [HERE].

John Davis demonstrated parallel processing in Perl on no less than 8 Raspberry Pi’s. While the code was kit-bashed together and came with a heavy disclaimer that it was a proof of concept. He demonstrated keyword searching of the complete works of Shakespeare could be completed in around 1.5 seconds. Perl libraries used and the website supporting the language as a whole were found [HERE] on the Perl website.

Our final Speaker was Henry Cooke (@prehensile), he has been working with the Skypekit. This developer suite, known as the SDK, allows you to engineer Skype to work on non-natively supported platforms. In fact he got a live Skype-call working in front of us and it was very impressive. The Skypekit can be found [HERE].

[Fig.7] Henry making a call to a Raspberry Pi using Skype.

It is worth mentioning the Magpi Magazine, a digital publication cobbled together by volunteers that covers developments across the Raspberry Pi world. It can be found [HERE].

Thomas Hannen did all the video recording and the clips can all be found on his coverage [HERE].

If you don’t read all of this, just go read this [HERE]. This is the reason we are doing this and if you can help, go [HERE] (yes I linked it twice)

Thanks again to Alan for coming down and helping out, and to Mozilla space for their gracious hosting. Alan now runs the Raspberry Jam aggregated website found [HERE].

If you liked the coverage don’t forget to subscribe in the sidebar or follow me on twitter (@scientificmoust).



The Raspberry Jam is in no way affliated with the Mozilla Space or Rapsberry Pi. Raspberry Pi is a trademark of the Raspberry Pi Foundation.



  1. John, another fabulous blog post. You’ve done an amazing job with the photos and all the names, links etc. Thank you for being such an active member of our RaspberryJam.

  2. [...] The Scientific Moustache writes about the talks with lots of links [...]

  3. [...] the curriculum now. You can read more about that call to action in my coverage of the July event [HERE]. Mr Vidler had created a wind turbine that had the Rpi set up as a voltmeter. The faster the [...]

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