PiWars 2018 – It Starts…

When we started our robot plan way back in September, it all seemed fairly straightforward: We build a robot, we write some code, we modify it to suit the challenges and ‘Bob’s your uncle’. Turns out, things are never that easy – the first thing we had to decide on was how independent did we want to go – did we want to go for a complete kit build or to try and freestyle it all ourselves? Then we had to make decisions on which kit to actually buy, whether we wanted to get one quickly just to get started, or make an informed decision to actually start thinking about our final design.

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Full of enthusiasm

Of course, we had to put a lot of our build on hold while we were all heavily involved in the launch of the amazing new pi-top with Inventor’s Kit (not that we’re super proud of all our hard work). But this meant that we couldn’t really do much until the latter end of October once things settled down.

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The new pi-top with Inventor’s Kit

As a start point, we bought a couple of quick and easy kits like the CamJam EduKit 3 and the Monk Makes kit, however, we quickly realised that these wouldn’t be powerful enough for what we had in mind. Still, Angus had great fun playing with the first robot and getting a feel for programming it – he is converting its code to Node.js as “the real world is event driven and asynchronous Python stinks”. Let’s hope our final robot can be coded in JavaScript too!

We spent a fair bit of time discussing wheel-types, especially after looking at the cheaper kits. So we originally settled on a three-wheeled model, but saw on the PiWars forum that it was recommended to go for four wheels instead. There were some crazy ideas from Alan about machine learning and openCV which left a muggle like me a little bit confused.

By the middle of November, we realised it was going to be essential to schedule in not only a regular meeting to discuss strategy, but also a regular building session to ensure that everyone gets a chance to be involved in the robot as our team was full of so many people with sometimes contrary ideas that it became essential that we work together.

Team 2
check out Mic’s Movember moustache

After a lot of question-asking, we eventually narrowed it down to two kits – either the DiddyBorg by PiBorg or Brian Corteil’s ‘Max’. At this point I should point out how supportive Brian has already been towards the pi-top team, offering us advice, ideas and support and so when we came to make the final vote, the decision was easy. We originally got in touch with Brian as we loved his Tiny 4WD, but were looking for something with a bit more power, Brian was really helpful and suggested that we consider his Max robot, which is not currently available as a kit, but he was happy to custom build one for us!! Brian’s kit will provide us with everything that we need except a motor board, but fortunately he was also able to recommended the Pololu board recently released at Pimoroni and so we now want to try out different torque motors and different wheel sizes to ensure our robot is able to complete all of the challenges effectively.

As you can see, we’re all taking this super seriously 😉

 

PiWars 2018 – Meet the team!

Here at pi-top, we love getting involved with the Raspberry Pi community and taking part in events so when the opportunity to enter PiWars 2018 came around, we couldn’t resist submitting a team. With a range of skills, talents and opinions, the pi-top team spent several weeks… only to decide on a name for our robot, eventually settling on Robo-Top.

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We’ll be updating you on our build progress over the next few months, but first we thought it was important that you got a chance to meet the team!

Name: CatCat
Role at pi-top: Education Outreach Champion
Role on the PiWars team: Chief Kitten Wrangler
Fun Fact: I sleep walk and talk so can often be found wandering around the house at night, confused and half dressed
Inspirational Quote: The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way.’ Grace Hopper
Favourite pizza topping: Good ol’ margherita (now spelt correctly thanks to Mic)
Most likely to…: disappear early to sneak off home to bed
What you’re most excited about for PiWars: Meeting (and beating) all the other teams

MicName: Mic
Role at pi-top:  Software Developer
Role on the PiWars team: Chief Artillery Officer
Fun Fact: When shaking a drink carton I have the compulsive need to break out into a rendition of Shake Your Booty by KC & The Sunshine Band
Inspirational quote: If it ain’t broke you ain’t trying hard enough
Favourite Pizza topping: Burrata
Most likely to…: Start an argument about pizza toppings
What you’re most excited about for PiWars: Practice for the imminent robo-pocalypse

