Reverse-engineering the carry-lookahead circuit in the Intel 8008 processor

Reverse-engineering the carry-lookahead circuit in the Intel 8008 processor:

The 8008 was Intel’s first 8-bit microprocessor, introduced in 1972. While primitive by today’s standards, the 8008 is historically important because it essentially started the microprocessor revolution and is the ancestor of the modern x86 processor family. I’ve been studying the 8008’s silicon die under the microscope and reverse-engineering its circuitry.

More details on Ken Shirriff’s blog.

from Dangerous Prototypes

PRIMM: encouraging talk in programming lessons

Whenever you learn a new subject or skill, at some point you need to pick up the particular language that goes with that domain. And the only way to really feel comfortable with this language is to practice using it. It’s exactly the same when learning programming.

A girl doing Scratch coding in a Code Club classroom

In our latest research seminar, we focused on how we educators and our students can talk about programming. The seminar presentation was given by our Chief Learning Officer, Dr Sue Sentance. She shared the work she and her collaborators have done to develop a research-based approach to teaching programming called PRIMM, and to work with teachers to investigate the effects of PRIMM on students.

Sue Sentance

As well as providing a structure for programming lessons, Sue’s research on PRIMM helps us think about ways in which learners can investigate programs, start to understand how they work, and then gradually develop the language to talk about them themselves.

Productive talk for education

Sue began by taking us through the rich history of educational research into language and dialogue. This work has been heavily developed in science and mathematics education, as well as language and literacy.

In particular the work of Neil Mercer and colleagues has shown that students need guidance to develop and practice using language to reason, and that developing high-quality language improves understanding. The role of the teacher in this language development is vital.

Sue’s work draws on these insights to consider how language can be used to develop understanding in programming.

Why is programming challenging for beginners?

Sue identified shortcomings of some teaching approaches that are common in the computing classroom but may not be suitable for all beginners.

  • ‘Copy code’ activities for learners take a long time, lead to dreaded syntax errors, and don’t necessarily build more understanding.
  • When teachers model the process of writing a program, this can be very helpful, but for beginners there may still be a huge jump from being able to follow the modeling to being able to write a program from scratch themselves.

PRIMM was designed by Sue and her collaborators as a language-first approach where students begin not by writing code, but by reading it.

What is PRIMM?

PRIMM stands for ‘Predict, Run, Investigate, Modify, Make’. In this approach, rather than copying code or writing programs from scratch, beginners instead start by focussing on reading working code.

In the Predict stage, the teacher provides learners with example code to read, discuss, and make output predictions about. Next, they run the code to see how the output compares to what they predicted. In the Investigate stage, the teacher sets activities for the learners to trace, annotate, explain, and talk about the code line by line, in order to help them understand what it does in detail.

In the seminar, Sue took us through a mini example of the stages of PRIMM where we predicted the output of Python Turtle code. You can follow along on the recording of the seminar to get the experience of what it feels like to work through this approach.

The impact of PRIMM on learning

The PRIMM approach is informed by research, and it is also the subject of research by Sue and her collaborators. They’ve conducted two studies to measure the effectiveness of PRIMM: an initial pilot, and a larger mixed-methods study with 13 teachers and 493 students with a control group.

The larger study used a pre and post test, and found that the group who experienced a PRIMM approach performed better on the tests than the control group. The researchers also collected a wealth of qualitative feedback from teachers. The feedback suggested that the approach can help students to develop a language to express their understanding of programming, and that there was much more productive peer conversation in the PRIMM lessons (sometimes this meant less talk, but at a more advanced level).

The PRIMM structure also gave some teachers a greater capacity to talk about the process of teaching programming. It facilitated the discussion of teaching ideas and learning approaches for the teachers, as well as developing language approaches that students used to learn programming concepts.

The research results suggest that learners taught using PRIMM appear to be developing the language skills to talk coherently about their programming. The effectiveness of PRIMM is also evidenced by the number of teachers who have taken up the approach, building in their own activities and in some cases remixing the PRIMM terminology to develop their own take on a language-first approach to teaching programming.

Future research will investigate in detail how PRIMM encourages productive talk in the classroom, and will link the approach to other work on semantic waves. (For more on semantic waves in computing education, see this seminar by Jane Waite and this symposium talk by Paul Curzon.)

Resources for educators who want to try PRIMM

If you would like to try out PRIMM with your learners, use our free support materials:

Join our next seminar

If you missed the seminar, you can find the presentation slides alongside the recording of Sue’s talk on our seminars page.

In our next seminar on Tuesday 1 December at 17:00–18:30 GMT / 12:00–13:30 EsT / 9:00–10:30 PT / 18:00–19:30 CEST. Dr David Weintrop from the University of Maryland will be presenting on the role of block-based programming in computer science education. To join, simply sign up with your name and email address.

Once you’ve signed up, we’ll email you the seminar meeting link and instructions for joining. If you attended this past seminar, the link remains the same.

The post PRIMM: encouraging talk in programming lessons appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Noticia Original

Onward! Notes from Session 3 of TEDWomen 2020

For the culminating session of TEDWomen 2020, we looked in one direction: onward! Hosted by TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell and TEDx learning specialist Bianca DeJesus, the final session featured speakers and performers who shared wisdom on preparing for new challenges, turning fear into action and finding the way forward — even when the path isn’t clear.

Special appearance: Kirsty de Garis, organizer of TEDxSydney, and Safra Anver, organizer of TEDxColombo, introduced the final two TEDx speakers of the day.

The session in brief:

Gloria Steinem, feminist activist, writer

Big idea: Feminism is the radical yet essential idea that all human beings are equal. Now more than ever, unity and listening are the remedies to fear, discrimination and inequality.

