Add to our demo table!

We’re still settling into the new offices (we’re using Gordon’s phone as a wireless hotspot until the BT guy turns up later this week; we still don’t have a bin, cupboard, coat rack, bookshelf or a coffee machine; glass walls need to be erected; and we really need some whiteboards). One thing we want to set up in here is a demo table: we want some cool Pi stuff that we can take to schools and workshops, show journalists and distract Rob with.

As you can see, we’re not doing very well so far. This is Clive’s (formerly tidy) desk – the jelly baby has dried out, and I’m not sure there’s much we can do to impress kids with a multimeter.

Our table of crap. Please help us make it better. No, we’re not taking the bottle to schools with us.

Have you made something you think we’d like to use in workshops? Do you sell something Pi-related that you’d like to see get a bit more publicity? We’ll consider anything from home-made cases to garden sprinkler devices. Mail [email protected] if you want to send us something, and he’ll hook you up.

Bonus ball
The stickers on the Maker’s Notebook (I love those things) represent a number. Unfortunately, it’s obscured by bus tickets, space-food Jelly Babies etc. A prize of the little Android chappie, stickers and whatever else I can find knocking about to the first person to tell us the number (and why).

Clive, 19th Feb


Rob Bishop avatar

The alternate title for this blog post is “Send Rob some toys…” :-)

Matthew Manning avatar

You need an address for that….and that invites stalkers. Also might be an address to send Eden new t-shirts as that Master Chef is loosing it’s comic value.

liz avatar

Stalkers, schmalkers. There are two levels of security to get through before you can get into our office, and we are considering adding sentry turrets too.

Dave Akerman avatar

Shouldn’t take too long to add a camera and USB missile launcher to a Pi and run some face-recognition software along the lines of “Don’t recognise –> aim and fire”

ukscone avatar

Is that an open challenge? I think you might need to beef up the security a lot more now. Have you seen the type of people in the raspberry pi community? heck they even teach lock picking at Maker Faire

Davespice avatar

How about something like this?

So… you have a static steam engine, this demonstrates the concept of steam locomotion. Connect a Lego Technics type motor to the fly wheel and drive it in reverse to generate power from kinetic motion, run the power through a simple voltage regulator and you can then boot up a Pi on steam power! So you’ll have mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computing all in the same demo. I reckon the kids would love it =)

You can get them from here (or eBay)

JamesH avatar

Hmm. I already have a Mamod stationary engines (and a traction engine)…

qgazq avatar

Me too, now which box are they in?

tzj avatar

For cheapness sake, would a cola can sterling engine work with a motor?

Davespice avatar

It might! It depends on how much torque it would develop.

tzj avatar

As far as I’ve seen, not much but I haven’t build one yet to check.

Ross Lowe avatar

Hello (again) rob. How about a raspberry pi clock using LEDs and gpio?

Martin Brychta avatar

I have the same multimeter and android figure! :)

LRAx avatar

Are those the original prototype raspberry pis?I mean like are those the only prototypes left cause it would be a shame if the tinkering go wrong and they get destroyed(of course any raspberry pi would be able to do the same functions)but,you know….

Andrew Scheller avatar

No GertBoard?!

Lactobacillus avatar

Is this a prototype of the RPI-Display?

liz avatar

No; it’s a display Rob’s been using in demos. Not sure where it’s from!

Texy avatar

The one in the anti-static bag? That’s one if my Nokia Pi displays ;-)

clive avatar

Indeed it is — thanks! Thought that I might actually get a chance to play with it if I brought it into the office :)

clive avatar

It’s a Crystalfontz LCD I’ve had in my PC for over a decade, reporting CPU temps, disk space, game server stats etc. Though it needed a new lease of life and would be fun to hook it up to the Pi.