20431392_10155582276409265_159485426494440223_nName: Alan (also goes by Steve)
Role at pi-top: Generic dude who engineers from time to time
Role on the PiWars team: Chief Director of Shuffling
Fun Fact: I like to move it move it, I like to move it!
Inspirational Quote: If you’re going to be thinking, you may as well think big
Favourite pizza topping: Any pizza that doesn’t have cheese on it
Most likely to…: Build a robot that will start the robo-pocalypse
What you’re most excited about for PiWars: The cool conversations that will probably go down

AndreaName: Andrea
Role at pi-top: Digital Marketing and Social Media Manager
Role on the PiWars team: Chief Prettifier and Head of Glitter
Fun Fact: I follow more pet’s accounts on Instagram than people. A girl needs her dose of #dailyfluff!
Inspirational Quote: “Tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!” from one of the best TV shows, The Simpsons.
Favourite pizza topping: Pepperoni, pepperoni and pepperoni. Oh, did I mention pepperoni?
Most likely to…: Dance the night away
What you’re most excited about for PiWars: Glitter, glitter and more glitter

Matt

Name: Matt
Role at pi-top: Senior DevOps Engineer
Role on the PiWars team: Make things work team
Fun Fact: I once ran over a dolphin
Inspirational Quote: I reserve the right to have an opinion, no matter how wrong I probably am.
Favourite pizza topping: Cheese, any kind, lots of it.
Most likely to…: be found down the pub
What you’re most excited about for PiWars: Yeah, I’ll have a steak and ale pie, thanks

 
IMG_20160325_132440 (1)Name:  Val
Role at pi-top: Intern
Role on the PiWars team: Lead engineer
Fun Fact: I like to read medical textbooks for fun
Inspirational Quote: Shoot for the stars. That way, even if you miss them, you will smack into the moon.
Favourite pizza topping: Pineapple
Most likely to…: eat all the cake in the office (or team up with the robots in case of a robo-pocalypse)
What you’re most excited about for PiWars: Showing everyone what a real engineer looks like

 
Chris_HantonName: Chris
Role at pi-top: Mechanical Design Engineer
Role on the PiWars team: CAD monkey
Fun Fact: My neighbour knocked on my door at 2:30am this morning- luckily for him I was still up playing my bagpipes!
Inspirational Quote: You don’t want to take your product out while it’s still floppy – discussing Injection Moulding
Favourite pizza topping: Macaroni Cheese
Most likely to…: Complain about missing the rugby
What you’re most excited about for PiWars: Use this as a stepping stone to enter Robot Wars next year!

 
AngusName: I am Angus.
Role at pi-top: I am Angus.
Role on the PiWars team: I am Angus.
Fun Fact: Angus Angus
Inspirational Quote: Angus Angus Angus
Favourite pizza topping: Angus
Most likely to…: I am Angus.
What you’re most excited about for PiWars: We are Angus

Meet the new pi-top!

It has been a pretty busy year so far here at pi-top: from winning Edtech Start Up Company of the Year at the BETT awards to attending ISTE, passing by welcoming a new accessory to our product family, pi-topPULSE. At the same time, during these months, we’ve been working on a (*super secret*) project and we thought that today, our 3rd birthday, was the perfect day to share it with you.

Let me introduce you to the new pi-top, our new fully modular laptop with endless hours of fun activities. It’s the new generation of simple, engaging and versatile technology to explore, create and invent. We want to inspire the new generations to seek the skills of tomorrow and create their future, today.

Among other features, the new pi-top, introduces a sliding keyboard that reveals a large magnetic rail. Slide it back to discover an exciting new world of electronics, coding and science you can enjoy, regardless of your age or computing ability.

 

 

The new pi-top comes with an inventor’s kit to take you beyond the screen and keyboard. Explore the world of making and use your limitless imagination to build computer science and electronic inventions. Invent like never before.