Why? Feminism has been and always will be relevant and vital to all of humanity, says Gloria Steinem. Yet throughout history, the word — and its accompanying movement — have been misunderstood and criticized. Speaking on her lifelong legacy of feminist activism, Steinem shares how she’s fought for women’s rights and overcome her fears with the help of trusted friends and allies. She discusses the intersectionality of racism and sexism and how the fight against both has always been linked — and explains why unity is the key to overcoming them, especially in a world facing COVID-19. She urges future generations of women — or, as she calls them, “friends who haven’t been born yet” — to support each other and face their fears together. “Think of change as a tree,” she says. “You know it doesn’t grow from the top down, so we shouldn’t be waiting for somebody to tell us what to do. It grows from the bottom up. And we are the roots of change.”

“AI is making amazing things possible for organizations and for people who otherwise would have been left behind,” says Jamila Gordon. She speaks at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Jamila Gordon, AI advocate

Big idea: Artificial intelligence can break language, education and location barriers for disadvantaged people, giving them the opportunity to thrive. 

How? Born into a war-torn Somalia, Jamila Gordon has always considered herself to be lucky. When her family was separated and she was displaced in Kenya, Gordon’s journey eventually took her to Australia. There, she worked in a Japanese restaurant owned by a couple who showed her that amazing things are possible through hard work and perseverance. Now, she wants AI to do the same, at a massive scale, for disadvantaged people — giving them skills and tools to find work, be great at their jobs and do the work safely. In this way, Gordon believes software can open doors of opportunity for people who face cultural, social and economic barriers. For instance, Gordon’s platform, Lumachain, brings transparency to global supply chains, benefiting producers, enterprises and consumers, while also helping to end modern slavery.

“There’s joy in being a leader, in having the opportunity to put your values into action,” says Julia Gillard, in conversation with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Julia Gillard, former Prime Minister of Australia, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former Finance Minister of Nigeria

Big idea: The sexism that women leaders face shouldn’t overshadow or discourage others from stepping forward and making a positive impact.

Why? In conversation, Julia Gillard and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala remark and reflect on their experiences in leadership — for better and worse. Their discussion runs the gamut of what it means to be a powerful woman in a sexist world: encountering unnecessary judgments based on appearance, enduring undue focus on personality over policy and facing criticism based solely on stereotypes. To be viewed as an acceptable leader, women must exude both strength and empathy, Okonjo-Iweala says. If they come across as too tough, they are viewed as hard and unlikeable. But if they seem too soft, they are seen to be lacking the backbone to lead. In fact, women leaders must also be thoughtful about how they portray their achievements to those who look up to and follow them. Emphasizing the positive makes a real difference to the power of role modeling, Gillard says. If the focus stays on the sexist and negative experiences, women may decide that being a leader isn’t for them. Conversely, if leaders shy away from speaking about their hardships, women and girls can be put off because they decide leadership is only for superwomen who never have any problems. It’s all about balance. For women looking to create space for themselves and others, Gillard and Okonjo-Iweala offer a list of six standout lessons to build solidarity: there’s no “right way” to be a woman leader, so be true to yourself; sit down with your trusted confidants and wargame how to deal with gendered moments; debunk gendered stereotypes; don’t wait for when you need help to support system changes that aid gender equality; network, but don’t shy away from taking up space in the world; and the last, but not least important: go for it!

Kesha delivers a powerful performance of “Shadow” at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Kesha, musician, actress, activist

“I can’t tell you how to not be afraid, but I can tell you that I’ve experienced how to not be defined by my fears,” says Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Kesha. She shares a bit about how she faced her fears while living in the limelight over the last decade and delivers a powerful performance of “Shadow,” a song about courageously choosing positivity even when others are throwing shade. “Get your shadow outta my sunshine / Outta my blue skies / Outta my good times,” she sings. She’s accompanied by Mary Lattimore on harp, Karina DePiano on piano, and Skyler Stonestreet and Kenna Ramsey on background vocals.

JayaShri Maathaa shares a magical mantra to calm yourself during troubled times. She speaks at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

JayaShri Maathaa, monk

Big idea: There is a simple mantra you can say to calm yourself during troubled times: “Thank you.”

Why? As the world brims with fear, doubt and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic, JayaShri Maathaa finds that two magical words — “thank you” — fill her life with bliss and grace. How so? When you say “thank you,” you bring your attention inward and, over time, create a feeling of gratitude in your heart that can help you navigate life with peace and joy. For Maathaa, these two words are like music in her mind: they’re the first thing she thinks upon awakening, and the last thing she thinks before falling asleep. By planting these good thoughts in her mind and heart over the years, she now finds them blossoming into something beautiful — creating a harmony within herself and to the world around her. Want to give it a try?

Megan McArthur shares lessons from her life and career as a NASA astronaut, in conversation with TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Megan McArthur, NASA astronaut

Big idea: The day, life and mindset of an astronaut.

Tell us more: In conversation with TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell, astronaut Megan McArthur offers a glimpse into what it’s like when space becomes your world, but not your entire life. As a mother and wife (she’s married to fellow astronaut Bob Behnken), McArthur strikes a balance between the emotional outpouring of her husband’s spaceflight and training for her own launch, while supporting their son for his reality as an earthbound child. But when it comes to work, the focus becomes singular in hundreds of hours of preparation, which MaArthur emphasizes can be a mindset easily adjusted and applied to any professional role. Using her own example of tackling a new job, she reminds women that even if they come up against a situation they’ve never before encountered, they are ready and prepared from their life experience to take on that challenge, learn quickly and succeed. 

