Pi Wars – Cambridge Jam. With robots.

On Saturday, something rather special happened in Cambridge. Tim Richardson and Mike Horne, who run the regular CamJam, were holding a special event: a robotics Raspberry Jam, with competitions for attending teams who had built their Pis into a robot.

Eben and I were judging. Someone had parked some reindeer outside.


The Raspberry Pi robots in attendance varied from the minuscule:

To the terrifyingly large and whizzy.

Two hundred competitors and spectators turned up. I was a bit busy running around tweeting from my phone and asking penetrating judgey questions with a clipboard to take any video, but happily Matthew Manning from Raspberry Pi IV Beginners was there to cover the whole day. If you’ve ever wanted to watch a Raspberry Pi robot navigate an obstacle course full of polished pebbles and see-saws, now’s your chance.

One of the best things about working at Raspberry Pi is being able to get to know the amazing community that’s grown up around the device. The number of kids attending as competitors and as viewers on Saturday made us incredibly proud: and it was good to see some of the young people’s teams winning in the individual categories. (Big congrats especially to Team Vector, a school group who made my favourite robot in the Most Innovative section, with its modular 3d-printed case which could be altered to maximise the robot’s chances in each event; and to eight-year-old Amy, whose soldering is neater than the soldering of some people I know with much bigger hands.)

Here’s MrUkTechReviews’ video of the day’s events:

I know that more video and a podcast are on their way from the event, so this post will be updated with more as the week goes on. Mike’s also working on a complete table of times and winners, which will likely go live on Wednesday; we’ll add a link when it’s up. Enormous thanks to Mike, Tim and all the team of Jam Makers for making this event go off with a real bang.

Seasonally attired robot

If you’re looking to take part in something like this yourself, check out the Raspberry Jam page, where you’ll find details on upcoming Jams across the world (there are usually fewer in December than there are in other months because of that thing with the tree and the turkey that happens at the end of the month), and information on how to set up your own. We hope to see you at one soon!


Alex Eames (RasPi.TV) avatar

Father Christmas is the very brilliant Peter Onion (@PeterOnion) who does clever things like this…


(Using the GPU FFT library to make a Pi-based real-time waterfall for his Panadapter.)

I don’t know how he manages to find the time for Pi stuff with all those presents to pack and deliver. ;)

Peter avatar

Awww Shucks …..
Ho Ho Ho

Carrie Anne Philbin avatar

Best event ever!

Michael Horne avatar

Awwww, thank you! :-)

George Dodds (ThePiZone) avatar

What a great day, massive thanks to Mike, Tim & everyone else who donated their time to make it a success.

The wide age range of not just the spectators, but the competitors as well, was brilliant to see.

It was also good to put faces to some of the names from the RasPi community.

Roll on next year!

wally avatar


Leo White avatar

Big thanks to all the organisers, helpers, judges and the canteen staff!

I had a fun (if hectic) time and all the other competitors I spoke too seemed to be enjoying themselves too!

Andy Merckel avatar

It was a fantastic event. We learned so much building KEITH and then more when he didn’t (wouldn’t?) do what we expected on some challenges! It was great fun, with a good atmosphere. ‘KEITH Evolution’ is already being discussed…

A big thank you to Mike, Tim and all those who put so much work in to make it happen.

Keith Ellis avatar

Yes, thank you to everyone involved in arranging this fantastic event. It was really enjoyable and very well organised.
The Ipswich Makerspace team (TractorBot) really enjoyed the whole event.

mee avatar

does it make pie ?

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