Key technical features of the new pi-top:


  • Vivid colours with 14” 1920×1080 FHD LCD display screen
  • Sliding keyboard – reveals magnetic rails for hands-on building of invention and adding your own hardware projects!
  • Flexible 180° Lid opening viewing angle
  • 8+ hours of battery life
  • More muscle from the Raspberry Pi microcomputer with integrated custom cooling bridge
  • Full OCR (Oxford Cambridge RSA Review Board) endorsed software suite (pi-topOS Polaris) bundled on the 8GB SD Card with hundreds of hours of project based learning on board.

What are the main differences between the new pi-top and pi-top?


  • Full-sized sliding keyboard and central trackpad
  • Free inventor’s kit with guide booklet highlighting over 20 hands-on projects
  • Comes with cut-out robots, spaceships and fun games to bring the projects and inventions to life
  • Improved display screen and 180° Lid opening
  • Easy access to all external ports via the back of the device (including AUX port)
  • Heat sink for faster stable processing with the Raspberry Pi micro PC

rail

We want to turn kids’ passive screen time into countless hours of active, fun, hands-on inventor activities. That’s why the the new pi-top comes 20+ hands-on activities, divided into three journeys:

  • Smart Robot
  • Music Master
  • Space Race

You can get now the new pi-top with inventor’s kit from our website.

 

We couldn’t conclude this post without thanking you. Thanks for sticking with us for the last three years and for allowing us to be part of your coding journey. Here’s to many more.

Now, let’s get hands-on inventing! And don’t forget to share your projects it with us using #DareToInvent ;).

With love,

pi-topTEAM

 

Why Moonhack is not another meaningless attempt to break a World Record

Last year, the Australian Code Club had 10,207 Australian kids participating in their free coding event, Moonhack. This year they are not holding back and they are turning the 15th of August into a worldwide event so kids (and not-so-kids) from all around the globe can take part and collaborate.

The event’s aim is to have as many young people from 8 to 18 years old coding as possible and set a World Record. However, the project goes way further than that: by bringing together people and getting them to code for a specific purpose they want to spread a love for coding and trigger a passion for it in future generations. This aligns directly with pi-top’s mission and beliefs. Learning to code can help young people strengthen their problem solving skills and logical thinking as well as their resilience when dealing with things going wrong. In this digital age that we live we think that it’s important to provide kids with the necessary skills and knowledge to thrive in a world of accelerating advancements, for both their personal and professional lives. Moonhack is a great place to start as it provides a fun environment that can either be structured or treated as an open, creative sandbox, depending on your preference.

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Moonhack is an inclusive event, so is coding. Everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of their skill level, age, gender or country of residency. Even if you don’t fall inside the age range, you can participate and submit your project, but it will not be counted for the World Record.

At pi-top, we think taking part in the Moonhack is a great idea, especially if you’re looking for something fun to do over the summer holidays so why not sign up on Moonhack’s website and get involved. Once you’re sign up,  you will have access to tips, ideas and project guides. On the 15th of August you will be able to upload your moon-themed project made in Scratch, Scratch JR or Python to make sure it’s included in the official record-breaking project count. For those that prefer to follow a project, do not panic, there are also open source Moonhack projects that you or your kids can complete, with easy to follow instructions for any level of learner.

So go on, sign up. Learn. Play. Create… And break things digitally!

The new pi-topPULSE is here!

 

Be the first to get yours exclusively from RS Components now

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CLICK ON IMAGE ABOVE TO PLAY THE VIDEO

We are welcoming a new accessory into the pi-top product family! 

The new pi-topPULSE add-on board for pi-top or Raspberry Pi was made to learn, play and create! pi-topPULSE is an accessory to help you build fun STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths) projects with music, lights and sound. It has full Amazon Alexa integration, the cloud-based voice service!
OR
Get your pitopPULSE from Allied if you’re based in the US!

What is pi-topPULSE?


You can spruce up your pi-top or pi-topCEED with the pi-topPULSE! pi-topPULSE brings the Arts into STEAM. It is an integrated solution for music, lights and sound. Easy to transport and deploy in any classroom.

