Author Archives: Helen Lynn

International Women’s Day: Girls at Code Club

via Raspberry Pi

On International Women’s Day and every day, Raspberry Pi and Code Club are determined to support girls and women to fulfil their potential in the field of computing.

Code Club provides computing opportunities for kids aged nine to eleven within their local communities, and 40 percent of the children attending our 5000-plus UK clubs are girls. Code Club aims to inspire them to get excited about computer science and digital making, and to help them develop the skills and knowledge to succeed.

Big Birthday Bash Code Club Raspberry Pi Bag

Code Club’s broad appeal

From the very beginning, Code Club was designed to appeal equally to girls and boys. Co-founder Clare Sutcliffe describes how she took care to avoid anything that evoked gendered stereotypes:

When I was first designing Code Club – its brand, tone of voice and content – it was all with a gender-neutral feel firmly in mind. Anything that felt too gendered was ditched.

The resources that children use are selected to have broad appeal, engaging a wide range of interests. Code Club’s hosts and volunteers provide an environment that is welcoming and supportive.

Two girls coding at Code Club

A crucial challenge for the future is to sustain an interest in computing in girls as they enter their teenage years. As in other areas of science, technology, engineering and maths; early success for girls doesn’t yet feed through into pursuing higher qualifications or entering related careers in large numbers. What can we all do to make sure that interested and talented young women know that this exciting field is for them?

The post International Women’s Day: Girls at Code Club appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Astro Pi: Goodnight, Mr Tim

via Raspberry Pi

On Saturday, British ESA astronaut Tim Peake returned to Earth after six months on the International Space Station. During his time in orbit, he did a huge amount of work to share the excitement of his trip with young people and support education across the curriculum: as part of this, he used our two Astro Pi computers, Izzy and Ed, to run UK school students’ code and play their music in space. But what lies ahead for the pair now Tim’s mission, Principia, is complete?

Watch Part 4 of the Story of Astro Pi!

The Story of Astro Pi – Part 4: Goodnight, Mr Tim

As British ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s mission comes to an end, what will become of Ed and Izzy, our courageous Astro Pis? Find out more at astro-pi.org/about/mission/ Narration by Fran Scott: franscott.co.uk

Ed and Izzy will remain on the International Space Station until 2022, and they have exciting work ahead of them. Keep an eye on this blog and on our official magazine, The MagPi, for news!

The post Astro Pi: Goodnight, Mr Tim appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Astro Pi: In Space, No One Can Hear You Code

via Raspberry Pi

British ESA astronaut Tim Peake has been on board the International Space Station with our Astro Pi units, Izzy and Ed, for exactly six months today. As Tim prepares to return to Earth this Saturday, we bring you the third part of their animated adventures: when our two spacefaring Raspberry Pi computers run into a problem even their hero Robonaut can’t fix, who can help them?

No Title

No Description

During his time in space, Tim has been using Ed and Izzy to run apps, carry out science experiments and play music designed and coded by UK school students, and he’s taken some great photos of them on the station:

Education

No Description

Both computers have also spent some weeks in a flight recorder mode, saving sensor readings to a database every ten seconds, and we’ve made these space data available to everyone to download and analyse. Take a look at our Flight Data Analysis resource to explore what they recorded as they orbited our planet.

Ed and Izzy will say goodbye to Tim when he returns from space this Saturday; you’ll be able to watch him land. Our Astro Pi units will stay on board the ISS until 2022, and we hope we’ll soon be able to share exciting news about what they’ll be doing next. Stay tuned!

The post Astro Pi: In Space, No One Can Hear You Code appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Recantha’s Raspberry Pi music box

via Raspberry Pi

Mike Horne, aka Recantha, co-organises the Cambridge Raspberry Jam and Pi Wars, not to mention some amazing parties. He also makes things, most recently this excellent Pi-powered music box. It probably isn’t what you thought of when you read the words “music box”.

Raspberry Pi Music Box

A Raspberry Pi 2 with a whole load of buttons and plenty of Adafruit boards from makersify.com playing synthesized sounds via a FluidSynth Python library. Code at: https://github.com/recantha/musicbox

As you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of this blog, we’ve a particular soft spot for musical instruments that use a Raspberry Pi, and The Music Box is a lovely example. Inside that eBay-tacular wooden box is a Pi 2, an Adafruit Perma-Proto HAT, and a lot of wiring that Mike can’t get a better picture of because, as with many of the best hacks, it’ll all spill out if he opens the lid too far (but you can see a bit more of it in the video). Seven of the coloured buttons on the lid form a keyboard designed to fit Mike’s hand; the square one in the middle turns power to the instrument on and off, and the three potentiometers control volume, choice of instrumental sound effect, and the pitch of the music box’s range. A pair of buttons on the side of the box allow you to shut down or reboot the Pi.

