La section Robotique

Hello, we are the robotics section of the CMC. Our aim is to be the go-to place for everyone who is interested in robots, electronics, hacking and general cool projects in, around and outside CERN. It should be stressed that although we're called the Robotics Section, we also have non-robotic adventures and projects.

We currently have our regular meeting on Wednesdays from 6pm in the Micro Club hut please come along to find about us in person.

If you can't make it in person check out our Github organisation here.

Current Project:

Click here to see our latest progress with a video on Youtube.

We are currently building an InMoov humanoid robot. Whilst we can more or less print modest objects with our 3D printer, we are using the Reprap Pro in Ideasquare for this, with their agreement. It's a complicated project that will require 3-5 people for a few months (maybe even a year - we've built one arm in 5 months so far) to complete. When it's finished it will be installed in Ideasquare to welcome visitors, and we can borrow it for any applications that present themselves. If you are interested in this, or have ideas for another project please contact James Devine or come along to our Wednesday meetings in Ideasquare.

What it looks like today:

InMoov Right Hand























What it will look like on completion:


Past project:

Decoding live satellite weather images, during the month of September. We're using an RTL SDR dongle and various bits of software to accomplish this, together with a fantastic antenna constructed by Ralf and Sebastien. Here are links to some of the resouces we've been using - images will be posted when we succeed!


Image captured 21st October 2015


Past events:

Raspberry Pi Robot Challenge

On Wednesday 17th June three intrepid teams entered the IdeaSquare space to compete in the first Raspberry Pi Robot Challenge. Each team was given a Lego NXT robot chassis, a marker pen and a Raspberry Pi with which they had to solve two challenges, a drawing competition and a maze. Teams were able to connect to their robots via WiFi and programme the robot's actions using a web interface called Raspbuggy written specially for the event by Brice Copy. All teams were able to successfully use the web interface, which the Robotics Section plans to re-use for future events using the Lego NXT Robots and other platforms (including dedicated Raspberry Pi buggies and modified RC cars). All teams were successful in attempting the drawing challenge with varying degrees of success, however none were able to make it through the Maze within the time limits. The competition was great fun for all involved (even the organisers) and will be repeated in a similar form later this year.

Source code for the web interface is available from our GitHub account. 



Arduino workshop

Wednesday 13th May 6:30PM in the micro club hut (Bldg. 567). We'll cover the following:

James Devine will present a short introduction to programming in Arduino (for everyone, including COMPLETE BEGINNERS), some exciting past projects and a few examples to follow during the workshop. The workshop will last 1.5 hours and wil cover:


·        What you can do with Arduino (and what you can’t)
·        What the different types of Arduino do
·        Some exciting projects people have done
·        Running and compiling the blinking LED sketch
·        Basics of PC serial communication, to and from Arduino.
·        Integration with Processing.
·        Maybe a little bit of Python too (if time allows)









Please bring: 1) Yourself, 2) Your Arduino + A USB cable 3)A computer with the Arduino environment installed.


The Arduino IDE can be downloaded from

Raspberry Pi Robot Challenge

Thursday, 17th June from 6pm till 10pm.  Located at Ideasquare (3179, just behind the globe! Access via Atlas/Point 1)

See the Event Poster

The Challenge:

Each team will be given a Raspberry Pi (standard Raspian) and a Lego mindstorms NXT robot to use. Programme your Lego robot to perform the assigned task in the shortest possible time to win. Standardised Lego robots will be issued for you to customise on the night, before attempting the challenge. Teams will have 2.5 hours to code, modify  and test their machines, before the trials. The exact content of the challenge will ONLY be revealed on the day!

Who is it for: 

CERN people only (Staff, Fellows, Users, basically anyone with a CERN access card…).

We are welcoming 4 teams, 6 people per team maximum. To register send your team name and membership to First come first served! If you don’t have a team and still want to participate drop James a line and he will try to find you a space in another team.

Would you like to know more?

