Coding Pi Science days 2016

2016-11-16 (journée entière)

On 7th and 8th October 2016, the club organised "Coding Pi Science Days" (Journées Raspberry Pi), an educational event to initiate children and students under 18 to programming.

Working together with long-term Pi supporter Alan McCullagh, the club invited three teams to prepare scientific kits to build and program with attendees. 

To motivate the teams and the other attendees, a series of talks on Friday evening were given at the CERN Council Chamber; these included a general introduction to the CERN Micro Club and the European Code Week, as well as a motivational talk on why computer programming is so important for scientific research. Each team then gave an overview of their project, in preparation for the workshop the next day. On Saturday morning, the teams, volunteers, children, parents, and teachers started to build a muon detector (Muon Hunter), a robotic arm (Poppy Ergo Jr.), or a programmable WiFi car (GianoPi).

The idea was to build a kit together with the team leaders and other volunteers, and then take the kit home to program it. 

The Muon Hunter was designed by Mihaly Vadai, in collaboration with the CERN Micro Club. The kit includes two Geiger-Müller tubes to detect ionising radiation, a circuit board that produces the 400 volts needed to bias the tubes and read the signals, and an ARM microcontroller to form the coincidence between the two tubes. The circuit board can be directly connected to a Raspberry Pi to read out the signals and produce plots of the data.

Poppy Ergo Jr. was invented by the Flowers team at Inria Bordeaux, and presented by Stephanie Noirpoudre and Theo Segonds. Their projects are designed to encourage children to learn about computer programming through interacting with robots. The kit includes 3D-printed parts and several servo motors controlled by a Raspberry Pi mounted in the base of the robot. A Camera Module can be used to check the colour of objects, and forms part of their Snap programming examples. 


GianoPi was designed by Stefania Saladino and the CERN Micro Club. It consist of four DC motors, multi-directional wheels, an ultrasonic sensor, a Pi Zero, a camera, a DC control HAT from Adafruit, a WiFi adapter, a battery pack, and some electronics to allow the kit to be easily turned on or off. Brice Copy created the software to interface with the GianoPi using Raspbuggy, which is a Blocky application.

Similar to the Poppy Ergo Jr., the GianoPi is controlled over a network connection, allowing the robot to be remotely accessed. It was an engaging weekend of soldering, building, and programming; Hopefully, these kits will encourage even more exciting projects in the future.

 The event was a great success, no thanks to the efforts and continued support of the CMC club committee and all event speakers !


Here is a very nice Ergo Jr assembly video prepared by event attendee young Guillame Delille :