It can be used both, as an accessory for the pi-top or pi-topCEED modular rail, and additionally, as a HAT/ add-on board to the Raspberry Pi 3. pi-topPULSE allows all functionalities to be used simultaneously to enhance its application in the classroom. The microphone can be used to record music, as a DIY cloud-based voice service with Amazon Alexa for students to ask computer science related questions and more!

Key features: 

pi-topPULSE

  • 7×7 RGB LED matrix array – so you have 49 lights to code!
  • Speaker and microphone – for your musical adventures and projects
  • pitopPULSE cloud-based voice service integration with Amazon Alexa (Only with Raspberry Pi 3)

 

 

 

It comes fully assembled and ready to go. A suite of python libraries is provided to make usage simple with lots of example programs, demos and pi-top lesson plans (pi-topOS only) available to get you started.

PurpleLights

 

pi-topOS Polaris Update for pi-topPULSE


We have updated pi-topOS Polaris! This release is focused on allowing you to get started using pi-topPULSE, and immediately explore & create your own fun projects. This includes seamless integration with Amazon Alexa – simply log into pi-topDASHBOARD, and follow the on-screen instructions to get set up.

Check out the “Getting Started with pi-topPULSE” worksheet in pi-topCODER to see some hands-on examples of how to interact with the on-board LEDs, microphone and speaker!

For more information, check out the Github page for pi-topPULSE.

 

What can you use it for? 


There’s a ton of fun projects you can do with your pi-topPULSE. Find some examples below:

  • LED Array
    • Snake
    • Pong
    • Flappy Birds
  • Speaker
    • Sonic Pi to code music
    • General for listening to music
  • Microphone
    • Sample music recording
    • Real-time graphic equaliser (responds to music you’re playing!)
    • Voice recording
  • Combined projects:

game rail

As always a huge thank you to all. We hope you enjoy the new family addition, pi-topPULSE. We’re extremely excited to hear about the creative and innovative projects you create!

With Love,

pi-topTEAM

 

 

 

 

 

BETT 2017

Our review and reflections of BETT 2017!

 

Our time within the mighty Excel centre at this year’s BETT Show seems like yesterday. It wasn’t, but we’ve only just come down from the high that was a great four days at the world’s leading education technology show.
Here we are, we look impressive, right? Our stand showcased the possibilities of pi-top, including interactive exhibits, such as Sense-Hats, a self-built heart rate monitor and plenty of pi-top laptops and pi-topCEEDs for visitors to try out and play with.

betteam

One great thing we enjoy every year at BETT is having the opportunity to meet such a diverse range of new people, and this year was no different. From teachers and students to education and technology media, it’s great to introduce pi-top and our movement to the education space. We even had royalty approach us – Prince Andrew, the Duke of York swung by our stand too! Our co-founder Jesse also caught up with the BBC’s technology correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones to talk about pi-top. Here’s a tweet he posted of Jesse afterwards:

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Winning pi-tops

We also ran a competition on our stand which gave visitors an opportunity to win their own pi-top prize packages, including pi-topCEEDs, speakers, laptops and more. Entrants had to simply take a photo of themselves within the big pi-topCEED frame, and tweet it. Here’s a selection of tweets from the event:

@GetPiTop thanks for taking me through the kit #pitopforSTEM fingers crossed for the win!

Twas great sampling the pitop: it may just be the game-changer we’ve been waiting for @Getpitop #pitopforstem

@GetPiTop with #pitopforstem fun and games at#Bett2017

Went to @GetPiTop and all I got was this awful picture taken!! #pitopforSTEM

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pi-top winning!

We were all so delighted when pi-top was named ‘EdTech Startup Company Of The Year’ at the BETT Awards 2017. It was a great way to end the first day of the show, and after all the hard work our team has put in the run-up to the event, and the rest of the year!

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Jesse’s speech

jesse

The penultimate morning of the show saw our co-founder & CEO Jesse take to the stage for his speech on “Making STEAM a reality for the classroom” in the main BETT Arena. The interactive speech tested the audience’s attention span by encouraging them to track specific pi-top images with a specially designed pi-topPROTO board.

