All posts by Courtney Lentz

Announcing Coolest Projects North America

Post Syndicated from Courtney Lentz original

The Raspberry Pi Foundation loves to celebrate people who use technology to solve problems and express themselves creatively, so we’re proud to expand the incredibly successful event Coolest Projects to North America. This free event will be held on Sunday 23 September 2018 at the Discovery Cube Orange County in Santa Ana, California.

Coolest Projects North America logo Raspberry Pi CoderDojo

What is Coolest Projects?

Coolest Projects is a world-leading showcase that empowers and inspires the next generation of digital creators, innovators, changemakers, and entrepreneurs. The event is both a competition and an exhibition to give young digital makers aged 7 to 17 a platform to celebrate their successes, creativity, and ingenuity.

showcase crowd — Coolest Projects North America

In 2012, Coolest Projects was conceived as an opportunity for CoderDojo Ninjas to showcase their work and for supporters to acknowledge these achievements. Week after week, Ninjas would meet up to work diligently on their projects, hacks, and code; however, it can be difficult for them to see their long-term progress on a project when they’re concentrating on its details on a weekly basis. Coolest Projects became a dedicated time each year for Ninjas and supporters to reflect, celebrate, and share both the achievements and challenges of the maker’s journey.

three female coolest projects attendees — Coolest Projects North America

Coolest Projects North America

Not only is Coolest Projects expanding to North America, it’s also expanding its participant pool! Members of our team have met so many amazing young people creating in all areas of the world, that it simply made sense to widen our outreach to include Code Clubs, students of Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, and members of the Raspberry Jam community at large as well as CoderDojo attendees.

 a boy showing a technology project to an old man, with a girl playing on a laptop on the floor — Coolest Projects North America

Exhibit and attend Coolest Projects

Coolest Projects is a free, family- and educator-friendly event. Young people can apply to exhibit their projects, and the general public can register to attend this one-day event. Be sure to register today, because you make Coolest Projects what it is: the coolest.

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Sisyphus: the kinetic art table

Post Syndicated from Courtney Lentz original

Surely if he had been given the opportunity, Sisyphus would have engineered a way out of his eternal punishment of rolling a boulder up a hill. It’s just too bad for him that Raspberry Pi wasn’t around to help. While it’s a far cry from his arduous task, the Pi has been used to power Bruce Shapiro’s Sisyphus, a continuous and ever-changing kinetic art piece that creates unique design patterns in sand using a small metal ball.


Sisyphus is truly mesmerising. We learned this first-hand: at Maker Faire New York earlier this month, it captured the attention of not only the Raspberry Pi crew, but also thousands of attendees throughout the weekend. Sisyphus momentarily drowned out the noise and action of the Faire.

You can think of Sisyphus as a cross between an Etch A Sketch and Spirograph, except this is no toy.

Under the table is a two-motor robot (the “Sisbot”) that moves a magnet which draws a steel ball through the sand. The motors are controlled by a small Raspberry Pi computer which plays a set of path files, much like a music player plays an MP3 file.


Bruce is using Kickstarter in the hope of transitioning Sisyphus from what’s currently a large art installation exhibited around the world into a beautiful piece to be enjoyed in the home, as both furniture and art.

annmarie thomas on Twitter

Sisyphus- Stunning art/furniture kickstarter (fully funded in <a day) by friend Bruce Shapiro.

Bruce says:

Of all works I made, Sisyphus stood out – it was my first CNC machine to break out of the studio/shop. No longer tasked with cutting materials to be used in making sculptures, it was the sculpture itself. It was also unique in another way – I wanted to live with it in my home. I’ve spent the last three years perfecting a home version that’s beautiful, user-friendly, near-silent, and that will run for years.

Like most great Maker Faire projects, it’s centred around a wonderful community. The collaboration and access to tools in Shapiro’s local makerspace helped develop the final design seen today. While Shapiro’s original makerspace has since closed its doors, Shapiro and his fellow members opened up what is now Nordeast Makers. It’s where the production for Sisyphus will take place.


The Kickstarter products come in three styles: an end table, and two different coffee tables. You might want to find another place to display your coffee table books, though, so as to keep Sisyphus’s designs visible…


This Kickstarter won’t be running forever, so be sure to pledge if you love the sound of the Sisyphus.

