Pi birthday celebration

(Used with permission from Alex Eames;

Manchester Pi Jam

We report on the recent Pi Jamboree held in Manchester.

Despite being heavily involved in the Raspberry Pi community (I volunteer for The MagPi magazine [1] and run Pi Supply [2], among other things), during the past two years, I have managed to attend only one previous Raspberry Jamboree event in Sheffield. So, I was delighted to find out that the 2014 Manchester Jamboree would be held on a date that I was actually free.

This was the second Manchester Jamboree and, like the previous event in 2013, it was held to coincide with the birthday of the Raspberry Pi computer itself, so it was the perfect get-together to talk about, play with, and celebrate everyone's favorite little computer!

The event was a three-day Raspberry Pi bonanza, organized by the enthusiastic Alan O'Donohoe (@teknoteacher), comprising two days co-located with the Education Innovation Conference and Exhibition (EICE) in the Manchester Central conference center and a family hack day afterward at Edge Hill University.

The event featured a combination of "Slice of Pi" talks, "Raspberry Mastery" hands-on workshop sessions in the CPC classroom of the future, "Meet our Pi Gurus" sessions, and some panel discussions. It was generally a celebration of all of the fantastic things that have been going on in the Raspberry Pi ecosystem over the past two years.

The lineup featured several inspirational young speakers, including Amy Mather (@MiniGirlGeek), Matt Timmons-Brown (@RaspberryPiGuy1), and Ryan Walmsley (@Ryanteck). For me, it was these younger speakers who really got to the heart of what the Raspberry Pi is all about – learning, inspiring, and sharing knowledge.

Some very impressive wearable electronics efforts were on display at the Jamboree  – which is always a joy to see – however, perhaps my favorite "show and tell" item making its way around the Jamboree was the portable Raspberry Pi camera setup by Alex Eames at RasPi.tv. This essentially included a Raspberry Pi and one of the camera modules connected up to his prototype version of the HDMIpi (Figure 1), which was recently wildly successful on Kickstarter [3].

Figure 1: HDMIpi portable camera setup (used with permission from Alex Eames; http://RasPi.tv).

After taking a picture with the camera module the software on the Rasp Pi then overlays logos onto the picture and posts it to Twitter! (See lead photo on previous page.)

Additionally, CPC had with them the prototype of the long-awaited DSI display module (Figure 2). We now know that this features a seven-inch, 800x480 LCD panel, 10-point capacitive touch interface and, unlike any other screen on the market, connects to the Raspberry Pi through the DSI connector. This makes a two- or three-screen setup possible with the Pi. The display should be available to purchase toward the middle of 2014 and will apparently be available for a price of less than US$  70. I'm very excited to get my hands on one of the production models as soon as possible!

Figure 2: DSI display interface board prototype (used with permission from Alex Eames; http://RasPi.tv).

The Friday ended with the Raspberry Pi second Birthday Party, organized by Lisa Mather (@elsie_m_). Every attendee received a custom-cut, Raspberry Pi-shaped, flashing name badge, as well as a red GPIO add-on board in the shape of the Raspberry Pi logo. This was just the start of the swag (all generously donated by sponsors), and I came away the proud owner of a brand-new Babbage bear.

It is easy to see why the Raspberry Pi has been so successful – the community behind it is incredibly enthusiastic, friendly, and welcoming. I was unfortunately unable to attend the family hack day on the Saturday, but it was an absolute delight to meet so many of the people with whom I have spent a considerable amount of time working. Now, I can't wait until my next Raspberry Jamboree experience.


  1. The MagPi magazine: http://www.themagpi.com
  2. Pi Supply: http://www.pi-supply.com
  3. HDMIpi on Kickstarter: http://kck.st/17zyaQg

The Author

Aaron Shaw is a volunteer at The MagPi magazine (http://www.themagpi.com), a magazine dedicated to Raspberry Pi users. He also founded Pi Supply (http://www.pi-supply.com) with a Kickstarter-funded add-on board for the Raspberry Pi (http://kck.st/UVBXTE). Aaron is an Automotive Engineering MEng student at the University of Leeds currently spending a lot of time working on a Formula Student car. For help relating to this article, you can contact him through mailto:sales@pi-supply.com or via Twitter (@shawaj2).

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