Raspberry Pi Blog

This is the official Raspberry Pi blog for news and updates from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, education initiatives, community projects and more!

1000 Raspberry Pi Certified Educators

This week, we trained our 1000th Raspberry Pi Certified Educator at a Picademy in Cardiff, south Wales. These teachers, librarians and other educators are now equipped to begin sharing the power of digital making with their learners, their local communities and their peers.

An animated gif: a group of new Raspberry Pi Certified Educators celebrate by pulling party poppers

Our newest Raspberry Pi Certified Educators: now there are 1000 of them!

Picademy is a free CPD programme that gives educators the skills and knowledge to help learners get creative with computing. Classroom teachers, museum educators, librarians, educator coaches, and community educators can all apply. You don’t need any previous experience, just an enthusiasm for teaching computing and digital making.

Apply for Picademy

We’ve just announced the dates and venues for Picademy in the US throughout 2017. Take a look at the schedule of UK Picademy events for this year: we’ve just added some new dates. Check out what educators say about Picademy.

Are you interested? DO IT. APPLY.

Demand for Picademy places is always high, and there are many parts of the world where we don’t yet offer Picademy. In order to reach more people, we provide two free online training courses which are available anywhere in the world. They’re especially relevant to educators, but anyone can take part. Both started this week, but there’s still time to join. Both courses will run again in the future.

Hello World

Wherever you are, you can also read Hello World, our new magazine about computing and digital making written by educators, for educators. It’s free online as a downloadable PDF, and it’s available to UK-based educators in print, free of charge. In its pages over the next issues, we know we’ll see some of our first 1000 Raspberry Pi Certified Educators inspire some of our second 1000.

We hope that you, too, will join this creative, supportive community!

3 Comments

Stent-testing smart robot makes the medical grade

The Raspberry Pi often makes the world a better place. This time, it’s helping to test 3D-printed stents using a smart stent-testing robot.

Stents are small tubes used to prop open a patient’s airway. They keep people alive, so it’s incredibly important they don’t fail.

In fact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires testing of each design by compressing it over 300,000 times. That’s a sturdy challenge for any human, which is why machines are normally used to mash up the stents.

The usual stent-destroying machines are dumb clamps, with no idea whether the stent is breaking or not.

Stent Testing Robot Camera

A smarter stent-testing robot

Enter the Stent-Testing Robot, an intelligent arm that mashes stents while a Raspberry Pi Camera Module keeps a sharp eye on how it performs.

It’s designed by Henry J. Feldman, Chief Information Architect at Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians.

“We start with a CT scan of the lungs, and via a 3D reconstruction get the size and shape of the bronchus that we wish to stent open,” explains Henry. “The trick is to make it the exact shape of the airway.”

The challenge with testing is if stents start to fail before the end of the test. The dumb devices currently used continue to pulverise the stent when this happens.

Stent Testing Robot Camera Squisher

Machine vision to control stent-testing

The Raspberry Pi, meanwhile, uses machine vision to stop the mashing at the moment of failure.

The instant-stop approach enables Henry’s team to check which part failed, and view a time-lapse leading up to the failure. The video helps them design more reliable stents in the future.

Henry explains:

Naturally, we turned to the Raspberry Pi, since, along with a servo control HAT, it gave us easy OpenCV integration along with the ability to control a Hitec HS-5665MH servo. We also added an Adafruit 16-channel Servo/PWM HAT. The servo controls a ServoCity Parallel Gripper A.

Python was used to write the servo controller application. The program fires off a separate OpenCV thread to process each image.

Henry and his medical team trained the machine learning system to spot failing stents, and outlined the likely points of failure with a black marker.

Each time the gripper released, the robot took a picture with the Pi Camera Module and performed recognition of the coloured circles via OpenCV. If the black marker had a split or was no longer visible, the robot halted its test.

The test was successful:

While the OpenCV could occasionally get fooled, it was remarkably accurate, and given this was done on an academic budget, the Raspberry Pi gave us high-performance multi-core capabilities for very little money.

15 Comments

Community Profile: Matt Reed

This column is from The MagPi issue 51. 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.