Come to the CMC Robotics Section meetings in Building 567 from 6:30pm on Wednesdays or Contact James Devine ( or Brice Copy (



Current projects:

Past Projects:

  • 3D Printer - Reprap Prussa, basically finished. It 'just' needs calibrating!
  • Pleo - a broken robot dinosaur to be played with or recycled
  • Space Balloon (below, see also Blog Post)

  • Lego Stegway (below)

  • Arduino LED display (below)

  • Lego Maze Challenge

Equipment - to be played with:

  • 5 Lego Mindstorms kits
  • Multiple Arduinos
  • Multiple NXP/Arm dev kits
  • Leds, wires, nuts, bolts and bits of plastic galore
  • An android phone (that we sent to the edge of space, it still works)

Section Leader: James Devine

Deputy: Brice Copy

Risc-V Workshop

Du 2018-11-26 (journée entière) au 2019-04-12 (journée entière)

Have you ever dreamed of building your own processor from scratch? If so, we're here to make your dream come true! The Robotics Section of the CERN Micro Club is organising a workshop on the RISC-V CPU. The aim of the workshop is that everyone attending can build their own RISC-V core CPU during the session. 



This is a great idea - please register now!

When is the workshop? It'll start at 6:30pm on Wednesday 10th April 2019.

Where is the workshop? In the microclub hut - CERN Building 567

How much does it cost? Nothing - just bring your own hardware and don't forget to put your name down on the list.

What is Risc-V? It's a fully open source architecture for a Central Processing Unit.

What do I need? Bring your own hardware - you can buy it here:

In order to attend the workshop and build your own CPU you will need a Lattice iCE40-HX8K breakout board like this one. You can buy them directly from Lattice via the previous link, or from Digikey via this link. You can also use the BlackIce II which is available here. For those who are feeling like a bargain, the UPDuino is the cheapest way to get involved, but it has a smaller FPGA that's still compatible, the UltraPLUS. You can pick up an UPDuino here. If you find another source or board variant please share it with us! The workshop will be in 2019, so buy your boards now to ensure you have them in time!

What to bring on the day:

You will need an iCE40 HX8K FPGA and a means to program it, if you are using the BlackIce II then an HX4K is fine (since they have the same insides as the 8K, assuming an open source programming tool is used). You will also need a computer and a cable to connect to your FPGA device.


For the workshop we'll provide a VM with the iCEStorm open toolchain required to build the RISC-V core and upload it to the target device. The VM type will be virtualbox, as per the instructions here:

You can find the iCEStorm tools here: 

Any questions? Contact James Devine.

Codez la science 2018

2018-10-19 11:00

Robotics and programming for girls

2018-10-06 (journée entière)

On 6th October 2018, CERN Micro Club, RightsTech Women, Hepia Geneva and the Geneva-based Fab Lab "On L'Fait" organized a free, educational event in Geneva, “Robotics and programming for girls”. 

The objective was to familiarize girls with basic programming concepts and human-machine interactions through the use of the educational robots “Poppy Ergo Jr” and the interactive touchscreen "hepiaLight".

Programming an object (such as a robot) is interesting as it gives immediate physical feedback and allows to learn quickly. We believe that early exposure and familiarity in a dedicated environment is key to demystifying technology.

During the workshop, participants also learned about the human right to education, including science education, in a child-friendly settings.

The workshop was well attended, and extremely well received by participants that discovered that technology was neither complicated nor boring to learn.

We will follow-up those educational efforts during Coding Science Days on 9, 10 and 11 November ! (

Evenement Codez La Science 2017

2017-09-09 18:30

Les Journées "Codez La Science" sont de retour au CERN Micro Club !

Etes-vous parent ou enseignant-e en sciences et technologies, ou étudiant-e entre 12 et 18 ans intéréssé-e par la science ?

 Le CERN Micro Club et l'association Informasciences organisent un évènement éducatif exceptionnel autour de quatre kits scientifiques basés sur le mini-ordinateur Raspberry Pi et les micro-controlleurs.


Le Bras Robotique "Poppy Ergo Jr"

La carte programmable "hepiaLight", pour s'initier aux micro-controlleurs.

Le kit de détection de rayons cosmiques "Muon Hunter"

L'écran tactile programmable "Chiby" 


Le vendredi 13 octobre (de 19h à 20h) :

Une conférence gratuite et ouverte à tous (limitée à 100 personnes), pendant laquelle vous pourrez rencontrer les inventeurs des kits et en apprendre plus sur leur travail.

  • Inscription obligatoire via le site EventBrite (ouverture prochainement).


Les vendredi 13 octobre, samedi 14 octobre ou dimanche 15 octobre (de 9h à 17h) :

Un atelier d'une journée durant laquelle vous assemblerez et programmerez en équipe un des quatre kits.

