Many people buy a Raspberry Pi and it sits on a shelf for a while before they look into what to do with it. This is changing rapidly with the introduction of Computing on the National Curriculum and the Governments proposal to give a Raspberry Pi to every Year 7 in September 2015:
One of the most engaging experiments I’ve personally seen in action (and tried and tested on our recent open day at Scarborough College) is using a capacitive touch sensor to run programs on the Raspberry Pi. When coupled with Minecraft, this is the result.
The idea came from a post I saw by “Arghbox” on his blog which is well worth looking at:
He used an Adafruit capacitive touch sensor to control certain functions in Minecraft through the Raspberry Pi. I thought this was a really nice idea to engage students in some programming and electronics using a game they could all relate with, so I did my own. Adapting some of Martin O’Hanlon’s ideas I made my own python programme to make it a bit more visual for our open day.
This is my version of the code: I used a real flower to place a flower in Minecraft and used the properties of graphite as a conductor to write a word which, when touched, triggered the sensor. I also used a piece of code which took a picture using the Raspberry Pi Camera when you touched the Orange. Another feature which I forgot to put on the video was that one sensor was placed in a bowl of water, so when you dipped a finger in it, an area on Minecraft was cleared out.
Standalone 5-Pad Capacitive Touch Sensor Breakout – AT42QT1070: This breakout board is the simplest way to create a project with mutiple capacitive touch sensors. No microcontroller is required here – just power with 1.8 to 5.5VDC and connect up to 5 conductive pads to the 5 left-hand pins. When a capacitive load is detected (e.g. a person touches one of the conductive contacts) the corresponding LED on the right lights up and the output pin goes low. You can use this to update an existing normal-button project where buttons connect to ground when pressed. Read more.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
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