Tag Archives: Sonic Pi

Invent new sounds with Google’s NSynth Super

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/google-nsynth-super/

Discover new sounds and explore the role of machine learning in music production and sound research with the NSynth Super, an ongoing project from Google’s Magenta research team that you can build at home.

Google Open NSynth Super Testing

Uploaded by AB Open on 2018-04-17.

What is the NSynth Super?

Part of the ongoing Magenta research project within Google, NSynth Super explores the ways in which machine learning tools help artists and musicians be creative.

Google Nsynth Super Raspberry Pi

“Technology has always played a role in creating new types of sounds that inspire musicians — from the sounds of distortion to the electronic sounds of synths,” explains the team behind the NSynth Super. “Today, advances in machine learning and neural networks have opened up new possibilities for sound generation.”

Using TensorFlow, the Magenta team builds tools and interfaces that let  artists and musicians use machine learning in their work. The NSynth Super AI algorithm uses deep neural networking to investigate the character of sounds. It then builds new sounds based on these characteristics instead of simply mixing sounds together.

Using an autoencoder, it extracts 16 defining temporal features from each input. These features are then interpolated linearly to create new embeddings (mathematical representations of each sound). These new embeddings are then decoded into new sounds, which have the acoustic qualities of both inputs.

The team publishes all hardware designs and software that are part of their ongoing research under open-source licences, allowing you to build your own synth.

Build your own NSynth Super

Using these open-source tools, Andrew Black has produced his own NSynth Super, demoed in the video above. Andrew’s list of build materials includes a Raspberry Pi 3, potentiometers, rotary encoders, and the Adafruit 1.3″ OLED display. Magenta also provides Gerber files for you to fabricate your own PCB.

Google Nsynth Super Raspberry Pi

Once fabricated, the PCB includes a table of contents for adding components.

The build isn’t easy — it requires soldering skills or access to someone who can assemble PCBs. Take a look at Andrew’s blog post and the official NSynth GitHub repo to see whether you’re up to the challenge.

Google Nsynth Super Raspberry Pi
Google Nsynth Super Raspberry Pi
Google Nsynth Super Raspberry Pi

Music and Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi has been widely used for music production and music builds. Be it retrofitting a boombox, distributing music atop Table Mountain, or coding tracks with Sonic Pi, the Pi offers endless opportunities for musicians and music lovers to expand their repertoire of builds and instruments.

If you’d like to try more music-based projects using the Raspberry Pi, you can check out our free resources. And if you’ve used a Raspberry Pi in your own musical project, please share it with us in the comments or via our social network accounts.

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Thank you for my new Raspberry Pi, Santa! What next?

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/thank-you-for-my-new-raspberry-pi-santa-what-next/

Note: the Pi Towers team have peeled away from their desks to spend time with their families over the festive season, and this blog will be quiet for a while as a result. We’ll be back in the New Year with a bushel of amazing projects, awesome resources, and much merriment and fun times. Happy holidays to all!

Now back to the matter at hand. Your brand new Christmas Raspberry Pi.

Your new Raspberry Pi

Did you wake up this morning to find a new Raspberry Pi under the tree? Congratulations, and welcome to the Raspberry Pi community! You’re one of us now, and we’re happy to have you on board.

But what if you’ve never seen a Raspberry Pi before? What are you supposed to do with it? What’s all the fuss about, and why does your new computer look so naked?

Setting up your Raspberry Pi

Are you comfy? Good. Then let us begin.

Download our free operating system

First of all, you need to make sure you have an operating system on your micro SD card: we suggest Raspbian, the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s official supported operating system. If your Pi is part of a starter kit, you might find that it comes with a micro SD card that already has Raspbian preinstalled. If not, you can download Raspbian for free from our website.

An easy way to get Raspbian onto your SD card is to use a free tool called Etcher. Watch The MagPi’s Lucy Hattersley show you what you need to do. You can also use NOOBS to install Raspbian on your SD card, and our Getting Started guide explains how to do that.

Plug it in and turn it on

Your new Raspberry Pi 3 comes with four USB ports and an HDMI port. These allow you to plug in a keyboard, a mouse, and a television or monitor. If you have a Raspberry Pi Zero, you may need adapters to connect your devices to its micro USB and micro HDMI ports. Both the Raspberry Pi 3 and the Raspberry Pi Zero W have onboard wireless LAN, so you can connect to your home network, and you can also plug an Ethernet cable into the Pi 3.

Make sure to plug the power cable in last. There’s no ‘on’ switch, so your Pi will turn on as soon as you connect the power. Raspberry Pi uses a micro USB power supply, so you can use a phone charger if you didn’t receive one as part of a kit.

Learn with our free projects

If you’ve never used a Raspberry Pi before, or you’re new to the world of coding, the best place to start is our projects site. It’s packed with free projects that will guide you through the basics of coding and digital making. You can create projects right on your screen using Scratch and Python, connect a speaker to make music with Sonic Pi, and upgrade your skills to physical making using items from around your house.

Here’s James to show you how to build a whoopee cushion using a Raspberry Pi, paper plates, tin foil and a sponge:

Whoopee cushion PRANK with a Raspberry Pi: HOW-TO

Explore the world of Raspberry Pi physical computing with our free FutureLearn courses: http://rpf.io/futurelearn Free make your own Whoopi Cushion resource: http://rpf.io/whoopi For more information on Raspberry Pi and the charitable work of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, including Code Club and CoderDojo, visit http://rpf.io Our resources are free to use in schools, clubs, at home and at events.

Diving deeper

You’ve plundered our projects, you’ve successfully rigged every chair in the house to make rude noises, and now you want to dive deeper into digital making. Good! While you’re digesting your Christmas dinner, take a moment to skim through the Raspberry Pi blog for inspiration. You’ll find projects from across our worldwide community, with everything from home automation projects and retrofit upgrades, to robots, gaming systems, and cameras.

You’ll also find bucketloads of ideas in The MagPi magazine, the official monthly Raspberry Pi publication, available in both print and digital format. You can download every issue for free. If you subscribe, you’ll get a Raspberry Pi Zero W to add to your new collection. HackSpace magazine is another fantastic place to turn for Raspberry Pi projects, along with other maker projects and tutorials.

And, of course, simply typing “Raspberry Pi projects” into your preferred search engine will find thousands of ideas. Sites like Hackster, Hackaday, Instructables, Pimoroni, and Adafruit all have plenty of fab Raspberry Pi tutorials that they’ve devised themselves and that community members like you have created.

And finally

If you make something marvellous with your new Raspberry Pi – and we know you will – don’t forget to share it with us! Our Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Google+ accounts are brimming with chatter, projects, and events. And our forums are a great place to visit if you have questions about your Raspberry Pi or if you need some help.

It’s good to get together with like-minded folks, so check out the growing Raspberry Jam movement. Raspberry Jams are community-run events where makers and enthusiasts can meet other makers, show off their projects, and join in with workshops and discussions. Find your nearest Jam here.

Have a great festive holiday and welcome to the community. We’ll see you in 2018!

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Our brand-new Christmas resources

Post Syndicated from Laura Sach original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/christmas-resources-2017/

It’s never too early for Christmas-themed resources — especially when you want to make the most of them in your school, Code Club or CoderDojo! So here’s the ever-wonderful Laura Sach with an introduction of our newest festive projects.