You’ll find all Mike’s code for The Music Box on GitHub, so you can adapt it for your own creations. He writes,

The software is a mixture of GPIO Zero, standard Python and the pyFluidSynth library which communicates with FluidSynth, a synthesiser that plays sound fonts. I loaded thirty-two different sound fonts and it will be easy enough to add more as I can just drop them into the folder and the software will automatically load them… GPIO Zero is the hero here, with its built-in multi-threaded event handlers and MCP3008 support.

Read more on Mike’s blog, and tell us about your own favourite musical hacks – your own, or someone else’s – in the comments!

The post Recantha’s Raspberry Pi music box appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Build your own Raspberry Pi terrarium controller

via Raspberry Pi

Tom Bennet grows Nepenthes, tropical carnivorous plants that I know by the name of pitcher plants. To stay healthy they need a temperature- and humidity-controlled environment, and Tom ensures this by housing them in a terrarium controlled by a Raspberry Pi 3 and Energenie’s Pi-mote starter kit, which provides an easy way to control mains electrical sockets from a Pi. He has written step-by-step instructions to help you build your own terrarium controller, the first such guide we’ve seen for this particular application.

A terrarium in a cuboid glass tank with fluorescent lighting, containing six Nepenthes plants of various species

Nepenthes plants of various species in Tom Bennet’s Pi-controlled terrarium. Photo by Tom Bennet

Tom’s terrarium controller doesn’t only monitor and regulate temperature, humidity and light, three of the four main variables in a terrarium (the fourth, he explains, is water, and because terrariums tend to be nearly or completely sealed, this requires only infrequent intervention). It also logs data from its sensors to Internet-of-Things data platform ThingSpeak, which offers real-time data visualisation and alerts.

Line chart plotting terrarium temperature and humidity over a 24-hour period

24 hours’ worth of temperature and humidity data for Tom’s terrarium

One of the appealing aspects of this project, as Tom observes, is its capacity for extension. You could quite easily add a soil moisture sensor or, particularly for a terrarium that houses reptiles rather than plants, a camera module, as well as using the online data logs in all kinds of ways.

The very clear instructions include a full and costed bill of materials consisting of off-the-shelf parts that come to less than £90/$125 including the Pi. There are helpful photographs and wiring diagrams, straightforward explanations, practical advice, and Python scripts that can easily be adapted to meet the demands of different habitats and ambient conditions. Thank you for writing such a useful guide, Tom; we’re certain it will help plenty of other people set up their own Pi-controlled terrariums!

The post Build your own Raspberry Pi terrarium controller appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Minecraft Pi (and more) over VNC

via Raspberry Pi

RealVNC have released a free alpha (testing) version of VNC for Raspberry Pi that lets you remotely view and control everything on your Pi, including Minecraft, from a different computer. It works on every generation of Raspberry Pi, including Pi Zero. Here’s a demo:

VNC for Raspberry Pi alpha – playing Minecraft

With the VNC for Raspberry Pi alpha, you can play Minecraft, access the Pi’s text console and switch between workspaces – all over a VNC connection. We’ve also added hardware acceleration, making connections faster and smoother. To try it out, visit RealVNC’s GitHub: https://github.com/RealVNC/raspi-preview.

Previously, it hasn’t been possible to view software that uses a directly rendered overlay – such as Minecraft, the camera module preview and OMXPlayer – over a VNC connection. It’s a feature that lots of people have long wished for, not least because it means that schools and other organisations can use existing equipment, such as laptops, as displays for their Raspberry Pis, so it’s fantastic to see a VNC server that supports it.

Our Head of Curriculum Development, Marc Scott, has spent some time taking a look, and he was impressed:

The performance was great, once the settings had been played with a little, and set-up was easy just by following the instructions on the GitHub repo: https://github.com/RealVNC/raspi-preview#startVnc.

Once this is perfected, it will certainly be fantastic for teachers and students, who will be able to use their existing ICT infrastructure to connect and control their Raspberry Pis.

It’s fair to say the new version has been well received by the Raspberry Pi community so far:

CovAndWarksRaspiJam on Twitter

@RealVNC THIS IS AMAZING!pic.twitter.com/WReVGiRaUl

We’ve been looking forward to this since RealVNC tantalised us with a cracking demo at our fourth birthday party in March, and we’re delighted to see it out there. In releasing a public alpha, RealVNC are hoping for your feedback to help them make it as good as possible, so download it, give it a go and tell them what you think!

The post Minecraft Pi (and more) over VNC appeared first on Raspberry Pi.