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High tech, high up at Ridgefield Academy

Connor Larson, left, with Craig Certo, Kevin Maldonado, Bryce Chu, Jonah Norwitt, Skyler Sugar and teacher Deb Lasala get ready to launch their Raspberry Pi into the air above the Ridgefield Academy campus.

Connor Larson, left, with Craig Certo, Kevin Maldonado, Bryce Chu, Jonah Norwitt, Skyler Sugar and teacher Deb Lasala get ready to launch their Raspberry Pi into the air above the Ridgefield Academy campus.

Eighth graders at Ridgefield Academy were introduced to electronics, operating systems and coding Raspberry Pi, a $35 mini computer running Linux.

Ridgefielders Jonah Norwitt, Connor Larson and Craig Certo, along with Bryce Chu, Skylar Sugar and Kevin Maldonado, completed their programming class with an “out of this world” project. They attached a wirelessly networked Raspberry Pi with a camera to a helium balloon and sent it soaring over the school campus.

Using remote terminal commands, the students took aerial photos of the 42-acre campus. The photos were then collected remotely, during the flight.

Their photo was selected as a runner-up in Adafruit’s first annual photography contest. The contest had few rules: Anyone with a Pi could enter, and all photos had to be taken with Pi and a Pi camera or a webcam or a camera connected to the Raspberry Pi, and could not be altered or edited.

During the school year, the students built and configured their Pi operating system, then connected it to electronic circuits containing simple devices such as light and touch sensors, thermal sensors and cameras. Using python and terminal scripts, they measured light, used sensor input to do things like turn on lights or take pictures, or record video.

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