Insert Juggling Pun Here

Martin, our financial director, dropped by for a budget meeting yesterday. “How’s it going, Liz?”

“I’m trying to think up a title for a blog post. There’s this juggler who was on America’s got Talent, who’s using programmable juggling clubs that light up and synchronise. They’re powered by a Pi. And the person who built them is a totally amazing sixteen-year-old girl who interns at NASA.”

“Don’t ask me for ideas,” said Martin. “I’m an accountant.”

Juggling with magical Pi clubs, on a long exposure setting

Juggling with magical Pi clubs, on a long exposure setting

Let’s start with that sixteen-year-old girl. Lauren Egts is pretty exceptional. She’s a busy and incredibly articulate advocate for open source software, she’s a seasoned Pi hacker (check out the summer vacation project she worked on at NASA, which was also Pi-powered). And we absolutely love the fact that there’s a Raspberry Pi in her LinkedIn profile photo.

Lauren got an email from the company she did work experience with last summer, saying they’d been approached by a juggler (Charles Peachock, whose juggling got him into the quarterfinals of America’s Got Talent) who, in the way of modern jugglers (we think), needed some technical support. He wanted clubs to use in his act that could have lights embedded which could be synchronised to a routine, and Lauren’s former colleagues thought she’d be able to help. Lauren, being Lauren, rose to the challenge, and the results are pretty spectacular.

LightUpJugglingPins

You can read Lauren’s explanation of how she hacked together the juggling pin setup over at opensource.com. RasPi Today also interviewed her about the project. You can see the Pi-powered clubs in action in Charles Peachock’s demo reel: he starts using them at 3m 39s in – it’s a very short segment of the video, and the quality’s not the best, but the whole video’s worth watching. Who knew that gravity worked quite like that?

Even now, our very own Ben Nuttall is trying to work out how to make his elbows do that thing.