I attended the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s #picademy in Denver at the beginning of June in 2018. I really loved the blend of making, computer science, physical computing, exploration and fun. I would like to find a way to bring this to my K-5 students in San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). I immediately began searching for local ways to stay involved. The North American headquarters of rPi is just across the bay in Oakland so I knew I could stay in touch that way. I was also looking for more of a users group. I found one on Meetup.
Tonight I am going to a presentation night where users show off their light focused projects. I’m going to test out this group and see if it’s a good fit for me.
Here’s what I found.
It was located in downtown SF in the Google offices, Batgirl meeting room. Google provided the room, technology and food. There were 50 or so people registered on Meetup, and about 25 total came. I’m not sure if that’s par for the course with free Meetup groups. 25 people interested in rPi for informal chatting is great. 3 people were supposed to present their projects. 2 of them were no shows but the organizer arranged another presenter, so we had 2 total.
Presenter 1 showed us a prototype he was working on with infrared remote controls. It was way above my head. He was working on 2 way communication with IR. I’m not sure I could find a practical application. Perhaps it was just a proof of concept, as a foundation for something else. Additionally, he said he built another version with an Arduino so he could write the program in C rather than in Python, again, I didn’t understand the why of that choice. While many people agreed that IR was not visible to the naked eye, one guest said you can see it when you take a video with your phone, and proved it. That was pretty cool, though others were more excited about it than I was.
Presenter 2, the event organizer, modeled a project that illuminated LED lights during the day, to mimic natural light, in a space with little to no natural light. This was more like the kind of projects I can follow for rPi. He used the sensors. He also used wifi to have the rPi check what the sunrise and sunset times were for the current location, so there was GPS too. Based on that data, an expected natural light level was calculated, and then converted to data the rPi could use to adjust the level of lighting in the LED strips connected to the rPi. He made a wood frame shaped like a window and the LEDs were around it, so it looked like light coming through a window. I liked it and thought about how I could use it for our interior bathrooms with no outside windows or natural light. It would have to be moisture proof, or would have to go into the linen closet on the outside of the bathroom, with a wire through the wall. I’m going to mull this over a bit.
There was a Q&A after each presentation. There was a preview of the next project challenge, “it slices, it dices”, basically using the rPi in a kitchen setting. There was informal chat after it all. I was a little intimidated because most people were very technically savvy, but everyone was nice and helpful. I’ll keep going to see if I can push myself to develop practical solutions with my rPi’s.
I don’t really have any idea about something for the kitchen. I’ll do some research, look at some code, write some code, but I may just be a lurker again. Right now, I’m knee deep in the Pi-Top CEED Universe game, which is helping me learn Python, so that’s a good start.Please follow and like us: