Learn Raspberry Pi from a nine-year-old

Julian Peen

NINE-year-old Julian Peen, known online as Mindstorminventor, will be presenting a Master Class in Reverse on the Raspberry Pi, as part of the Vivid Sydney Ideas program.

The Masterclass, to be held 8 June 2013 from 11am to 2pm at the Powerhouse Museum ThinkSpace, will see adults being taught by the nine-year-old on how to work with the credit-sized Raspberry Pi.

According to Lily Katakouzinos, manager of contemporary programs at the Powerhouse Museum, existing ThinkSpace workshops on the Arduino and Raspberry Pi open platforms tend to draw huge interest.

Katakouzinos, in her conversations with colleague Christopher Snelling, who manages the Powerhouse Discovery Centre in Castle Hill, learnt about Julian who has an avid interest in electronics and computers.

“After checking out Julian’s website, I went out to Castle Hill to meet him and his mum and was so impressed – not just with his knowledge but with the fact that he genuinely enjoyed talking others through some of his projects,” said Katakouzinos.

While Julian did not start off with much experience with the Raspberry Pi, he quickly picked it up, and together with his father started experimenting and learning about it.

“He has now become quite an expert and his passion and enthusiasm is quite contagious. I want our workshop participants to be inspired by that passion,” Katakouzinos told Electronics News.

On Julian’s website are multiple videos of him presenting various projects he has built using the Lego Mindstorms NXT 2.0 set, which his parents bought for him as a Christmas present.

Julian puts the systems together himself, but downloads most of the programs that run on the robots.

A popular project was a candy dispenser, capable of vending different types of candy when a coin is inserted into the machine.

Another impressive project was a Rubik’s Cube Solver, which uses a camera to scan the cube, before unscrambling it. Julian built the Rubik’s Cube Solver robot hardware in three days, then completed it with a program downloaded off the Internet.

He has also put together a mini Segway electric vehicle, which self-balances via a gyro-sensor. This was built in five minutes.

“Sometimes I modify the programs, if it’s a program that I can understand,” Julian explained.

On the NXT platform, Julian engages with drag-and-drop programming, which is similar to the Raspberry Pi’s Scratch, which is based on Python.

“I am learning how to use Python, and code writing. I am using the Internet to learn this, and sometimes I use the MagPi, which is a magazine you can download in the form of PDFs,” Julian said.

According to Julian, his schoolmates have yet to learn about his interest, and he plans on surprising them with the announcement the day before the Master Class.

Beginner to intermediate level attendees to Julian’s Master Class on Raspberry Pi can hope to learn about Python, the terminal, and the programming software.

“I will get them to reboot the Pi, go through the login procedure, and the modifications they can do to the configuration to bypass the need to put in a username and password,” said Julian.

To book the masterclass go here.

This article was originally published in Electronics News.

See what Julian had to say on ABC Good Games.