Bird Boxes, Speakers and Light Up T-Shirts…

… Are all things I got to make at the Raspberry Pi Digital Making Day in Cambridge, which was now 2 weeks ago – oh how the time flies!
Yep, having been back at school for just 4 days after the summer holidays I was away on another technological trip, but this time to Cambridge, instead of the usual London.

Before I even got to make the 10-hour-journey-with-a-lot-of-waiting-around, I had to apply.  And in true Raspberry Pi creative fashion, it wasn’t as easy as just filling out a form – we had to create a 30-60 second long video about ourselves and what we like being creative with.  My video consisted of my Pi Alarm, why I’m creative, 1 guitar chord because that’s all I could fit in 60 seconds and the song ‘Happy’ by Pharrel Williams because the pun was absolutely necessary.  Turns out I got the song stuck in everyone’s head.  Sorry (not sorry 😉 ).

It was actually my birthday when I found out whether I was one of the chosen ones. And, obviously I was. It was a pretty good birthday present!

On Monday the 22nd me and my mum started on our journey to Cambridge.  Accompanied by my ‘Travel Tunes’ playlist, we drove the 2 hours to Inverness and then got a flight to Luton.  After a few hours waiting we then made the 2 hour coach journey to Cambridge.  Getting off the air conditioned coach into the hot summer air was honestly the same feeling you get stepping of a plane into a gorgeously hot foreign country.  Safe to say my Scottish skin was rather confused by the rare sensation of ‘warmth’.

Me and my mum arrived at the Travelodge and grabbed a bite to eat whilst making the most of the sunshine.  I was then reunited with Sophie my Apps for Good Fellow friend.  It was nice to actually speak to her in person again, having last seen her in June.

Tuesday was Digital Making Day.  With my creative thinking cap on we headed to MakeSpace in Cambridge.


Super Soldering
Super Soldering

Everyone arrived at slightly different times, so by the time we actually got started we had all been given quite a few tours and told everyone our names and where we came from quite a few times which was quite funny.  My group started off by building our own amplifiers/speakers in an introduction to soldering.  There is something quite zen and therapeutic about soldering and I really enjoyed it.  Not only that but it worked the first time! I know, that very very rarely happens so I made the most of it.  Everyone was testing their amps with my phone, so of course my artist of choice was Coldplay (I’m a huge fan!).

Tweet Tweet! Our bird box with h pi zero and camera
Tweet Tweet! Our bird box with pi zero and camera

After a quick cake break my groups then got to work with the Pi Zero and the infrared camera.  We were given the pieces to create a bird box and learnt how to use the camera so we could set it up inside to watch the birds.  I want to set mine up, but am currently restricted by how I’m going to get power to the Pi and how I’m going to stream the video, because we all know how amazing my WiFi is 😉  If I can’t manage that then I’ll have to think about what other projects I could do with the Pi Zero and/or camera.

Anyway, I got sidetracked.  We went outside for lunch – we of course had to make the most of the weather.  After my tasty coronation chicken sandwich it was time for the third, and sadly final, activity.  This time it was working with electronics to create circuits on Raspberry Pi T-Shirts.  My idea to write my name on the t-shirt with electric paint and add LED’s ultimately failed because I got a bit carried away and forgot to leave the spaces for my LED’s. Not only that but but my improvisation didn’t work either, but at least I now know what not to do 🙂

We got to take some really cool stuff home with us.  My bag for the plane ended up filled with a Pi Zero, Infrared Camera, Bird box pieces, my soldered amplifier and a poster, badge and a MagPi essentials book on how to build games using python. I was prepared to have to explain to airport security why our bags contained electric paint and all my other tech, but I didn’t have to in the end.

So much to learn!
So much to learn!

I can’t wait to work through my python games book, it looks really good.  So good in fact that I bought another book from the series on how to use the command line.  So much to learn!  Maybe I could build some games on python and make my Pi Zero into a games console to play them on? Or is that a bit predictable? I’m just thinking out loud 🙂



Our journey home didn’t begin until 2 o’clock on Wednesday, so in the morning I got a quick tour of the Raspberry Pi offices.  There were some cool gadgets kicking around and I bet it must be so much fun working there! I also found out who Bert the Plant was.  Bert had liked some of my tweets from the day before and I was very confused as to why a plant was liking my tweets.  Turns out Bert is the Raspberry Pi office plant, hence why he was liking my Raspberry Pi tweets.

After visiting the offices, my mum and I visited the botanical gardens where I got to properly test out my birthday present from my uncle: a dslr camera! The Canon EOS 1300D, to be precise. I’m just very lucky aren’t I? We sizzled in the sunshine for a few hours and then it was time to head home.  Of course our plane had to be delayed so instead of getting home around 11pm it ended up being 1am!  It was a struggle getting up that morning, especially seeing as I was already shattered from walking all round Cambridge!

Anything to do with Raspberry Pi I will most definitely enjoy, so getting to go to Cambridge for it was just amazing! Huge thank you goes out to everyone who organised it and thanks for letting me join you.

Pi Alarm Update

My alarm now tweets! In an attempt to ‘gamify’ getting up in the morning, my Pi Alarm now tweets how long it takes me to get out of bed, with the aim to try and get me to get up quicker the next day. It took ages to implement this feature because I had some serious WiFi issues to contend with. I had to use a different WiFi adapter and even then my Pi Alarm only connects to the internet in one place on my chest of drawers. And I mean ONE space – I can’t even put it on top of anything! Whether I do get up earlier each day, I don’t know, but if you feel like your life would benefit from finding out then you can follow @RaspberryAlarm on twitter.

That’s all for now, thanks for reading 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Bird Boxes, Speakers and Light Up T-Shirts…

  1. If your Pi Alarm is successful at waking you up earlier I might want to try it myself – I could do with it – but I’ll let you ‘guinea pig it’ first. Sounds like you had a very productive trip to Cambridge & it’s a great idea to blog all this for others to see & to help you remember it all yourself in a few years time.

    1. Thank you for commenting! 🙂 I’m glad you think it’s a good idea, I really enjoy writing my blog. My Pi Alarm has been really successful surprisingly – I’ve gone from taking nearly 10 minutes to find the will power to get out of my bed to around 10 seconds!

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