VR Headset


Today we had a play on a VR headset. Here’s a link to the one I bought. It looks like it might work with a 5th gen iPod touch (it fits 4-6″ screens) but apparently Google Cardboard apps work best with screens from 5″ – 5.5″.

Apps are available for Android phones & for iPhones. You can also make 360deg videos of your favourite place using a 360deg camera app on your phone. Some of the apps we used on the iPhone are below:

Fibrum Rollercoaster VR ,or search VR Rollercoaster in App store or Google Play

Google Cardboard

There are also lots of nature videos eg Swimming with Sharks, Watching Gorillas, as well as Geography videos – you can use Google Cardboard with Street View to get a 360 deg tour of places across the world.

Xylobands – what do Melanie & Tunde think?

Melanie emailed me this morning – they have kindly done some research into Xylobands for you & this is what they found out:

“I had a chat to Fab (Tunde!) and one of my other co-workers who went to the Coldplay concert as well; we think without the RFID reader or software it won’t be possible to interfere with these bands. :(

I also found an article with the Xylobands inventor Jason Regler (back from 2012, though) in which he says:

So how do they work?

Basically they’re an RF-driven wristband. They’ve got a receiver in them which receives data and that data tells them how to flash and when to flash, basically.

How far can you transmit?

I think at the moment we can go to about 300 metres. Hence the story of the lady who lived near the Charlie Brown video shoot who’d been to a gig and suddenly found that her wristband was flashing again!

Could you do it over a bigger area?

That’s a good question. We’ve not really tested that yet. 300 metres is quite a long way. But we’d love to be able to do it over a big festival site one day. Somewhere like Glastonbury is the dream. But you could always have multiple transmitters. It’d be amazing to see that moment of unity that the Xylobands seem to create on that kind of scale.

A lot of fans have been asking if they could make the wristbands work at home?

Not at the moment, no. We are looking at a product which does work at home, but the main concern is that if you make it possible to activate them at home, then you’d get people trying to set them off at a gig, and spoiling the effect. (Nicola says – this is a good point -we hadn’t thought of that!)

Is it theoretically possible for someone to make a transmitter like yours which matches your signal?

Possibly. But we put code and other stuff in there too, to stop that. But it would be possible to change your battery if it’d run out and bring it back to another show.

Also on Wikipedia (I will trust it this time) it says “The operator of the controller or laptop software may program all wristbands or only those of certain colors to flash on and off at specific intervals and specific moments. The wristbands are not intended to be lit outside of the concert venue.”

It seems, though, that they developed a hand held remote controller “for smaller and more cost effective events [..] so you can operate them yourself (this does have limited functionality so please discuss your event suitability with us first).”



What would the students like to do with these Xylobands if they could do anything with it? Here are the answers to this, using our new, Post-it app! “


Huge thanks to Melanie & Tunde for helping us with this!

Wimbledon Tennis

So, the tennis is over and congratulations go to Andy Murray & Serena Williams. Did you watch any of the tennis? Did you wonder how any of the technology works? Because the blog hasn’t been working (though now it’s fixed), we will use Post-it Pads and the app to collate our answers – see below the questions:

Here are my questions:

  • What is Hawk-Eye & how do you think it works? Which other sports use this technology? Can you think of a use for it outside of sport?
  • How do you think serve speed is measured? Can you find out what was the fastest serve speed at this year’s Wimbledon Tennis Championships? What else can you think of that travels at a similar speed?
  • Did you notice the use of other technologies? Can you let me know which and find out how they work?

Tim won’t be with us at Code Club this week as he is on a course at IBM, which is the company that provides much of the technology to Wimbledon Championships. In fact, he has a lecture about this on Tuesday and I have asked him to help us find some answers! We’ll discuss the answers next week – our final week :-(


Learn more here

Sonic Pi

Today we are learning to code in Sonic Pi.


Sonic Pi allows you to code music in programming software called Ruby. Ruby is a general purpose programming language created in the 1990s by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto. It’s also one of the best languages to start with when you’re first learning to code. It’s dynamic – it can cope with changes as it runs. I believe it is used by programmers writing encryption codes because this ability to change makes it more secure.You can learn to program in Ruby more generally here – why not have a go?

Sonic Pi is a free program – you can get download it at home with your parents’ permission and it also works on a Raspberry Pi.

We will learn how to use timings to get the song to sound right, and how to use repeats, loops and procedures to make the code more efficient. We’ll start by listening to “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles. Can you hear any repeats, loops or procedures?

(This version not actually sung by The Beatles!)


Lyrical Flowcharts

You did really well at flow-charting your bin designs tonight. I’ll add them to the blog tomorrow.

I thought you might enjoy these song flowcharts – can you find loops, repeats & procedures? Can you make a flowchart for a song? Hint – start simple!