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On the same day, we also had Cyber Ready Girls with Baker McKenzie join our stand. The four young girls were playing on CEEDuniverse and were accompanied by our friends  Dyann Heward-Mills from Baker Mckenzie, Robert Dowell from the National Museum of Computing and Pat Ryan, the founder of Cyber Ready Girls. It was a great pleasure to have that inspiring troupe on the stand.

BETT Show seems to get bigger and bigger each year and attracts a range of influencers from the industry. This year, in particular, we saw an increase in international attendees, which is great. For us, it’s the best place to see how education is evolving. BETT is really exciting to be at and it enabled us to see just how far we’ve come since the last show, both as a company, and the range of new products and improved pi-topOS.
Thanks again to everyone who supported us the event, and everyone we met a spoke to over the four days. Another great BETT Show, we’ll see you next year!

pi-topTEAM

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pi-top BETT 2017 competition

BETT 2017 is around the corner and as previously mentioned we have some fun activities planned, including our pi-top BETT 2017 Photo Competition. Join us at our stand and take a fun photo with our huge CEED cut-out frame. Then upload it to your Twitter including pi-top’s handle @GetPiTop with the hashtag #pitopforSTEM. It’s simple! You’ll be in for the chance to win one of 19 amazing prizes. (Terms and Conditions apply)

This competition raffle is only open during the BETT Show times between 25th-28th January 2017. The competition is open to BETT 2017 visitors aged 18+.

Come find us at F460 to enter the prize raffle – good luck!

How to participate

  1. Come to stand F460 (near STEAM village)
  2. Get your badge scanned by a team member
  3. Take a fun photo with the huge CEED Frame
  4. Upload to Twitter tag @GetPiTop using #pitopforSTEM
  5. We’ll be in touch with the winners! (See below for more details)

ceedcutout_small
For the chance to win one (1) of 19 prizes:

  • 1 x  Mystery Box (High Value)
    • Winner raffled out after the show. The mystery box prize will be revealed at the show. It will be raffled out at the end of the show* from all scanned badges who also tweeted us with the hashtag! We’ll be in touch the following week and it will be shipped to your preferred address directly.
  • 10 x 30min twilight sessions (webinar CPD) (Value £50)
    • Raffeld out after the show. Date and times arranged the week post-show*- we’ll be in touch with winners and announce them after the show.
  • 8 x pi-topCEEDs with Pi and Proto (Value £130)
    • Winner’s raffled out during the show. Raffling out one (1) unit twice a day at BETT 2017. Winner’s will be re-tweeted (RT’d) at 11:30am and 3pm each day. Make sure you stick around! Pick up your prize from our stand F460 shortly after with your tweet as prove or we’ll be in touch. Entries can roll over from previous day.

*Show duration: 25th – 28th January. Winners that are announced post-show will be contacted around the 31st January 2017.


Competition Rules Overview 

  1. This competition raffle is only open during the BETT Show times 25th-28th January 2017.
    1. Closing date is the 28th January 2017 at 5pm
  2. The prize draw/competition is open only to BETT 2017 attendees and participants aged 18+.
  3. Multiple entries by the same person will not be accepted.
  4. Valid entries must have complied with all the entry requirements steps.
    1. Get badge scanned by pi-topTEAM
    2. Upload a picture with CEED frame to Twitter
    3. Tag @GetPiTop
    4. Use #pitopforSTEM
  5. The prize is non-transferable
  6. The winners are selected at random by raffling
    1. Post-Show: 10 x 30min twilight session webinar and Mystery Gadget Box winner’s will be contacted post-show to arrange online webinar sessions
    2. One (of the total eight) pi-topCEED(s) will be raffled twice a day during the BETT show 2017. Winner’s will be re-tweeted at 11:30am and 3pm each day and will be able to collect their prize shortly after. Entries can roll over from previous day.
  7. Any personal data submitted with consent will be kept confidentially by pi-top for marketing purposes and will not be shared with any other third party.