Wombat avatar

Nice to see im not the only developer who occasionally relaxes with some wine and some prototyping!

colin allison avatar

All those toys …. and I thought the Foundation was run/populated by adults! ;-)

As for … we still don’t have a bin, cupboard, coat rack, bookshelf or a coffee machine …. if one of you can drive up here (North Yorks), I have them all going spare in my garage, plus a microwave oven that looks like a TV and comes in a fashionable red colour.

mahjongg avatar

Build a robot (using a PI with a webcam) that can inspect a Rubik cube and solve it by twisting its segments in the right order.
dibs if you can build it from lego!

Tom avatar

it looks already solved ?!

Jesu from HU avatar

Wooo. This is a miniaturized modell A with CAM????????
(a see micro sd+1 usb)

liz avatar

No, it’s the very first (expensive and with not enough ports) prototype that kicked the whole thing off. We use it in show and tells about the history of the Pi’s development.

Jesu from HU avatar

Dear Liz!
You react incredibly quickly!
I love you and thank you excellent work on all of you!
Any fresh info from cam board start time? :)

liz avatar

Not at the moment – I’ll let you know as soon as we find out.

Richard Urwin avatar

Radio control servos work directly off the GPIO (at least until you get a few of them, and then a separate power supply is best). With servoblaster (see the forum) they are dead simple to control. Real plug and play.

liz avatar

We’re really looking for stuff the community has built, so we can wave it around and say: “Hey! Look! Jemima, age 9 from Sheffield made this!” (Although we will be building stuff ourselves too, of course.)

Richard Urwin avatar

So seed Jemima with a couple of servos. She can make a dancing puppet or something ;-)

ukscone avatar

I don’t see Biz’s lego case on that table, a version of that would be nice.

Egel avatar

A LedBorg, it is simple, cheap, fun and you can quickly write something that does something with it. Moreover, it is safe for non-technical parents who are afraid of their children playing with bare wires. The children can then make or buy later themselves more challenging controls, without worrying the parents.

omenie avatar


I am currently building up the first prototype of my PIANA Chamber Orchestra – 6 synths and a controller, with real PCBs as I got sick of hand-wiring. I’m also becoming a STEM Ambassador and will be showing this little musical Meisterwerk (like Kraftwerk but more masterful …) around schools in the Bath area (just awaiting CRB clearance) but once I’m happy the PCBs are all working and won’t do anythign embarrassing in front of an audience I can contribute to you everything except the Pis to build up one of these. Let me know, it would be great to have Cambridge Chamber Orchestra hitting the road in parallel with the Bath one.

Actually, let me quality – everything except the Pis and the 7 HD TVs required for maximum PIANAosity …

liz avatar

That’d be amazing – thankyou! Please give me a shout when you’re ready. :)

omenie avatar

PCBs in about 2 weeks, first batch are known buggy (DOH! Give a boy a man’s job … ) so I’d say in about 3 weeks and 2 days I should know what shape we are in.

Artist’s impressions of the boards – (do [img] tags work in comments?!)



omenie avatar

Nope, apparently.

Try these – and

Of course I’m now assuming that links work in comments.

Matt Hawkins avatar

Clive has already got one but if you want a “BerryClip” LED Buzzer board then give me a shout. It wasn’t built by a 9 year old but I can get my 5 year old to help me solder one together for you :-)

liz avatar

Thanks Matt! Clive’s away this week, but I’ll sting him for the one he has when he’s back.

clive avatar

Hmm — not sure about that, it’s far too useful :)

I do recommend Matt’s BerryClip, it is a very simple and cost-effective way to start using the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO safely and to learn Python while doing some fun stuff (reaction timers, dice simulators, binary counters etc)

(edit: now I think of it there is a BerryClip and a Pi in the black case behind the Connie the Transistor — help yourselves :) Apologies for the soldering, I have no side cutters!)

Ian avatar

Jesus, you have no whiteboards? How are you even functioning!?!

