Bodgers – Making More Progress

This weekend in the Bodgers Group our three Raspberry Pi Pioneers teams continued to work on their projects.

The Zombie Herders were working on a PIR (passive Infra-red) sensor which is the type of sensor commonly found in burglar alarms.

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They used the GPIOZero library for Python and sample code which can be found here. However they didn’t have much success so we need to do more testing on our sensor and if necessary order a new one.

The zombie trolls worked on creating a 3-D model for their project using FreeCAD which they will print out when we return after the break.

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I’m afraid I not allowed to discuss what it will be used for at this point :-).

Team Green Fingers worked on more scripts for their project including using their Arduino and a relay to switch a 12 volt automobile bulb on and off.

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As with most projects like this we had a little trouble getting it going as we forgot to set the pin we used on the Arduino as an Output. Thanks to James and his Dad for bringing in the 12 volt powerpack.

We are off for the next two Saturdays and we’re back again on the 11th of November.

See you all then

Declan, Dave and Alaidh.

 

Bodgers – Making Movies

There was great excitement at this weeks session as the Pioneers teams opened their gifts from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. Each team member received a Raspberry Pi USB wristband, a Pioneers Lanyard, stickers and some sweets. Each team also got a copy of the Makers Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse and some zombie make-up.

We also got to see what was in our “Mystery Box” and I’m sure we are going to get great use out of it in future projects.

We then talked about the videos we’ll need a part of our entry and we had a look at a video from Pioneers on we need to put in our videos.

Then the teams spent some time planning out what they are going to do for their films.

Next week we are going to get back to working on our our projects.

See you then.

Declan, Dave and Alaidh

Bodgers – Make Your Ideas

Hi Everyone

We started today’s session with some information about the group and our plans for the year ahead.

We spoke about Digital Making, Digital Makers use technology to make something and learn about that technology while doing so. Technology available to Digital makers includes Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Fritzing, Sensors, Displays, 3D Printing and basic components.

Our Philosophy in the Bodgers group is that the most important thing is to get the project working. We don’t worry about how secure, how robust or how pretty our project is as long as it works long enough to show it works and that we understand how it works. We will use whatever resources we can get our hands on, online tutorials, online code, cheap components and cheap and easily available materials.

This year we will focus on projects, I will do some demos but there won’t be classroom type sessions. We would like you to work in teams. We will do one project between now and Christmas and another between Christmas and June. We would like everyone to work on the Pioneers Challenge between now and Christmas, after Christmas you can work on anything you want maybe Coolest Projects, Scifest or even PiWars.

We watched an excellent Video by @estefanniegg who takes a similar approach to project building as we do.

We then had a brainstorming session for the Pioneers Challenge and as you can see we had some great ideas.IMG_20170923_134312

We have narrowed down our ideas to a few projects and the mentors are busy trying to source materials for next week.

We will enter some of our projects next week and we might have a look at 3D printing software.

See you then,

Declan, Dave and Alaidh

By the way don’t forget to check out our Twitter account @CDA_Bodgers

Bodgers – Belts And Other News

Hi Everyone.

I haven’t posted here for a while as we’ve been working on projects for the past few months.

First of all I would like to congratulate the seventeen Bodgers who were awarded belts yesterday. It’s been a pleasure mentoring you and you are all welcome to return in September and spend another year with us in the Bodgers group.18673158_1465672443453618_5357526197824397574_o

I would like to thank Dave for helping me out with the group and thanks also to Alaidh who helped us up until Christmas.

Dave and I are already making plans for next year and we’re very excited about what we are going to do. Tune in next September when we will have more information.

In other news the CoderDojo Foundation and the Raspberry Pi Foundation have merged. I’m sure this will make very little difference to what we do day to day at CoderDojo Athenry, it may mean more resources will be available for us as a group involved in STEM activities. You can read more about it from CoderDojo here and from Raspberry Pi here.

Enjoy the summer and see you in September.

Declan

Bodgers – Robot Duels At CoderDojo Athenry

Hi Everyone

As part of the show and tell session the Bodgers group held a Robot Wars Style event. We used the two wheeled robots from last year controlled by Nintendo Wii Remotes.

If you want to build your own two wheeled robot you can check out my notes from last year here.

To control the robots using the Wiimote I followed Matt Hawkins Wiimote tutorial from here (If you have a Raspberry Pi 3 you can skip step 2 as Bluetooth is already working. Don’t forget step 3  install Python Cwiid). I then added the code to control the robot using GPIO Zero, you can get my code wii_robot.py here.

