Easter Ninja Hack: Maker ‘Make Do’

That moment when you realise it’s far too late for anything other than make do.

And a late request from Jr for paint for the school’s annual egg paint challenge turns up nothing but black paint.  And it’s electric paint at that.

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But then, every cloud………

And every ninja…….

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Has potential for a Makey Makey hack.

No bananas were injured in this project 🍌 🍌🍌

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Exploring paper circuits before a live data feed

I’ve got an idea in mind to create a piece of artwork to visualise some live data, and wanted to see how quickly we could create a starter paper circuit.

Ordering Chibi Lights from the good folk at Pimoroni meant a first attempt notebook circuit within 24 hours and a whole lot of ideas to follow up.

A completely different context here, with a Spanish and dance theme explanation to follow 👠

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Alexa’s Untold Stories: Voice commands with Raspberry Pi

Intrigued by the opportunities for voice activated reading projects in school, we set to with an Echo hack using Raspberry Pi.

 

Speaker, microphone and Amazon Developer account at the ready, the first tests with ‘rock, paper, scissor’ challenges against Alexa proved insightful.

Multiple terminal windows using Terminator made the set up so much easier for one, and more than a bit of tinkering was needed with the wake word support.

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Terminator to organise multiple terminal windows

Weekend sports scores, mental maths checks and recipe requests all worked fine although Christmas themed questions were a bit more tricky.

Fact and opinion conversations ensued 🙂

Back to the fundamental aim of getting Alexa reading an Alan Bennett book, then. Many possibilities but not quite with the same diction as my favourite audio book!

What’s next?  Will Alexa have the capacity to become more of an intelligent learning partner in 2017?

More literary projects to develop and general ideas to explore from this great list.

Big thanks to @heeedt and the @HuddRaspJam crowd for supporting and help with original questions!

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Image courtesy of Lifehacker

‘Quality’ decision making without peer pressure using Picap

Christmas came early last week.  Got to admit that we became embroiled in Quality Street-gate with forceful opinions expressed about which choc should have been replaced.

The trouble was that peer pressure swayed some, and anecdotes through rose tinted spectacles blurred others, into thinking that another choc should’ve been booted first.

Out came the first choc box of the season with a bit of tinkering with the Picap.

Soon we had a set up to give a truly anonymous and representative taste test and decision.

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Must be noted that we’d started with a healthier option for a blind taste test of tomatoes from a plant grown and sold by Ganton School in Hull, and another from a well known supermarket chain. The data confirmed our hunch – the school tomatoes were far more tasty 🙂

For both trials we used the simple touch Python script that allowed us to collect data showing which electrodes had been touched and released.

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And the verdict?

The data suggests that the orange creme should’ve been ditched before the toffee choc.  In our humble opinion of course.

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Modelling the derny bike motion with a Scratch controller

Tinkering again with input devices.

Example here of children using the Scratch Controller from TTS to add complexity and model real world situations:

STEM to STEAM: Coding Art with Sphero

An opportunity to look at drag and drop programming with the Sphero and see how far we could extend initial STEM to STEAM ideas for it.

We’ve been controlling with a phone app and coding with Tynker, so for this project SPRK Lighting Lab was used with an iPad.

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Jackson Pollock style influences, although what we’re really hoping for is progression of programming to aspire to A Bigger Picture by David Hockney.

Yorkshire dreams as next steps. One day  🙂

(Not so) Extreme Computing: Summer Digital Making Challenge

 

  • Flip-flops. Check 😀
  • Sunglasses. Check 👓
  • Summer reading in the bag. Check 📗
  • Suncream and hat. Check 👒
  • Raspberry Pi packed. Check 👝

 

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We’re all set for the Summer season with a holiday coding challenge inspired by extreme reading activities, alongside another project from the maker community.

A conversation about challenges for teens got me thinking at FabLearn Europe, when I heard about this brilliant makerspace in a bag project used by Swedish embassies around the world.

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The bag in this case is ‘hand luggage sized’ and we’ve taken guidance as criteria from our nearest Yorkshire based airline.

Size is definitely everything in this project case, as all finished digital making designs and builds need to fit within the luggage *

Extreme final designs with extraordinarily large resources aren’t allowed within the rules of this challenge.  Success lies within carefully planned and packed purpose and digital making.

Students involved have access to Raspberry Pi loan kit and add-ons once they’ve created a first draft of their design process.  Then it’s off to the Leeds Riviera or beyond to extend creativity and design-thinking over the break 🙂

 

*That said, security considerations will be shared and we’ll be encouraging students to work on their code, rather than take their digital making equipment with them in hand luggage, if they do travel abroad.

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