A cartoon of people singing Christmas carols - Raspberry Pi Christmas Resources

In the immortal words of Noddy Holder: “it’s Christmaaaaaaasssss!” Well, maybe it isn’t quite Christmas yet, but since the shops have been playing Mariah Carey on a loop since the last pumpkin lantern hit the bargain bin, you’re hopefully well prepared.

To get you in the mood with some festive fun, we’ve put together a selection of seasonal free resources for you. Each project has a difficulty level in line with our Digital Making Curriculum, so you can check which might suit you best. Why not try them out at your local Raspberry Jam, CoderDojo, or Code Club, at school, or even on a cold day at home with a big mug of hot chocolate?

Jazzy jumpers

A cartoon of someone remembering pairs of jumper designs - Raspberry Pi Christmas Resources

Jazzy jumpers (Creator level): as a child in the eighties, you’d always get an embarrassing and probably badly sized jazzy jumper at Christmas from some distant relative. Thank goodness the trend has gone hipster and dreadful jumpers are now cool!

This resource shows you how to build a memory game in Scratch where you must remember the colour and picture of a jazzy jumper before recreating it. How many jumpers can you successfully recall in a row?

Sense HAT advent calendar

A cartoon Sense HAT lit up in the design of a Christmas pudding - Raspberry Pi Christmas Resources

Sense HAT advent calendar (Builder level): put the lovely lights on your Sense HAT to festive use by creating an advent calendar you can open day by day. However, there’s strictly no cheating with this calendar — we teach you how to use Python to detect the current date and prevent would-be premature peekers!

Press the Enter key to open today’s door:

(Note: no chocolate will be dispensed from your Raspberry Pi. Sorry about that.)

Code a carol

A cartoon of people singing Christmas carols - Raspberry Pi Christmas Resources

Code a carol (Developer level): Have you ever noticed how much repetition there is in carols and other songs? This resource teaches you how to break down the Twelve days of Christmas tune into its component parts and code it up in Sonic Pi the lazy way: get the computer to do all the repetition for you!

No musical knowledge required — just follow our lead, and you’ll have yourself a rocking doorbell tune in no time!

Naughty and nice

A cartoon of Santa judging people by their tweets - Raspberry Pi Christmas Resources

Naughty and nice (Maker level): Have you been naughty or nice? Find out by using sentiment analysis on your tweets to see what sort of things you’ve been talking about throughout the year. For added fun, why not use your program on the Twitter account of your sibling/spouse/arch nemesis and report their level of naughtiness to Santa with an @ mention?

raspberry_pi is 65.5 percent NICE, with an accuracy of 0.9046692607003891

It’s Christmaaaaaasssss

With the festive season just around the corner, it’s time to get started on your Christmas projects! Whether you’re planning to run your Christmas lights via a phone app, install a home assistant inside an Elf on a Shelf, or work through our Christmas resources, we would like to see what you make. So do share your festive builds with us on social media, or by posting links in the comments.

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Raspbian Stretch has arrived for Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Simon Long original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspbian-stretch/

It’s now just under two years since we released the Jessie version of Raspbian. Those of you who know that Debian run their releases on a two-year cycle will therefore have been wondering when we might be releasing the next version, codenamed Stretch. Well, wonder no longer – Raspbian Stretch is available for download today!

Disney Pixar Toy Story Raspbian Stretch Raspberry Pi

Debian releases are named after characters from Disney Pixar’s Toy Story trilogy. In case, like me, you were wondering: Stretch is a purple octopus from Toy Story 3. Hi, Stretch!

The differences between Jessie and Stretch are mostly under-the-hood optimisations, and you really shouldn’t notice any differences in day-to-day use of the desktop and applications. (If you’re really interested, the technical details are in the Debian release notes here.)

However, we’ve made a few small changes to our image that are worth mentioning.

New versions of applications

Version 3.0.1 of Sonic Pi is included – this includes a lot of new functionality in terms of input/output. See the Sonic Pi release notes for more details of exactly what has changed.

Raspbian Stretch Raspberry Pi

The Chromium web browser has been updated to version 60, the most recent stable release. This offers improved memory usage and more efficient code, so you may notice it running slightly faster than before. The visual appearance has also been changed very slightly.

Raspbian Stretch Raspberry Pi

Bluetooth audio

In Jessie, we used PulseAudio to provide support for audio over Bluetooth, but integrating this with the ALSA architecture used for other audio sources was clumsy. For Stretch, we are using the bluez-alsa package to make Bluetooth audio work with ALSA itself. PulseAudio is therefore no longer installed by default, and the volume plugin on the taskbar will no longer start and stop PulseAudio. From a user point of view, everything should still work exactly as before – the only change is that if you still wish to use PulseAudio for some other reason, you will need to install it yourself.

Better handling of other usernames

The default user account in Raspbian has always been called ‘pi’, and a lot of the desktop applications assume that this is the current user. This has been changed for Stretch, so now applications like Raspberry Pi Configuration no longer assume this to be the case. This means, for example, that the option to automatically log in as the ‘pi’ user will now automatically log in with the name of the current user instead.

One other change is how sudo is handled. By default, the ‘pi’ user is set up with passwordless sudo access. We are no longer assuming this to be the case, so now desktop applications which require sudo access will prompt for the password rather than simply failing to work if a user without passwordless sudo uses them.

Scratch 2 SenseHAT extension

In the last Jessie release, we added the offline version of Scratch 2. While Scratch 2 itself hasn’t changed for this release, we have added a new extension to allow the SenseHAT to be used with Scratch 2. Look under ‘More Blocks’ and choose ‘Add an Extension’ to load the extension.

This works with either a physical SenseHAT or with the SenseHAT emulator. If a SenseHAT is connected, the extension will control that in preference to the emulator.

Raspbian Stretch Raspberry Pi

Fix for Broadpwn exploit

A couple of months ago, a vulnerability was discovered in the firmware of the BCM43xx wireless chipset which is used on Pi 3 and Pi Zero W; this potentially allows an attacker to take over the chip and execute code on it. The Stretch release includes a patch that addresses this vulnerability.

There is also the usual set of minor bug fixes and UI improvements – I’ll leave you to spot those!

How to get Raspbian Stretch

As this is a major version upgrade, we recommend using a clean image; these are available from the Downloads page on our site as usual.

Upgrading an existing Jessie image is possible, but is not guaranteed to work in every circumstance. If you wish to try upgrading a Jessie image to Stretch, we strongly recommend taking a backup first – we can accept no responsibility for loss of data from a failed update.

To upgrade, first modify the files /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list. In both files, change every occurrence of the word ‘jessie’ to ‘stretch’. (Both files will require sudo to edit.)

Then open a terminal window and execute

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade

Answer ‘yes’ to any prompts. There may also be a point at which the install pauses while a page of information is shown on the screen – hold the ‘space’ key to scroll through all of this and then hit ‘q’ to continue.

Finally, if you are not using PulseAudio for anything other than Bluetooth audio, remove it from the image by entering

sudo apt-get -y purge pulseaudio*

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Teaching with Raspberry Pis and PiNet

Post Syndicated from Janina Ander original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/teaching-pinet/

Education is our mission at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, so of course we love tools that help teachers and other educators use Raspberry Pis in a classroom setting. PiNet, which allows teachers to centrally manage a whole classroom’s worth of Pis, makes administrating a fleet of Pis easier. Set up individual student accounts, install updates and software, share files – PiNet helps you do all of this!

Caleb VinCross on Twitter

The new PiNet lab up and running. 30 raspberry pi 3’s running as fat clients for 600 + students. Much thanks to the PiNet team! @PiNetDev.

