Maker Festival Project Details

For the Maker Festival, I wanted to introduce people to both Arduino and Raspberry Pi and show how they can be programmed to interact with the physical world. In order to reach as young an audience as possible, wanted to use MIT's Scratch programming language as well as the native methods for both board (C & Python).

For the Arduino, Scratch for Arduino (S4A) allows interfacing the projects together.  A dedicated sketch is loaded on the Arduino which broadcasts and receives the necessary Scratch hooks over the serial port. This is a bit limited in that all the ports are hard-coded, but for a small project like three LEDs, it is fine.
For the Raspberry, there is a python library written by Simplesi which allows communication between the Scratch hooks and the GPIO pins. Like S4A, the input and output ports are hard coded, but again, this is minor for a small project. Python is also easy enough to read to modify the library if needed.

Python IDLE
Arduino IDE
For all the various methods of getting LEDs to blink, I had basic programs set up to blink a single LED that I could load between each new student. After walking them through the basics, I would challenge them to go farther, with the stoplight behavior as a suggestion.
A young man named Kai took my basic stoplight demo well beyond my expectations while I wasn't looking. He drew in a road, added a car, and tied it to the stoplight broadcast such that when the light turned green, the car took off! It actually took me a minute to figure out what was going on.

Here are links to the three "Intro" sheets I had available depending on which board or language was used:

Overall, I thought this exhibit went well and met my goals of introducing a wide range of ages to the available methods of both popular boards. There was a great deal of interest from both the children and adults.

I wrote more about my overall experience at the Maker Festival on another post.

No comments:

Post a Comment