Exeter Phoenix 2 Sessions 30th May 2017

On 30th May we presented two workshops at Exeter Phoenix. The second session used Scratch to code our Air Piano; the first time we’ve tried that in a workshop and it all went very well! Unfortunately we were so busy that we failed to take any pictures / video of it – so here’s some pictures of the Air Piano build.

Taunton Music Hack 20th May

We are pleased to announce that we have been awarded an Arts Council England grant to run a series of three music hack events in 2017. The first session was at the Glass Box Taunton on Saturday 20 May

‘These sessions will run on one day and we will create our own text score that we can perform by the end of the day. We will look at existing text scores, specifically at ones form the English Experimental composers of the 1960s, and see how we can develop our own. We will be using only electronic devices that have been built on the day or existing ones that have been hacked by us on the day plus Raspberry Pi computers to program and create sounds through hardware and software.

Please note that we do not expect participants to have coding, electronic or music skills; this is very much for people who want to try something different and exploration and inquisitiveness are far more important. You do not have to have musical skill and experience to take part and the same philosophy will apply to coding. A willingness to explore and experiment is far more important than programming knowledge.’

We had a good turn out at the Glass Box and lots of willing participants happy to build and create using a variety of devices. Looking forward to the next one at Soundart Radio in Totnes. More details here:


Music Machine 40 at Exeter Library 8/10/16

Music Machine 40


On October 8th we held a workshop and then a performance / installation of Music Machine 40 in the Rougemont Room of  Exeter Library. In the morning we built eight separate music generating devices that used a Raspberry Pi and an ultrasonic distance sensor. The devices generated a note that varied depending on how close someone was to the sensor.



 In the afternoon the eight devices were sited around the room to produce a quadrophonic sound system that played as people moved around and close to the sensors.



Exeter Phoenix Creative Hub Social 28/9/16

On 28th September we attended the Exeter Phoenix Creative Hub Social evening and took along some of the projects that we have been working on to show people and to give them an idea of some of the things they may be able to do with their own creative work.

Here are some of the items we had on display:


We showed mainly music based work and featured Music Machines 2, 35 and 39; Music Machine 2 uses an arduino and an ultrasonic distance sensor to generate a melody by measuring distance, Music Machine 35 uses a rfid card reader to play a simple melody based on the card itself and Music Machine 39 uses a Wii nunchuck as a musical instrument controller.

We also had our 3d printer and tweeting dinosaur / Obi Wan Kenobi with us.


A very busy evening, really good to meet and talk to lots of new people and hopefully encourage some of them to use digital technology in their work.


CBBC Live: Awesome Authors Hamworthy Library 16/17th July

Hamworthy library cbbc

On Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th July we took part in the CBBC live Awesome Authors event at Hamworthy Library.
Here is the info from Poole Libraries website:

Don’t miss the upcoming CBBC Awesome Authors event at Hamworthy Library to celebrate this year’s Summer Reading Challenge and to get under 12’s excited about reading, creative writing and storytelling. Over the two days CBBC presenter MarcusBronzy will be joined by popular authors and illustrators and CBBC Live Awesome Authors will be streamed live from Birmingham Library. 

A range of free activities will be taking place in and around the library including:

Join the Summer Reading Challenge

  • Become a member of Poole Library
  • Learn how to create amazing art with expert animator ART NINJA
  • Have fun with the Wolfblood Storyteller App
  • Take part in the Danger Mouse Detective Treasure Hunt
  • Use the Summer Reading Challenge Book Sorter machine to find out what books other children recommend you should read this summer
  • Learn more about BBC Microbits, coding and 3D printing with 2TimesDo
  • Improve your football skills at the Match of the Day Skills Zone
  • Learn to write like a Sports Journalist
  • Enjoy Roald Dahl activity sheets and storytelling
  • Have a go at climbing a Harbour Challenge climbing wall (Sunday Only)

Author and Illustrator Line up for each day

On Saturday 16 July meet local author David Solomons, author of ‘My brother is a Superhero’ and watch a live stream from Birmingham Library with Dame Jacqueline Wilson the renowned author of ‘Hetty Feather’ and Ben Bailey Smith also known as the infamous Doc Brown, author of ‘I am bear’.

On Sunday 17 July meet Horrible Histories illustrator Martin Brown and watch a live stream with Chris Bradford author of the ‘Young Samurai’ and ‘Bodyguard’ series and screenwriter and author Frank Cottrell Boyce, author of Carnegie medal winner ‘Millions’.

This is an event the children definitely won’t want to miss this summer!

We had a great time with lots of people keen to play with the Raspberry Pis and Micro:bits that we had with us. We had a storytelling game and book chooser on the Micro:bits and the tweeting saxophone and dinosaur on the Raspberry Pi. As always the MakeyMakey fruit piano was very popular!

A brief bit of video from CBBC is here and you may just catch our set up:

Our book chooser:

Here’s our Micro:bit generated never-ending story:


and our tweeting dinosaur:


and the ever popular makeymakey banana piano:


played here by AFC Bournemouth’s mascot Cherry Bear:



Devon Music Education Hub 29th June 2016

On Wednesday 29th June we took part in the Devon Schools MIX 2016 the following text is from the Devon Music Education Hub website:

We are very excited to announce that The Mix 2016 will be hosted in the beautiful surroundings of Bridwell House and Deer Park in Uffculme.

There will still be the same ‘mix’ of workshops, performances and activities, as well as the chance for young people to achieve an Arts Award by attending the event. You can expect the favourite Main Stage performances, The Big Sing, Have a Go as well as thousands of music workshop places.

Screenshot from 2016-07-20 10:07:41

We ran several workshops to create an Air Piano using our Raspberry Pis, a distance sensor and some python code.

This is a photo of our room for the day:



Staff Training in the GlassBox Taunton 14th June

Had a great day doing some staff training with Somerset Library staff in preparation for the opening of the GlassBox project. This looks like a really exciting project and congratulations to Somerset Library for achieving this in the current financial climate.

Our sessions focused on showing staff some of the things they may encounter, we did introductions to the makeymakey, littlebits, 3d printing and the Raspberry Pi.







Tweet from one of the attendees:

CILIP South West Members Day at Exeter Library

On Monday 14th March we presented a workshop at the Emergent Technologies and Libraries event held by CILIP South West at Exeter Library.

In our workshop we talked about setting up and running a coding club, hosting a Raspberry Jam and other similar events. We also gave a hands on session in making an air piano using a distance sensor and a Raspberry Pi.
Here are some pictures from the day:

Exeter Music Hack

Our second music hack day took place on 19th September in FabLab Devon. We connected some speakers to a Raspberry Pi (via an explorer hat) and made this:

We recorded some sounds of the machines in the lab using a guitar pick up, here are some of the MakerBot 3D printer:

MakerBot 1

MakerBot 2

MakerBot 3

and here is a short piece using Sonic Pi

We also messed around with a couple of children’s toys, here’s Ian at work on Mr T in your pocket:

And here’s how it sounds: