Pi Wars – Cambridge Jam. With robots.

On Saturday, something rather special happened in Cambridge. Tim Richardson and Mike Horne, who run the regular CamJam, were holding a special event: a robotics Raspberry Jam, with competitions for attending teams who had built their Pis into a robot.

Eben and I were judging. Someone had parked some reindeer outside.


The Raspberry Pi robots in attendance varied from the minuscule:

To the terrifyingly large and whizzy.

Two hundred competitors and spectators turned up. I was a bit busy running around tweeting from my phone and asking penetrating judgey questions with a clipboard to take any video, but happily Matthew Manning from Raspberry Pi IV Beginners was there to cover the whole day. If you’ve ever wanted to watch a Raspberry Pi robot navigate an obstacle course full of polished pebbles and see-saws, now’s your chance.

One of the best things about working at Raspberry Pi is being able to get to know the amazing community that’s grown up around the device. The number of kids attending as competitors and as viewers on Saturday made us incredibly proud: and it was good to see some of the young people’s teams winning in the individual categories. (Big congrats especially to Team Vector, a school group who made my favourite robot in the Most Innovative section, with its modular 3d-printed case which could be altered to maximise the robot’s chances in each event; and to eight-year-old Amy, whose soldering is neater than the soldering of some people I know with much bigger hands.)

Here’s MrUkTechReviews’ video of the day’s events:

I know that more video and a podcast are on their way from the event, so this post will be updated with more as the week goes on. Mike’s also working on a complete table of times and winners, which will likely go live on Wednesday; we’ll add a link when it’s up. Enormous thanks to Mike, Tim and all the team of Jam Makers for making this event go off with a real bang.

Seasonally attired robot

If you’re looking to take part in something like this yourself, check out the Raspberry Jam page, where you’ll find details on upcoming Jams across the world (there are usually fewer in December than there are in other months because of that thing with the tree and the turkey that happens at the end of the month), and information on how to set up your own. We hope to see you at one soon!