Closing out the final session with a flourish, a guitarist sets in motion delicate yet strident chords that reflect both the warmth and momentum of Apiorkor Seyiram Ashong-Abbey‘s poetry — paired with footage of her masked, standing statuesque in a deserted quarantine courtyard, motionless yet liquid all at once. Far from a mere diatribe, this piece proposes not a revolution, but a re-establishment of the majesty, magic and power of the matriarch, and the hidden traditions that have quietly sustained women for millenia — and that will someday soon renew the world once more.

from TED Blog

Raise your voice: Notes from Session 2 of TEDWomen 2020

Diversity of ideas is more important now than ever. Session 2 of TEDWomen 2020 — hosted by poet Aja Monet, who gave a dazzling talk at TEDWomen 2018 — featured a dynamic range of talks and performances from some of the world’s most extraordinary risk-takers and innovators.

Singer-songwriter Madison McFerrin performs “TRY” at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Music: From the stoop of her brownstone, singer-songwriter Madison McFerrin performs “TRY” — a synth-infused invitation to be your best self.

Special appearances: Mercy Akamo, organizer of TEDxLagos, and Keita Demming, organizer of TEDxPortofSpain, introduce this session’s TEDx speakers, part of a global collaboration between the TEDWomen team and an incredible group of TEDx organizers.

The session in brief:

Adie Delaney talks about the importance of broadening our definition of consent at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Adie Delaney, circus performer and sexual harm prevention educator

Big idea: We need to broaden our definition of consent: it is not a box to check off but an active dialogue that centers trust, communication and care.

How? In her role as a circus instructor, Adie Delaney teaches students how to listen to and trust their bodies, and how to communicate when they’re no longer comfortable. She quickly realized that she wasn’t just teaching children how to balance on a trapeze — she was also passing along vital lessons on consent. In addition to her circus career, Delaney works with teenagers on sexual harm prevention, helping them better understand how to practice consent. It’s vital that we integrate asking for and giving consent into our daily lives, whether or not it’s in an intimate setting, Delaney says. Whenever we are interacting with the bodies of others, we need to be sure everyone involved is safe and comfortable. By ensuring young people have the framework and language to clearly communicate their needs around their bodies, we can help them better care for themselves and each other.

Kemi DaSilva-Ibru discusses an effort to mobilize first responders to help people facing domestic violence during the pandemic. She speaks at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, obstetrician and gynecologist

Big idea: Everybody has the right to live in a society free from gender-based violence — and communities can help. 

How? The mandatory lockdowns, quarantines and shelter-in-place orders that have confined people to their homes since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis have placed some in another unsafe situation, prompting a shadow pandemic of domestic abuse worldwide. In Nigeria, the situation prompted the federal government to declare a state of emergency on rape. Dr. Kemi DaSilva-Ibru, founder of the Women at Risk International Foundation, which assists Nigerians facing gender-based violence, speaks from her home in Lagos on how the country is responding to this second crisis. More than 1,000 basic health care providers who service remote areas are being retrained as first responders to help in domestic violence situations, she says. These community-based men and women perform house visits, allowing people to share their stories and receive the medical care and support they need. To reach even more people, the program will soon train local police and religious leaders who have close ties to the community, providing even more accessible help and resources.

“We all play a part in treating people well regardless of biases,” says defense attorney Kylar W. Broadus. “Let’s advocate for each other by modeling respect.” He speaks at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Kylar W. Broadus, defense attorney

Big idea: See beyond bias and stereotypes and treat people as the human beings they are.

How? For 25 years, Kylar W. Broadus has witnessed both conscious and unconscious bias inhibit justice in the courtroom — a pattern, well documented throughout history, of skin color and identity dictating harsher, lengthier punishments. To effectively dismantle this bias, Broadus believes a gentle yet consistent nudge in the right direction makes a stronger impression in encouraging people to uphold the shared humanity of others. He practices this subtle signaling in his own work, as the bridge between the client and courtroom, by modeling the behavior he wants the court to mirror — and succeeding. All people live with biases, but if we’re ever going to change society for the better, then we must pivot toward respect and see each other for the content of our character and the humanity we share.

“Public space must be as free and abundant as the air we breathe,” says architect Elizabeth Diller. She speaks at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Elizabeth Diller, architect, artist, designer

Big idea: Public space must be as free and abundant as the air we breathe.

Why? Our cities are becoming progressively privatized: commercial building projects and real estate dominate the streets, squeezing out space that once belonged to society at large. Elizabeth Diller says that architects must staunchly defend, advocate for and reclaim this public space, serving as a kind of creative protector against urban privatization, neglect and lack of vision. For her part, Diller helped convert a derelict railroad in New York City into the High Line, a stunning, elevated public park that is both a “portal into the city’s subconscious” and a landmark on the world tourism map. She likewise helped design a park in central Moscow — beating out plans for a giant commercial development — that has since become a bastion of civic expression and a home to social reform against a repressive regime. Now, she encourages other architects, artists and citizens to join in on this work subversively to (re)empower the public. As she puts it: “[We must] relentlessly advocate for a democratic public realm so dwindling urban space is not forfeited to the highest bidder.”

Are you an “upstander”? Angélique Parisot-Potter discusses how to stand up to wrongdoing at work at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Angélique Parisot-Potter, legal and business integrity leader

Big idea: Be an “upstander”: someone who doesn’t shy away from difficult moments and discussions.

