An afternoon at the Cambridge Raspberry Jam

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Saturday the 14th July saw the first ever Cambridge Raspberry Jam event, and we were there to enjoy it.

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The location for the first ever Cambridge Raspberry Jam event was the William Gates building at Cambridge University.

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Alan O’Donohoe, who came up with the idea for the Raspberry Jam events was expecting around 20 to 30 people originally – there ended up being around 300 people there.

Outside the lecture theatre there was a few Pi’s on show running kit including a Gertboard, the Pi camera module and some cool lego!

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This is what the lecture theatre looked like about 1.15pm.

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And this is what it looked like 15 minutes later!

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Alan gave a quick introduction and then it was straight on to the presentations.

Dr Andrew Robinson from the University of Manchester have a short presentation on the PiFace. Pi-Face Digital is the first of a range of interfaces to allow the Raspberry Pi to control and manipulate the real world. It allows the Raspberry Pi to read switches connected to it – a door sensor or pressure pad perhaps, a microswitch or reed switch, or a hand held button. With appropriate easy to write code, the Raspberry Pi then drives outputs, powering motors, actuator, LEDs, light bulbs or anything you can imagine to respond to the inputs.

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You can learn more about the PiFace from here.

One really interesting session was called Eye SPI and was delivered by Alasdair Davies and Gary Fletcher from ZSL London Zoo. They talked about using the Pi to create a networked camera that could be used to capture images of endangered animals in the wild. It was really interesting seeing what they have planned and I look forward to hearing more from them in the future. The project is called Instant Wild.

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Liam Fraser also did a short presentation about his Raspberry Pi Tutorials. The tutorials YouTube channel was created on 31st October 2011 and as of the Jam day it had roughly 10,000 subscribers and 942,000 views, which isn’t bad going at all!

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And there was also a demo for RISC OS running on a Pi – in fact, it was the only session of the day that was actually run on a Pi!

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William Gardener from Herber also have a short presentation on their Herber X10i board. The X10i is a universal, powerful and secure real-time controller that permits control over multiple inputs/outputs, via USB, from any PC system. Heber now offers support in many programming languages to make it even easier for programmers, inventors and developers to connect with the outside world from their PC.

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You can learn more about the Herber X10i board from here.

There was also a Q&A session with the guys from the Raspberry Pi foundation. You can read more about that, and watch a video I took here.

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Eben surprised everyone by saying that he had brought along 200 Pi’s and he wanted to make sure that no-one left the Jam without a Pi who wanted one! I helped Liz sell them and there was a very long queue of people (all of whom went away happy – I hope)!

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And then there were a number of breakout meetings held at some local pubs, including discussions on Linux and RISC OS, Robotics, Gaming and more. Oh, and people just drinking and talking about all sorts of things.

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All in all it was a really fun day and I can’t wait for the next one!

Big thanks go out to Alan and everyone else for organising the day – well done guys!

Did you come to Cambridge? If so, tell us what you thought of the day by leaving us a comment below.

Learn more about Raspberry Jam’s from here.