March meeting summary: All eyes on the Pi

piday2

Playing pong with Makey-Makey controllers.

The March meeting was a celebration of Pi day (3.14). Courtney Christensen brought and demoed a Raspberry Pi 2, a Makey-Makey, and several Trinket-controlled NeoPixel creations.

The Raspberry Pi is a $35 computer, complete with its own special Linux operating system. Attach a keyboard, mouse, and monitor and you can use the tiny machine just like a regular computer. Since it is so small, though, it makes a great choice for a dedicated use: turn it into a Google-cloud print server, or make a digital picture frame, or add a mic and tell your lights to turn on and off. The possibilities truly are endless.

The Makey-Makey is a small controller board that sends keyboard input to the computer you attach it to (via USB). Using alligator clips, you can using anything from tin foil strips on cardboard to pieces of fruit to beer cans to establish inputs. Use your imagination to design your ideal controller for any online game, and turn that controller into reality with the Makey-Makey!

NeoPixels are multicolor LED lights you can program. Powered by tiny boards (for example Arduinos) onto which a controlling script is uploaded, they can be integrated into hats and costumes.  Courtney is using an Adafruit Trinket to create a pair of steam punk opera glasses.

Check out Adafruit and CanaKits for more info and purchasing options. This technology is not only fun, it is also surprisingly affordable.

This meeting was sponsored by the CFA Institute, Three Notch’d Brewing Company, and the Center for Open Science.

By |2018-10-11T15:49:21+00:00March 12th, 2015|Event Followup|