How? As a consultant who helps brands build integrity by rooting out the “open secrets” that corrode workplace ethics, Angélique Parisot-Potter is used to overturning the wrong stones. But sometimes in the pursuit of doing the right thing, she has overturned one stone too many — and found herself at odds with powerful adversaries and ostracized by colleagues. How does one stand up to bad actors (and those who let them get away with their subterfuge), even in the face of threats, coercion and isolation? The most important thing to be, says Parisot-Potter, is an upstander: someone who doesn’t shy away from dark corners and instead exposes them to the light. Although this path is difficult, the rewards — like being able to face one’s self in the mirror every day — are as rich as they are intangible. Becoming an upstander is simple: when you see something wrong, don’t second guess yourself and instead ask the difficult questions no one else is asking. Most importantly, don’t be complicit — you always have the power to say “enough is enough.”

“Don’t be afraid to trust and be yourself completely,” says Tracy Young, speaking on the topic of leadership at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Tracy Young, builder

Big idea: Don’t be afraid to show up to work as your complete, raw self. 

Why? Tracy Young cofounded a start-up in 2011, serving as the company’s CEO as it grew from five employees to 450. Along the way, she recalls worrying that employees and investors would value male leaders more, and that being a woman might compromise her position as CEO. Partly for that reason, she continued coming into work through the later months of her pregnancy, and was quick to return just six weeks after giving birth. She also shares the heart-rending story of having a miscarriage at work during her second pregnancy, and returning to a meeting as though nothing had happened. Now, she realizes her womanhood is nothing to be ashamed of: she shares the full range of her emotions at work, leading more authentically and actively asking her team for help. This has fundamentally changed how they build and problem solve together, she says, creating a work culture that is more close-knit and efficient. To her fellow leaders out there, Young’s advice is: “Don’t be afraid to trust and be yourself completely.”

from TED Blog

Bring it on: Notes from Session 1 of TEDWomen 2020

In this moment of great uncertainty, it’s time to be fearless. TEDWomen 2020, a day-long event hosted on TED’s virtual event platform, is all about fearlessness — in the way we think, act, participate — and how this collective mentality can empower us to take a global step forward, together. The day kicked off with an inspiring session of talks and performances, all designed to take us on a journey of curiosity, wonder and learning. Hosted by TEDWomen curator Pat Mitchell and TEDx learning specialist Bianca DeJesus, seven speakers and performers showed us how to find the strength and clarity needed to navigate an ever-changing, ever-challenging world. 

Music: The group Kolinga performs “Nguya na ngai,” an original song that’s equal parts music, poetry and dance.

Special appearance: Grace Yang, organizer of TEDxMontrealWomen, joins the event to represent the global TEDx community, through which more than 140 TEDx teams in 51 countries are organizing TEDxWomen events alongside the main show.

The session in brief:

To open the session, activist and poet Apiorkor Seyiram Ashong-Abbey delivers a powerful hymn to the universal matriarch in all of her manifestations — exalting her fearlessness as she faces the unknown, praising her body down to the folds of her skin, shouting against the silence surrounding her oppression, and above all shattering the chains (political and social) that bind her across the globe.

“Our courage is born from unity; our solidarity is our strength,” says Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, leader of the national democratic movement in Belarus. She speaks at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, politician

Big idea: In the face of authoritarianism, the path to fearlessness lies in unity and solidarity.

How? The people of Belarus have been under authoritarian rule since 1994, subject to police violence and everyday assaults on their freedoms. But this year, something changed. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets to participate in anti-government demonstrations, supporting Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s campaign in opposition to the country’s authoritarian leader, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko. Tsikhanouskaya stepped in for her husband, who was jailed, to run against Lukashenko in the nation’s recent presidential election — an election she is widely viewed to have won, despite falsified results released by the regime. Now, she tells the story of how a small collection of women-led protests in the capital of Minsk sparked massive, peaceful demonstrations across the country — the likes of which Belarus has never seen — that continue amid calls for a new free and fair election. Even after being forced into exile with her children, Tsikhanouskaya remains determined. “Our courage is born from unity,” she says. “Our solidarity is our strength.”

In April 2020, Sophie Rose volunteered to be infected with COVID-19 as part of a human challenge trial. She makes the case for these trials at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Sophie Rose, infectious disease researcher

Big idea: To quickly and equitably vaccinate the world’s eight billion people against COVID-19, we will need several approved vaccines. Human challenge trials may help speed up the development and deployment of effective vaccines.

How? In April 2020, Sophie Rose volunteered to be infected with COVID-19. As a young, healthy adult, she’s participating in a “human challenge trial” — a type of trial in which participants are intentionally exposed to infection — that may help researchers develop, manufacture and implement vaccines in record time, saving the lives of thousands of people. She explains her decision and the difference between challenge trials and the phase III clinical trials typically carried out for drugs and vaccines. Unlike phase III trials, where participants receive a vaccine and are subsequently monitored for possible infection throughout the course of their normal lives, challenge trial participants are purposely exposed to the virus after vaccination. Deliberate exposure allows researchers to know more quickly if the vaccine works (usually within a matter of months, instead of years) and requires fewer participants (around 50 to 100 instead of thousands). Because exposure is certain, challenge trial volunteers must be young, typically between ages 20 and 29, and have no preexisting conditions that could put them at an elevated risk. Since choosing to participate, Rose cofounded 1Day Sooner, a nonprofit that advocates for challenge trial participants and has helped more than 39,000 people around the world volunteer for these trials.

“It’s not just protesting and raising your voice, but also doing something to show your intentions,” says WNBA champion Renee Montgomery. She speaks at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Renee Montgomery, WNBA champion, activist

Big idea: For people’s voices to be heard in the face of injustice, they need to be “felt.” We can do this by opting out of our comfort zones and taking positive social action.