Happy Christmas everybody.

Bodgers – Remote Controlled Robot With Webcam

Hi everybody, this week we changed from preprogrammed automated robots to remote-controlled robots. We converted our simple Pygame script from last week which controlled a small rectangle on our screens so it could control our robots.

As Pygame needs a screen to operate we had to get VNC going before we could start, I think we had it working for most people by the time the session ended. VNC will be a hugh advantage to us as we start to write more code as we can use a mouse and copy and paste with a GUI text editor instead of Nano on Putty.

We also added a webcam to our robots which worked well, we would probably need to work on mounting them properly if we wanted to use them for real life applications.

Here is a video of them in action.

I will go over the code again next week, if you want to take a look at the code check out pygame_robot.py and robot_cam.py here.

We will leave robots for a while and go back to basic electronics for the next few weeks.

 

Bodgers – Robots and Pygame

Sorry for the delay in posting, I’ve been very busy this week. Last Saturday we started the session by testing our robots on an obstacle course. Here is a video of them in action.

Then we had a quick look at Pygame which we will use to control our robots this week. If you missed last week don’t worry as I will do a recap tomorrow. Meanwhile here is a very good Pygame tutorial. Here are my slides from last week pygame-101.

Bodgers – Finishing Our Automonous Robots

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This week we worked on the function calls for our robot, however as most of the robots were low on battery power we didn’t get a chance to test them properly. I will have new batteries when we return on November 5th and we’ll spend a while running through the obstacle course. You can find code with the finished function calls on Dropbox.

We also talked about The Future Maker Awards which is a competition being run by CoderDojo and Liberty Global. I mentioned that you can use video as part of your entry this is an example of a video from Google Science Fair.

Here are my notes from last week obstacle-course.

See you all after the break. Happy Halloween.

 

Bodgers – Finishing Our Robot Functions

iconHi Everyone

This week we created our own folders on our Raspberry Pi3s, this will allow us to each find our own code and  keep working on it.

We finished off the code for our own robot functions which we will use to navigate an obstacle course next week. The finished code is available on Dropbox here. These are my slides from Saturday finished-functions.

After we are finished with the obstacle course we will look at controlling our robot from our keyboard. I will use Pygame to do this and as Pygame is used for Graphical applications such as games and GUIs we will have to use VNC to connect to our Pi3s. Pygame will also allow us to use a webcam to capture video so if you have an old USB webcam please bring it in.

CoderDojo and Liberty Global are due to launch the Future Maker Awards this week FAQ here and more information here scroll down to see how one of our Bodgers uses his super power. I’ll have more information next Saturday after the launch.

See you then.

 

Bodgers – Writing Our Own Functions

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Hi Everybody

Our WiFi set up worked much better this week with an issue with only one of our routers which decided to give up half way through the session.

We started to write our own functions today, functions are very important in programming as they allow us to run the same code multiple times without rewriting the code several times. Instead, you can put that code inside a function and call the function several times. This has the added benefit that if the function’s code has a mistake, you only have one place in the program to fix it.

If we use names that relate to our function’s operation it will make our code much easier to understand.

Functions make designing and testing bigger programs much easier as we can break the project down to manageable chunks and we can write and test these functions individually.

As we saw last week the GPIO Zero library contains robot functions which turn our robot’s wheels forwards or backwards or in opposite directions to go left or right until we call the robot.stop() function. We are going to take these functions and the sleep() function and put them in functions that will make our robot go forward or backwards  by a specified amount of Centimetres or will turn it left or right by an amount of degrees. This week we wrote a function that makes our robot go forward. See code here. Here are this weeks slides writing-functions . Next week we will write the rest of our functions.

Some Bodgers and their parents have been asking about buying Raspberry Pis but I would advise holding off until we decide on our projects as some people may end up using Arduinos or Raspberry Pi Zeros depending on their project.

However if you want to get one to experiment at home with I would recommend the following sites. https://shop.pimoroni.com/ and https://thepihut.com/ for Raspberry Pi and accessories. If you are buying a case for your Pi I would recommend Pibow Coupé from Pimoroni as the GPIO pins are numbered and easy to get at. For electronic components such as sensors etc.  http://www.bitsbox.co.uk/ are very good, they also do cheap Arduino clones. Avoid starter kits as you should be able to get your hands on stuff like keyboards if you ask friends and relations for them, do get SD cards as you can have different set ups on different cards e.g. Retropi, Kodi.

See you all next week.