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The 10th Egham Raspberry Jam

10th Egham Raspberry JamA great few hours at the 10th Egham Raspberry Jam

Last week I drove to the other side of London to attend the 10th Egham Raspberry Jam. It’s the first time I’d attended this particular Jam having avoided the the 2 hour journey on the M25 when the event has been held previously.

The Egham Jam is organised by Albert Hickey – the same chap you’ll hear on the Pi Podcast. Egham’s event is a bit smaller than the ‘high profile’ CamJam, running for just 3 hours, however it was still full of lots of cool projects and things to see and do.

I spent most of my time at the event talking to people around my table where I had a few of my recent projects on show, however I did manage to have a quick look at the other tables nearer the end of the day.

Here’s some pictures of the day to show you what it was like…

The Venue

Top marks for the location of the Egham Jam. Albert managed to borrow a social space inside a large Gartner office which was just perfect for this kind of event. Easy to find, lots of parking and a really modern and impressive space.

Gartner Raspberry Jam location

Gartner’s Headquarters…fancy!

On Show

The Egham Jam doesn’t hold any talks or sessions, focussing more on sharing projects and getting people talking. This ‘style’ was shared in advance of the event and I found that it had a positive effect on people – I’ve never talked to so much at a Jam before!

Whilst I was stuck (in a good way) at my table explaining my projects and rescuing my robots from enthusiastic children, I did manage to get some snaps and talk about other people’s projects…

Carl Monk’s Table

Carl is someone I’ve talked to on Twitter for a long time but hadn’t ever met in the flesh, so it was great to finally meet. Generous Carl brought some projects to display but also set up a few Pi stations with worksheets for people to try out:

Egham Jam Workstations

Carl had a few stations set up with worksheets

For the cool and calm types there was a ‘Steady Hand’ game, which I really liked as it’s a smart way of using simple GPIO code to create a really fun ‘thing’. He also had the popular Ryanteck SnowPi on display coded as a ladder game:

Raspberry Pi steady hand game

Carl’s steady hand game – notice the red Raspberry Pi

Next up was his Adafruit display board connected to some RGB LEDs. I was particularly interested in this as I still haven’t played with these kind of LEDs yet. It was coded as a Mastermind style game where you had to guess the right colour combination within a certain number of attempts:

Raspberry Pi Mastermind game

Carl’s ‘Mastermind’ style game

Albert’s Zero Ball

Jam organiser Albert Hickey had a game called Zero Ball on display. I walked past a couple of times but didn’t manage to have a go myself as it was being used.

The game involves scoring points for successfully throwing a ball into the different cups. He built this using light dependant resistors, an MCP3008 analogue to digital converter and PyGame to code it.

Raspberry Pi Zero Ball

Albert’s Zero Ball game

Andy Balaam’s Photo Booth

Andy and his children had a cool stand next to mine with a Pi powered photo booth with a twist. It reminded me of the booths that you can hire for weddings, except you don’t need to wear funny props with Andy’s booth – it does that bit on screen:

Pi Photo Booth

Andy’s Pi Photo Booth

Zach Matcham’s PS1 RetroPie Console

I was really interested in Zach’s table as I’m just itching to make a games console out of a Raspberry Pi. Zach took an old Playstation 1 console, ripped out the guts and installed a Pi Zero inside. For a gamepad he uses a USB SNES controller. A few 3D printed parts completes the build and holds everything in place.

I’d not seen RetroPie in action before and was really impressed by how many consoles it manages, and also how well it runs on the little Pi Zero! I’m definitely going to make something with this soon.

RetroPie PS1

Zach’s Playstation RetroPie console with ‘Pi Inside’

Raspberry Pi Playstation

A peek inside, Zach’s experimenting with his 3D printer to hold everything in place

Dr Lucy Roger’s Pi Firecrackers

This was one of the most impressive builds on display. A Raspberry Pi controlled firecracker display system…thing!

Lucy made this project as part of an event held over on the Isle of Wight. The organisers wanted to use firecrackers but they weren’t permitted, so Lucy came up with this beast of a project to emulate the real thing – involving the lights, speakers and sensors to set them off when people walk past. Impressive!

Raspberry Pi Firecrackers

Pi firecrackers…I’ve seen it all now!

Here’s a video I took of the project in action:

Joshua Bayfield and Alex Bate’s Sprint Javascript Game Library

I had to visit Joshua and Alex’s stand very quickly, but from what I understood (which wasn’t much as these guys were clearly much smarter than me!) the game on display was written using this clever library written in JavaScript.

I have to admit to glazing over very quickly as the only thing I’ve met with the word ‘Java’ in it is the pest that runs on my Windows machine. I was quickly informed that ‘Java’ and ‘JavaScript’ were completely different things…making me even more confused.

Definitely something to look in to…one day!

JavaScript game library

One day…maybe…I’ll learn about JavaScript!

I may have missed one or two other tables as I got round late in the day, but I find that always seems to be the case when you bring projects along yourself. I noticed that Innovations in Education were in the house showing off the Pi Trol, but I was too late to check it all out properly.

Summary

It was great going to a different kind of Jam for a change, less talks/sessions and much more emphasis on meeting new people and sharing projects. I really liked the format.

People seemed to enjoy the projects I put on display, mostly AverageBot and my latest ‘BURT’ Pi Zero robot. They took on some light damage but it was worth it seeing how much they seemed to engage the young people.

This was the 10th Egham event so no doubt there will be more. Luckily my sister lives 20 minutes from Egham so I should be able to wangle a lunch/dinner into the next trip as well!

Until next time…

1 Comment on "The 10th Egham Raspberry Jam"

  1. Zach Matcham | 19/01/2016 at 20:22 | Reply

    Yay! My project was featured!

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