“This November there is the chance for all school students to enter the UK’s first Beaver Competition for FREE!
I think it is a great opportunity for all groups of students to find out, in an enjoyable way, whether they have an aptitude in Computational Thinking.
I would like to see entries from students of all age groups [for example] it would be great to see a Maths A level group entered and for them to discover that they might like to take CompSci at Uni when they had not thought of this as an option.
France had 90 000 students sit their first year doing this competition last year – it would be good to beat them!”
Registration closes on 27 October and the competition itself is 45 minute during the week of November 11th. There are four categories and the competition is open to students of all abilities. Chris points out that, “entry is only through a school and as such any individual wishing to enter would need to nag their ICT/Computing teacher.” So if that’s you then get nagging!
If you are that teacher then this is a great opportunity to do something a bit different and to introduce your students to computational thinking. The competition is all about using your grey stuff to solve problems — there is no programming and no preparation. You can see some of the past questions here. The solutions show how the problem is related to Computer Science so could even be used for future lessons.
You may be familiar with the Raspberry Pi recipe cards that we developed with the exam board OCR. These are a great way to start using your Raspberry Pi: quick, creative projects — such as traffic light LEDs, singing jelly babies and Twitter-aware doodhas — that teach one or two new concepts and encourage experimentation and hacking. They are a great classroom tool too and we use them at our programming workshops.
I said “sing!” Sing louder you little gelatine chappie or it’s off with your head!
OCR want to make more recipe cards. Because they are nice like that. They know the best ideas for projects are living in your lovely little heads and they want to extract your weird and creative brain juices by means of a Trial of Creative Might.
The challenge is to design your own recipe for Raspberry Pi. You can do this by yourself or in a team. One winner or winning team from each age category will win a Raspberry Pi bundle including a T-shirt and will have their winning recipe featured on the Raspberry Pi blog (this means that you will be fabulously famous!). The three age groups are 12 and under; 13-15 and 16-18.
Your recipe must have fewer than 100 lines of code and cost less than £10 in parts. And no soldering allowed — we want to make this as accessible as possible.
The competition will be judged purely on creativity and imagination rather than technical prowess — you don’t even need to submit any code — so everyone has a chance to enter.
A Wing-ed Helmet of Ingenuity. Available from all good online retailers.
The closing date is 30 August 2013 so you have a few weeks to don those Winged Helmets of Ingenuity + 3 and impress us! Full details and terms plus the entry forms are on the OCR website.
Your votes have been counted: there was a clear winner. Congratulations to Fergal Butler, who was the first person to respond to the original post with the name Babbage.
Well done Fergal! Emma will be in touch with you next week to get your address. The prototype bear has already found a home with Clive’s little girl, and production Babbage won’t be with us for a couple of weeks, but we’ll make sure yours is the first to be sent out.
We ended up with a shortlist of the best names, and set to voting.
Thirty seconds after this, the shouting started. Note that Gordon has drawn a Darlington pair (badly) to explain things to the software guys, who are slow to catch on.
Unfortunately, we ended up in deadlock, with four votes each for Darlington and Babbage. Eben went so far as to try cheating, and added some extra ticks when he thought nobody was looking.
So we’ve decided we need your help. The two choices we’ve boiled things down to are Babbage and Darlington. We’d like you to let us know which you prefer. Please leave a comment letting us know which is your favourite! (Babbage and Darlington only, please; we know some of you want to call the bear Pinus after Linus Torvalds, but there were all kinds of problems with that.)
In about a month’s time, we’re going to be launching a brand-new range of Raspberry Pi merchandise. (My desk is currently awash with notebooks, gym bags, pencils, mugs, umbrellas and…stuff.)
This little guy is going to be one of the additions to the line-up.
He’s soft, he’s cuddly, he’s only about 20cm tall, and he doesn’t have a name yet. That’s where you come in.
To win a bear, as well as some other goodies I’ll select from what’s kicking around in the office, and to have your choice of name used in the shop, leave a comment below with your chosen name, with an explanation of why you selected it. (Make sure the email address you log in with is a genuine one, so we can get in touch with you if you win.) The competition ends at midnight on Tuesday April 16.
We’ve sent the first camera boards to production, and we’re expecting to be able to start selling them some time in April. And we’ve now got several pre-production cameras in the office that we’re testing and tweaking and tuning so the software will be absolutely tickety-boo when you come to buy one.
