[Edu-sig] A suggestion for a high school programming project
francois.schnell at free.fr
Tue Sep 7 23:53:11 CEST 2004
Me too I'd like to see more things between Python and electronics...
Thank's to the rapid grow of cheap and powerfull microcontrolers,
electronics is more and more a programming activity acessible to
As a hobby I programed few PIC microcontrolers, it's very fun, but
unfortunately I had to that with Basic :-(
Where's my lovely Python there ?
Maybe there is some hope with Pyastra and I pray that it will develop
well, at the time of speaking Pyastra website seems down... but we can
still dream :
on top of Pyastra it would be very nice if it was possible to program
them visualy :-)
I know "Scracth" a visual programing kind of Lego from John Maloney -
MIT (based on Squeak) will enable kids to program visualy some
In french schools the hardware and software for processs control and
acquisition data is expansive ( nearly 1000 $ per unit) but we can still
continue to dream:
With microcontrolers it is possible to build something nearly similar (
a little bit slower, 10 bits resolution instead of 12) for the price of
a videogame and that a kid could have in his schollbag.
Microcontrolers are also easy to interface with serial interface devices
like mobiles, PDA or a Gameboy (things that kids love).
If someone knows any project linking Python and electronics I'm interesed.
Paul Barrett wrote:
> I was at SciPy (the Scientific Python Conference) in Pasadena, CA last
> week. There were some good talks about scientific applications of
> Python. One talk by Michel Sanner and his collaborators of the Scripps
> Research Institute was about their Vision library, which used to be
> called Viper. Michel has demonstrated this software at previous SciPy
> Conferences and possibly at one of the Python Conferences in the last
> few years.
> For those who are not familiar with the module. Vision
> (http://www.scripps.edu/~sanner/python/viper/) is a visual-programming
> environment in which a user can interactively build networks
> describing novel combinations of computational methods, and yielding
> new visualizations of their data without actually writing code. Nodes
> encapsulating specific computational methods are organized in
> libraries and displayed in Vision. The user can drag-and-drop them
> onto a canvas and connect their input and output ports to define an
> execution flow. Subnetworks can be encapsulated into macro nodes,
> allowing nesting of networks.
> Also during lunch on Friday, I was given a tour of the CalTech
> Infrared lab, where they are building some IR detectors for one of
> their telescopes. To control and test one of the new IR detectors,
> they use a commercial application called LabView, which allows
> electronics engineers to create programs visually by connecting the
> outputs of one node to the inputs of other nodes. Sounds like Vision
> doesn't it.
> For a number of years now (about a decade or so), I've had this vision
> (not to be confused with the Python library) of being able to use
> Python to develop space missions for NASA from beginning-to-end. That
> is from the hardware development phase of a NASA mission, where the
> scientists and engineers are building and testing the hardware, to the
> publication phase, where scientists are preparing their results for
> publication. The SciPy community is starting to get close to this
> ideal. We currently have numarray, the multidimensional array library,
> matplotlib, the cross-platform graphics library, and the scipy package
> of scientific algorithms. However, there is currently no software for
> programming and testing electronics hardware like LabView. My
> suggestion therefore is to create such a package using Vision.
> In my opinion, creating such a package should not be too difficult.
> Vision already provides the visual programming environment. The next
> step is to extend it with software for creating electronic circuits.
> I'm guessing that advanced high school students should be able to
> tackle this project with some guidance from a computer science teacher
> and an electronics teacher. In addition, a possible application of
> this package would be to create an OBDII (On-Board Diagnostics 2)
> scanner for reading information from a car's microprocessor.
> Hardware, which can be used to interface the car's microprocessor to a
> laptop, can be purchased for about $100.
> Having heard Jeff Elkner talk about his experiences teaching Python to
> students at Yorktown HS in Arlington, VA, I think this project is
> achievable for a group of advanced high school students. What I think
> is nice about this project is that it has practical applications.
> Any takers or am over the top on this one?
> -- Paul
François Schnell - Strasbourg - France
Linux is the answer. Now, what was your question?
More information about the Edu-sig