One of the original purposes of Raspberry Pi was to help ignite a passion for computing in young people today, and Alex is definitely one of these people.
“In 2014, I received my first Raspberry Pi (a Model B+) for Christmas,” he tells us. “I started out by teaching myself Python using the projects in Adventures in Raspberry Pi. Using this knowledge of Python, I created several apps (both for Raspberry Pi and Windows). After that, I became interested in web design. I still do a lot of web design today, as shown in the recently completed coded-from-scratch website, eikyutsuho.com. The next language I tackled was C/C++, and I am still learning the ins and outs of it.”
Five years later and, at the age of 15, Alex is already working on an Associate Degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering, and he’s also giving back to the community by helping out with the Seattle Raspberry Jam.
Why did you start co-organising the Seattle Raspberry Jam?
I began co-organising the Seattle Raspberry Jam in May because only a few people were showing up to each meeting. I thought that with some time and effort, I could increase the membership to something more respectable, such as 10 members, for example.
How long has the Jam been running?
A makerspace called Jigsaw Renaissance started the Seattle Raspberry Jam in August 2013. Sadly, in July 2015, the makerspace decided that they no longer wanted to run the Jam. Stephen (my co-organiser) started up meetings again in August of 2015. I first joined the club in mid-2016 (I found out about it through the Jam Map).
What kind of attendees do you get at the Jam?
We get just about everyone, from seasoned programmers who began coding during the days of punch cards to first-time programmers and Raspberry Pi users. People often come in confused about how to get started with Raspberry Pi and we try to point them in the right direction.
The people who do come seem to enjoy it. We have just joined up with the ideaX Makerspace; they are happy to support our Raspberry Jam. We’re hoping that ideaX Makerspace will give our Jam more visibility.
Seattle Raspberry Jam details
The Seattle Raspberry Jam takes place every third Wednesday of the month at the Bellevue Library. Entry is free, and it’s a great way to learn something about Raspberry Pi and geek out with your fellow makers and coders!
What’s your favourite Raspberry Pi project you’ve made?
My favourite completed project is an instant camera, christened the PolarPiBerry. It uses a thermal printer, touchscreen, arcade-style button, and multiple battery packs (a future improvement is to combine the power sources) for the hardware, and a custom Python WX GUI as the interface with a live stream from the camera.
I am currently working on a self-balancing robot for under $50. It uses the cheap yellow geared DC motors, an L298 dual H-bridge, an MPU6050 IMU, a DC-DC boost converter, and a 6×AA battery pack. I have designed and 3D-printed the chassis, but I am still working on the code.