Matt Reed‘s background is in web design/development, extending to graphic design in which he acquired his BFA at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his youth, his passion focused on car stereo systems, designing elaborate builds that his wallet couldn’t afford. However, this enriched his maker skill set by introducing woodwork, electronics, and fabrication exploration into his creations.

Matt Reed Raspberry Pi redpepper MagPi Magazine

Matt hosts the redpepper ‘Touch of Tech’ online series, highlighting the latest in interesting and unusual tech releases

Having joined the integrated marketing agency redpepper eight years ago, Matt originally worked in the design and production of microsites. However, as his interests continued to grow, demand began to evolve, and products such as the Arduino and Raspberry Pi came into the mix. Matt soon found himself moving away from the screen toward physical builds.

“I’m interested in anything that uses tech in a clever way, whether it be AR, VR, front-end, back-end, app dev, servers, hardware, UI, UX, motion graphics, art, science, or human behaviour. I really enjoy coming up with ideas people can relate to.”

Matt’s passion is to make tech seem cool, creative, empowering, and approachable, and his projects reflect this. Away from the Raspberry Pi, Matt has built some amazing creations such as the Home Alone Holidaython, an app that lets you recreate the famous curtain shadow party in Kevin McCallister’s living room. Pick the shadow you want to appear, and projectors illuminate the design against a sheet across the redpepper office window. Christmas on Tweet Street LIVE! captures hilariously negative Christmas-themed tweets from Twitter, displaying them across a traditional festive painting, while DOOR8ELL allows office visitors the opportunity to Slack-message their required staff member via an arcade interface, complete with 8-bit graphics. There’s also been a capacitive piano built with jelly keys, a phone app to simulate the destruction of cars as you sit in traffic, and a working QR code made entirely from Oreos.

Matt Reed Raspberry Pi redpepper MagPi Magazine

The BoomIlluminator, an interactive art installation for the Red Bull Creation Qualifier, used LEDs within empty Red Bull cans that reacted to the bass of any music played. A light show across the cans was then relayed to peoples’ phones, extending the experience.

Playing the ‘technology advocate’ role at redpepper, Matt continues to bridge the gap between the company’s day-to-day business and the fun, intuitive uses of tech. Not only do they offer technological marketing solutions via their rpLab, they have continued to grow, incorporating Google’s Sprint methodology into idea-building and brainstorming within days of receiving a request, “so having tools that are powerful, flexible, and cost-effective like the Pi is invaluable.”

Matt Reed Raspberry Pi redpepper MagPi Magazine

Walk into a room with Doorjam enabled, and suddenly your favourite tune is playing via boombox speakers. Simply select your favourite song from Spotify, walk within range of a Bluetooth iBeacon, and you’re ready to make your entrance in style.

“I just love the intersection of art and science,” Matt explains when discussing his passion for tech. “Having worked with Linux servers for most of my career, the Pi was the natural extension for my interest in hardware. Running Node.js on the Pi has become my go-to toolset.”

Matt Reed Raspberry Pi redpepper MagPi Magazine

Slackbot Bot: Users of the multi-channel messenger service Slack will appreciate this one. Beacons throughout the office allow users to locate Slackbot Bot, which features a tornado siren mounted on a Roomba, and send it to predetermined locations to deliver messages. “It was absolutely hilarious to test in the office.”

We’ve seen Matt’s Raspberry Pi-based portfolio grow over the last couple of years. A few of his builds have been featured in The MagPi, and his Raspberry Preserve was placed 13th in the Top 50 Raspberry Pi Builds in issue 50.

Matt Reed Raspberry Pi redpepper MagPi Magazine

Matt Reed’s ‘Raspberry Preserve’ build allows uses to store their precious photos in a unique memory jar

There’s no denying that Matt will continue to be ‘one to watch’ in the world of quirky, original tech builds. You can follow his work at his website or via his Twitter account.

No Comments

Cassette deck in an old Ferrari, Pi-fied

Here’s one for the classic car enthusiasts and audiophiles in the room. Matthew Leigh (Managing Director of Infomagnet by day, skilled maker by night) took the aged cassette deck from an old Ferrari, and brought it into 2017 with the help of a Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Ferarri

He used a HiFiBerry DAC alongside a Raspberry Pi 3 to allow the playback of digital music through the sound system of the car. The best part? It all fits neatly into the existing tape deck.