How? Renee Montgomery hadn’t planned to quit her dream job in the middle of a pandemic, but it was a leap of faith she made in order to do her part in fighting Americ’s racial injustice. By “opting out” of her career as a WNBA player, she made space to focus on others’ voices and amplify them with her platform. Montgomery explains that, to truly have these experiences heard, they need to be felt: “Making it felt for me is an action,” she says. “It’s not just protesting and raising your voice, but also doing something to show your intentions.” Her intentions? To level the playing field so everyone has the same opportunities, regardless of race, and to turn this moment into positive, lasting momentum.

Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek shares the legacy of matriarchs in the Yukon First Nations at TEDWomen 2020 on November 12, 2020. (Photo courtesy of TED)

Kluane Adamek, Yukon Regional Chief

Big idea: Leadership and matriarchal wisdom of the Yukon First Nations people.

Tell us more: In the Yukon First Nations, women lead — and have done so for generations. Their matriarchs have forged trade agreements, created marriage alliances and ensured business happens across their land for generations. Their matrilineal society is one that deeply values, honors and respects the roles of women. Much of the world doesn’t reflect this way of living, but Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek urges others to follow in the footsteps of her people — by putting more women at the table and learning from the power of reciprocity. There’s so much women can share with the world, she says, encouraging all women to seek spaces to share their perspective and create impact.

María Teresa Kumar, civic leader

Big idea: The engaged and growing Latinx vote turned out in record numbers during the US 2020 presidential election and has the potential to shape American politics for decades to come. 

How? A historic number of Latinx voters cast a ballot in the US 2020 presidential election. As the nation’s most rapidly growing demographic, Latinx youth are voting for a brighter future. María Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino, reflects on the issues closest to young Latinx voters and their families, which include health care, climate equity and racial justice. With a look back to FDR’s New Deal, which catalyzed growth, nation-building and paved the way for JFK’s century-defining Moonshot mission, Kumar peeks into the future of the United States and sees the potential for the newest generation of voters to shape the years ahead.

from TED Blog

Mars Clock

A sci-fi writer wanted to add some realism to his fiction. The result: a Raspberry Pi-based Martian timepiece. Rosie Hattersley clocks in from the latest issue of The MagPi Magazine.

The Mars Clock project is adapted from code Phil wrote in JavaScript and a Windows environment for Raspberry Pi

Ever since he first clapped eyes on Mars through the eyepiece of a telescope, Philip Ide has been obsessed with the Red Planet. He’s written several books based there and, many moons ago, set up a webpage showing the weather on Mars. This summer, Phil adapted his weather monitor and created a Raspberry Pi-powered Mars Clock.

Mission: Mars

After writing several clocks for his Mars Weather page, Phil wanted to make a physical clock: “something that could sit on my desk or such like, and tell the time on Mars.” It was to tell the time at any location on Mars, with presets for interesting locations “plus the sites of all the missions that made it to the surface – whether they pancaked or not.”

The projects runs on a 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 with official 7-inch touchscreen

Another prerequisite was that the clock had to check for new mission file updates and IERS bulletins to see if a new leap second had been factored into Universal Coordinated Time.

“Martian seconds are longer,” explains Phil, “so everything was pointing at software rather than a mechanical device. Raspberry Pi was a shoo-in for the job”. However, he’d never used one.

“I’d written some software for calculating orbits and one of the target platforms was Raspberry Pi. I’d never actually seen it run on a Raspberry Pi but I knew it worked, so the door was already open.” He was able to check his data against a benchmark NASA provided. Knowing that the clocks on his Mars Weather page were accurate meant that Phil could focus on getting to grips with his new single-board computer.

Phil’s Mars Weather page shows seasonal trends since March 2019.

He chose a 2GB Raspberry Pi 4 and official-inch touchscreen with a SmartiPi Touch 2 case. “Angles are everything,” he reasons. He also added a fan to lower the CPU temperature and extend the hardware’s life. Along with a power lead, the whole setup cost £130 from The Pi Hut.

Since his Mars Clock generates a lot of data, he made it skinnable so the user can choose which pieces of information to view at any one time. It can display two types of map – Viking or MOLA – depending on the co-ordinates for the clock. NASA provides a web map-tile service with many different data sets for Mars, so it should be possible to make the background an interactive map, allowing you to zoom in/out and scroll around. Getting these to work proved rather a headache as he hit incompatibilities with the libraries.

Learn through experience

Phil wrote most of the software himself, with the exception of libraries for the keyboard and FTP which he pulled from GitHub. Here’s all the code.

The Mars Clock’s various skins show details of missions to Mars, as well as the location’s time and date

He used JavaScript running on the Node.js/Electron framework. “This made for rapid development and is cross-platform, so I could write and test it on Windows and then move it to the Raspberry Pi,” he says. With the basic code written, Phil set about paring it back, reducing the number and duration of CPU time-slices the clock needed when running. “I like optimised software,” he explains.

His decades as a computer programmer meant other aspects were straightforward. The hardware is more than capable, he says of his first ever experience of Raspberry Pi, and the SmartiPi case makers had done a brilliant job. Everything fit together and in just a few minutes his Raspberry Pi was working.

The SmartiPi Touch 2 case houses Raspberry Pi 4 and a fan to cool its CPU

Since completing his Mars Clock Phil has added a pi-hole and a NAS to his Raspberry Pi setup and says his confidence using them is such that he’s now contemplating challenging himself to build an orrery (a mechanical model of the solar system). “I have decades of programming experience, but I was still learning new things as the project progressed,” he says. “The nerd factor of any given object increases exponentially if you make it yourself.”

The MagPi Magazine | Issue 99

Check out page 26 in the latest issue of The MagPi Magazine for a step-by-step and to learn more about the maker, Phillip. You can read a PDF copy for free on The MagPi Magazine website if you’re not already a subscriber.