PiNet developer Andrew

PiNet was built and is maintained by Andrew Mulholland, who started work on this project when he was 15, and who is also one of the organisers of the Northern Ireland Raspberry Jam. Check out what he says about PiNet’s capabilities in his guest post here.

PiNet in class

PiNet running in a classroom

PiNet, teacher’s pet

PiNet has been available for about two years now, and the teachers using it are over the moon. Here’s what a few of them say about their experience:

We wanted a permanently set up classroom with 30+ Raspberry Pis to teach programming. Students wanted their work to be secure and backed up and we needed a way to keep the Pis up to date. PiNet has made both possible and the classroom now required little or no maintenance. PiNet was set up in a single day and was so successful we set up a second Pi room. We now have 60 Raspberry Pis which are used by our students every day. – Rob Jones, Secondary School Teacher, United Kingdom

AKS Computing on Twitter

21xRaspPi+dedicated network+PiNet server+3 geeks = success! Ready to test with a full class.

I teach Computer Science at middle school, so I have 4 classes per day in my lab, sharing 20 Raspberry Pis. PiNet gives each student separate storage space. Any changes to the Raspbian image can be done from my dashboard. We use Scratch, Minecraft Pi, Sonic Pi, and do physical computing. And when I have had issues, or have wanted to try something a little crazy, the support has been fabulous. – Bob Irving, Middle School Teacher, USA

Wolf Math on Twitter

We’re starting our music unit with @deejaydoc. My CS students are going through the @Sonic_Pi turorial on @PiNetDev.

I teach computer classes for about 600 students between the ages of 5 and 13. PiNet has really made it possible to expand our technology curriculum beyond the simple web-based applications that our Chromebooks were limited to. I’m now able to use Arduino boards to do basic physical computing with LEDs and sensors. None of this could have happened without PiNet making it easy to have an affordable, stable, and maintainable way of managing 30 Linux computers in our lab. – Caleb VinCross, Primary School Teacher, USA

More for educators

If you’re involved in teaching computing, be that as a professional or as a volunteer, check out the new free magazine Hello World, brought to you by Computing At School, BCS Academy of Computing, and Raspberry Pi working in partnership. It is written by educators for educators, and available in print and as a PDF download. And if you’d like to keep up to date with what we are offering to educators and learners, sign up for our education newsletter here.

Are you a teacher who uses Raspberry Pis in the classroom, or another kind of educator who has used them in a group setting? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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Taking the first step on the journey

Post Syndicated from Matt Richardson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/taking-first-step-journey/

This column is from The MagPi issue 58. 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.

About five years ago was the first time I unboxed a Raspberry Pi. I hooked it up to our living room television and made space on the TV stand for an old USB keyboard and mouse. Watching the $35 computer boot up for the first time impressed me, and I had a feeling it was a big deal, but I’ll admit that I had no idea how much of a phenomenon Raspberry Pi would become. I had no idea how large the community would grow. I had no idea how much my life would be changed from that moment on. And it all started with a simple first step: booting it up.

Matt Richardson on Twitter

Finally a few minutes to experiment with @Raspberry_Pi! So far, I’m rather impressed!

The key to the success of Raspberry Pi as a computer – and, in turn, a community and a charitable foundation – is that there’s a low barrier to the first step you take with it. The low price is a big reason for that. Whether or not to try Raspberry Pi is not a difficult decision. Since it’s so affordable, you can just give it a go, and see how you get along.

The pressure is off

Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux operating system kernel, talked about this in a BBC News interview in 2012. He explained that a lot of people might take the first step with Raspberry Pi, but not everyone will carry on with it. But getting more people to take that first step of turning it on means there are more people who potentially will be impacted by the technology. Torvalds said:

I find things like Raspberry Pi to be an important thing: trying to make it possible for a wider group of people to tinker with computers. And making the computers cheap enough that you really can not only afford the hardware at a big scale, but perhaps more important, also afford failure.

In other words, if things don’t work out with you and your Raspberry Pi, it’s not a big deal, since it’s such an affordable computer.

In this together

Of course, we hope that more and more people who boot up a Raspberry Pi for the first time will decide to continue experimenting, creating, and learning with it. Thanks to improvements to the hardware, the Raspbian operating system, and free software packages, it’s constantly becoming easier to do many amazing things with this little computer. And our continually growing community means you’re not alone on this journey. These improvements and growth over the past few years hopefully encourage more people who boot up Raspberry Pis to keep exploring.
raspberry pi first step

The first step

However, the important thing is that people are given the opportunity to take that first step, especially young people. Young learners are at a critical age, and something like the Raspberry Pi can have an enormously positive impact on the rest of their lives. It’s a major reason why our free resources are aimed at young learners. It’s also why we train educators all over the world for free. And encouraging youngsters to take their first step with Raspberry Pi could not only make a positive difference in their lives, but also in society at large.

With the affordable computational power, excellent software, supportive community, and free resources, you’re given everything you need to make a big impact in the world when you boot up a Raspberry Pi for the first time. That moment could be step one of ten, or one of ten thousand, but it’s up to you to take that first step.

Now you!

Learning and making things with the Pi is incredibly easy, and we’ve created numerous resources and tutorials to help you along. First of all, check out our hardware guide to make sure you’re all set up. Next, you can try out Scratch and Python, our favourite programming languages. Feeling creative? Learn to code music with Sonic Pi, or make visual art with Processing. Ready to control the real world with your Pi? Create a reaction game, or an LED adornment for your clothing. Maybe you’d like to do some science with the help of our Sense HAT, or become a film maker with our camera?

You can do all this with the Raspberry Pi, and so much more. The possibilities are as limitless as your imagination. So where do you want to start?

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Ultrasonic pi-ano

Post Syndicated from Janina Ander original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/ultrasonic-piano/

At the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we love a good music project. So of course we’re excited to welcome Andy Grove‘s ultrasonic piano to the collection! It is a thing of beauty… and noise. Don’t let the name fool you – this build can do so much more than sound like a piano.

Ultrasonic Pi Piano – Full Demo

The Ultrasonic Pi Piano uses HC-SR04 ultrasonic sensors for input and generates MIDI instructions that are played by fluidsynth. For more information: http://theotherandygrove.com/projects/ultrasonic-pi-piano/

What’s an ultrasonic piano?

What we have here, people of all genders, is really a theremin on steroids. The build’s eight ultrasonic distance sensors detect hand movements and, with the help of an octasonic breakout board, a Raspberry Pi 3 translates their signals into notes. But that’s not all: this digital instrument is almost endlessly customisable – you can set each sensor to a different octave, or to a different instrument.

octasonic breakout board

The breakout board designed by Andy

Andy has implemented gesture controls to allow you to switch between modes you have preset. In his video, you can see that holding your hands over the two sensors most distant from each other changes the instrument. Say you’re bored of the piano – try a xylophone! Not your jam? How about a harpsichord? Or a clarinet? In fact, there are 128 MIDI instruments and sound effects to choose from. Go nuts and compose a piece using tuba, ocarina, and the noise of a guitar fret!

How to build the ultrasonic piano

If you head over to Instructables, you’ll find the thorough write-up Andy has provided. He has also made all his scripts, written in Rust, available on GitHub. Finally, he’s even added a video on how to make a housing, so your ultrasonic piano can look more like a proper instrument, and less like a pile of electronics.

