Wuthering Bytes

I spent this weekend at Wuthering Bytes in Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire - three days of talks and workshops on hardware, software, and tech in general.

A joystick attached to a Raspberry Pi.
Some of the projects from the workshop.

Amongst the cool talks that I listened to there was steam-powered techno, a presentation from the mother of the ARM processor, the Oxford Flood Network, and some literal rocket science, with fire and ear protectors and everything.

(You can see what we were all tweeting by checking out the #wutheringbytes hashtag.)

The wonderful Gareth & Naomi gave a presentation on their work with the Incredible Aqua Garden, an aquaponics system for growing food in Todmorden. They've built a monitoring system from scratch using a combination of Raspberry Pi and Arduinos, and even invented their own wireless sensors. They use NodeRED for wiring together hardware and APIs. We took a little detour to visit the garden, which is inside a local school, and found a greenhouse full of basil and watercress, getting nutrients from the fish that live beneath them.

The Sunday was given over to workshops. At my table, the Incredible Aqua Garden people (Gareth, Naomi and Paulo) were teaching attendees how to interface Raspberry Pis and sensors. I spent the day with some JavaScript libraries, and (with help from @hoegrammer and @errietta) made some graphs of real-time data from the sensors attached to the Raspberry Pi inside Incredible Aqua Garden, which broadcasts data across the internet using WebSockets.

Graphs of light level and pH from the Incredible Aqua Garden
The graphs aren't very exciting because the environment inside the aqua garden is very well controlled.

The code is available on GitHub (incidentally, this was my first experiment with GitHub Pages, and I benefitted very much from this tutorial), and it uses Rickshaw, as well as WebSockets. We were given two different electronics kits to play with as going-home gifts, as well as the world's cutest GitHub sticker, which now has pride of place on my little laptop.


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