Guest blogs #3, #4 and #5

With all of the amazing projects we see using the Raspberry Pi it’s easy to become a bit complacent. But one of the main reasons that the Raspberry Pi was invented was to encourage a new generation of young people to get into computing. The following guest blogs are all shining examples of why the Raspberry Pi was developed. They are all quite different but have a common message: that it’s never too early to learn computing. Or to start creating things.

Thanks to Jake, Matthew and Ross for helping put things into perspective.


Jake’s Raspberry Pi in near space

We like the fact that Raspberry Pis are being sent into near space (and coming down to earth unharmed!). The website is well worth a visit–it has some fantastic photos and lots of interesting data. And expanding marshmallows.

“My 13 year old son Jake designed and built a high altitude balloon for his 7th grade science fair. It reached an altitude of 85,011 feet. That is considered “near space”. At that height, the sky is black, and the curvature of the earth is significant.

The balloon capsule included a Raspberry Pi with an attached GPS and pressure sensor. The Pi was used to record the balloon’s coordinates, speed, altitude, heading, and pressure data throughout the flight on an SD card. My son used this data in his experiments. I am a developer, so I wrote a small Python script to gather the data.

The Raspberry Pi performed flawlessly during the flight. While other more expensive electronic devices in the capsule failed, the Raspberry Pi never stopped functioning, even through extreme low temperature and pressure, and a violent descent. Furthermore, after we found the capsule (about 5 hours after launch), the Pi was still recording accurate GPS and pressure data!

We were so impressed by the Raspberry Pi that we featured it on the project website:

Three marshmallows and a grape at 55,999 feet.


Matthew, The Raspberry Pi Guy

The Raspberry Pi Guy has created a huge amount of excellent Raspberry Pi videos. Matthew, his alter ego, explains:

“Hello, my name is Matthew. I am 13 years old and I recently started my own YouTube channel; all about the Raspberry Pi! I am called ‘The Raspberry Pi Guy’ and on my channel I cover a huge variety of subjects from GPIO related tinkering to Overclocking to Robots to Linux basics. Please don’t let my age tint your thoughts on it! Have a look.

I cannot thank the foundation enough for their amazing work! In fact Eben and Liz have become my personal heroes! I hope to take a computer science GCSE and then have a career in Technology… I have recently written a 3 page article in the MagPi on Overclocking and I hope that you will give it a look when it comes out this November! I am open to any suggestions/ ideas about my videos and please do not hesitate to voice them.  Please take a look at my channel and I wish all of you the best of luck when it comes to everything Pi based!”


Ross’ web server

There’s a reason that the Raspberry Pi was kept so affordable. Ross, 12, tells us how he built a web server–and other things–on a budget. And please do run that Raspberry Pi club Ross!

“A few months ago, around June, a friend of mine told me about a Raspberry Pi. During an IT lesson I looked at your website and loved the project.  A few months later, the Pi arrived at my door.

My Pi comes in its Farnell box

The next problem was all the other parts. 2 days and all my pocket money later, just before I went on holiday, my Raspberry Pi was running (and this was without a keyboard – I used quemu to program it so it auto boots, then wrote quemu’s image file to the Pi).

I find out how tiny the Pi really is

Using my Pi, I have learnt a lot about python, Linux, and engineering. Whilst I was into programming before my Raspberry Pi (visual basic, HTML, java, action script etc) the raspberry pi really helped me learn python, which I use a lot now.

My Pi boots for the first time, the day before holiday. As you can see, no keyboard.

My school are waiting for theirs, and I may run a raspberry pi club in the future. My projects are:

  • A web server
  • An HTML editor in python
  • Programming your Raspberry Pi without needing to download anything, just point your browser to it.

So far, the last project is going okay. I call it chocolate ice cream (a joke on all the sweet android names). It is programmed in flash. When it is nearer to being ready I will put it on my website.”