Ultrasonic Pi Piano Enclosure

Uploaded by Andy Grove on 2017-04-13.

Make your own!

If you follow us on Twitter, you may have seen photos and footage of the Raspberry Pi staff attending a Pi Towers Picademy. Like Andy*, quite a few of us are massive Whovians. Consequently, one of our final builds on the course was an ultrasonic theremin that gave off a sound rather like a dying Dalek. Take a look at our masterwork here! We loved our make so much that we’ve since turned the instructions for building it into a free resource. Go ahead and build your own! And be sure to share your compositions with us in the comments.

Sonic the hedgehog is feeling the beat

Sonic is feeling the groove as well

* He has a full-sized Dalek at home. I know, right?

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Making sweet, sweet music with PiSound

Post Syndicated from Jonic original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/making-sweet-sweet-music-pisound/

I’d say I am a passable guitarist. Ever since I learnt about the existence of the Raspberry Pi in 2012, I’ve wondered how I could use one as a guitar effects unit. Unfortunately, I’m also quite lazy and have therefore done precisely nothing to make one. Now, though, I no longer have to beat myself up about this. Thanks to the PiSound board from Blokas, musicians can connect all manner of audio gear to their Raspberry Pi, bringing their projects to a whole new level. Essentially, it transforms your Pi into a complete audio workstation! What musician wouldn’t want a piece of that?

PiSound: a soundcard HAT for the Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi with PiSound attached

The PiSound in situ: do those dials go all the way to eleven?

PiSound is a HAT for the Raspberry Pi 3 which acts as a souped-up sound card. It allows you to send and receive audio signals from its jacks, and send MIDI input/output signals to compatible devices. It features two 6mm in/out jacks, two standard DIN-5 MIDI in/out sockets, potentiometers for volume and gain, and ‘The Button’ (with emphatic capitals) for activating audio manipulation patches. Following an incredibly successful Indiegogo campaign, the PiSound team is preparing the board for sale later in the year.

Setting the board up was simple, thanks to the excellent documentation on the PiSound site. First, I mounted the board on my Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins and secured it with the supplied screws. Next, I ran one script in a terminal window on a fresh installation of Raspbian, which downloaded, installed, and set up all the software I needed to get going. All I had to do after that was connect my instruments and get to work creating patches for Pure Data, a popular visual programming interface for manipulating media streams.

PiSound with instruments and computer

Image from Blokas

Get creative with PiSound!

During my testing, I created some simple fuzz, delay, and tremolo guitar effects. The possibilities, though, are as broad as your imagination. I’ve come up with some ideas to inspire you:

  • You could create a web interface for the guitar effects, accessible over a local network on a smartphone or tablet.
  • How about controlling an interactive light show or projected visualisation on stage using the audio characteristics of the guitar signal?
  • Channel your inner Matt Bellamy and rig up some MIDI hardware on your guitar to trigger loops and samples while you play.
  • Use a tilt switch to increase the intensity of an effect when the angle of the guitar’s neck is changed (imagine you’re really going for it during a solo).
  • You could even use the audio input stream as a base for generating other non-audio results.

pisound – Audio & MIDI Interface for your Raspberry Pi

Indiegogo Campaign: https://igg.me/at/pisound More Info: http://www.blokas.io Sounds by Sarukas: http://bit.ly/2myN8lf

Now I have had a taste of what this incredible little board can do, I’m very excited to see what new things it will enable me to do as a performer. It’s compact and practical, too: as the entire thing is about the size of a standard guitar pedal, I could embed it into one of my guitars if I wanted to. Alternatively, I could get creative and design a custom enclosure for it.

Using Sonic Pi with PiSound

Community favourite Sonic Pi will also support the board very soon, as Sam Aaron and Ben Smith ably demonstrated at our fifth birthday party celebrations. This means you don’t even need to be able to play an instrument to make something awesome with this clever little HAT.

The Future of @Sonic_Pi with Sam Aaron & Ben Smith at #PiParty

Uploaded by Alan O’Donohoe on 2017-03-05.

I’m incredibly impressed with the hardware and the support on the PiSound website. It’s going to be my go-to HAT for advanced audio projects, and, when it finally launches later this year, I’ll have all the motivation I need to create the guitar effects unit I’ve always wanted.

Find out more about PiSound over at the Blokas website, and take a deeper look at the tech specs and other information over at the PiSound documentation site.

Disclaimer: I am personally a backer of the Indiegogo campaign, and Blokas very kindly supplied a beta board for this review.

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Processing: making art with code

Post Syndicated from Matt Richardson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/processing-making-art-code/

This column is from The MagPi issue 56. 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.

One way we achieve our mission at the Raspberry Pi Foundation is to find an intersection between someone’s passion and computing. For example, if you’re a young person interested in space, our Astro Pi programme is all about getting your code running on the International Space Station. If you like music, you can use Sonic Pi to compose songs with code. This month, I’d like to introduce you to some interesting work happening at the intersection between computing and the visual arts.

Image of Dead Presidents by Mike Brondbjerg art made with Processing

Mike Brondbjerg’s Dead Presidents uses Processing to generate portraits.

Processing is a programming language and development environment that sits perfectly at that intersection. It enables you to use code to generate still graphics, animations, or interactive applications such as games. It’s based on the Java programming language, and it runs on multiple platforms and operating systems. Thanks to the work of the Processing Foundation, and in particular the efforts of contributor Gottfried Haider, Processing runs like a champ on the Raspberry Pi.

Screenshot of Processing environment

When I want to communicate how cool Processing is while speaking to members of the Raspberry Pi community, I usually make this analogy: with Sonic Pi, you can use one line of code to make one note; with Processing, you can use one line of code to draw one stroke. Once you’ve figured that out, you can use computational tools such as loops, conditions, and variables to make some beautiful art.

And even though Processing is intended for use in the realm of visual arts, its capabilities can go beyond that. You can make applications that interact with the user through keyboard or mouse input. Processing also has libraries for working with network connections, files, and cameras. This means that you don’t just have to create artwork with Processing. You can also use it for almost anything you need to code.

Physical process

Processing is especially cool on the Raspberry Pi because there’s a library for working with the Pi’s GPIO pins. You can therefore have on-screen graphics interacting with buttons, switches, LEDs, relays, and sensors wired up to your Pi. With Processing, you could build a game that uses a custom controller that you’ve built yourself. Or you could create a piece of artwork that interacts with the user by sensing their proximity to it.

Processing screenshot

Best of all, Processing was created with learning to code in mind. It comes with lots of built-in examples, and you can use these to learn about many different programming and drawing concepts. The documentation on Processing’s website is very thorough and – as with Raspberry Pi – there’s a very supportive community around it if you run into any trouble. Additionally, the Processing development environment is powerful but also very simplified. For these reasons, it’s perfect for someone who is just getting started.

To get going with Processing on Raspberry Pi, there’s a one-line install command. You can also go to Processing.org and download pre-built Raspbian images with Processing already installed. To help you on your journey, there’s a resource for getting started with Processing. It includes a walkthrough on how to access the GPIO pins to combine physical computing and visual arts.

When you launch Processing, you will see a blank file where you can start keying in your code. Don’t let that intimidate you! All of the world’s greatest pieces of art started off as a raw slab of marble, a blob of clay, or a blank canvas. It just takes one line of code at a time to generate your own masterpiece.

