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UCLan cuts a slice of Raspberry PI

26 October 2012

Lyndsey Boardman

Computing students to work their magic on the latest technology

Computing students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have unleashed their creativity on the latest technology to enter the market.

A class of second year students have been asked to consider how a Raspberry PI, an economical credit card sized computer that can be plugged into a TV and keyboard and allows the user to develop their programming skills, can be utilised in a new and innovative way. 

The teams of students will develop their ideas and make them a reality at a UCLan Hackathon event in November.  They will spend an intensive day building their designs which includes an improved traffic light system, an innovative baby monitor and a portable forensic computer system.

“It’s important that UCLan’s computing students are up-to-date with the latest industry developments and I’m looking forward to seeing these designs become a reality.”

UCLan Computing Lecturer Dr Daniel Fitton commented: “The Raspberry PI is a new technology that makes computer programming cheap and accessible to all, allowing our students to make engaging and interactive products that can be used to make a difference in the physical world.

“It’s important that UCLan’s computing students are up-to-date with the latest industry developments and I’m looking forward to seeing these designs become a reality.”

Representatives from CPC, a business-to-business distributor of electrical products, visited UCLan to speak to the students about their ideas for the new computer.

CPC Marketing Executive Tom Darkins commented: “We’ve seen 32 very different concepts for the Raspberry PI and have been impressed by what we’ve seen. The students have really taken on the challenge to do something exciting and creative with this small and innovative piece of technology and I’m sure the Hackathon will be a success.”

L-R UCLan computer students Mohammed ALmutairi, Moaiad Abuhussian, Thomas Hoskins, Kyle McDougall and Mark Davies

Student Daniel Atkinson and his group used the Raspberry PI to suggest improvements to the existing traffic light system with additional features, a less expensive maintenance system and a repair process that can be operated wirelessly.

He said: “This is the first time we’ve worked with this technology and we are now looking forward to putting our idea into practice and making a prototype. The project allows us to stretch our programming skills, be creative and try new things.”

"The students have really taken on the challenge to do something exciting and creative with this small and innovative piece of technology and I’m sure the Hackathon will be a success.”

Jonathan Ashton studies Forensic Computing and worked with fellow students Jahed Ullah and Keith Harrison on a concept allowing the Raspberry PI to be used as a portable computer that enables forensic investigators to analyse digital evidence at the scene.

Jonathan commented: “Through this project we’ve been able to think creatively of ways that the Raspberry PI can make a difference to real life situations. It will be a challenge to try and put our ideas into practice and a good learning tool.”

The UCLan Hackathon will take place in late November where teams of students will put their programming skills into practice on the Raspberry PI.