The post Mars Clock appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

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ISS Mimic: A Raspberry Pi-powered International Space Station model that syncs with the real thing

A group of us NASA engineers work on the International Space Station (ISS) for our day-jobs but craved something more tangible than computer models and data curves to share with the world. So, in our free time, we built ISS Mimic. It’s still in the works, but we are publishing now to celebrate 20 years of continuous human presence in space on the ISS. 

Video created by YouTube’s finest Estefannie Explains it All

This video was filmed and produced by our friend, new teammate, and Raspberry Pi regular Estefannie of Estefannie Explains it All. Most of the images in this blog are screen grabbed from her wonderful video too.

What does Mimic do?

ISS Mimic is a 1% scale model of the International Space Station, bringing the American football field-sized beauty down to a tabletop-sized build. Most elements are 3D printed — even the solar arrays. It has 12 motors: 10 to control the solar panels and two to turn the thermal radiators. All of these are fed by live data streaming from the ISS, so what you see on ISS Mimic is what’s happening that very moment on the real deal up in space.  

Physical connection

Lunch onboard the real ISS

Despite the global ISS effort, most people seem to feel disconnected from space exploration and all the STEAM goodness within. Beyond headlines and rocket launches, even space enthusiasts may feel out of touch. Most of what is available is via apps and videos, which are great, but miss the physical aspect.

Some of the team showing off their homage to the ISS

ISS Mimic is intended to provide an earthbound, tangible connection to that so-close-but-so-far-away orbiting science platform. We want space excitement to fuel STEAM interest.

Raspberry Pi brains and Braun

As you may have guessed, a Raspberry Pi is the brain of the business.  Raspberry Pi taps into NASA’s public ISS live data stream to parse the telemetry into the bits we want. There’s JavaScript and tons of Python, including Kivy for the graphics.

A screen grab of the home screen for the mimic program
The main screen for the Mimic program

Users toggle through various touchscreen data displays of things like battery charge states, electrical power generated, joint angles, communication dish status, gyroscope torques, and even airlock air pressure — fun to watch prior to a spacewalk!

The user can also touchscreen-activate the physical model, in which case Raspberry Pi sends the telemetry along to Arduinos, which in turn command motors in the model to do their thing, rotating the solar panels and thermal radiators to the proper angle. The solar panel joints use compact geared DC motors with Hall-effect sensors for feedback. The sensor signals are sent back down to the Arduino, which keeps track of the position of each joint compared to ISS telemetry, and updates motor command accordingly to stay in sync. 

A diagram of the International Space Station tracking its speed
Some of the data Raspberry Pi can receive

The thermal radiator motors are simpler. Since they only rotate about 180° total, a simple RC micro servo is utilised with the desired position sent from an Arduino directly from the Raspberry Pi data stream.

When MIMIC is in ‘live mode’, the motor commands are the exact data stream coming from ISS. This is a fun mode to leave it in for long durations when it’s in the corner of the room. But it changes slowly, so we also include advanced playback, where prior orbit data stored on Raspberry Pi is played back at 60× speed. A regular 90-minute orbit profile can be played back in 90 seconds.

A diagram of the International Space Station orbit tracker
Tracking the ISS orbit

We also have ‘disco mode’, which may have been birthed during lack of sleep, but now we plan to utilise it whenever we want to grab attention — such as to alert users that the ISS is flying overhead.

LED addiction

We may have a mild LED addiction, and we have LEDs embedded where the ISS batteries would live at the base of the solar arrays. They change colour with the charge voltage, so we can tell by watching them when the ISS is going into Earth’s shadow, or when the batteries are fully charged, etc.

That doesn’t look like TOO many LEDs to us…

A few times when we were working on the model and the LEDs suddenly changed, we thought we had bumped something. But it turned out the first array was edging behind Earth. These are fun to watch during spacewalks, and the model gives us advanced notice that the crew is about to be in darkness.

We plan to cram more LEDs in to react to other data. The project is open source, so anyone can build one and improve the design — help wanted!  After all, the ISS itself is a worldwide collaboration with 19 countries participating by providing components and crew. 

Chaotic wire management

The solar panels on the ISS are mounted on what’s known as the ‘outboard truss’ — one each on the Port and Starboard ends of ISS. Everything on the outboard truss rotates together as part of the sun-tracking (in addition to each solar array rotating individually). So, you can’t just run the power/signal wires through the interface or they would twist and break. ISS Mimic has the same issue.

A closer look at ISS Mimic’s mini solar panels

Even though our solar panels don’t generate power, their motors still require power and signals. The ISS has a specialised, unique build; but fortunately we were able to solve our problem with a simple slip ring design sourced from Amazon. 

So twisty. So shiny. So tricky to manage cables for.

Wire management turned out to be a big issue for us. We had bird nests in several places early on (still present on the Port side solar), so we created some custom PCBs just for wire management, to keep the chaos down. We incorporated HDMI connectors and cables in some places to provide nice shielding and convenient sized coupling — actually a bit more compact than the Ethernet we’d used before.  

The real ISS flexing its power-generating solar panels in space

Also, those solar panels are huge, and the mechanism that supports the outboard truss (everything on the sides that rotate together) on the ISS includes a massive 10 foot diameter bull gear called the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint. A pinion gear from a motor interfaces with this gear to turn it as needed.

Some of the 3D printed parts

We were pleasantly surprised that our 3D-printed bull gear held up quite well with a similar pinion-driven design. Overall, our 3D prints have survived better than expected. We are revamping most models to include more detail, and we could certainly use help here.

Education focus

Our sights are set firmly on educators as our primary area of focus, and we’ve been excited to partner with Space Center Houston to speak at public events and a space exploration educator conference with international attendance earlier this year.