Become a supporter

After this article appeared in The MagPi, the Processing Foundation put out a call for support:

We want you to be a part of this. Our work is almost entirely supported by individual one-time donations from the community. Right now we are outspending what we earn, and we have bigger plans! We want to continue all the work we’re doing and make it more accessible, more inclusive, and more responsive to the community needs.

To create lasting support for these new directions we’re starting a Membership Program. A membership is an annual donation that supports all this work and signifies your belief in it. You can do this as an individual, a studio, an educational institution, or a corporate partner. We will list your name on our members page along with all the others that help make this mission possible.

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

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/whats-on-raspberry-pi-birthday-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.

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.

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Our full 2017 schedule of UK Picademy events

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/our-full-2017-schedule-of-uk-picademy-events/

Happy new year to everyone! We’re back with a new programme of Picademy events for 2017. All our UK events have been scheduled up to the end of the year, so you can look ahead and choose something at a location and date that is convenient.

An educator gets to grips with our Camera Module

For the uninitiated, Picademy is a free CPD programme that aims to give educators the skills and knowledge they need to get creative with computing, no matter what their level of experience. In fact, you don’t need any previous experience to apply, just an enthusiasm for teaching kids computing. Each course lasts for two full days and is a mixture of digital making workshops, project-based learning, and hacking. Delegates graduate as Raspberry Pi Certified Educators (RCEs).

Last year’s Picademy events yielded some wonderful moments. We trained over 540 educators in the UK and the US, so we had lots of highlights to choose from; I certainly witnessed many in person while delivering events in Glasgow. Two of my favourites included the educator who created music by coding DNA into Sonic Pi as note values (amazing!), and the project that used the Sense HAT to input notes to Sonic Pi and then convert them into coloured blocks in Minecraft for a digital disco.

It was so great to see the enthusiasm, the camaraderie, and the willingness of educators to be open to new experiences. You could see the cogs turning as they thought about how they could apply the new ideas to work in their own classrooms. It was also great to hear about things educators found less easy, and to answer questions about aspects of the computing curriculum. We find this feedback particularly useful as we are always looking for ways to improve our content and provide better support.

Below you’ll find details of the Picademy events we’re running across the UK in 2017:

CITYVENUEDATES
CardiffTramshed,
Clare Rd,
Cardiff,
CF11 6QP
21/22 February
ManchesterMadLab Manchester,
36-40 Edge St,
Manchester,
M4 1HN
14/15 March
02/03 October
BirminghamThe Learning Hub,
Birmingham Airport,
Birmingham,
B26 3QJ
10/11 April
04/05 December
CambridgeRaspberry Pi Foundation,
30 Station Road,
Cambridge,
CB1 2JH
15/16 May
LondonTBCLate May*
Late November*

* While London details are not fully confirmed, you can still apply for these events. We will email details to applicants later in 2017.

Who should apply?

We are looking for inspirational educators who are passionate about computing, enthusiastic about creating awesome learning experiences for their students, and proactive at sharing good practice.

While we’re primarily looking for primary, secondary, FE and HE teachers to apply, we’re also seeking other outstanding educators such as librarians, community educators, trainee teachers, and trainers of teachers.

We’re committed to running free high-quality training, and we invest substantial time (and money) in the educators that attend. Our hope is that our certified educators not only return home with a digital making mindset to inspire students and colleagues, but also have an impact on their wider education community through social media, meetups, or running their own training.

With this in mind, we should point out that Picademy events are often oversubscribed: for this reason, it’s really important that we get a sense of the person behind the application. We would therefore urge you to take your time when answering questions that ask you to reflect on your own experiences and reasons for applying.

A cohort of Picademy graduates in Manchester

How to apply

To apply for any of the events, fill in our Online Application Form. If you have any further questions, you can email [email protected] or post a message in the Picademy area on our forums.

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So you got a Raspberry Pi for Christmas! Now what?

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/so-you-got-a-raspberry-pi-for-christmas-now-what/

Note: The elves at Pi Towers are all taking next week off to spend some time with their families, and this blog will be quiet for the week. We’ll be back at the start of January. Happy holidays!

Happy 25th of December, everybody!

If you’re one of the many who woke up this morning to find some Raspberry Pi goodies under your tree, congratulations.

Christmas

Now you’ve unpacked the Pi, confirmed it to indeed be roughly the size of a credit card, and confused a less tech-savvy loved one by telling them “This is a computer!”, you may be wondering to do with it next…and that’s where we come in.

The Raspberry Pi can be used to create no end of wonderful things, including robots, musical instruments, virtual pets, stop motion cameras, and much more.

It will also help you to learn programming, allow you to play games, offer the chance to explore space, and automate your home.

Not quite like this…

So many awesome things.

But how do you do any of them!? Well…

1. OS me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.

Awful pun. I’m sorry.

You’ll need to make sure you have the latest Raspbian operating system (OS) on your Pi. You may have been given an SD with Rasbian pre-installed but if not, head to our downloads page to get it.

2. Start me up

ALL THE POWER!

You’ll need to plug your Pi into a monitor (your TV will do), keyboard and mouse in order to get started. You’ll also need a good-quality power supply providing at least 2A.

We’ve some great instructions within our help pages to get you up and running. And if you’re still stuck, our forum has loads of information and is full of helpful people. Feel free to join and ask a question, and search previous topics for advice.

3. So how do I build a robot then?!

With tinsel and tape and bows and…

Excellent question. But if you’ve never tried to code before, you may want to start with something a little smaller…like Scratch or Sonic Pi, or a physical build such as the Parent Detector or a Burping Jelly Baby.

You may also want to check out some great project books such as Carrie Anne’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi or any of The MagPi Magazine Essentials Guides and Project Books.

You’ll find a lot more suggestions in our Christmas Shopping List.

4. More, more, more!

You’ll find more projects on our resources pages, along with some brilliant inspirational builds on our YouTube channel and blog. Or simply search for Raspberry Pi online. We’ve an amazing community of makers who share their code and builds for all to use, and now you’re one of us…WELCOME!

 

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New online training courses: your questions answered

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/new-online-training-courses-your-questions-answered/

Train with Raspberry Pi anywhere in the world

We recently created two free online CPD training courses that are available to anyone, anywhere in the world. The courses will run alongside our current live training offerings, Picademy and Skycademy, and are facilitated by FutureLearn, a leading platform for online educational training.

Our courses begin on 20 February 2017, but you can sign up for both of them right now. To anticipate some of the questions you might have about them, we’ve put together this handy set of FAQs.

If you want to sign up, go to the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s page on FutureLearn.

Who can I speak to about online training?

Send us an email at [email protected] and one of the teacher training team at Raspberry Pi will get back to you.

What can I expect from the two courses that start in February 2017?

Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python: this four-week course will introduce you to physical computing, showing you how easy it is to create a system that responds to and controls the physical world, using computer programs running on the Raspberry Pi. You’ll apply your knowledge to a series of challenges, including controlling an LED with Python, using a button press to control a circuit, and making a game with buttons and LEDs. If you’re a teacher, you’ll also have the chance to develop ideas for using the Raspberry Pi and Python in your classroom, and to connect with a network of other educators.

Teaching Programming in Primary Schools: this four-week course will provide a comprehensive introduction to programming, and is designed for primary or K-5 teachers who are not subject specialists. Over four weeks, we’ll introduce you to key programming concepts. You’ll have the chance to apply your understanding of them through projects, both unplugged and on a computer, using Scratch as the programming language. Discover common mistakes and pitfalls, and develop strategies to fix them.

How long will the courses take?