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FarmBot, the open-source CNC farming robot

Post Syndicated from Courtney Lentz original

What do you imagine the future of farming to look like? The FarmBot team, located along the California coast in San Luis Obispo, is exploring just that. The team has set out to create humanity’s first open-source CNC farming machine to put the power of polycrop farming into the smallest of spaces.

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The FarmBot structure fixes directly on top of any standard raised planter box. You can think of it like a 3D printer, but instead of extruding plastic, the tool head deposits seeds, delivers water and rids the box of weeds, all by moving across a gantry. Powered by a Raspberry Pi 3, an Arduino Mega and a motor control shield, the FarmBot brings agricultural automation within the reach of the committed hobbyist.

FarmBot Electronics

FarmBot’s interchangeable tooling set is impressive and has been carefully designed so that you may print tools with any hobbyist-level 3D printer.

The universal tool mount features 12 electrical connections, three liquid/gas lines and magnetic coupling. Ready-to-print attachment tools include the seed injection mount, the water nozzle specially designed for efficient watering, and the weed suppression tool which detects and destroys weeds at the root. FarmBot has documented detailed technical specifications of the universal tool mount, to encourage community members to design additional custom mounts that are specific to their particular farming needs.

Check out the tech specs of the tooling attachments for further nerding out!

FarmBot’s drag-and-drop web-based platform allows you to design and build your planter box farm easily. No coding is required; in fact, it has an almost game-like interface. Once your design is complete, the sequence builder and scheduler will help to allocate appropriate care to each plant.


It’s evident from looking at the design structure, documentation, CAD files, and detailed BOM that the creators of the FarmBot took to heart the idea of open source. By selecting off-the-shelf products and tools, they ensured this system is as accessible as possible. I’m really happy to see the Raspberry Pi 3 at the heart of FarmBot and I can’t wait to see how this community grows.

If you’re someone who’s serious about getting a good crop return from your small space, and you’re as mesmerized by FarmBot as I am, there’s still time to place a pre-order to receive one of the first batches ready to ship in February!

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Inspired Raspberry Pi Projects at Maker Faire

Post Syndicated from Courtney Lentz original

We get to read about and see an abundance of project builds through online channels, but we especially love when we get the opportunity to meet the makers themselves as they share their projects first-hand. That’s why an event like Maker Faire continues to be so successful. It provides a platform and a dedicated space, if only for a weekend, for makers and tinkerers alike to come together and share with other enthusiasts.

Raspberry Pi on Twitter

The team is up and at ’em at @makerfaire! Come say hello, try a Raspberry Pi 3, and grab a sticker.

If you didn’t make it to this year’s Bay Area Maker Faire to see the thousands of maker projects, here is a roundup of our favorite Raspberry Pi projects from the weekend.

Flaschen Taschen is a massive video display made out of beer bottles, milk crates, and RGB LED strings. The display is reminiscent of a Lite-Brite (remember those?) only this one is taller than you and a tad more sophisticated. Each bottle is capped with a single addressable RGB LED. The bottoms of the bottles act as lenses for the emitted light. The colors resemble those of a thermal camera, and they move like amoebas under a microscope.

Raspberry Pi on Twitter

This beer bottle video display, #flaschentaschen, is driven by Raspberry Pi and can run up to 160fps!

The sheer size of the Flaschen Taschen is what initially caught our eye. After we learned the details of its construction we were even more intrigued. The entire display is driven by a Raspberry Pi and some custom circuitry.


The art installation is a great example of upcycling, using everyday items to create something beautiful and thoughtful. The project name is a nod to c-base’s Mate-Light project. Check-out their Github repository for more details on the design and project documentation, and enjoy this video of the setup from Hackaday.

Video Wall Made with 1575 Corona Beer Bottles and Determination

The members of Noisebridge Hackerspace in San Francisco went all out this year, building a 1,575 pixel display for their booth at Bay Area Maker Faire. The pixels are Corona Beer bottles, 25 to a crate stacked 9 crates wide and 7 crates tall.

While MCM’s enlarged Raspberry Pi may have looked like a prop from the 1989 movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, it was also fully functional.

Raspberry Pi on Twitter

Right now, @cortlentz1 is getting our @makerfaire stand ready in San Mateo. She spotted this: IT’S FULLY

The Raspberry Pi Infinity+ is ten times the size of a Raspberry Pi Model B. It was made by our friends Michael Castor and Christian Moist over at MCM Electronics, an official distributor of Raspberry Pi.