Raspberry Pi FerarriMatthew was also able to integrate the tech with the existing function buttons, allowing him to use the original fast-forward, rewind, pause and play controls.

Raspberry Pi Ferrari

The USB ports are accessible via the cassette door, allowing users to insert flash drives loaded with music. As always, the Raspberry Pi 3 is also accessible via WiFi, providing further connectivity and functionality. A network-connected tablet acts as a media centre screen.

Raspberry Pi Ferarri

The build could be taken further. The Amazon Alexa Voice Service, connected to a 4G dongle or phone, could update the driver with traffic issues, breaking news, or weather reports. In fact, we’ve seen so many ‘carputer’ builds, we’re convinced that there’s no end to the vehicular uses for a hidden Raspberry Pi.

Have you built a carputer? Or maybe hidden a Raspberry Pi in an old piece of tech, or an unexpected location? Let us know in the comments below.

21 Comments

Cambridge theme for PIXEL

Raspberry Pi is based in Cambridge. (Just to be clear, that’s the one in East Anglia, UK, not the one in Massachusetts, USA.)

When we say “based in Cambridge”, that suggests (correctly) that our offices are here. But the connection between Raspberry Pi and Cambridge runs a lot deeper than mere geography.

A bridge over the River Cam

Raspberry Pi was founded with the aim of increasing the number of applicants to study computer science at the University of Cambridge. The processor core which powers the Raspberry Pi was developed in the city by ARM, the hugely successful microprocessor company which itself grew out of Acorn, one of the original pioneers of the 1980s home computer revolution, and another Cambridge success story. The original VideoCore graphics processor was designed by staff at Cambridge Consultants, one of the first technical consultancy firms in the UK. They spun out a company called Alphamosaic to sell VideoCore; that company was subsequently acquired by Broadcom, and it was the engineers at Broadcom’s Cambridge office who updated and improved it to make the version which provides the multimedia for Raspberry Pi.

King's College Chapel from above

It was those same engineers who put together the out-of-hours ‘skunkworks’ project which became the Raspberry Pi alpha board. When Raspberry Pi was founded as a charity and a company in its own right, we decided that Cambridge was where we would be based. Most of our staff live in or around Cambridge, and many of them are graduates of the University. Cambridge runs deep in the DNA of Raspberry Pi: our chairman David Cleevely is fond of saying that Raspberry Pi couldn’t have happened anywhere else, and while that may not be entirely true, it’s certainly the case that Cambridge provided the conditions for it to flourish as it has. We’re very proud of our connection to Cambridge, and we’ve decided to celebrate it.

A few months ago, Eben and I were looking at the beautiful city flyover videos that Apple offer as screensavers on the Apple TV, and we thought that it would be great if we could do something similar for Raspbian, with Cambridge as the subject. So we enlisted the help of Cambridge Filmworks, who are experts at filming from drones, and asked them to put together a video showing the best of Cambridge’s architecture. They did, and it’s gorgeous.

Cambridge from above

We also thought that it would be good to get some matching desktop wallpapers that showed off the best views of the city and the University. The best photographs I’ve seen of Cambridge were from Sir Cam, who takes photos for the University; they have very kindly allowed us access to their archives, from which we’ve chosen some scenes that we feel capture what is so special about this place.

Today we are launching the Cambridge theme pack for PIXEL: a video screensaver of Cambridge architecture and a set of desktop wallpapers. (We should point out this is entirely optional: it’s just some extra eye-candy for your PIXEL desktop if you fancy it.)

To install the wallpapers

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cantab-wallpaper

To install the screensaver

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cantab-screensaver

Or to install both

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install cantab-theme

Note that the wallpapers will be installed in the same /usr/share/pixel-wallpaper directory as the standard PIXEL wallpaper images. You can use the Appearance Settings dialog to choose the wallpaper you want.

Note also that the screensaver is quite a big download – it’s 200MB or so of high-resolution video – so you may not want to use it if your SD card is full or your network connection is slow.