Both courses are four weeks long. Each week has around two hours of content for learners to work through. It’s absolutely fine to take more time to reflect and learn at your own pace, though.

Do the courses cost anything?

No, the courses are completely free. If you want a printed certificate to prove that you have completed the course, this is available through FutureLearn for a small fee.

Do I need to be an educator to sign up?

Everyone is welcome to sign up for the courses, though they will be of particular relevance to educators.

Teaching Programming in Primary Schools is designed for non-subject-specialist primary or K-5 teachers. You don’t need any prior experience of programming to take part.

Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python is designed for anyone interested in physical computing. It will be of particular use to non-subject-specialist teachers, computing teachers, and design and technology teachers who are interested in using the Raspberry Pi and Python in their classroom.

I don’t know anything about digital making. Can I still sign up?

Yes! You don’t need any prior experience of programming or physical computing to take part.

Do I need any specific kit to take part?

To take part in Teaching Programming in Primary Schools, you’ll need a computer and access to Scratch.

To take part in Teaching Physical Computing with Raspberry Pi and Python, you’ll need:

  • a Raspberry Pi (any of the models from the B+ through to Pi 3 will be fine)
  • a micro SD card (8GB minimum) with our Raspbian operating system installed
  • a monitor and HDMI cable (or VGA adaptor)
  • a USB keyboard and mouse
  • a 400-point breadboard
  • three LEDs
  • a button
  • a buzzer
  • some 47Ω resistors
  • jumper cables

You can purchase the last six items on the above list as a bundle in the CamJam Edukit 1.

What if I have questions about using a Raspberry Pi?

You can find answers to questions about getting started with Raspberry Pi on our help page.

Where do I find resources to use the Raspberry Pi in the classroom?

We provide a wide selection of free resources for teaching, learning, and making on our Resources pages.

How do I apply for Picademy, the Foundation’s face-to-face training programme?

Picademy is a two-day course that allows educators to experience what they can achieve with a little help and lots of imagination. Through a series of workshops, we introduce a range of engaging ways to deliver computing in classrooms all over the world. Highlights include using physical computing to control electronic components like LEDs and buttons, coding music with Sonic Pi, and terraforming the world of Minecraft. On the second day, attendees have the opportunity to apply what they learned on the first day by developing their own project ideas, learning from each other and our experts.

You can find out more about our Picademy courses in this post.

A teacher attending Picademy laughs as she works through an activity

Raspberry Pi’s free training makes educators happy

We hope this has answered any questions you have, but remember you can always contact us at [email protected]. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up now, and get ready to get learning!

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Community Profile: Zach Igielman

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/community-profile-zach-igielman/

This column is from The MagPi issue 49. 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.

Zachary Igielman

Zach Igielman

Category: Maker
Day job: Student
Website

You may recognise the name Zachary Igielman from issue #38, where he was mentioned during our review of the exciting Pimoroni Piano HAT. The Piano HAT, for those unaware, was inspired by Zach’s own creation, the PiPiano, a successful crowdfunded add-on board that hit 184% of its funding two years ago. Aged 14, Zach had decided to incorporate his passions for making, engineering, and music, building himself a PCB that could use physical keys to control electronic sound files and Sonic Pi code. The PCB, he explains, is a great classroom tool, educating students on the fundamentals of physically building digital tech and soldering, through to understanding sound generation through PWM frequencies.

Zachary Igielman

PiPiano: Zach taught himself how to build a PCB in order to bring the PiPiano to life. Using Indiegogo to fund his project, Zach hit 184% of his target before approaching Pimoroni to hand over the design. And from his homemade PCB, the Piano HAT was born.

Zach began to teach himself to code aged 11, soon discovering the Raspberry Pi and, later, the Cambridge Raspberry Jams. It was through this collective of like-minded individuals that Zach was inspired to broaden his making skills, moving on to create line-following robots that avoided objects by using sensors.

Moving forward, Zach visited the Raspberry Pi offices for work experience, continuing to work on and study robots and robotic guides, working alongside our engineers to build upon his knowledge. It was around this time, in October 2014, that Zach met Frank Thomas-Hockey via Twitter. Frank was looking for help in creating the first London Raspberry Jam and Zach was more than willing to lend a hand. Between them, they 
set up the Covent Garden Jam, welcoming over 100 visitors to their first event. Their most recent Jam – now with the additional help of volunteers Ben, Paul, and Joseph – allowed them to simultaneously run workshops on soldering, Sonic Pi, and Minecraft, while also highlighting maker projects through show-and-tell sessions and talks.

Zachary Igielman Covent Garden Jam

Covent Garden Raspberry Pi Jam: Through Twitter, Zach met Frank in 2014, a like-minded Pi enthusiast looking to start a London-based Raspberry Jam. Between the two of them, they launched the first event at Dragon Hall, continuing the success of the Jam to now include multiple workshops, show-and-tell sessions, and talks.

Finally finished with his GCSE exams and about to begin his sixth-form studies in Maths, Further Maths, Physics, and Computing, Zach now has the time to continue his recent collaboration with friend Jake Blumenow.

Zach met Jake and built a fast friendship online, lovingly referring to him as a fellow “computer geek”. The two have worked on projects together, including several websites, and spent time travelling, bouncing ideas off one another with the aim of creating something important. It’s their most recent venture that’s worthy of recognition.

“At Google Campus, we developed our business model: we believe people of all ages have the right to understand how the technological world around us works, so they can modify and create their own technology.”

Between the two of them, they aim to create complete Raspberry Pi education kits, inviting beginners in making and coding to create functional projects, such as an alarm system, thus cementing the pair’s desire to highlight the day-to-day importance of tech in our lives.

Zachary Igielman Jake Blumenow

Collaboration with Jake Blumenow: Zach and Jake believe everyone has the right to understand how technology builds the world around them. With this in mind, they formed a partnership, working to create Raspberry Pi educational kits, starting with a DIY alarm system.

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Raspberry Pi at MozFest 2016

Post Syndicated from Olivia Robinson original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-mozfest-2016/

MozFest, or Mozilla Festival, is an annual celebration of the Mozilla community and the wider open internet movement. People from all over the world gather to explore ways of making the internet a resource that’s open and inclusive to all. This year MozFest was held at Ravensbourne College in London from Friday 28 – Sunday 29 October.

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Colleagues from the Raspberry Pi Foundation joined members of the community to run workshops across two classrooms in the Youth Zone; this meant more space than last year, bringing more opportunities to engage. Our community volunteers were really enthusiastic and varied in ages. Together we ran workshops ranging from Your Code in Space with Astro Pi, to how to create a burping Jelly Baby, to Physical Computing in Scratch and Hacking Minecraft.

A workshop leader leans over to point out something on a computer display to a young boy and a woman who are working together.

Families and young people at a Raspberry Pi workshop in the Youth Zone at MozFest 2016

One of the workshops I attended was how to create a burping Jelly Baby, run by Bethanie Fentiman (@bfentiman). She led a great session, especially given the technical hitches she encountered during the session: despite all of this, Bethanie and her team of helpers helped me to create a burping Jelly Baby by the end of the workshop. Thank you for all your patience and hard work! You can read Bethanie’s laconic take on MozFest in her blog.

Bethanie Fentiman helps workshop attendees make Jelly Babies burp
Jelly Babies. Their time is short

All the workshops were well attended by a mix of families, children and teenagers.

