Author Archives: Christina Foust

Raspberry Pi vs a Raspberry Pi–powered escape room

via Raspberry Pi

A few Mondays ago, the Raspberry Pi North America team visited a very special, Raspberry Pi–powered Escape Room in San Francisco. Run by Palace Games, the Edison Escape Room is an immersive experience full of lights, sensors, and plenty of surprises. This is the team’s story of how they entered, explored, and ultimately escaped this room.

At World Maker Faire this year, our very own social media star Alex Bate met Jordan Bunker, one of the Production Artists at Palace Games. Emails were sent, dates arranges, and boom, the Raspberry Pi North America team had to face the Edison Escape Room!

Escape rooms

In case you’re not familiar, an escape room is a physical adventure game in which players solve a series of puzzles and riddles using clues, logic, and strategy to complete the game’s objectives. Many escape room designers use physical computing to control the many sensors and triggers involved in the player experience.

Palace Games Edison Escape Room

The team vs Edison

Upon entering the Edison Escape Room, my team and I quickly realized that we were within a complex system built like a giant computer! So even though it was our first-ever time in an escape room, that would not be a disadvantage for us.

Palace Games Edison Escape Room

Our goal was to accomplish a variety of tasks, including solving many puzzles, looking for hidden clues when anything could be a clue, completing circuits, moving with the floor, and getting a bit of a workout.

The true test, however, was how well we communicated and worked with each other — which we did an awesome job at: at times we split up the work to effectively figure out the many different puzzles and clues; there was a lot “try it this way”, “maybe it means this”, and “what if it’s supposed to go that way” being yelled across the room. Everyone had their Edison thinking hat on that day, and we were so ecstatic when we completed the last challenge and finally escaped!

Palace Games Edison Escape Room

The inner workings

After escaping the room, we got the chance to explore behind the scenes. We found a local network of many Raspberry Pis that are coordinated by a central Raspberry Pi server. The Python Banyan framework is the connective tissue between the Raspberry Pis and their attached components.

Palace Games Edison Escape Room

The framework facilitates the communication between the Pis and the central server via Ethernet. The Raspberry Pis are used to read various types of sensors and to drive actuators that control lights, open doors, or play back media. And Raspberry Pis also drive the control panels that employees use to enter settings and keep tabs on the game.

“Raspberry Pi keeps us going. It’s the heart and soul of our rooms.”  – Elizabeth Sonder, Design Engineer & Production Manager

We highly recommend heading over to Palace Games and exploring one of their many escape rooms. It’s a great team-building exercise and definitely allows you to learn a lot about the people you work with. Thank you to the Palace Games team for hosting us, and we hope to return and escape one of their rooms again soon!

The post Raspberry Pi vs a Raspberry Pi–powered escape room appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Coolest Projects: it’s for the whole family!

via Raspberry Pi

Wherever in the world I meet members of the Raspberry Pi community, I am always amazed by their enthusiasm for learning and making. And I often meet families that are enjoying computing together: kids who have introduced their parents to something that’s a whole new world for them, adults who are sharing a hobby they love with their children or grandchildren or nieces and nephews, and whole families that are learning alongside one another.

Coolest Projects logo Raspberry Pi

Earlier this summer, I met Raspberry Pi Certified Educator Heidi Baynes at Picademy in Denver, Colorado, and asked her about the Coolest Projects North America showcase event, which she and her son will be attending to on September 23 in Santa Ana, California. We hope you’ll join us there too, and to help you plan and build your own project to showcase, we’ve created a handy step-by-step guide for you to follow. Heidi and I talked about how she got involved with the Raspberry Pi community, and what she and her son are looking forward to at Coolest Projects.

Christina Foust: Heidi, what makes you excited about Coolest Projects?

Heidi Baynes: I love the idea of bringing kids together from all over North America to share their excitement about computer science and digital making. While I love all things Raspberry Pi, I like that this event includes projects from a variety of different sources. I’m excited to see projects built with Arduino, micro:bit, and other microcontrollers. I also can’t wait to see the digital creations that students have programmed as part of their coding classes and coding clubs. It’ll be a great celebration of computer science, robotics, and coding classes throughout North America.

CF: I can’t wait either! We’ve got some great projects registered. You’ve been part of the Raspberry Pi community for a few years. Can you tell me what first got you involved?

HB: As an educator, I was curious about Raspberry Pi and what it could mean for students and education. I applied to attend Picademy in the summer of 2016, and I was thrilled to be accepted to the Austin cohort. It was the most enriching professional development opportunity that I have ever attended, and I couldn’t wait to get back to my district and share everything I had learned. I’ve been lucky enough to continue my Picademy journey as a facilitator in Providence, Irvine, and just recently, in Denver. It’s been an opportunity of a lifetime to experience Picademy across the country and connect with so many wonderful educators!

CF: We love that you’re a part of the Raspberry Pi community, and we’re excited to have you join us for Coolest Projects. Your son is registered to present his project, Star Wars Piano. Where did the idea for his project come from?

HB: Music in general is a big focus in our house, so we purchased the Piano HAT to explore music and coding. As we searched through soundbites, we ran across a bank of Star Wars sounds and knew what we had to do. My son has talked about incorporating the piano into a costume so that different sound effects could be easily played while in character.

