SPARK Skills Festival, Raspberry Pi and Banana Wi-Fi

After lots of planning and packing, we headed into Bristol last Thursday to take part in the very first SPARK Skills Festival, organised by TechSPARK and held at the Watershed. With us we had the usual suspects – a table, chairs, leaflets, roller banners and stickers – and something a bit more unusual that turned many heads during the day…

Remember banana Wi-Fi? Probably not, but earlier this year a Danish company used a Raspberry Pi and a banana to generate Wi-Fi codes for visitors.

As a hosting and cloud computing provider we were wondering what on earth we could bring to the SPARK Skills Festival that would highlight our love of tech and amuse the next generation of techies, coders and developers.

So, we decided to adapt the banana Wi-Fi code for our very own prize draw. Our Raspberry Pi was connected to a Makey Makey board, TFT display and a banana and, after a long evening of coding, we were ready to go.

It’s simple, really. Touch the banana to generate your unique code, then enter the code and your contact details into our iPad to enter the prize draw. (In practice, what really happens is that your touch results in a voltage drop in the banana, which triggers the Makey Makey board, which again activates the Raspberry Pi. Want to know more? Tweet your questions to our coder.)

But back to the Skills Festival – we were in incredibly good company on the day. TechSPARK had gathered a great selection of tech companies from the South West, and there were plenty of students and graduates visiting the stands. If you want the numbers, we heard there were 200 companies and 500 delegates in total!

There were tech demos (like the 360 selfie), Pervasive Media studio tours and tech talks, so there was plenty to do!

And now we’re off to do the prize draw and see which one of our banana-touchers have won the Amazon Echo Dot…

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