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Vincent Lee ran a workshop on making a Pi-powered automatic Twitter photo booth. His before and after MozFest blogs have some lovely photos, as well as candid insights into the frantic below-the-surface paddling that happens in order to deliver an event like this one!

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MozFest 2016 was a great place to find out what you can do with a Raspberry Pi and discover what other members of the Raspberry Pi community have created. People were really impressed at the workshops run by the young volunteers, such as 11-year-old Elise with her workshop on Spooktacular Sounds with Sonic Pi. A massive thank you to them: it’s not easy to teach grown-ups alongside younger people! Elise’s MozFest 2016 blog describes her busy, sociable and exciting weekend.

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Aoibheann, who ran Beginners’ Guide to Scratching Maths with Things from the Kitchen, travelled to MozFest from “the middle of nowhere” in the Republic of Ireland (so middle-of-nowhere, she has dial-up internet at home!). Aoibheann’s MozFest blog describes adapting her workshop to accommodate last-minute obstacles and finding that, despite the busy-ness, the Youth Zone was a home from home.

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Two very popular workshops at MozFest were LASERS! Create your own jewellery/keyring using a laser cutter and LASERS! Bringing drawings to life! Both were run by Amy Mather, whose enthusiasm for lasers is just one of many things for which she’s become well known in the Pi community. Participants learned how to use Raspberry Pis and Inkscape, an open source design program, to create designs which were then sent to the laser cutter to be made. Amy’s MozFest 2016 blog is full of fantastic photos of laser-cut works-in-progress and finished products.

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A huge thank-you to Joseph Thomas for his help with the laser workshop and for running Castles, code and capacitive buttons: Building castles in Minecraft with touch of a button not once, but twice. Joseph’s MozFest 2016 blog explains why, despite ending up with trench foot (really), he’ll still be back in 2017.

A laser cutter head cuts a child's Inkscape drawing of a bus into a piece of wood

A laser cutter brings a workshop participant’s Inkscape design into being at MozFest 2016

Cerys Lock for ran a workshop on Displaying Images and Animations on the Sense HAT – thank you, Cerys! Her pre- and post-MozFest blogs have an excellent photo log and an intriguing credits section.

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A massive thank you to the amazing team of 45+ volunteers, from the Pi community and beyond, who helped out over the weekend! Without you, Youth Zone simply would not have happened, let alone been the fantastic, creative space for exploration, discovery and excitement that it was. And particular thanks to Dorine Flies and Andrew Mulholland for their ridiculously hard work as Space Wranglers of Youth Zone this year. Andrew’s blog on MozFest 2016 describes the months of planning and the many long evenings of work that go into the Youth Zone, and he’s drawn together wonderful highlights from the weekend.

Having just joined the Raspberry Pi Foundation, I went to MozFest to get a taste of Raspberry Pi activities before I begin helping to organise other events future in the future. I was incredibly impressed with the skill and patience of all the volunteers and their ability to teach me things that seemed very complicated at first. I’m really looking forward to getting to know the community better, as I work with the Raspberry Pi to deliver events that I hope will have just as much energy and passion as MozFest.

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Essential reading: The MagPi’s new coding books are out now

Post Syndicated from Russell Barnes original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/essential-reading-magpis-new-coding-books-now/

We did a bit of a count recently and it turns out that The MagPi magazine has produced more than 3,200 pages of Raspberry Pi-related reading. That’s a lot of quality content (even if I do say so myself).

While we’re rather proud of this achievement, we’re also very aware of the fact that these lovingly crafted collections of words and pictures can very easily get lost in the mists of time (or in the recycling bin).

EssentialsPi

The first four MagPi Essentials books taught us how to use the command line, make games, experiment with the Sense HAT, and even code music with Sonic Pi

So, in 2015, we set out to make sure all the essential reading from the magazine wasn’t consigned to a dusty and dog-eared pile under the coffee table. Enter the MagPi Essentials range! They’re bite-sized books that build on the best articles in the magazine and mould them into a cohesive, easily digested form.

We’ve recently been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the latest batch, and I’m excited to report that the fifth to eighth books are out in hard copy now! We’ll spare you the minute details on each title in the series here, but I’ve hijacked the ‘You might also like’ doohickey on the right so you can read up on each book individually.

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Shiny new books! Well, the cover’s actually a matt laminate… Learn to code with Scratch, hack and make with Minecraft, do electronics using GPIO Zero, and program with C in our latest range.

Want them? Point your mouse fingers towards The Pi Hut or Amazon. You can even grab them directly from The MagPi’s own little lemonade stand if you want. Like everything else Raspberry Pi, they’re also super-affordable: £2.99 on our Apple and Android apps, or £3.99 in print. Not sure you can afford them all? You can also download each book as a free PDF too: just click on the appropriate link in our catalogue.

All eight Essentials books, but we're already hard at work on the next ones…

All of these books are available now. Have a read while we crack on with making the next ones…

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Inspiring educators with a special MagPi!

Post Syndicated from Carrie Anne Philbin original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/inspiring-educators-special-magpi/

If there’s one thing we’re passionate about here at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, it’s sharing our community’s passion for making with technology. Back in January, the Education team exhibited at the Bett Show with a special Educator’s Edition of our fabulous magazine, The MagPi. The goal was to share our projects and programmes with educators who could join our increasing community of digital makers. Like all our publications, a downloadable PDF was made available on our website; this was good thinking, as the magazine proved to be very popular and we ran out of copies soon after the show.

Exhibiting a the Bett Show 2016

Exhibiting at the Bett Show 2016 with the special Educator’s Edition of The MagPi

This year, we’ve been working hard to improve the support we provide to our Raspberry Pi Certified Educators when they take their first steps post-Picademy, and begin to share their new skills with their students or faculty on their own. In the past, we’ve provided printable versions of our resources or handed out copies of The MagPi. Instead of providing these separately, we thought it would be fun to bundle them together for all to access.

Digital making educators getting hands on with their builds at Picademy

Educators getting hands-on with their builds at Picademy

Thanks to the support of our colleagues in the MagPi team, we’ve been able to bring you a new and improved special edition of The MagPi: it’s aimed at educators and is packed full of new content, including tutorials and guides, for use in schools and clubs. You can download a free PDF of the second issue of the special Educator’s Edition right now. If you want a printed copy, then you’ll need to seek us out at events or attend a Picademy in the UK and US whilst we have them in stock!

Warning: contains inspiration!

Warning: contains inspiration!

Contents include:

  • The digital making revolution in education: how the maker movement has been taking the classroom by storm!
  • A case study: creative computing at Eastwood Academy
  • How to start a Code Club in your school
  • Physical computing tutorials with Python and Scratch
  • Teaching computing with Minecraft
  • Blinky lights, cameras, micro:bits, and motor tutorials
  • Sonic Pi live coding
  • What’s next for Astro Pi?
  • News about Raspberry Pi in education

Blinky lights tutorial page from MagPi

Case study page from MagPi about Eastwood Academy

The MagPi Educator’s Edition is freely licensed under Creative Commons (BY-SA-NC 3.0).

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Scottish Learning Festival and Digital Garage

Post Syndicated from Laura Clay original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/scottish-learning-festival-and-digital-garage/

A few weeks back, thousands of educators, local council staff, charities, and other educators flocked to the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow. The Raspberry Pi team were there to greet them, along with a stand groaning with sought-after swag bags and, of course, our very on-brand tops.

