Raspberry Pi inspires inventors of the future
The UK’s engineers of the future visited the Science Museum in London yesterday to take part in the finals of the PA Raspberry Pi Competition.
Fifty engineering teams from schools and universities designed unique systems based on the low-cost computing platform that would have environmental benefits to society.
The winning teams in each of four age group categories – primary school children, GCSE students, sixth-formers and university students – were announced at the Science Museum.
St Mary’s CE Primary School was the winner of the 8-11 year old category for its Pi ‘n’ Mighty, Raspberry Pi-enabled robot. A bar-code scanner is used to identify whether the packaging on consumable items can be recycled. An LCD read-out tells the user whether their crisp package or drink bottle can be recycled.
“This is the most exciting thing I have ever done,” said a member of the St Mary’s team.
Frome Community College was the winner of the 11-16 year old category for its Plant Pi, a web-enabled system which tells you whether the plants in your garden have the best growing conditions. Temperature and humidity sensors are used to monitor the environment around the plants. Raspberry Pi allows the system to be web-enabled so it can be controlled remotely.
“Next year we will be using the Raspberry Pi as part of our GCSE computing module,” said a team member.
Newcastle College Digital Skills Academy were winners of the 16-18 year old category for Wetter Forest, that detects the potential for forest fires under hot and dry summer conditions. They have attached moisture and humidity sensors to Raspberry Pi which collects the data and uploads it to a website. An email alert is triggered if levels fall dangerously low.
Two undergraduates from the University of Exeter were winners in category four with PiPark, a system design to reduce CO2 emission by helping drivers to more efficiently locate city parking places. Multiple Raspberry Pi’s with camera attachments are used to monitor the parking places in a car park or street and the data is up-loaded to a website where it can be viewed to locate free spaces.
The compettion was organised by Cambridge-based PA Consulting, to recognise science and engineering education in schools and colleges, and to highlight the potential of the Raspberry Pi computer platform.