Kids were coming on to our stand having never even seen code before working through Scratch and leaving having written a small story in Python!
On the stand, there was an incredibly large display, we had people tell Stephen that they remembered a time when the computers were that big and the screen was as small as the Pi!
During all of this, Richard was hard at work, mostly trying to get Nodejs to work on the Raspberry Pi.
Why? Well we had an idea, what if we could fly Tom’s Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 using bananas and the MakeyMakey?
Well that’s exactly what we did.
How BananaDrone works
It’s all quite simple actually, the AR.Drone creates a WiFi access point that we then connect to using a borrowed Airport Express, the ethernet from the Airport Express then goes into the Raspberry Pi.
For control, we had the kids hook up four bananas to the arrow keys on the MakeyMakey board, when you held the ground wire and touched a banana, it would complete a circuit and the MakeyMakey would send a keypress to the Pi.
On the software side, we used Nodejs along with the ar-drone and keypress libraries.
The code that goes from keypress to ar-drone was written at about 1AM the day before and is up on Richard’s GitHub.
As with any project, there were a few issues along the way, for starters, we had faital issues with Node on the Raspberry Pi and had to use Richard’s MacBook Pro to get things tested.
We eventually found the issue.
OH, we're using the soft-float Debian, this is compiled for hard-float! Richard
So after reimaging the Raspberry Pi’s SD card to use hard-float Debian, Node ran correctly and everything was working except the network.
We had originally planned to get the AR.Drone to join our network but quickly gave up on that after discovering that we couldn’t set the timeout long enough for it to connect with all of the wireless access points in the hall also on 2.4Ghz.
After borrowing an Airport Express and configuring that, BananaDrone was finally ready for takeoff!
We even attracted the attention of Rob Bishop from the Raspberry Pi foundation!
(Yes that’s a model A Pi, no we did not get one.)
Command line testing using a Mac
Command line testing on the Raspberry Pi
BananaDrone fully working
Same from another angle
I hate ifconfig, whenever you're looking at ifconfig something's going wrong and you want to be connected to the internet. Rob Bishop
Other posts about BananaDrone