Key words, Raspberry Pi and the Pipsta

Key words, Raspberry Pi and the Pipsta

I recently reviewed the Pipsta for the Raspberry Pi and have been thinking over the last week of creative ways that it can be used within the classroom.

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Included with the Pipsta example code is a script for generating banners. I was immediately drawn to the idea of using these to generate key words to stick onto the white board or classroom wall.

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Whilst this may seem a very simple tool to use it does have some real potential for the class teacher:

  • The only consumable is the paper, which is incredibly cheap to buy
  • There is no cutting out needed once the key words are printed
  • The print head and font size is very readable
  • The printed image should last between one and seven years depending on the quality of the paper and how it is handled.
  • The speed of printing is incredibly and can easily be done during a lesson

Combining this with the ability to SHH into the Raspberry Pi students could also print out their own key words during a lesson from their own computers.

Visit the Pipsta website here


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TrafficHat

Introducing the TrafficHat by Ryanteck LTD

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Firstly a massive thank you to Ryanteck LTD for sending me the TrafficHat to review and secondly I should warn you that I am a big fan of Ryan at Ryanteck so this might be a little bit biased.

I love Raspberry Pi hats, I think the concept is excellent and I am starting to build up a big collection of them.

Ryan has recently released a new product the TrafficHat. Links to his website can be found here.

The hat is currently available as pre-order with estimated delivery next week and retails at £7.75

The Traffichat comes in a semi-kit form with most of the major soldering already done with the user needing to solder three LEDs, a switch and a buzzer. GPIO numbers are pre-assigned for each component making this easier for beginners to start programming with.

The hat contains: 3 jumbo LEDs (Red, Green and Amber), a switch and a buzzer

No extra software or libraries are needed for the hat and programming can be completed in any language which supports GPIO output.

With many students starting out with traffic light projects on the Raspberry Pi, I see this low-cost hat being very useful in a school or club environment where you need a reliable way of connecting LEDs without the need for breadboards or GPIO connectors. Although don’t get me wrong that is also a very important experience for the students to master.

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Introducing the Pipsta

Introducing the Pipsta - “The Little printer with big ideas”

Firstly, a huge thanks to Able Systems Limited for sending me the Pipsta to review. This will be the first of several posts about the Pipsta as I look later at some of the in-class applications and uses for it.



Pipsta is a smart little printer that’s full of big ideas. You can link your Pipsta to your Raspberry Pi and do all sorts of things – from printing labels to tickets.



Building and setting up the Pipsta is very straightforward and I spent just under 45 minutes building it and downloading and setting up the software on the Pi. The documentation is very comprehensive and you don’t need a huge skill or experience level to build the kit.

You will notice in my photos and videos the Pipsta looks blue, this is because I have not taken off the plastic coating from the perspex.

A really important and fairly awesome thing to note is that because the Pipsta uses thermal paper technology the only consumable is the paper, there is no ink, toner etc. I have found suitable rolls on Amazon for £4.99 for 20 rolls.

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The example code contains a number of useful applications such as printing text straight to the Pipsta, banner printing, printing from web pages, printing pictures and QR codes.

The python libraries are fairly intuitive and this releases a huge amount of potential for the Pipsta. At the moment I am using it in my classroom to print out key words and labels for the whiteboard using the banner print function. By networking the Pi and SSH into it from my tablet I can easily print key words as I walk around the classroom and then get the students to bring them to the front.

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The Pipsta can be purchased from ModMyPi here https://www.modmypi.com

The official Pipsta website can be found here http://www.pipsta.co.uk

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