It’s hard to say what was more captivating: the GPIO header, the USB ports big as one’s head, or the precise detailing of the board’s components illustrated from high-res photos into Adobe Illustrator.

Infinity+ build
But, because they are true maker pros, Michael and Christian were sure to document the complete build process. You can find the detailed BOM and design notes on each of their personal blogs.


Not all makers stand behind a table or in a booth at the faire. Many take to the fairgrounds with projects in hand. You’ll often see the natural congregation of people around makers carrying their projects, who are happy share the story of their build process again and again as they themselves make their way around the faire.

Maker Faire on Twitter

Maker Faire = magic! Relive the weekend through photos:

This was just how we met Jonathan, a young maker, and his father. Jonathan—proudly gripping his homemade Game Boy—stopped by the Raspberry Pi booth, and we are sure happy he did. The Game Boy replicated the classic handheld version but swapped out the matte plastic grey case for a handmade wood enclosure, and Jonathan gave it his own personal touch by adding customised operation buttons.

Raspberry Pi on Twitter

Here’s a wooden Game Boy made by Jonathan and @shuman_projects. Naturally there’s a Raspberry Pi inside!

Though the attention to detail and design were impressive, the best part of this project was that it transformed a typically siloed activity on a personal device, turning it into a participatory build for a father and son. That is precisely the sort of making that we love to see happening around the Raspberry Pi.

Thank you to everyone who came to visit us at Maker Faire Bay Area. For those of you missed out, come say hello to us at a future event. You’ll find members of the Raspberry Pi team at these upcoming events:

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SX Create 2016

Post Syndicated from Courtney Lentz original

The last few weeks have turned out to be a big (and busy) time for us at Raspberry Pi! We celebrated our fourth birthday and the release of Raspberry Pi 3 in Cambridge, and wrapped up the month in Austin, Texas during SXSW Interactive, the event that draws techie geeks and enthusiasts.
Raspberry Pi on Twitter
Day two of #SXCreate begins NOW! @pcsforme has a fresh batch of Pi 3s for sale. And come try out the Sense HAT!

So what did we do all day at SXSW (other than find some of the best BBQ this country has to offer)? Some of us on the The Raspberry Pi team set up a hands-on Sense HAT activity for participants at SX Create, a family-friendly event with some of our favorite maker companies as well as local projects from some of Austin’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Our activity introduced basic point-and-click control of the HAT’s on-board LEDs and included a programming challenge to get data from its sensors and display it as text on the LED matrix.
Even the Raspberry Pi team couldn’t resist sitting down to have a go.
Raspberry Pi SX Team 1000
Ethan, the founder of PCs for Me, joined us in the booth for the weekend. Ethan creates Raspberry Pi kits that include all the components you need to jump-start your own projects at home; some are based on our own educational resources. He helped get Raspberry Pi 3s into the hands of eager buyers. His stock of Pi 3s didn’t last long, once the word got out to the tech-savvy crowd of SXSW.
Lucie deLaBruere on Twitter
I just got my hands on my first @Raspberry_Pi 3 from young entrepreneurs at #sxsw

PCs for Me on Twitter
And the last Pi 3 (for real this time) goes to Anuhar!

Fun fact: We met Ethan a year ago at SXSW, and we were so thrilled he decided to be a part of the Raspberry Pi team for the weekend.
In an event that’s as big as SXSW, we still managed to be among some of our friends – long-standing forum contributors, our newest Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, and librarians we’ve been in touch with – in addition to kids jumping in on the HAT activity and parents looking at projects they could do at home. We also met some new friends: Pi users who were just coming into the fold, and longtime community members who shared some brilliant projects created with three different models of Raspberry Pi!
Sense HAT SX Create
Although we were excited to show off Raspberry Pi 3, we were especially looking forward to meeting members of our community. It’s exactly what we love about events like this. If you get the chance, join us at our upcoming events – you can find us at the at the following shows across the US:

USA Science and Engineering Festival, April 15-17 in Washington, DC
Maker Faire Bay Area, May 20-22 in San Mateo, California
American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition, June 23-28 in Orlando, Florida
ISTE 2016, June 26-29 in Denver, Colorado
World Maker Faire New York, Oct 1-2 in New York City, NY

We would love to meet you!
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