Chinese Democracy

We were directed to a Facebook page from Hong Kong this week. It’s been set up by James Kong, one of the people involved in the peaceful demonstrations that are being called the Umbrella Revolution, protesting about Beijing’s insistence on vetting and controlling the list of candidates for they city’s Chief Executive, effectively preventing free elections in Hong Kong.

Our very own Dave Honess is in Hong Kong this week (nothing to do with the demonstrations – he’s gone to see some Hong Kong friends for a holiday that’s been planned for a long time). He tweeted these pictures on arriving:

Eben and I were also in Hong Kong a little while before the demonstrations started, talking to some components suppliers after our press and community tour of China and Taiwan, and visiting friends – the mood was sombre, and many of the people we spoke to were expressing grave concern about what’s next for Hong Kong. Hong Kong is much on our minds here at Raspberry Pi at the moment, and we wish all our friends in the city the very best.

So then. Why am I blogging about Hong Kong? It all comes back to that Facebook page I mentioned up at the top: it’s been set up to host time-lapse footage of the enormous pro-democracy crowds that have been gathering in Central since September 26. And that footage has been collected using a Raspberry Pi and a camera, all set up in a biscuit tin and secured with duct tape. (Although you can see a webcam in the picture below, James says he’s been using a Raspberry Pi camera board in the video at the bottom of the page.)

Biscuit tin

Biscuit tin in position

Here’s one of the videos taken by the apparatus last week.

This footage is incredible – you can see more videos from the biscuit tin on Vimeo.

What more can we say? This sort of application of the Raspberry Pi, which is as simple as anything (you can learn how to make your own time-lapse camera here in our learning resources section), is an extraordinary leap from what we originally intended the Pi to be – a device to teach school kids computer science. Making technology cheap and accessible has some applications that go way beyond education.


monica avatar

FB says no !
/TURHK : ‘Sorry, this page isn’t available
The link you followed may be broken, or the page may have been removed.’


also the twitter embeded image is missing hear ?

monica avatar

ok FYI twitter image displayed after submiting the above comment.

and google cache has some of the “Timelapse: Umbrella Revolution Hong Kong Community” page !

Liz Upton avatar

Looks like it’s moved; I’ve updated the link.

James Kong avatar

I am the admin of the
Sorry about that
the facebook page is now renamed to “Timelapse: Umbrella Movement Hong Kong”

here is the update facebook page link

Liz Upton avatar

Thanks James! (And sorry I didn’t use your name in the post; I wasn’t sure whether it was something you’d prefer to keep private.) I’ve already updated the link to Facebook; I’ll add your name in there too.

Best wishes to you from all of us at Pi Towers.

James Kong avatar

1000 thanks Liz

James Kong avatar

The timelapse camera was built with RPi camera module too
here is the tutorial that I learn from

Ken MacIver avatar

As Wolfie Smith might have said
“Computing Power to the People”

nathanael avatar

Firechat seems to be the off-grid communications app of choice for the umbrella protestors. Something similar for the pi could make an interesting project.

gawk64 avatar

While Hong Kong is technically part of China, the Umbrella Revolution has a very clear focus on Hong Kong, instead of Chinese, democracy. And in case it is not clear, Hong Kong is very different from China, both politically and culturally. I think it is not a good idea to mix the two.

So, Liz, would you mind renaming the topic to “Hong Kong Democracy”?

Liz Upton avatar

It’s a reference to something else:

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