 

Read the full Terms & Conditions


See you there!

pi-topTEAM

pi-top Holiday Competition: Santa’s Little Helper Functions Game

Happy Holidays everyone!


pi-top Holiday Competition: Santa’s Little Helper Functions Game
‘Tis the season and we’ve prepared a fun little game for you. Santa’s workshop is a mess! Program the RoboElf to collect all the presents and put them under the Christmas tree while avoiding any obstacles.
Don’t miss your chance to win a free pi-top or pi-topCEED with Raspberry Pi 3 and a combination of add-on boards by playing and entering the raffle!

Competition guidelines

  1. Login to the Santa’s Little Helper functions mini-game via the website

  2. Start playing! You have to complete 5 or more level’s to be entered into the raffle.*

    Competition deadline: on Monday 12th December 2016 at 12pm GMT. 

    *Participants who have completed 5 or more levels will be entered into a raffle and winners will be announced & contacted the following week after the competition ends. Terms and conditions apply.

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It’s been a busy & exciting year here at pi-top. We started shipping pi- topCEEDs worldwide, created more add-on boards, improved pi-topOS and much more. So now, we want to thank our amazing community for all of your support this year! Finally, don’t forget to order your pi-top product or find us at one of our authorised resellers to get your pi-top in time for holidays!

 

Much love,

pi-topTEAM

Community: Here come the champions!

It’s fair to say that it’s thanks to the amazing community of volunteers and evangelists that Raspberry Pi has been such a huge success with over ten million Pis sold around the world. Teachers, technicians, hobbyists and even children have embraced this little computer to make it a huge success.

Here at pi-top, we love to celebrate community and I feel so lucky that my first official task for the company was to identify 14 UK and European community members who deserve a little bit of recognition for all of their hard work and support getting people interested in Raspberry Pi and supporting the teaching of computer science.

So, without further ado, we’d like to invite you to meet our new pi-top champions; individuals or groups who we think deserve some thanks for all their effort and hard work. We’re in the process of sending them ten pi-topCEEDs each in the hope that they will be able to use them at their events to help spread their love of computer science. Champions will also be able to loan their kit out to deserving local community groups so find out who your local one is and get in touch to see if they can help you with your event too!

We think these guys are a fantastic representation of what the Raspberry Pi Community is all about and I hope you join with us in offering them a big thank you for everything they do!

Thanks for reading,

Cat

Featured banner image credit to Andrew’s Blog (Photo taken at Mozfest 2016)

Spencer Organ

spencer

Chemistry and physics teacher, Raspberry Pi enthusiast and Certified RPi Educator from the West Midlands with a passion for running workshops and building fun, educational, and practical things with the Pi!

Nic Hughes

nicNic is a self confessed IT geek. He is a class teacher, Head of Computing at his school, Primary CAS Master Teacher, CAS Hub leader, a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator and works as an educational consultant for 3BM. He loves to explore different ways to teach programming and is a massive fan of physical computing and robotics. In the past he worked alongside the education team in Redbridge as a AST for ICT, running training, supporting schools and writing curriculum. He has been lucky enough to speak at a number of conferences over the years about his work with robots, physical computing and the application of Games Based Learning in the classroom. He is eager for more teachers to learn about Computing and how to teach it effectively in their lessons. Follow him @duck_star on twitter and he has a blog at nicholashughes.blogspot.com.

Claire Garside

claireg

Claire is an educator working with teachers, schools and communities in the North. In Hull she’s also involved with the #ConnectedHull project and at Leeds University has been part of the research team looking at the impact of Maker Ed in schools. You’ll also see her at the Raspberry Jam events in both cities.

Claire Dodd

claire-dClaire is a Girl Geek, originally from West Yorkshire but now residing in Salford. She is the Training Manager of MadLab (a grassroots, digital, innovation organisation), organiser of BarCamp Manchester (a 2-day, free to attend, annual geek unconference) & Founder of CodeUp (free & friendly adult coding tuition). Claire is also a blogger, geek, not a werewolf, volunteer zombie, and three degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon.

