Inventive pupils get digital as uni student holds workshop

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Pupils at Heysham High School were taught how to invent and deploy their own digitally-controlled devices in a free workshop run by a Lancaster University student.*

Cefn Hoile, a research student at the School of Computing and Communications and founder of the @ShrimpingIt community project, held the workshop for 20 sixth form students.

The aim of the workshop was to teach students how to prototype their own digitally-controlled inventions.

They programmed a ‘Shrimp’ – computer-controlled circuit designed for use in education, and named to reflect its Morecambe origins.

The Shrimp was used to construct a ‘Persistence of Vision’ illusion, which paints shapes onto the retina by flashing a column of LEDs in a timed sequence as it is waved in the air.

Each student was given the kit and taught how to use it, before being invited to take it home to remix and repurpose for free.

Cefn said: “This is about @ShrimpingIt coming home.

“We’ve been invited to share the Shrimp with people across the UK and the world, and learned such a lot from our travels, but the purpose of the project is to catalyse a ‘maker community’ here in Morecambe.

“I’m confident that the pupils of Heysham High will pick this up and run with it.”

The workshop comes after the success of the public workshops at Lancaster Castle as part of Hack Lancaster.

The cost of the Shrimp components for this event has been generously funded by Morecambe Town Council.

ShrimpingIt is a project designed to transform students’ relationship to electronics, programming and STEM subjects by preparing projects, running workshops and providing affordable components to schools.

Steph Williams, head of Heysham High’s creative faculty, said: “Pupils were fascinated with the various uses of the Arduino circuit and are excited to be able to utilise them in future design lessons opening up a whole new way of designing and prototyping.”