Once you have installed the packages, you’ll need to configure the screensaver. Go into Preferences > Screensaver from the main menu, and select the screensaver called ‘Cantab’.

If you want just the Cambridge screensaver, set Mode to the ‘Only One Screen Saver’ option. If you do not do this, you will get a random selection of others as well. You can also configure how many minutes before the screensaver activates in the ‘Blank After’ window.

PIXEL: Cambridge theme screensaver

Here is the full screensaver video from the newly released Cambridge theme for Raspian PIXEL. For more information, including details on how to update PIXEL to include the new Cambridge screensaver and wallpapers, check out the blog: https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/cambridge-theme-for-pixel/ Drone footage from Cambridge Filmworks: http://www.cambridgefilmworks.com/

51 Comments

What’s on at the Raspberry Pi Big Birthday Weekend 2017

Today, we’re announcing the exciting schedule for our Big Birthday Weekend. It’s Code Club’s fifth birthday too, making it even more special: a double celebration!

Birthday Weekend GIF

We have a packed programme of activities this year. As usual, there’ll be talks and workshops catering to all interests and levels of skill, along with newly introduced drop-in sessions alongside the pre-registered workshops, offering everyone the opportunity to get hands-on experience of digital making. Once you’ve got your ticket for the Big Birthday Weekend, all the events are free, but some have limited places: make sure you take a look at the schedule and click the links to reserve your place at the workshops you want to attend.

Edited to add: it seems the links in our schedule PDF don’t work in all browsers; if you have trouble, try Chrome, or download the PDF and open it in your favourite PDF reader. We hope to have all the events listed on their own web page soon.

Birthday party schedule image

Click the image for the full weekend schedule

On Saturday, Dr Sam Aaron will close the show in the auditorium, live-coding music through Sonic Pi, and on Sunday, we have CBBC presenter Fran Scott who will be live-coding explosions!

On arrival, be sure to collect your programme lanyard as this will be your pass for the day. Then grab a free goody bag and get exploring: the venue will be full to the brim with fabulous creations that members of our community have built, from talking heads to full-sized traffic lights. As always, you’ll be able to chat with our suppliers and gain information on the latest kits in the vendor marketplace.

You can even sign up to our Raspberry Pi Quiz, ‘Trivial Pi-suit’, to test your knowledge against other teams and win prizes!

Since it’s not a party without cake, we’ll be handing out cupcakes each afternoon. And those over 18 can use their complimentary token to grab a pint in the Market Bar from 3pm, thanks to Fuzzy Duck Brewery.

Don’t have a ticket yet? There are still a few available via the venue website, Cambridge Junction, but be quick – they won’t be available for long!

An added extra for Saturday: Live Retro Comedy Night at the Centre for Computing History.

A one-off night of mirth!! Join us for geeky comedy featuring video games, VHS covers, 80s nostalgia, the supernatural, computing history, and movies.

This is a fundraising event for Matthew Dons, a good friend of Raspberry Pi, with proceeds going toward his immunotherapy treatment for bowel cancer. Eben and Liz Upton are set to be in attendance, and would love to see members of the Raspberry Pi community filling the seats. Grab your ticket here.

17 Comments

Get ‘Back to my Pi’ from anywhere with VNC Connect

In today’s guest blog, Andy Clark, Engineering Manager at RealVNC, introduces VNC Connect: a brand-new, and free, version of VNC that makes it simple to connect securely to your Raspberry Pi from anywhere in the world.

Since September 2016, every version of Raspbian has come with the built-in ability to remotely access and control your Raspberry Pi’s screen from another computer, using a technology called VNC. As the original inventors of this technology, RealVNC were happy to partner with Raspberry Pi to provide the community with the latest and most secure version of VNC for free.

We’re always looking to improve things, and one criticism of VNC technology over the years has been its steep learning curve. In particular, you need a bit of networking knowledge in order to connect to a Pi on the same network, and a heck of a lot to get a connection working across the internet!

This is why we developed VNC Connect, a brand-new version of VNC that allows you not only to make direct connections within your own networks, but also to make secure cloud-brokered connections back to your computer from anywhere in the world, with no specialist networking knowledge needed.