The Pi team at SLF

Sadly, they’re not available in shops…

Word of our credit card-sized computer has spread fast north of the border; I spoke to many primary and secondary teachers who had heard of us and were either curious to know more, or scared that they weren’t qualified enough to try one. Thanks to Dan’s wire loop game demo, though, they were soon getting hands-on with a Pi 3, and soon we had attendees queueing up to find out more. (We estimated we’d given away 100 swag bags on the first day, which is pretty good going…)

It was great to see so many educators being inspired by the possibilities the Pi affords – and amazed at how much a tiny computer can do. One teacher brought his son, who had bought a Pi which was sitting unloved in a drawer, and simply said ‘Inspire him’. We showed him our free online resources, and he got very excited at the idea of making music with Sonic Pi. Another satisfied customer!

Along with Lorna Gibson, Code Club Scotland coordinator, I also attended the launch of Google’s Digital Garage at the Mitchell Library, featuring speeches by Keith Brown MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Infrastructure, Investment and Cities, VP of Google EMEA Peter Barron, and four entrepreneurs who had attended Garages in the north of England, telling us their success stories about running everything from waffle vans to wedding blogs.

Keith provided some awe-inspiring figures; for every £1 invested in the Scottish digital economy, £3-£8 is returned. He said the Scottish Government was ‘committed to working with partners such as Google and Raspberry Pi to further develop digital talent in Scotland’. The Glasgow Garage will host its first Raspberry Jam on 8 October, and we can’t wait to hear what the participants produce.

Glasgow Digital Garage

Photo credit @GlasgowLibraries

When we returned to our Raspberry Pi stand, news had just reached us that there are now over 300 Code Clubs in Scotland. We like to think that some teachers set a couple up as soon as they heard about the power of Pi…

Picademy Glasgow information and a signup form can be found on our website here, with the first session running on the 14/15 October, and The Digital Garage runs from 21 September to 31 January 2017, before it goes on tour to other Scottish cities.

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Astro Pi: Mission Update 9 – Science Results

Post Syndicated from David Honess original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/astro-pi-mission-update-9-science-results/

Liz: Before we get down to business, we’ve a notice to share. Laura Clay, who is behind the scenes editing this blog, The MagPi and much more, is also a fiction writer; and she’s been chosen as one of 17 Emerging Writers by the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust. Each writer will be reading a short story at the Edinburgh International Book Festival, and it’s a great way to discover writers living and working in the city at the start of their careers. Laura will be reading her story Loch na Bèiste on Friday 26 August at 3pm in the Spiegeltent, and entry is free, so why not come along and support her? Warning: story may contain murderous kelpies.

Now that British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake is back on the ground it’s time for the final Astro Pi mission update: the summary of the experiment results from the International Space Station (ISS). We’ve been holding this back to give the winners some time to publish the results of their experiments themselves.

Back in 2015 we ran a competition where students could design and program computer science experiments, to be run by Tim Peake on specially cased Raspberry Pis called Astro Pis. Here’s the original competition video, voiced by Tim himself:

Astro Pi

This is “Astro Pi” by raspberrypi on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them.

The competition ran from January to July 2015 and produced seven winning experiments, which were launched into space a few days before Tim started his mission. Between February and April 2016, these experiments were run on board the ISS under Tim Peake’s supervision. They’re mostly based around the sensors found on the Sense HAT, but a few also employ the Raspberry Pi Camera Module. Head over to the Astro Pi website now to check out the results, released today!

You might also know that we ran an extension to this competition involving a couple of music-based challenges. These challenges have no scientific output to discuss, because they were part of a crew care package for Tim’s enjoyment, but you can get your hands on the winning code to turn the Astro Pis into MP3 players and Sonic Pi tunes.

One of the main things we’ve learnt from running Astro Pi is that the biggest motivational factor for young people is the very tangible goal of having their code run in space. This eclipses any physical prize we could offer. Many people see space as quite distant and abstract, but with Astro Pi you can actually get your hands on space-qualified hardware, create something that would work up in space, and become an active participant in the European space programme.

Many of the Astro Pi winners now express an interest in studying aerospace and computer science. They’ve gained exposure to the real-life process of scientific endeavour, and faced industrial software development challenges along the way. We hope that everyone who participated in Astro Pi has been positively influenced by the programme. The results also demonstrate that the payload works reliably in space. This has been noticed by ESA, who are now planning to use it during upcoming missions. It’s really important for us that the payload continues to be used to run your code in space, so we’re working hard with ESA to make sure that we can do Astro Pi all over again.

This project has been a huge collaborative effort from the start and the Raspberry Pi Foundation would like to thank everyone who has participated in the competitions, and the following companies who have contributed staff time, facilities, and funding to make it all happen: UK Space Agency, European Space Agency, BIOTESC, TLOGOS, Surrey Satellite Technology, Airbus Defence and Space, CGI Group, QinetiQ Space, UK Space Trade Association, ESERO UK, KTN Space, and Nesta. Of course, Tim Peake himself has been hugely supportive and enthusiastic about the project from the start.

British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake with the prototype Astro Pi

British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake with the prototype Astro Pi. Image credit ESA.

We would also like to thank Libby Jackson, who is the Astronaut Flight Education Programme Manager at the UK Space Agency and a former flight director at ESA. She oversees all of the Principia educational activities, including Astro Pi.

libby-jackson-uksa

Libby Jackson, UK Space Agency. Image credit Imperial College London.

During the interview for her job at the UK Space Agency a few years ago, she pitched an idea for running a project on the ISS involving Raspberry Pi computers. Instead of launching traditional physical equipment, the experiments would be in the form of computer software, meaning that many more experiments could be accommodated. That kernel of an idea is what eventually became Astro Pi.

iss046e042740

Izzy deployed on the Nadir Hatch window of Node 2. Image credit ESA.

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Mod Minecraft Pi with our latest Essentials books

Post Syndicated from Rob Zwetsloot original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/mod-minecraft-pi-latest-essentials-books/

We’re back again with yet another amazing book in our Essentials series. We know you love them, and we also know that a lot of you love Minecraft. So here is Hacking and Making with Minecraft, the best place to learn about how to mod Minecraft Pi using the power of code.

Hacking and Making with Minecraft is out this very second for you to go and get online.

Make games and mod the world with Minecraft Essentials

Make games and mod the world with Minecraft Essentials

Packed into its pages, which you can download for free as a PDF, are a load of chapters based on articles in the magazine, as well as plenty of brand new tutorials created by the Minecraft Pi Mastermind himself, Martin O’Hanlon. You may have heard of him – he helped get the SpaceCRAFT code working that was run on the International Space Station by Tim Peake!

Here’s some of the amazing things you’ll find in the 13 chapters squeezed into the book:

  • Play the game and write your first program
  • Learn how to control blocks using code
  • Create your first mini games
  • Interact with the GPIO pins through Minecraft
  • Control Minecraft with Node-RED and Sonic Pi
  • And lots more exciting stuff!

We reckon it will help improve your coding skills, which you should remember when your parents start asking why you’re playing a bit more Minecraft than usual.

You can buy Hacking and Making with Minecraft in our app for Android and iOS, as well as grabbing the free PDF. Print versions are coming soon too.

Now if you’ll excuse us, we need to go try it out ourselves in the Holodeck.

Hacking and Making with Minecraft is freely licensed under Creative Commons (BY-SA-NC 3.0). You can download the PDF for free now and forever, but buying digitally supports the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s charitable mission to democratise computing and educate kids all over the world – so please consider it!

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