The student teams that participate in the Premier Farnell Technology Challenge 2017 will each be provided with identical 'Starter Kits' containing components provided by Premier Farnell. They will also receive a limited budget for ordering additional equipment.
The basic starter kit contains the following components...
|Product Number (Farnell element14)
|Raspberry Pi Zero
|RPi Power Supply
|Red LEDs (x10)
|Green LEDs (x10)
|Yellow LEDs (x10)
|Jumper Wire Assortment (M-M)
|Jumper Wire Assortment (F-F)
|Breadboard Jumper Wire Kit
|Tactile Switch (Non-Illuminated)
|40 Pin Header
Choosing the technology
We chose to build the Premier Farnell Technology Challenge around the Pi Zero because of the flexibility and usability it offers. Given that we are targeting students aged 16-18 with diverse levels of coding experience, we felt that a Raspberry Pi device would represent a meaningful challenge to the participants while also remaining accessible to students who may not have worked with the technology before. The purpose of this initiative is to encourage students to refine both their coding skills and their physical computing skills. The Pi Zero offers an opportunity to do both.
The Raspberry Pi community also attracts a huge number of makers from all over the world, from experienced engineers to casual hobbyists. This means the internet is brimming with projects from people all around the world, which should provide a virtually limitless source of inspiration for the participants. There are also many tools and learning resources available online to help students to push and develop their skills.
Additional tools and resources
Using the budget provided by Premier Farnell, students can incorporate any additional components they wish into their design, but the final prototype must make use of input/outputs - such as sensors, motors, indicators etc. Creativity is highly encouraged, so students are free to make their devices wearable, fixed or portable according to the specific needs of the target user. Incorporating IoT is also encouraged but not mandatory.
Students have already taken part in a training day at Leeds Beckett University, which included a 'Coding Bootcamp' and a focus group and ideas session where students had the opportunity to meet people living with the complex needs that their final prototypes should be geared towards. They have also been provided with learning materials and online tutorials from the Raspberry Pi foundation, plus additional support from element14. Further workshops and feedback sessions will be running in the coming weeks as the participants continue to work on their designs.