I’m delighted to announce that VNC Connect is available for Raspberry Pi, and from today is included in the Raspbian repositories. What’s more, we’ve added some extra features and functionality tailored to the Raspberry Pi community, and it’s all still free for non-commercial and educational use.

‘Back to my Pi’ and direct connections

The main change in VNC Connect is the ability to connect back to your Raspberry Pi from anywhere in the world, from a wide range of devices, without any complex port forwarding or IP addressing configuration. Our cloud service brokers a secure, end-to-end encrypted connection back to your Pi, letting you take control simply and securely from wherever you happen to be.

RealVNC

While this convenience is great for a lot of our standard home users, it’s not enough for the demands of the Raspberry Pi community! The Raspberry Pi is a great educational platform, and gets used in inventive and non-standard ways all the time. So on the Raspberry Pi, you can still make direct TCP connections the way you’ve always done with VNC. This way, you can have complete control over your project and learn all about IP networking if you want, or you can choose the simplicity of a cloud-brokered connection if that’s what you need.

Simpler connection management

Choosing the computer to connect to using VNC has historically been a fiddly process, requiring you to remember IP addresses or hostnames, or use a separate application to keep track of things. With VNC Connect we’ve introduced a new VNC Viewer with a built-in address book and enhanced UI, making it much simpler and quicker to manage your devices and connections. You now have the option of securely saving passwords for frequently used connections, and you can synchronise your entries with other VNC Viewers, making it easier to access your Raspberry Pi from other computers, tablets, or mobile devices.

RealVNC

Direct capture performance improvements

We’ve been working hard to make improvements to the experimental ‘direct capture’ feature of VNC Connect that’s unique to the Raspberry Pi. This feature allows you to see and control applications that render directly to the screen, like Minecraft, omxplayer, or even the terminal. You should find that performance of VNC in direct capture mode has improved, and is much more usable for interactive tasks.

RealVNC

Getting VNC Connect

VNC Connect is available in the Raspbian repositories from today, so running the following commands at a terminal will install it:

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install realvnc-vnc-server realvnc-vnc-viewer

If you’re already running VNC Server or VNC Viewer, the same commands will install the update; then you’ll need to restart it to use the latest version.

There’s more information about getting set up on the RealVNC Raspberry Pi page. If you want to take advantage of the cloud connectivity, you’ll need to sign up for a RealVNC account, and you can do that here too.

Come and see us!

We’ve loved working with the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the community over the past few years, and making VNC Connect available for free on the Raspberry Pi is just the next phase of our ongoing relationship.

We’d love to get your feedback on Twitter, in the forums, or in the comments below. We’ll be at the Raspberry Pi Big Birthday Weekend again this year on 4-5 March in Cambridge, so please come and say hi and let us know how you use VNC Connect!

66 Comments

Lifelong Learning

This column is from The MagPi issue 54. 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.

When you contemplate the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s educational mission, you might first think of young people learning how to code, how computers work, and how to make things with computers. You might also think of teachers leveraging our free resources and training in order to bring digital making to their students in the classroom. Getting young people excited about computing and digital making is an enormous part of what we’re all about.

Last year we trained over 540 Certified Educators in the UK and USA.

We all know that learning doesn’t only happen in the classroom – it also happens in the home, at libraries, code clubs, museums, Scout troop meetings, and after-school enrichment centres. At the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we acknowledge that and try hard to get young people learning about computer science and digital making in all of these contexts. It’s the reason why many of our Raspberry Pi Certified Educators aren’t necessarily classroom teachers, but also educate in other environments.

Even though inspiring and educating young people in and out of the classroom is a huge part of what we set out to do, our mission doesn’t limit us to only the young. Learning can happen at any age and, of course, we love to see kids and adults using Raspberry Pi computers and our learning resources. Although our priority is educating young people, we know that we have a strong community of adults who make, learn, and experiment with Raspberry Pi.