ISS Mimic at STEM outreach during FIRST Robotics National Championship (Houston)

The feedback has been encouraging and enlightening. We want to keep getting feedback from educators, so please provide more insights via the contact info listed at the bottom. 

NASA Mission Control — failure is actually an option… sometimes

A highlight for the team was when the ISS Mimic prototype was requested to live for a month in NASA’s Mission Control Center and was synced to live data during an historic spacewalk. Mimic experienced an ‘anomaly’ when a loose wire caused one of the solar panel motors to spin at 100× the normal rate. 

Our tiny computer with the ISS Mimic’s control panel

You’ll be happy to know that none of the engineering professionals were fooled into thinking the real ISS was doing time-trials. Did I mention it’s still a work in progress? You can’t be scared of failure (for non-critical applications!), particularly when developing something brand-new. It’s part of shaking out problems and learning.

Space exploration has an exciting Future

Showing off ISS Mimic STEM outreach during the first Robotics National Championship

It’s an exciting time in human and robotic spaceflight, with lots of budding projects and new organisations joining the effort. This feels like a great time to deepen our connection to this great progress, and we hope ISS Mimic can help us to do that, as well as encourage more students to play in coding, mechatronics, and STEAM.

Be social

Hi to [most of] Team ISS Mimic!

You can keep up with Team ISS Mimic on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

For more info or to join the team, check out our GitHub page and Discord.

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Raspberry Pi smart IoT glove

Animator/engineer Ashok Fair has put witch-level finger pointing powers in your hands by sticking a SmartEdge Agile, wirelessly controlled by Raspberry Pi Zero, to a golf glove. You could have really freaked the bejeezus out of Halloween party guests with this (if we were allowed to have Halloween parties that is).

The build uses a Smart Edge Agile IoT device with Brainium, a cloud-based tool for performing machine learning tasks.

The Rapid IoT kit is interfaced with Raspberry Pi Zero and creates a thread network connecting to light, car, and fan controller nodes.

The Brainium app is installed on Raspberry Pi and bridges between the cloud and Smart Edge device. MQTT is running on Python and processes the Rapid IoT Kit’s data.

The device is mounted onto a golf glove, giving the wearer seemingly magical powers with the wave of a hand.

Kit list

  • Raspberry Pi Zero
  • Avnet SmartEdge Agile (the white box attached to the glove)
  • NXP Rapid IoT Prototyping Kit (the square blue screen stuck on the adaptor board with the Raspberry Pi Zero)
  • Brainium AI Studio app
  • Golf glove
Waking up the Rapid IoT screen

To get started, the glove wearer draws a pattern above the screen attached to the Raspberry Pi to unlock it and wake up all the controller nodes.

The light controller node is turned on by drawing a clockwise circle, and turned off with an counter-clockwise circle.

The full kit and caboodle

The fan is turned on and off in the same way, and you can increase the fan’s speed by moving your hand upwards and reduce the speed by moving your hand down. You know it’s working by the look of the fan’s LEDs: they blinker faster as the fan speeds up.

Make a pushing motion in the air above the car to make it move forward, and you can also make it turn and reverse.

“Driving glove”

If you wear the glove while driving, it collects data in real time and logs it on the Brainium cloud so you can review your driving style.

Keep up with Ashok’s projects on Twitter or Facebook.

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Why a great teacher can make all the difference

When we think back to our school days, we can all recall that one teacher who inspired us, believed in us, and made all the difference to how we approached a particular subject. It was someone we maybe took for granted at the time and so we only realised (much) later how amazing they were. 

I hope this post makes you think of a teacher or mentor who has made a key difference in your life!

Here computer science student Jonathan Alderson and our team’s Ben Garside talk to me about how Ben supported and inspired Jonathan in his computer science classroom.

Ben Garside and Jonathan Alderson holding physical and virtual chess games
The teacher: Ben Garside. The student: Jonathan Alderson.

Hi Jonathan! How did you get into computing?

Jonathan: My first memories of using a computer were playing 3D Pinball, Club Penguin, and old Disney games, so nothing productive there…or so I thought! I was always good at IT and Maths at school, and Computing seemed to be a cross between the two, so I thought it would be good.

Jonathan and Ben, can you remember your time working together? It’s been a while now! 

Jonathan: I met Mr Garside at the start of sixth form. Our school didn’t have a computer science course, so a few of us would walk between schools twice a week. Mr Garside really made me feel welcome in a place where I didn’t know anyone.

When learning computer science, it’s difficult to understand the importance of new concepts like recursion, classes, or linked lists when the examples are so small. Mr Garside’s teaching made me see the relevance of them and how they could fit into other projects; it’s easy to go a long time without using concepts because you don’t necessarily need them, even when it would make your life a lot easier.

Mr Garside really made me feel welcome in a place where I didn’t know anyone. […] Mr Garside’s teaching made me see the relevance of [new computer science concepts] and how they could fit into other projects.

Jonathan Alderson

Ben: It was a real pleasure to teach Jonathan. He stands out as being one of the most inquisitive students that I have taught. If something wasn’t clear to him, he’d certainly let me know and ask relevant questions so that he could fully understand. Jonathan was also constantly working on his own programming projects outside of lessons. During his A level, I remember him taking it upon himself to write a program that played chess. Each week he would demonstrate the progress he had made to the class. It was a perfect example of decomposition as he tackled the project in small sections and had a clear plan as to what he wanted to achieve. By the end of his project, not only did he have a program that played chess, but it was capable of playing against real online users including making the mouse clicks on the screen!

Moving from procedural to object-oriented programming (OOP) can be a sticking point for a lot of learners, and I remember Jonathan finding this difficult at first. I think what helped Jonathan in particular was getting him to understand that this wasn’t as new a concept as he first thought. OOP was just a different paradigm where he could still apply all of the coding structures that he was already confident in using.

