The MagPi at Bristol Digimakers - with competition prizes

The MagPi has agreed to co-sponsor the competition Bristol Digimakers on the 4th October at the At-Bristol Centre in Bristol. We’re offering up a bundle each of Volumes 1 and 2 of the magazine. Plus one of the organisers, Caroline Higgins from University of Bristol has managed to secure the famous Blue Pi as a prize as well. These colourful Pi’s are like blue-coated gold dust they’re so rare.

I’ll be running The MagPi stand at the event, which is an absolutely top-notch event for people in the South West who find the events in Cambridge and Manchester a might too far to travel. With technology demonstrates from the University of Bristol, local companies and several individuals (no doubt with robots: there are always robots, and robots are a Good Thing) plus a ton of workshops to get your brains around Scratch, Python and various hardware challenges (usually with LEGO(R) Mindstorms, Raspberry Pis and LEDs galore) it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet up with people, brush up on your skills and learn new things.

The event is primarily aimed at kids of all ages, but there are also plenty of teachers, parents and people interested in technology who come along too. The event has a great vibe, with a real buzz around technology. Great stuff.

So what’s going to be going on at The MagPi stand? Well we’re going to have a bundle of hardware goodies for you to see and play with:

  • The new HDMIPi LCD for the Raspberry Pi
  • Traffic lights with PiStop from Tim Cox
  • Using a Slice of Pi/O to control a 3 Line Follower Sensor from Ryanteck. The Slice of Pi/O is a great base upon which to connect various robot sensors and I’ll be showing you how to use this piece of tasty kit.
  • Using a Saleae Loic Analyzer with the Raspberry Pi (using it to show the importance of pull up and pull down)
And yes, the robot arm will be back dishing out sweets to all those that can master the fiddly controls.

Plus a ton of Raspberry Pi books for you to browse to get ideas for that next purchase.

A collection of event links:

digimakers014 digimakers013 digimakers012 digimakers011
A few photos from previous MagPi and other stands at Digimakers (yes those are musical bananas)

TiddlyBot fun and simple Raspberry Pi Robot

Browsing Kickstarter I just came across the wonderful TiddlyBot by PiBot.

I first met one of the PiBot team at a Raspberry Pi DigiMakers event in Bristol a few months back where I was incredibly impressed by the passion shown and the quality of their PiBot robot. A really compact, very well engineered build. It looks like they’ve come up with something fantastic in the new TiddlyBot, which is currently over on Kickstarter. This little robot can draw, follow lines (curiosity has me wondering if one TiddlyBot could draw a line for another to follow), output a live wireless video feed and be controlled from a web interface. Fantastic.

This looks like enormous fun and is exactly the kind of tech that really gets kids (and adults like me) interested.

Nice one PiBot.

Head over to Kickstarter and support the project now:

RoverBot1 (aka: "George") runs amok on BBC Points West

I feel so honoured. My cunningly crafted (read: “a bit of a bodge, but hey it works”) RoverBot1 who gained the name George at the November DigiMakers event in Bristol has been featured on BBC Points West. Scroll forward to ~53.5 seconds in (or better still, watch the entire article). Yes there he is, scuttling across a table.

Behind the scenes of course it’s probably worth mentioning that George had actually started to run amok and my hand was there trying to coral him away from Certain Doom should he decide to leap from the table top. There he was: Python program running nicely, moving forwards, turning this way and turning that way on command when suddenly I lost control via the keyboard and he refused to respond, with his wheels left permanently turning. I’ve managed to recreate this mishap and it seems that when the battery voltage drops enough the Raspberry Pi freezes and George carries on repeating the last command he was given, which in this case was clearly “run amok”.

Still, it looks good on TV :)

Here’s George before he started misbehaving on The MagPi stand that I jointly ran with Meltwater of

DigiMakers At-Bristol, Saturday 16th November

On Saturday I’ll be attending the At-Bristol DigiMakers event jointly running The MagPi stand with Tim Cox (Meltwater) who runs Pi Hardware. DigiMakers is the evolution of the Raspberry Pi Bootcamps that have been run at the venue several times over the last year.

This time round the theme is robots. ROBOTS, GLORIOUS ROBOTS!

As well as the opportunity to purchase The MagPi printed volume one at a discounted price on the day we will have lots going on on the stand. Expect to see Pi-Lite playing Pong, an XLoBorg demo showing how to make a digital compass, and a few robots too including one based on the very affordable Magician chassis using PicoBorg as the controller, and hopefully a hexapod may put in an appearance too.

If you are interested in building your own robot you may be interested to read some help and guidance I’ve written especially for the event under The MagPi banner as one of the magazine’s writers. The PDF for this is free to download.

More information from BCS and you can also see details at Eventbrite.

Look forward to seeing you there.