As a qualified trainer and Raspberry Pi Certified Educator, Claire often delivers digital skills workshops to both children and adults through her work. Whilst delivering her Raspberry Pi workshops, Claire has often found that finding venues with monitors compatible with the Pi is a huge barrier, and means that she has been unable to deliver as many workshops as she would have liked.

As a PiTop Champion, Claire now plans to use the Pi CEEDs to take her Raspberry Pi workshops out and about across Greater Manchester without having to worry about venues having compatible monitors!

Les Pounder

450px-les2Les is an author and maker working with many different single board computers and micro controller, but Les specialises in the Raspberry Pi and its use in education. He writes for magazines such as The MagPi, Linux Format and Linux Voice as well as blogs for Element 14 and tech radar . He enjoys tinkering, hacking and learning new skills which he shares with children and adults via the many events that he organises and attends as a STEM ambassador.  Les has worked for clients such as BBC, Raspberry Pi Foundation, University of Salford and The University of Manchester.

Les writes up his ace adventures on his blog http://bigl.es

Andrew Mullholland527px-Andrew.jpg

Andrew Mulholland is one of our younger champions ;). He’s a 20 year old, 3rd year Computer Science student currently studying at Queens University, Belfast. In his free time outside of university, he leads the monthly Northern Ireland Raspberry Jam. On top of this, he is also lead developer of PiNet, a free and open source system for managing Raspberry Pis in schools, used right across the world.

Alan O’Donohoe

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Alan O’Donohoe has more than 20 years experience teaching and leading Technology & ICT in schools in Northern England. He converted to Teach Computing in 2010, starting from zero (with no qualifications in Computer Science), he first introduced Computing into his school in Preston, then supported many others to do the same.

In September 2015, Alan joined Exa Education, Bradford based multi-award winning supplier of broadband to schools to enable him to continue to support education, technology & Computing through advice, training and events. He is currently building Exa Foundation to inspire and engage digital makers, support the teaching of Computing and promote safe, secure and appropriate use of technology. http://exa.foundation

Craig Steele

Craig.jpgCraig is digital learning specialist and leads the CoderDojo Scotland network, having set up the first Dojo in Scotland at Glasgow Science Centre in 2012. His previous experience includes creating an interactive coding experience at CBBC Live, working on the development of BBC Make It Digital’s micro:bit and Hackstage Pass game, and co-writing a book introducing children to programming. He has a BSc in Computing Science from Glasgow University and has previously worked for Decoded, within the STEM Qualifications team at SQA, and at Hewlett Packard. Craig was nominated as one of the “BBC Make it Digital Ones to Watch 2016”.

Laura Sach

450px-Laura.JPGLaura loves Computer Science. As a teacher she worked with students of all ages from Nursery to Year 13, enthusing them with her passion for all things digital. She has provided support and training for teachers from across the country and co-founded CAS #include to provide opportunities for students from a diverse range of backgrounds to experience digital making. After becoming a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator in 2013 she has become a huge fan of the Pi, and hopes that Pi-top will help her bring more exciting opportunities to children in the South West.

Mike Trebilcock

600px-MikeT.jpgMike is Head Geek at I am Digital, an exciting new Digital Academy being created with Cornwall College and local industry.  Mike is also Business Systems Project Lead for The Cornwall College Group, one of the largest further education colleges in the UK. Mike spends most of his spare time, when not running, on educational engagement and outreach for Software Cornwall – a network of tech companies in Cornwall. He works with primary schools, secondary schools, colleges and universities as a CAS Barefoot volunteer and STEM ambassador to help setup code clubs, create work experience opportunities and helps organise monthly tech jams, giving young people the chance to explore and learn tech.

Joe Moretti

Joe1.jpegJoe is an Apple Distinguished Educator with over 30 years’ teaching experience directly in the classroom. He has taught in primary, middle, secondary, further education and higher education institutions. Originally a music specialist his role developed during his teaching career to curriculum innovator, IT pedagogist and all round guru of innovative technologies.

