Maker, marketer, and more. We talk to Claire Pollard about using Raspberry Pis all day as a job
When you’ve been around the Raspberry Pi community for a while, there are a few faces that start to become familiar. If you’ve ever visited the PiBorg desk at a Raspberry Jam, or gotten involved in the online Raspberry Pi community, you’ve likely bumped into Claire. Recently, she’s become more active in the community, so we caught up with her to see what’s up.
This article first appeared in The MagPi 80 and was written by Rob Zwetsloot
“I am a mathematician/computer scientist by training and have spent the last seven and a bit years working as a developer for a software company who make software for use in computer-aided design and computer-aided engineering,” Claire explains. “My job needs a lot of different skills, from technical understanding of maths, to coding, to the ability to explain my work at different levels, from academic papers to social media.
“Last year, I decided to leave that job and took up a position at ModMyPi to work in the Pi community full-time. The Raspberry Pi community has always been a part of my life as my fiancé Timothy owns PiBorg, so I’ve always been to shows, helped pack and assemble kits in the early days, and helped out where I can and really enjoyed the friendly, diverse, and supportive community. When the job came up at ModMyPi, I couldn’t resist diving in and getting to use the Pi all day, every day!”
Claire is also the voice of Formula Pi, the amazing robot racing league set up by PiBorg.
When did you first learn about the Raspberry Pi?
My Dad is a big Linux fan, and he heard about the Raspberry Pi through one of the podcasts he listens to. He used to pick me up from work on his way home before I got a car, and we chatted about it on the drive home. He seemed quite excited at the prospect of a tiny Linux board that was easy to use and relatively cheap.
I think we missed getting one on release week, but Timothy got one on eBay a few weeks after launch, and the rest is history!
Do you have any favourite Pi projects you’ve made or been involved with?
I’ve really enjoyed helping with Formula Pi and seeing it grow into the chaotic event that it is from the initial Kickstarter we built a couple of years ago. I commentate on the YouTube feeds, which again is something completely different from my day job, as working from home I don’t really get to talk to many people. It’s like Formula Pi has become my little playground to let off steam and talk relentlessly about racing and other rubbish for an hour or two each week.
The other project I’m enjoying is building a Sense HAT-based computer to go onto my BMX, to measure g-forces and accelerometer data from when I ride the track. I’m a British Cycling coach and ride BMX at our club, Royston Rockets. I used to race at an international level, but have since semi-retired due to injuries.
I love combining my passions, so this seemed like an interesting project where I got the opportunity to do just that. I’m almost at the point where I’ve got a working prototype, so testing should happen soon.
Finally, the Christmas Mince Spy project I completed was a lot of fun and I learnt about latch circuits whilst I built it!