Gordon is in charge of things camera, and he’s got ten boards to give away. There is, however, a catch.
The reason we’re giving these cameras away is that we want you to help us to do extra-hard testing. We want the people we send these boards to to do something computationally difficult and imaginative with them, so that the cameras are pushed hard in the sort of bonkers scheme that we’ve seen so many of you come up with here before with your Pis, and so that we can learn how they perform (and make adjustments if necessary). The community here always seems to come up with applications for the stuff we do that we wouldn’t have thought of in a million years; we thought we should take advantage of that.
So we want you to apply for a camera, letting us know what you’re planning to do with it (and if you don’t do the thing you promise, we’ll send Clive around on his motorbike to rough you up). We want you to try to get the camera doing something imaginative. Think about playing around with facial recognition; or hooking two of them up together and modging the images together to create some 3d output; or getting the camera to recognise when something enters the frame that shouldn’t be there and doing something to the image as a result. We are not looking for entries from people who just want to take pictures, however pretty they are. (Dave Akerman: we’ve got one bagged up for you anyway, because the stuff you’re taking pictures of is cool enough to earn an exemption here. Everybody else, see Dave’s latest Pi in Space here. He’s put it in a tiny TARDIS.)
So if you have a magnificent, imaginative, computationally interesting thing you’d like to do with a Raspberry Pi camera board, email firstname.lastname@example.org. In your mail you’ll need to explain exactly what you plan to do; and Gordon, who is old-school, is likely to take your application all the more seriously if you can point to other stuff you’ve done in the past (with or without cameras), GitHub code or other examples of your fierce prowess. (He suggested I ask for your CVs, but I think we’ll draw the line there.) We will also need your postal address. The competition is open worldwide until March 12. We’re looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
To celebrate our first anniversary, RS Components, one of our two main manufacturing distributors, are releasing a limited edition of 1000 blue Raspberry Pis. These Pis are very cute: there’s something really handsome about that blue. They come with a certificate of authenticity signed by Eben and a matching blue case from One Nine Design in Wales; and blue, as drinkers of Slush Puppy should be aware, is the canonical colour of raspberry flavouring. (Do not eat this Pi.)
There’s a catch. You won’t be able to buy these Pis. The majority of them are being donated to charitable causes involving kids and education. But some are also being held back as competition prizes, and you can win one yourself.
For four weeks from today, everyone who tweets #bluepi to @RSElectronics along with a suggestion for uses for a blue Pi, or with a great Pi design idea, will be entered into a competition to win one. (Please tweet your entries to @RSElectronics – don’t leave your entry here in the comments, because it won’t be counted.) Every week, the top ten entries will be selected by a panel from RS and the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and those ten winners will be sent a blue Pi. Easy! There will be another competition when these four weeks are up – RS will be running Blue Pi events until June.
We first met Paul Beech in 2011, when he won a competition we were running to find a logo design. (That’s it, up at the top of the page.) Paul, Eben and I hit it off immediately over a shared love of toast and dripping. Since then, Paul’s become a familiar face here at the Raspberry Pi farm, especially since he set up a small business called Pimoroni with his friend Jon Williamson, and started making the Pibow, which we still think is the best-looking case that’s available for the Raspberry Pi.
This is a bit of a special time for us. It’s the first anniversary of the Raspberry Pi’s launch on Friday (or Thursday, depending how you count; we launched on a leap day last year). You’ll be able to read more about that on Friday, but to celebrate, Pimoroni have launched a competition with one of the most drool-worthy prizes I’ve seen. Paul says:
A lot of you have asked for custom Pibows. Alas, we’re not set up for it, but you can always grab the design and get your own cut. For everyone else, there’s this competition.
The aim is simple, show us your tasteful/useful/insane* vision for your own custom Pibow.
The person who comes up with the best design wins a customised Pibow – and everything that’s in this box. (And the box.) Click the image for the entry page.
What’s in there? You’ll get a special Pibow, made to your custom design, AND:
The awesome Sortimo compartment case that contains all this fine loot!
Raspberry Pi Model B (512MB from the Sony plant)
Raspberry Pi Model A with Pibow Model A
Pibow VESA mount
25W Antex soldering iron (like the one Jon has been using since he was 12)
Digital calipers (useful more often than you’d think)
A selection of components
Crocodile clip leads
Sparkfun cerberus USB cable
Sparkfun hydra USB cable
Pink and blue USB noodles
This is a totally spiffy and positively super collection of useful stuff to pimp, mod, and extend your Raspberry Pi with. Even better you can tote it around with you as your own awesome mobile hacker space! This is all stuff we use ourselves at Pimoroni Towers so we know you’ll love it.