Although he has a reputation for innovation this is not at the expense of the most important aspect of IT in education: delivering a motivating and engaging learning experience. All of the innovation, all of the ‘wow’ and impact of new technologies counts for very little if we are not able to identify how we are improving the learning of our students.

Over the past ten years Joe has embraced developments in various mobile technologies; iPad, Raspberry Pi, Augmented Reality, iBeacons, the new coding curriculum and, of course, music. Along the way he has delivered successful workshops in all Apple’s education technologies. He is able to draw on this extensive experience to help schools identify which technologies and innovations fit best in their developing IT strategy and assist in their implementation.

Michael Horne/Tim Richardson

800px-MikeTim.jpgMichael Horne and Tim Richardson co-run Cambridge Raspberry Jam, which also includes Pi Wars and Potton Pi and Pints. They have a passion for getting kids involved in coding which is why CamJam holds workshops at every event and they are looking at ways they can use both CamJam kit and pi-top equipment together to increase their educational work. They received their first Raspberry Pis in mid-2012 and have since learned electronics, soldering and Python programming. Mike is a web developer by trade and Tim is a performance architect. They live in Potton, Bedfordshire with their respective long-suffering wives and kids.

Spooky pi-topHALLOWEEN Tutorial

Give your pi-top or pi-topCEED a haunted feel this Halloween with this spooky jack-o’- lantern tutorial!

Before we get started, this is the boo-tiful equipment required to achieve the ghastliest effects:

  • 5x yellow witches boil LEDs
  • 1x blood red LED
  • 6x 100 Ω reVolting resistors
  • 1x pi-topPROTO (or breadboard)
  • A few standard wires
  • 1x acrylic slice (included with your pi-top or pi-topCEED)
  • Access to a laser etcher (optional)
  • 1x pi-top or pi-topCEED

So, let’s get started by transforming our pi-topPROTO board into a magic dancing candle.


Step 1: Wire LEDs to your pi-topPROTO board

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 17.53.37.png

  • The red LED should be wired to pin 22(GPIO 25) on your pi-topPROTO board
  • The yellow LEDs should be wired to pins 11(GPIO 17), 13(GPIO 27), 16(GPIO 23). 29(GPIO 5), 32(GPIO 12)

The red and yellow lights will create a spook-tacular orange hue for your laser etched jack-o’- lantern acrylic slice!

Step 2: Wire LEDs to ground

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 17.55.35.png

  • Wire the cathode (negative pin) to the ground rail on your pi-topPROTO board, to keep things neat we have done this on the back of our pi-topPROTO board as seen in the image above!

Step 3: Use resistors to connect your LEDs to GPIO pins

Screen Shot 2016-10-28 at 17.57.45.png

  • Next, we need to wire the yellow LEDs to RPI pins 11, 13, 16, 29 and 32
  • The red LED should be wired to pin RPI pin 22
  • This will complete the full circuit

Now, we are almost there! Put the following Python code into the pi-topCODER editor and click run to test it:

import random
from time import sleep
from gpiozero import PWMLED

RED_LED = PWMLED(25)

YELLOW_LEDS = [
    PWMLED(17),
    PWMLED(23),
    PWMLED(27),
    PWMLED(5),
    PWMLED(12)
]

while True:
    RED_LED.value = random.uniform(0, 0.5)

    for led in YELLOW_LEDS:      
        led.value = random.uniform(0, 0.5)
    
    sleep(random.uniform(0, 0.5))

The code uses randomised pulse width modulation (PWM) in order create a candle flicker effect!

Finally, we need to etch our spooky acrylic slice – the design can be downloaded in .dxf format (see below).

Download the dxf file here: halloween

Here is our ghastly haunted pi-top acrylic slice:

screen-shot-2016-10-28-at-18-09-43

Eerie green halloween……. 😉

So, for the final effect. Let’s run our code again!

Here is your spooky phantom pumpkin finished project!

halloween.gif