Heidi Baynes on Twitter

My son and I had a blast working on this Star Wars themed 🎹🎩 project. #picademy #pichatusa #piparty @bquentin3 @kboyceq https://t.co/mYOlVp5UxX

CF: I love Star Wars! What is he most excited about for Coolest Projects?

HB: He loves seeing what other kids have done and gets inspired by their creativity. In fact, as we’ve been talking about Coolest Projects and preparing his Star Wars Piano, he’s decided that he’d also like to try building a robotic car to share at the event. We’ve purchased the kit, and hopefully he’ll have time to complete it so he can share that project as well.

CF: I love that he’s inspired to keep building. We’d love to have him share the car too. What is he doing to get ready to share his Star Wars Piano project?

HB: He’s been adding a few more sound effects to his piano and is hoping to add another octave of sounds before he shares it at the event. We’ve talked about him creating images on the Sense HAT to play along with the sounds, so we’ll see what happens between now and then!

CF: That’s super exciting! I can’t wait to see how the project evolves. Do you have any advice for educators or parents with kids considering Coolest Projects?

HB: Stop considering and sign up! Don’t hesitate to come and share what you are working on, no matter how big or small the project might be. The Raspberry Pi and CS educator community is the most welcoming group of people. You and your students are sure to walk away with a few new ideas and some questions answered. We all learn from what others are doing. Your project could be the spark for someone else!

Coolest Projects North America

Coolest Projects will take place the Discovery Cube Orange County on September 23, 2018, and projects from young people with all levels of experience are welcome: we love to celebrate what kids and teens have created, whether they’re beginners showcasing their first projects, or seasoned makers! Find out how to attend the event and register your project at coolestprojects.org/northamerica.

The post Coolest Projects: it’s for the whole family! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Bell Gardens’ Code Club is headed to Coolest Projects North America

via Raspberry Pi

Located outside Los Angeles, the Boys & Girls Club of Bell Gardens run after-school and summer programming for youth in the community. The club at Bell Gardens is part of the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, a national organization of local chapters that offer after-school programs for young people. In September, their Code Club members will be heading to Coolest Projects North America to share their coding projects and connect with other young coders.

Two girls with backpacks reading about a Raspberry Pi project — Boys & Girls Club

Boys & Girls Club of Bell Gardens

At Bell Gardens’ Boys & Girls Club, activities center around healthy living and homework support, in addition to opportunities for kids to practice good character and citizenship, and to explore the arts and technology. But, as we know, rapid changes in technology mean needing to always be on the lookout for updated and kid-friendly materials. Therefore, Loren and her Boys & Girls Club team wanted to find resources that expose their kids to technology and empower them to contribute to society, to solve problems, or to simply get creative.

Code Club Bell Gardens

Loren found that Code Club, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s longest-running outreach program, has just the resources and online project platform they needed to really level up their digital tech program. Code Club resources, like all resources provided Raspberry Pi, are user-friendly, accessible, and always free.

A boy at a laptop coding in Scratch — Boys & Girls Club

Now, just two short months since their first session, the on-site Code Club at Bell Gardens has grown exponentially and become a favourite of the community. At 20 members and growing, their Code Club is composed entirely of members from the Bell Gardens community, serving kids from 6 to 15. The club runs at least once a week, and Loren hopes to run it more often due to its positive effects. She says:

I’ve seen a lot of internal and external growth in each member. I can honestly say that all the members have been impacted by the exposure to new resources and opportunities. Not only has their self-confidence improved, so have their skills in critical thinking, coding, and math.

Loren admits that the first day of Code Club started off as challenging. “Many of the youngest members faced significant learning difficulties pertaining to literacy and math. However, many of them happily surprised our staff with their ability to memorize the projects steps along with the symbols on the screen. After a two-hour session, most members were able to complete their projects without any assistance!”

Two children holding up Code Club stickers — Boys & Girls Club

The club members come from diverse backgrounds, so Loren is thoughtful about creating a team culture while supporting individual development. As a team, they focus on two objectives: passion and innovation. “Members are constantly seeking solutions to their own questions and challenges. They thrive on inspiration and motivation, which in my opinion is the finest way to be a catalyst in the technological age.”

Bell Gardens heads to Coolest Projects

With Coolest Projects North America coming in September, Bell Gardens’ Code Club members are working on projects over the summer to prepare for the big event. Loren is already looking forward to the showcase: “I am thrilled to bring our club to Coolest Projects because it’s a unique opportunity for the community! Our community has an overwhelming lack of resources, especially concerning education, so I am looking forward to introducing our members to an innovative, competitive environment, but most of all to inspire them to select a project they can feel passionate about.”

Coolest Projects North America

Coolest Projects North America will take place at the Discovery Cube, Orange County, on September 23, 2018.

Coolest Projects UK 2018 Raspberry Pi Foundation CoderDojo Coolest Projects UK 2018 Raspberry Pi Foundation CoderDojo Coolest Projects UK 2018 Raspberry Pi Foundation CoderDojo Coolest Projects UK 2018 Raspberry Pi Foundation CoderDojo

All levels of coders are welcome, and all types of projects are encouraged! Find tickets to the the event, register your project, and learn about travel stipends on the Coolest Projects North America website.

The post Bell Gardens’ Code Club is headed to Coolest Projects North America appeared first on Raspberry Pi.