Jim Manley avatar

They’re using … wait for it … Powerpoint slides, or at least the OpenOffice/LibreOffice version, Impress, if they’re displaying them from a Pi. Oh, the humanity … !!! :D

colin allison avatar

No problem, buy a can of whiteboard paint, select a suitable wall, and … done! Dry wipe markers as usual, and you have oodles of space for even the largest schematic. It works for my grandkids.


JamesH avatar

Wow, I didn’t know you could get whiteboard paint!

Trevor avatar

Magic whiteboard – works especially well on glass, too :)

Thomas avatar

So i built a Arcade stick for Rpi with minimal work and resources…. can really send it in (i use it and its only one :P) but if u wanted to make one its not hard… was about $20-25 to build b/c i used an old ps1 arcade stick as a base. u can check out my post on the forum :

its fun to play with and its much better for playing them games vs a keyboard.

tbar avatar

You need to include Minecraft PI. It’ll hit your targeted audience with something they know by heart.

leo avatar

Use the nokia LCD board for a map that tells you where you are in the mcpi world using the python API.

Trevor avatar

Might consider a Raspberry case(s) of come kind?
… pibow?

Just an idea?

meltwater avatar

Happy to send over an RGB-LED Kit (pre-built I guess will be preferred), I only just got the next Python Lesson for the kit up on the site just before reading this post.

Details of the kit is here:

Should add some colour to the demos!
– And yes it does do PINK!

Just emailed Rob.

Kanad avatar

Hello. You could try making KnightRider lights using led and GPIO. They look cool. Hook up to your door bell / door handle so it turns on when someone rings/ touches.

lesderid avatar

I noticed the Rubik’s cube. Is Clive into speedcubing by any chance?

clive avatar

Not mine — I retired after a personal best of 2m 13s in 1982.

liz avatar

It’s Gordon’s. You can tell when Gordon is thinking, because he’ll be fiddling with a Rubik’s cube while he does it.

Gordon avatar

Yep… Thinking and speedcubing…

Actually I’m very bad, I find it almost impossible to leave a cube unsolved and similarly almost impossible not to pick it up and mess it up again!


lesderid avatar

Hehe, I do know that feeling!


Skittle avatar

Is that a triode plushie?

liz avatar

The plushies are from Adafruit – those are Connie that Transistor and Hans the 555 timer ic.

Aaron avatar

Happy to send over a Pi Supply ( kit once the Kickstarter is funded –

Will email Rob also.

Tobias Huebner avatar

I`ve just been at the didacta in germany – worlds largest trade fair for education. There I saw a table with some fruit and a makey makey invention kit ( I just ordered one myself and want to connect it to my raspberry pi. I guess it would also be a nice addition to your demo table

MAJ avatar

You could take an Android phone and a laptop running Windows 7 then demonstrate, after 4 hours of trying, that you’re never going to get USB tethering to work and how, with a Rasbery Pi and one, yes one, command, (dhclient usb0) you’re connected to the internet!!!
(This is probably the wrong place to post that comment, but I had to get it off my chest)

Cael Thunderwing avatar

Was that the original Proof of Concept Pi there in the pic near the multimeter?

Gordon avatar

Kind of,

It was actually a small dev board that we developed for demoing the 2835 at CES, but was used by Eben as the first example board (you can run the full RaspberryPi software on there) even has button’s two LEDs and a 5MPix camera giving some pretty amazing quality images…

Also comes with a proper PMU chip which means it works with a LiIon battery (as attached) I was able to record up to two hours of video in 3D on my bike! Check out holliweb video stream on youtube for my videos!


Dan avatar

That encoded number, what could it be?
I’d like to guess that it starts with a “three”.
Followed by “one”, of that I’m sure,
Then we’ll find the number “four”.
A “one”, a “five”, a “nine”, but why?
Oh, of course! We’ve just found Pi!

clive avatar


But too obvious of course!

Andrew Scheller avatar

Heh, very good! :-D

Comments are closed