MakeFest Liverpool is a family-friendly event celebrating low level technologies, hardware, hacking and making. We participated again with a stand at the 2017 event. We built two fun Internet of Things games to try and engage those attending, and learn more about Android Things for ourselves. Here's our review on what we did and what we learned.
Three of us attended from Novoda. It was a crazy busy day with lots of people visiting us at our stand. Everyone had a wide range of knowledge, which made for some great conversations. People played the games and were really interested in what Android Things is all about. Most attendees of MakeFest were families with children aged 7–17, which is why we created IoT games to spark their interest.
Attending MakeFest had two aims. Firstly, we love helping the community, and seeing young people engaging with technology is inspiring. We enjoy helping to spark creative ideas and show how easy it is to get into technology. Secondly, we are always learning and trying to push the boundaries of our own knowledge. Working with hardware is not a daily occurrence yet for most of our projects, so MakeFest really pushed us to learn new things.
Our first project was a game based on the idea of Guitar Hero but using a piano. We used Android Things as our IoT platform, which meant we had to research how to connect an electronic piano (MIDI controller) with a Raspberry Pi 3.
Piano Hero uses a Raspberry Pi 3 running Android Things OS and our app. The app is available on GitHub here: https://github.com/novoda/spikes/tree/master/piano-hero
The board has a Rainbow Hat plugged into it, because right now its a prototype. We use the Segment Display to show the current score of the game, and the piezo buzzer to play the notes from the keyboard.
The cool thing about this app is you can use it on Android Things Raspberry Pi with a keyboard and screen plugged in, or you can run the same app on a phone and use an onscreen touch keyboard.
Our game winners this year each won an Android Things Rainbow Hat & case, which, when added to a Raspberry Pi 3, has everything needed to get started programming and hacking Android Things and similar IoT platforms.
Here's some more pictures of the app and setup at a different location!