Gotta mention the mini-servos and the 7-seg displays, and the range of resistors and caps. anna anna pony anna anna hekiloptor!
(Have to admit, I have absolutely no idea what Paul is on about – I’m not sure if you get mini-servos, and I’m almost certain you don’t get ponies or helicopters as part of the prize.)
It’s here a month earlier than the expected publishing date because the typesetting elves have been working their tiny hats off. You can now buy the Raspberry Pi User Guide, written by Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree, in good old-fashioned book form, with pages made out of paper and everything, which will please those of you who were holding out because you don’t like e-books.
The User Guide serves as an in-depth manual for the Raspberry Pi. It’ll teach you the basics like where to plug the cables in and how to turn it on and use the terminal, and then lead you through learning how to configure it, how to program, how to set it up as a web server, how to use it as a media centre, how to use the GPIO to read buttons and flash lights, and more. I’ve got a copy (already coffee-stained) on my desk, and it’s fantastic; Eben, Gareth and the editorial and production teams at Wiley have done a beautiful job.
If you’d like to win a copy signed by Eben (I may be able to get Gareth to sign it too if I see him in time), just leave a comment below saying exactly what you’d like him to write in his dedication to you. The best/funniest/most tear-jerking will win a signed copy of the book – and some highly sought-after stickers if Rob has any left after his tour of the US. I’ll announce the winner next week.
Another post in an occasional series on the cool stuff people have been doing with their Pis. Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday – total disorganisation on our part. The event we were at yesterday (at which we won a paperweight proclaiming that Eben is Cambridge’s most influential business person, a rather phallic award, and a box of chocolates – hurray chocolates) went on for longer than we’d expected, we didn’t get to do half the things we were meaning to before the end of the day, and we are reminded that it’s probably getting close to time to hire some admin staff, because this diary is becoming a MONSTER.
First up, some competition news. PA Consulting is sponsoring a series of prizes for UK teams. The task is to make something that will make the world a better place, using a Raspberry Pi – you can enter hardware projects or software projects. There are categories for several different age groups from primary school through to university and beyond; this is a competition that adults can enter too. The schools prizes are a generous £1000; for other categories, prizes range from internships to cash prizes. And the first 200 teams to enter will get a free Raspberry Pi – what could be nicer? Read the rules and enter here.
In other competition news, if you submitted an entry to our own Summer Coding Contest (which we’re judging at the moment – we had a lot of really excellent and complicated entries, so it’ll take us another couple of weeks to get through them all), you should have received an acknowledgement email from us. If you haven’t, please email email@example.com.
Yesterday, we learned about the first ever Raspberry Pi supercomputer. A group at Southampton University led by Professor Simon Cox has, with the help of six-year-old son James Cox (the team’s LEGO specialist), built a supercomputer out of Raspberry Pis, a bajillion cables and an awful lot of LEGO. You can read all about it here, and learn how to make your own. Obviously, this is probably not the most economical way to get bang for your MIPS, but it’s a really lucid way to explain how a supercomputer works, and we love it.
Prof Cox and James, and the biggest Bramble we’ve seen yet
The Raspberry Pi isn’t just getting a foothold in UK universities. This morning, I was sent this video from the IIIT in Bangalore, an Indian university specialising in information technology. Students there have been making an informational video about setting up the Raspberry Pi. Over to them:
Meanwhile, back in Europe, Ponnuki has a clever little hack to turn a Kindle into a Raspberry Pi e-ink display. E-ink’s something we’ve been very interested in at the Foundation. This kind of very readable low-power display is a really good option for environments where power hard to come by: battery-powered portable systems, solar-powered systems which need a display in out-of-the-way places, and set-ups in developing countries, can really benefit from this sort of technology. You won’t be able to watch video with these refresh rates, but most desktop-type applications are very usable. Right now, it’s very hard to buy such a display as a consumer – they’re usually part of an e-reader device, and even if you’re lucky enough to be able to source one independently, they’re very expensive. We’re watching the sector with interest, and we’re hoping to see prices come down and availability increase – we’re aware of a few companies who are doing really interesting work in this area. But until then, we rather like Ponnuki’s solution.
Kindleberry Pi. Click the image for instructions on setting up your own.