Sidmouth Science Festival Weather Balloons

We have recovered the data from the weather balloons that were launched as part of Sidmouth Science Festival last month. We have returned the data to students as Sidmouth College so that they can complete the project by making a presentation that will be delivered to the primary school.

The Sidmouth Science Festival Balloon launch was funded by kind donation of the SVA Keith Owen Fund.

Here are some of the pictures that were taken:



Exeter Raspberry Jam 4th November 2017

We held another really busy Raspberry Jam at Exeter Library on Saturday 4th November.

We’ve been particularly impressed with Bernard (see picture below) who has been coming for the last few jams. He is nearly 90 and is starting out learning how to program.


We’re beginning to think that we need to get some more pis and monitors as all the ones we have are being used for the whole session – we often have people waiting to get on one!


We also showed off a couple of the projects from our recent hackathon as part of the Lost Weekend Festival in October. Here’s a picture of Jaz with her creation which she collected from us this week:

Lost Weekend Hackathon

The weekend of 6th – 8th of October saw a brand new festival in Exeter called the Lost Weekend. It was billed as ‘A 3-day festival for Exeter of music, art, ideas and technology. To showcase what is new and exciting, to imagine the future and to enjoy being creative.’

As part of the festival we ran a Young Person’s Hackathon at Exeter Phoenix on Sunday 8th October. We brought along some Raspberry Pis, Arduinos and assorted electronics as well as a few bags of scrap from Exeter Scrapstore. We also had access to the laser cutter in Exeter Library’s FabLab.

Here are some pictures from the day that show some of the preparation, planning and building:

Zoe and Ian both looking doubtful that anything is going to work!



Building work coming along:

And two finished pieces:


Minecraft at Exeter Phoenix

On Monday 23rd October we will be at Exeter Phoenix running a series of coding with minecraft sessions.


Experience coding Minecraft on a Raspberry Pi computer! In the hour and a half session for 9 – 14 years, you’ll learn how to use the Python language to control and build your Minecraft world.

‘From simple buildings to massive structures, you’ll be creating things with a few simple lines of code that would take days to build normally. Your world will be networked so everyone can participate in the same game and see what other people are doing, you’ll also be able to play Minecraft using a dance mat and control a real robot arm from inside Minecraft.

Session times:

  • Session 1: 9.30am – 11am
  • Session 2: 11.30am – 1pm
  • Session 3: 1.30pm – 3pm
  • Session 4: 3.30pm – 5pm’

Tickets can be booked here

Robot Building Days


Over the past couple of weeks we have run two robot building sessions. The first was at the Red Brick Building in Glastonbury:

The Red Brick Building Ltd is an innovative community-owned social enterprise based in the former Morlands Factory situated between Glastonbury and Street in Somerset.

In the last six years we have raised close to £1 million locally and through grants and have transformed two of the three derelict buildings into a vibrant community space for all ages.

The second session was at Exeter Phoenix, the outline for the day long course is for the participants to build from scratch a two wheeled object avoiding robot.

From this:

to this:

We set a number of challenges along the way, the first is to get the robot to go forward in a straight line. We then set the challenge of designing and building (out of card, tape and white tack) a ball pushing device to fit the front of the robot. We are always surprised by the inventiveness and variety of designs that come out of these sessions (some more practical than others).

The challenge is then to push a ball in a (relatively) straight line for a certain distance:

Finally we add an ultrasonic sensor so that the robot can avoid bumping into objects – if time we also add leds and buzzers:

Participants often choose to decorate and embellish their robots:



Some of the feedback we’ve received:

Thank you for organising the robot day yesterday. My son really enjoyed it and said that it was “fun”. It is always difficult to find something that appeals to young teens around this area so I was really happy to discover that this was going on at the Red Brick Building. I really hope that you visit this area again.

A*** and his friend J**** really enjoyed the day – in fact J****’s now planning a career in robotics!

I thought the day was really well organised and it looked like they all had a great time.