I consider myself among this community of lifelong learners. Ever since I first tried Raspberry Pi in 2012, I’ve learned so much with this affordable computer by making things with it. I may not have set out to learn more about programming and algorithms, but I learned them as a by-product of trying to create an interesting project that required them. This goes beyond computing, too. For instance, I needed to give myself a quick maths refresher when working on my Dynamic Bike Headlight project. I had to get the speed of my bike in miles per hour, knowing the radius of the wheel and the revolutions per minute from a sensor. I suspect that – like me – a lot of adults out there using Raspberry Pi for their home and work projects are learning a lot along the way.

Internet of Tutorials

Even if you’re following a tutorial to build a retro arcade machine, set up a home server, or create a magic mirror, then you’re learning. There are tons of great tutorials out there that don’t just tell you what to type in, but also explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it at each step along the way. Hopefully, it also leaves room for a maker to experiment and learn.

Many people also learn with Raspberry Pi when they use it as a platform for experimental computing. This experimentation can come from personal curiosity or from a professional need.

They may want to set up a sandbox to test out things such as networking, servers, cluster computing, or containers. Raspberry Pi makes a good platform for this because of its affordability and its universality. In other words, Raspberry Pis have become so common in the world that there’s usually someone out there who has at least attempted to figure out how to do what you want with it.

MAAS Theremin Raspberry Pi

A Raspberry Pi is used in an interactive museum exhibit, and kept on display for visitors to better understand the inner workings of what they’re seeing.

To take it back to the young people, it’s critical to show them that we, as adults, aren’t always teachers. Sometimes we’re learning right beside them. Sometimes we’re even learning from them. Show them that learning doesn’t stop after they graduate. We must show young people that none of us stops learning.

1 Comment

Raspberry Pi Zero PiE-Ink Name Badge

Gone, it would seem, are the days of ‘Hello, My name is…’ stickers and Sharpies. Who wants a simple sticker on their chest, so flat and dull, when they can wear an entire computer, displaying their name and face in pixelated perfection?

PiE-Ink Name Badge

I created this video with the YouTube Video Editor (http://www.youtube.com/editor)

With this PiE-Ink Name Badge, maker Josh King has taken this simple means of identification and upgraded it. And in his Instructables tutorial, he explains exactly how. But here’s the TL;DR for those wanting to get the basic gist of the build.

Josh King e-ink name badge Raspberry Pi

For the badge, Josh uses a Raspberry Pi Zero, a PaPiRus 2″ e-ink HAT, an Adafruit Powerboost 1000c, and a LiPo battery. He also uses various other components, such as magnets and adhesive putty.

Josh prepped the Zero, soldering the header pins in place, and then attached the Powerboost, allowing the LiPo battery to power the unit and be charged at the same time.

Josh King e-ink name badge Raspberry Pi

From there, he attaches the PaPiRus HAT and secures the whole thing with the putty, to ensure a snug fit. He also attaches a mini slide switch to allow an on/off function.

Josh King e-ink name badge Raspberry Pi

Having pre-installed Raspbian on the SD card, Josh follows the setup for the PaPiRus, ensuring all library information is in place and that the Pi recognises the 2″ screen. The code for the badge can then be downloaded directly from Josh’s GitHub account.  You’ll need to scale your image down to 200×96 in order for it to fit on the e-ink screen.

Josh King e-ink name badge Raspberry Pi

And there you have it. One Raspberry Pi Zero e-ink name badge, ready for you to show off at the next work function, conference, or when you visit Grandma and she still can’t get your name right.

28 Comments

Inclusive learning at South London Raspberry Jam

Raspberry Pi Certified Educator Grace Owolade-Coombes runs the fantastically inclusive South London Raspberry Jam with her son Femi. In this guest post, she gives us the low-down on how the Jam got started. Enjoy!

Grace and Femi

Grace and Femi Owolade-Coombes

Our Jam has been running for over a year now; we’ve had three really big events and one smaller family hack day. Let me begin by telling you about how the idea of running a Jam arose in the first place.

Around three years ago, I read about how coding was going to be part of the curriculum in primary and secondary schools and, as a teacher in the FE sector, I was intrigued. As I also had a young and inquisitive son, who was at primary school at the time, I felt that we should investigate further.

