Author Archives: Laura Sach

Build your own Crystal Maze at Home

via Raspberry Pi

I recently discovered a TV channel which shows endless re-runs of the game show The Crystal Maze, and it got me thinking: what resources are available to help the younger generation experience the wonder of this iconic show? Well…

Enter the Crystal Maze

If you’re too young to remember The Crystal Maze, or if you come from a country lacking this nugget of TV gold, let me explain. A band of fairly useless contestants ran around a huge warehouse decked out to represent four zones: Industrial, Aztec, Futuristic, and Medieval. They were accompanied by a wisecracking host in a fancy coat, Richard O’Brien.

A GIF of Crystal Maze host Richard O'Brien having fun on set. Build your own Raspberry Pi Crystal Maze

Richard O’Brien also wrote The Rocky Horror Picture Show so, y’know, he was interesting to watch if nothing else.

The contestants would enter rooms to play themed challenges – the categories were mental, physical, mystery, and skill – with the aim of winning crystals. If they messed up, they were locked in the room forever (well, until the end of the episode). For every crystal they collected, they’d be given a bit more time in a giant crystal dome at the end of the programme. And what did they do in the dome? They tried to collect pieces of gold paper while being buffeted by a wind machine, of course!

A GIF of a boring prize being announced to the competing team. Build your own Raspberry Pi Crystal Maze

Collect enough gold paper and you win a mediocre prize. Fail to collect enough gold paper and you win a mediocre prize. Like I said: TV gold.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it? Here are some free resources that will help you recreate the experience of The Crystal Maze in your living room…without the fear of being locked in.

Marble maze

Image of Crystal Maze Board Game

Photo credit: Board Game Geek

Make the classic Crystal Maze game, but this time with a digital marble! Use your Sense HAT to detect pitch, roll, and yaw as you guide the marble to its destination.

Bonus fact: marble mazes featured in the Crystal Maze board game from the 1990s.

Buzz Wire

Crystal Maze Buzz Wire game screengrab

Photo credit: Board Game Geek

Guide the hook along the wire and win the crystal! Slip up and buzz three times, though, and it’s an automatic lock-in. The beauty of this make is that you can play any fail sound you like: burp wire, anyone? Follow the tutorial by community member David Pride, which he created for the Cotswold Jam.

Laser tripwire

Crystal Maze laser trip wire screengrab

Photo credit: Marc Gerrish

Why not recreate the most difficult game of all? Can you traverse a room without setting off the laser alarms, and grab the crystal? Try your skill with our laser tripwire resource!

Forget the crystal! Get out!

I would love to go to a school fête where kids build their own Crystal Maze-style challenges. I’m sure there are countless other events which you could jazz up with a fun digital making challenge, though the bald dude in a fur coat remains optional. So if you have made your own Crystal Maze challenge, or you try out one of ours, we’d love to hear about it!

Here at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we take great pride in the wonderful free resources we produce for you to use in classes, at home, and in coding clubs. We publish them under a Creative Commons licence, and they’re an excellent way to develop your digital making skills. And massive thanks to David Pride and the Cotswold Jam for creating and sharing your great resources for free.

The post Build your own Crystal Maze at Home appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Hour of Code 2016

via Raspberry Pi

What could you do in an hour? Perhaps you could watch an episode of a TV show, have a luxurious bath, or even tidy the house a bit! But what if you could spend an hour learning a skill that might influence the future of your career, and perhaps your whole life?

hour-of-code-header

The Hour of Code is a worldwide initiative which aims to get as many people as possible to have a go at programming computers. Our aim is to put digital making into the hands of as many people as possible, so here at Pi Towers we have cooked up some exciting projects for you to try, all of which can be completed in an hour.

Have a go at making a version of a whoopee cushion (a favourite Christmas cracker toy in my house) using physical computing, invent your own lyrics for The Twelve Days of Christmas, or simulate your cat floating in space. Many of the projects don’t even require a Raspberry Pi: you can get started with Scratch just by visiting a website.

Physical computing projects

Physical computing projects Make a fast-paced reaction game with a Pi and an Explorer HAT

Scratch projects

Ada's Poetry Generator Program your own animation in Scratch

Astro Pi projects

Sense HAT Random Sparkles Simulate the effects of weightlessness in space using Scratch

Programming projects

N days of Christmas Generate cat memes with JavaScript



We are also holding a digital making event at Pi Towers on Wednesday 7 December: if you can travel to Cambridge, then register, join in and achieve your hour of code!

Whether you are a child or an adult, it is never too late to start learning to code. When I was a teacher, I always loved participating in the Hour of Code: the students couldn’t quite believe they were given an hour to do something they would willingly do for fun. What they didn’t know is that the teachers secretly had a lot of fun testing out the projects too, although some of the resulting sounds did cause a few raised eyebrows in the staff room!

Once you’ve started coding, you might not want to stop, so head over to our resources section for more inspirational projects to tackle. Intrepid teachers can download the second issue of the MagPi Educator’s Edition to find out how to take things further in the classroom. The sky’s the limit! Well, actually, if you’re doing one of our Astro Pi projects, space is the limit…

The post Hour of Code 2016 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Hour of Code 2016

via Raspberry Pi

What could you do in an hour? Perhaps you could watch an episode of a TV show, have a luxurious bath, or even tidy the house a bit! But what if you could spend an hour learning a skill that might influence the future of your career, and perhaps your whole life?

hour-of-code-header

The Hour of Code is a worldwide initiative which aims to get as many people as possible to have a go at programming computers. Our aim is to put digital making into the hands of as many people as possible, so here at Pi Towers we have cooked up some exciting projects for you to try, all of which can be completed in an hour.

Have a go at making a version of a whoopee cushion (a favourite Christmas cracker toy in my house) using physical computing, invent your own lyrics for The Twelve Days of Christmas, or simulate your cat floating in space. Many of the projects don’t even require a Raspberry Pi: you can get started with Scratch just by visiting a website.

Physical computing projects

Physical computing projects Make a fast-paced reaction game with a Pi and an Explorer HAT

Scratch projects

Ada's Poetry Generator Program your own animation in Scratch

Astro Pi projects

Sense HAT Random Sparkles Simulate the effects of weightlessness in space using Scratch

Programming projects

N days of Christmas Generate cat memes with JavaScript



We are also holding a digital making event at Pi Towers on Wednesday 7 December: if you can travel to Cambridge, then register, join in and achieve your hour of code!

Whether you are a child or an adult, it is never too late to start learning to code. When I was a teacher, I always loved participating in the Hour of Code: the students couldn’t quite believe they were given an hour to do something they would willingly do for fun. What they didn’t know is that the teachers secretly had a lot of fun testing out the projects too, although some of the resulting sounds did cause a few raised eyebrows in the staff room!

Once you’ve started coding, you might not want to stop, so head over to our resources section for more inspirational projects to tackle. Intrepid teachers can download the second issue of the MagPi Educator’s Edition to find out how to take things further in the classroom. The sky’s the limit! Well, actually, if you’re doing one of our Astro Pi projects, space is the limit…

The post Hour of Code 2016 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.