That sounds like a very cool project. What other projects did you make, Jonathan? And how did Ben help you?

Jonathan: My final-year project, [a video game] called Vector Venture, ended up becoming quite a mammoth task! I didn’t really have a clue about organising large projects, what an IDE was, or you could split files apart. Mr Garside helped me spend enough time on the final report and get things finished. He was very supportive of me releasing the game and got me a chance to speak at the Python North East group, which was a great opportunity.

Ben: Vector Venture was a very ambitious project that Jonathan undertook, but I think by then he had learned a lot about how to tackle a project of that size from previous projects such as the chess program. The key to his success was that whilst he was learning, he was picking projects to undertake that he had a genuine interest in and enjoyed developing. I would also tell my A level students to pick as a project something that they will enjoy developing. Jonathan clearly enjoyed developing games, but I also had students who picked projects to develop programs that would solve problems. For example, one of my students developed a system that would take online bookings for food orders and manage table allocation for a local restaurant.

I would tell my A level students to pick as a project something that they will enjoy developing.

Ben Garside

I think that point about having fun while learning something challenging like programming is really important to highlight. So what are you doing now, Jonathan?

Jonathan: I have just completed my undergraduate degree at the University of Leeds (UoL) with a place on the Dean’s List and am staying to complete a Masters in High Performance Graphics. 

During my time at UoL, I’ve had three summer placements creating medical applications and new systems for the university. This helped me understand the social benefits of computer science; it was great to work on something that is now benefitting so many people. My dissertation was on music visualisation, mapping instrument attributes of a currently playing song to control parameters inside sharers on the GPU to produce reactive visualisations. I’ve just completed an OpenGL project to create procedural underwater scenes, with realistic lighting, reflections, and fish simulations. I’m now really looking forward to completing my Game Engine project for my masters and graduating.

Teachers are often brilliant at taking something complicated and presenting it in a clearer way. Are those moments of clarity part of what motivates you to teach, Ben? 

Ben: There are lots of things that excite me about teaching computer science. Before I worked for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, there was a phrase I heard Carrie Anne Philbin say when I attended a Picademy: we are teaching young people to be digital makers, logical thinkers, and problem solvers, not just to be consumers of technology. I felt this really summed up how great it is to teach our subject. Teaching computer science means that we’re educating young people about the world around them and how technology plays its part in their lives. By doing this, we are empowering them to solve problems and to make educated choices about how they use technology.

Teaching computer science means that we’re educating young people about the world around them and how technology plays its part in their lives.

Ben Garside

As for my previous in-school experiences, I loved those lightbulb moments when something suddenly made sense to a student and a loud “Yesssss!” would break the silence of a quietly focused classroom. I loved teaching something that regularly sparked their imaginations; give them a single lesson on programming, and they would start to ask questions like: “Now I’ve made it do that…does this mean I could make it do this next?“. It wasn’t uncommon for students to want to do more outside of the classroom that wasn’t a homework activity. That, for me, was the ultimate win! 

How about you?

Who was the teacher who helped shape your future when you were at school? Tell us about them in the comments below.

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Hire Raspberry Pi as a robot sous-chef in your kitchen

Design Engineering student Ben Cobley has created a Raspberry Pi–powered sous-chef that automates the easier pan-cooking tasks so the head chef can focus on culinary creativity.

Ben named his invention OnionBot, as the idea came to him when looking for an automated way to perfectly soften onions in a pan while he got on with the rest of his dish. I have yet to manage to retrieve onions from the pan before they blacken so… *need*.

OnionBot robotic sous-chef set up in a kitchen
The full setup (you won’t need a laptop while you’re cooking, so you’ll have counter space)

A Raspberry Pi 4 Model B is the brains of the operation, with a Raspberry Pi Touch Display showing the instructions, and a Raspberry Pi Camera Module keeping an eye on the pan.

OnionBot robotic sous-chef hardware mounted on a board
Close up of the board-mounted hardware and wiring

Ben’s affordable solution is much better suited to home cooking than the big, expensive robotic arms used in industry. Using our tiny computer also allowed Ben to create something that fits on a kitchen counter.

OnionBot robotic sous-chef hardware list

What can OnionBot do?

  • Tells you on-screen when it is time to advance to the next stage of a recipe
  • Autonomously controls the pan temperature using PID feedback control
  • Detects when the pan is close to boiling over and automatically turns down the heat
  • Reminds you if you haven’t stirred the pan in a while
OnionBot robotic sous-chef development stages
Images from Ben’s blog on DesignSpark

How does it work?

A thermal sensor array suspended above the stove detects the pan temperature, and the Raspberry Pi Camera Module helps track the cooking progress. A servo motor controls the dial on the induction stove.

Screenshot of the image classifier of OnionBot robotic sous-chef
Labelling images to train the image classifier

No machine learning expertise was required to train an image classifier, running on Raspberry Pi, for Ben’s robotic creation; you’ll see in the video that the classifier is a really simple drag-and-drop affair.

Ben has only taught his sous-chef one pasta dish so far, and we admire his dedication to carbs.

Screenshot of the image classifier of OnionBot robotic sous-chef
Training the image classifier to know when you haven’t stirred the pot in a while

Ben built a control panel for labelling training images in real time and added labels at key recipe milestones while he cooked under the camera’s eye. This process required 500–1000 images per milestone, so Ben made a LOT of pasta while training his robotic sous-chef’s image classifier.

Diagram of networked drivers and devices in OnionBot robotic sous-chef

Ben open-sourced this project so you can collaborate to suggest improvements or teach your own robot sous-chef some more dishes. Here’s OnionBot on GitHub.

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