Conditions de participation :

  • Ouvert à tous, avec priorité aux enseignants de sciences et technologies et étudiants (entre 12 et 18 ans).
  • Réservée aux groupes de 2 à 4 Personnes (un adulte majeur par équipe minimum, ou un enseignant par groupe scolaire minimum).
  • Frais de participation de 50 CHF par équipe.
  • Inscription obligatoire via notre site de réservation EventBrite (ouverture prochainement).


Toutes les informations sont à retrouver sur le site web de l'évènement :

Raspberry Pi Tutorial Session

2017-05-17 17:30


Come and learn the basics of starting up a Raspberry Pi at the CERN Micro club.
You can optionally order your Raspberry Pi kit from the club.

Tutorial plan :

  • What's a Raspberry Pi ?
  • What can you do with it ?
  • How to get started ?

How to register :

  • Just go to the CERN Micro Club reception from Tuesday to Thursday, between 18h and 20h.
  • Register for the free tutorial, optionally order your Raspberry Pi kit (Raspberry Pi 3 + SD Card + Case) from the club reception for 70 CHF - or bring your own.

Participants : 15 persons max.

Registration deadline : from 25th April to 11th May 2017 (Tuesday to thursday, 18h to 20h)

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 : 



Du 2016-10-07 (journée entière) au 2016-10-08 (journée entière)

Voir toute l'information de cet événement sur:


Introduction to the Raspberry Pi Linux platform

2016-04-27 18:00

The Robotics and the PC sections of the Micro Club would like to introduce to the Raspberry Pi Linux platform on

Wednesday 27th April at 18h00

in the Micro Club meeting room.

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer priced at 35 US dollars and able to display full-HD video and run a full Desktop Linux distribution.

The session will give you the opportunity to:

  • Get acquainted with the various types of Raspberry Pi available on the market
  • Get a tour of possible applications of the Raspberry Pi:
    • Media center
    • Wifi-enabled autonomous robots
    • Home security / Monitoring systems
    • Space-based experiments with the Astro Pi mission
  • Get started with setting up your own media center based on Kodi
    • Preparing your own SD card for booting the Raspberry Pi
    • Connecting your TV via HDMI, networking via Wifi or Ethernet
  • Get started with setting up Raspbian, a Debian Linux-based distribution tailored for the Raspberry Pi

Please confirm your interest by filling in this doodle poll.


Robotics update - plans for 2018!

InMoov Hand

This year we've started work on the left arm of the InMoov again in Ideasquare. But first we've got to fix the 3D printer!

A new wiki has been set up to host the data about the 3D printer configuration over in Ideasquare. We'll be using this to store settings for the slicers, print bed temperatures, IP addresses/domains for logging in.

The next task on the InMoov assembly will be to insert the servos into the rotary wheels for the digits. Meetings will be held in Ideasquare (Building 3179) from 6pm until further notice.

Robotics Section - Latest developments

What have the robotics section been up to recently? Here are some answers. Mostly - related to car hacking and playing (carefully) with lasers.


We bought some laser galvanometers from aliexpress for about 120 USD/each, without lasers. They run on 230V AC and have an ILDA interface + an SD card slot. 

It also has R-G-B TTL outputs for the control of 3 lasers. 

Here's a video of it in action. 

In terms of what we're doing - stage 1 will be to find a suitable housing to put it inside (from a skip!), possibly connect it to batteries instead of the mains. Stage 2 will be to make a direct computer interface, either via Raspberry Pi or Arduino. At the moment the ILDA interface is analogue, so an ADC hat/shield would be required - this is rather circumlocutory since the interface re-converts this to a digital signal, and then back to an analogue again to drive the galvos. Stage 3 will be to project something cool onto something big. 


Car Hacking

We've been playing with OBDII interfaces and helping out the folks at with the development of their open source, open hardware, community car sharing scheme. James has designed a Pi-Hat which integrates all the functionality required for the hardware module (just add a Pi + 3G dongle), the design is available here on Github.


Laser Projector Project

We are starting a new short project as a break from the InMoov assembly. We will be building several laser projectors, the quantity will depend upon the number of interested people. The idea will be that we bulk buy the equipment from a supplier and assemble/hack it together ourselves using our ingenuity on Wednesday evenings. 

 Laser projector - exampleGalvos in the box

Here's the part we'll be using for the kits - price will be about 150 USD all in. If you have any questions just ask James!