Community Profile: Zach Igielman

This column is from The MagPi issue 49. You can download a PDF of the full issue for free, or subscribe to receive the print edition in your mailbox or the digital edition on your tablet. All proceeds from the print and digital editions help the Raspberry Pi Foundation achieve its charitable goals.

Zachary Igielman

Zach Igielman

Category: Maker
Day job: Student
Website

You may recognise the name Zachary Igielman from issue #38, where he was mentioned during our review of the exciting Pimoroni Piano HAT. The Piano HAT, for those unaware, was inspired by Zach’s own creation, the PiPiano, a successful crowdfunded add-on board that hit 184% of its funding two years ago. Aged 14, Zach had decided to incorporate his passions for making, engineering, and music, building himself a PCB that could use physical keys to control electronic sound files and Sonic Pi code. The PCB, he explains, is a great classroom tool, educating students on the fundamentals of physically building digital tech and soldering, through to understanding sound generation through PWM frequencies.

Zachary Igielman

PiPiano: Zach taught himself how to build a PCB in order to bring the PiPiano to life. Using Indiegogo to fund his project, Zach hit 184% of his target before approaching Pimoroni to hand over the design. And from his homemade PCB, the Piano HAT was born.

Zach began to teach himself to code aged 11, soon discovering the Raspberry Pi and, later, the Cambridge Raspberry Jams. It was through this collective of like-minded individuals that Zach was inspired to broaden his making skills, moving on to create line-following robots that avoided objects by using sensors.

Moving forward, Zach visited the Raspberry Pi offices for work experience, continuing to work on and study robots and robotic guides, working alongside our engineers to build upon his knowledge. It was around this time, in October 2014, that Zach met Frank Thomas-Hockey via Twitter. Frank was looking for help in creating the first London Raspberry Jam and Zach was more than willing to lend a hand. Between them, they 
set up the Covent Garden Jam, welcoming over 100 visitors to their first event. Their most recent Jam – now with the additional help of volunteers Ben, Paul, and Joseph – allowed them to simultaneously run workshops on soldering, Sonic Pi, and Minecraft, while also highlighting maker projects through show-and-tell sessions and talks.

Zachary Igielman Covent Garden Jam

Covent Garden Raspberry Pi Jam: Through Twitter, Zach met Frank in 2014, a like-minded Pi enthusiast looking to start a London-based Raspberry Jam. Between the two of them, they launched the first event at Dragon Hall, continuing the success of the Jam to now include multiple workshops, show-and-tell sessions, and talks.

Finally finished with his GCSE exams and about to begin his sixth-form studies in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Computing, Zach now has the time to continue his recent collaboration with friend Jake Blumenow.

Zach met Jake and built a fast friendship online, lovingly referring to him as a fellow “computer geek”. The two have worked on projects together, including several websites, and spent time travelling, bouncing ideas off one another with the aim of creating something important. It’s their most recent venture that’s worthy of recognition.

“At Google Campus, we developed our business model: we believe people of all ages have the right to understand how the technological world around us works, so they can modify and create their own technology.”

Between the two of them, they aim to create complete Raspberry Pi education kits, inviting beginners in making and coding to create functional projects, such as an alarm system, thus cementing the pair’s desire to highlight the day-to-day importance of tech in our lives.

Zachary Igielman Jake Blumenow

Collaboration with Jake Blumenow: Zach and Jake believe everyone has the right to understand how technology builds the world around them. With this in mind, they formed a partnership, working to create Raspberry Pi educational kits, starting with a DIY alarm system.