University of Northampton - teaching and researching Blockchain recognition

Taken from: University of Northampton recognised for being one of a handful of institutions teaching and researching Blockchain

The University of Northampton has been recognised as one of only a handful of Higher Education (HE) institutions worldwide which are teaching or carrying out Blockchain research.
Blockchain is a shared, replicated ledger that underpins technology such as cryptocurrency, but also sets out to provide the foundation for the next generation of transactional applications.
Blockchain analyst website Diar has included the University of Northampton in a list of just 28 HE providers that teach aspects of Blockchain and/or conduct research into it.
Northampton does both.
Postgraduate students on the MSc Computing course are taught elements of Blockchain, including a general introduction to the basic concepts, plus coding and programming techniques.
Meanwhile, various Northampton academics, led by Senior Lecturer in Education, Dr Cristina Devecchi,  have collaborated on a Blockchain project to help Syrian refugee children which has been promoted by the United Nations.
Dr Scott Turner, who teaches Blockchain on the MSc Computing course, has also delivered a talk with colleague Ali Al-Sherbaz about the subject to the British Computing Society.
The University’s Vice Chancellor, Professor Nick Petford, said: “It is good to see the work of the University of Northampton recognised as contributing to the academic and practical development of Blockchain.
“The technology offers a new way of looking at old problems with great potential to innovate across a wide range of our research activities from education and humanitarian aid to supply chain management.”

All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with. Twitter @scottturneruon

Build Disco cube:bit that reacts to music.

In a previous post Micro:bit and Cube:bit 'says' Hello I introduced the start of me playing with the 4tronix Cube:bit. One of the things I want to try is get the cube to react to music, based around the accelerometers in a micro:bit picking up vibrations. Luckily, in an earlier post, I had done something similar for the Proto-Pic Micro:pixel (see Dancing Pixels for more details).

 Essentially the idea is the vibrations from the music shake the micro:bit enough to give measurable changes in three axis, and these values are used to change the pixel's colour - in fact five pixels at a time.

The code shown below is all that was needed:
from microbit import *
import neopixel, random

np = neopixel.NeoPixel(pin0, 125)

while True:
    for pxl in range (2,125, 5):
        np[pxl] = (rd, gr, 0)
        np[pxl-1] = (rd, gr, 0)
        np[pxl+1] = (0, gr, rd)
        np[pxl-2] = (rd, 0, 0)
        np[pxl+2] = (0, gr,0)

Here it is in action:

The music used in the video is 

Please feel free to improve on this.

All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with. Twitter @scottturneruon

Microbit and Cube:bit 'says' Hello

Since seeing pictures of the 4tronix Cube:bit I have intrigued by it and now I have one. So what is it? It is a 3D array of neopixel-style LEDs, or another way of describing it a programmable box of LEDs (or just good fun). The option I went for the 5x5x5 array (125 LEDs) controlling it with a micro:bit, and the base for mounting and powering the grid.

Instructions for putting it together can be found at My main bit of advice is read the instructions carefully especially if you go for the 5x5 options, at the time of writing, you need to move a standoff around but it is all in the instructions. Admittedly I missed this step initially. 

So to playtime, using a microbit I wanted to spell-out HELLO across the grid using the Micro:Bit JavaScript Blocks/MakeCode Editor. Basically, my solution revolved around creating two JavaScript functions to produce vertical and horizontal patterns on the grid (sounds good saying that - reminds me of Tron). What is very useful is 4tronix's have provided their own MakeCode package (the URL needed is in the instructions ), this was great it made it even easier to get programming. The plan was put H is one first vertical plane, the E on the next and so on.

The code to my solution is available here  or can be seen or download from below.

The video below shows it in action. 

It isn't the cheapest option for producing a grid of neopixel-style LEDs but it probably one of the easiest ways to do this. Quite quickly (if you read the instructions) you have a 3D array of LEDs to program. Last but not least, it is fun. Now I have to think (or rather stop thinking) about all the things I want to do with this.

Another review and related links:

All opinions in this blog are the Author's and should not in any way be seen as reflecting the views of any organisation the Author has any association with. Twitter @scottturneruon