Centre College students in Associate Professor of Computer Science David Toth’s CentreTerm course have their hands deep in Raspberry Pi, learning how to build hardware and software systems.
The new course Raspberry Pi: Building Hardware and Software Systems was designed for students who want to learn how to use Raspberry Pi computers to perform Internet of Things tasks like turning off lights in a house from a cellular device.
“This is a really hands-on class and has a huge emphasis on laboratory activities and creativity,” Toth said. “While the students will be learning a number of techniques, they will spend more time in lab than in lecture. The prospect of them building something that would be useful for somebody is also exciting.”
According to Toth, students will learn how to connect different sensors, such as temperature, flame, infrared, camera, and motion sensor to the Raspberry Pi computers and get information from the sensors.
“They will be able to write code to send that data over a network to other computers, make web pages that get updated as the data changes in real-time, as well as plot the data in real-time,” he added. “They will learn to cobble together sensors with the Raspberry Pi and write code to make a dedicated tiny device.”
For example, Toth explained that they could put one of the Raspberry Pi computers inside a freezer, attach a temperature sensor and have the device send an e-mail alert to someone if the temperature gets too warm if the freezer malfunctions.
The purpose of the course is for students to learn to combine tiny computers with sensors and code they write that allows the deck of card-sized computers to perform a specific task, acting as a dedicated device.
Toth shared that he would like his students to learn the topics covered, exercise their creativity, develop an appreciation for hardware and develop the ability to build something from existing components.
“I really hope the students will get a chance to be creative and make something that might be useful for them or someone else,” he concluded.
by Kerry Steinhofer
January 10, 2018