National STEM Centre

Grace visited the National STEM Learning Centre in York for a course which introduced her to coding.

I later attended a short course at the National STEM Learning Centre in York, during which one of the organisers told me about the Raspberry Pi Foundation; he suggested I come to a coding event back at the Centre a few weeks later with my family. We did, and Femi loved the Minecraft hack.

Note from Alex: not the actual Minecraft hack but I’ll be having words with our resource gurus because this would be brilliant!

The first Raspberry Jam we attended was in Southend with Andy Melder and the crew: it showed us just how welcoming the Jam community can be. Then I was lucky enough to attend Picademy, which truly was a transformative experience. Ben Nuttall showed me how to tweet photographs with the Pi, which was the beginning of me using Twitter. I particularly loved Clive Beale’s physical computing workshop which I took back and delivered to Femi.

Grace Owolade-Coombes with Carrie Anne Philbin

Picademy gave Grace the confidence to deliver Raspberry Pi training herself.

After Picademy, I tweeted that I was now a Raspberry Pi Certified Educator and immediately got a request from Dragon Hall, Convent Garden to run a workshop – I didn’t realise they meant in three days’ time! Femi and I bit the bullet and ran our first physical computing workshop together. We haven’t looked back since.

Festival of Code Femi

Femi went on to join the Festival of Code, which he loved.

Around this time, Femi was attending a Tourettes Action support group, where young people with Tourette’s syndrome, like him, met up. Femi wanted to share his love of coding with them, but he felt that they might be put off as it can be difficult to spend extended amounts of time in public places when you have tics. He asked if we could set up a Jam that was inclusive: it would be both autism- and Tourette’s syndrome-friendly. There was such a wealth of support, advice, and volunteers who would help us set up that it really wasn’t a hard decision to make.

Femi Owolade-Coombes

Grace and Femi set up an Indiegogo campaign to help fund their Jam.

We were fortunate to have met Marc Grossman during the Festival of Code: with his amazing skills and experience with Code Club, we set up together. For our first Jam, we had young coding pioneers from the community, such as Yasmin Bey and Isreal Genius, to join us. We were also blessed with David Whale‘s company and Kano even did a workshop with us. There are too many amazing people to mention.

South London Jam

Grace and Femi held the first South London Raspberry Jam, an autism- and Tourette’s syndrome-friendly event for five- to 15-year-olds, at Deptford Library in October 2016, with 75 participants.

We held a six-session Code Club in Catford Library followed by a second Jam in a local community centre, focusing on robotics with the CamJam EduKit 3, as well as the usual Minecraft hacks.

Our third Jam was in conjunction with Kano, at their HQ, and included a SEN TeachMeet with Computing at School (CAS). Joseph Birks, the inventor of the Crumble, delivered a great robot workshop, and Paul Haynes delivered a Unity workshop too.

Family Hack Day

Grace and Femi’s latest event was a family hack day in conjunction with the London Connected Learning Centre.

Femi often runs workshops at our Jams. We try to encourage young coders to follow in Femi’s footsteps and deliver sessions too: it works best when young people learn from each other, and we hope the confidence they develop will enable them to help their friends and classmates to enjoy coding too.

Inclusivity, diversity, and accessibility are at the heart of our Jams, and we are proud to have Tourettes Action and Ambitious about Autism as partners.

Tourettes Action on Twitter

All welcome to this event in London SAT, 12 DEC 2015 AT 13:00 2nd South London Raspberry Jam 2015 Bellingham… https://t.co/TPYC9Ontot

Now we are taking stock of our amazing journey to learn about coding, and preparing to introduce it to more people. Presently we are looking to collaborate with the South London Makerspace and the Digital Maker Collective, who have invited Femi to deliver robot workshops at Tate Modern. We are also looking to progress to more project-based activities which fit with the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Pioneers challenges.

Femi Astro Pi

South London Raspberry Jam has participated in both Pi Wars and Astro Pi.

Femi writes about all the events we attend or run: see hackerfemo.com or check out our website and sign up to our mailing list to keep informed. We are just about to gather a team for the Pioneers project, so watch out for updates.

3 Comments