The first sign that this isn’t your average programming conference comes with the first speaker, Paul Serby—from Clock—is talking about building node.js teams, but he’s wearing a bowler hat—a bowler hat with a Raspberry Pi, a webcam and a whole bunch of LEDs. Left to itself the hat shows the number of Twitter followers it has—or the CPU load on the controlling Raspberry Pi depending on its mood—in binary using the LEDs.
I couldn’t think of anything fun to do with my bowler hat…
But when connected to the network—via WiFi—it uses the attached camera to take one image a second. Facial recognition is then done on the images using OpenCV and bowler hats are added to anyone in the image—at a jaunty angle of course—then published to the hat’s website served by the Raspberry Pi on-board the hat itself.
Copters and Robots
Flight of the NodeCopter, driven by node.js and computational streams.
Darach Ennis gave a fairly technical talk about computational streams, but he gave it in a fairly unique way. When your final flourish to demonstrate your code is to fly a nodecopter and let two volunteers from the audience play a Robosapien refereed game of light-based ping-pong.
That of course would be a hacked Robosapien with a Raspberry Pi for a brain, running an X Server. Because, after all,
…every respectable robot runs an X Server.
Arduino and Soft Circuits
Throughout the day Becky Stewart from Codasign was running Arduino and Soft Circuits workshops. There presence here is almost entirely down to Oli Evans one of the organizers of the Great British Node Conference spotting them at the Elephant & Castle Mini-Maker Faire earlier in the month and asked them to come along.
I talked to Becky, asking her what sort of uptake the workshops were getting,
We have a lot of people sewing circuits—far more people have been interested in soft circuits than the Arduino—we’re on our way to 20 soft circuit robots, some are really creative too, people are going beyond the templates we’re providing.
Considering that’s a 1/5 of the conference that’s stolen time out of their lunch or coffee break—or more strictly since this is a British conference, their tea break—to sew circuits, that’s a pretty impressive turn out, and the conference isn’t over yet.
The board has a million times less RAM than than a decent web server…
Interestingly, despite that, one of the board’s funded stretch goal was Node.js npm module loading. That and his rather awesome trashcan demo—which oddly reminded me of a rather low-tech R2-D2—got a lot of attention.
Opening a trashcan, using the Espruino and an servo motor
The Web Developers are Coming?