So at last, PyCon has arrived and it had a lot to live up to! At first we all met up in the Simulation centre to hear about what was on offer. There were workshops in Minecraft (creating a Lava game inside it), Internet of Toys (hacking into toys to make them do interesting things through the internet), Using the AstroHAT with Raspberry Pi Foundation (design and control LED display) and Introduction to Python with Code club. In the afternoon we were free to freestyle it or work on stuff we brought with us.
First off, I chose the Internet of Toys as I’d brought my Robotic arm along but was instantly disappointed, like other kids, when Alan said the workshop wasn’t about getting your robot fixed and running – that was unrealistic. But I guess it was true. Instead he did a cool talk and we used the Monk Makes kit to set up breadboards.
It gave me the chance to do the Reaction game one that I hadn’t got round to doing. I also looked at the python coding and played around with it.
Actually, it was during this time we met a couple of developers who were around, seeing what we were doing, and I got to talk to Nathan (taking photos) and Danny who makes robots. They were really nice and said they’d help me later on.
The second workshop was excellent with Carrie Ann and the Raspberry Pi lot. We first planned our design on a square grid, learnt about how the Astro HAT works and a bit about Tim Peake and the Space project. It was really enjoyable and even though I made a few mistakes (inputing the letter ‘o’ instead of zero) I worked through them and made a cool ‘Python’ sign. Now I know how to use the Astro-HAT that I’ve got at home.
The fun really started after lunch when Danny from Orion Robots spent 2 hours showing me his python code for the robot arm and then teaching me how it works – then I wrote my own code to make the arm move. I learnt about being careful with the position of the arm (limits) and had to fix a loose wire.
He’s invited me and my mum to his workshop to look in to the Skywriter (by Pimoroni) and work some more on coding. And that’s not all – Nathan from Bank of America said he’d help us to link in with the online coding community to work on some Inverse Kinematics(IK) for the Skywriter – we may need to set one up for the robot arm and one for a person’s hand movements to link them together. Maybe our robot arm is too basic for this. It’s very complex but Nathan said this would give me insight on how it works in the real world. Thank you Danny and Nathan – you were both awesome.
The last bit of news is that Nick, who was organising the Kids day, said I could address the main conference to talk about the South London Raspberry Jam we are organising. We want to provide an Autism and Tourette’s friendly environment so other young people, like in my Torette’s group, can get gain the same experience of coding as me. Anyway, I did a talk in front of loads of people and we managed to raise £270 to pay for cables and other stuff for the Jam. Raspberry Pi Foundation also gave us some chargers for the Raspberry Pis donated by FabLab London.That was such an awesome end to a fantastic day. Thank you so much for all your generous donations at PyCon UK.
I’m going to be launching an Indiegogo Crowd-funding appeal within the next few days so that we can buy more equipment. Watch this space for more information.