Make a Shrimp for Easter – a practical embedded computing workshop for kids and their parents/guardians – London 01/05/2015

The BCS Open Source and Software Practice Advancement specialist groups are hosting a workshop which looks at embedded computing for kids. The event will be held on Wednesday 1st April 2015 at BCS HQ – 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

This event is free to attend for both BCS Members and non-members but booking is required. Places are limited; please book as soon as possible.


ShrimpThe Shrimp is an incredibly fun, low cost computer that can be built and programmed by just about anyone, in only a few hours and with no prior experience of electronics or programming. Comprising of a simple circuit that is assembled from a handful of components, it can quickly be made to flash LEDs and put to use in exciting projects that have switches, sensors and outputs.

During this workshop participants will first construct the basic Shrimp circuit, before programming it to blink a single LED, and then go onto a more advanced project – such as adding more LEDs and programming it to paint letters in the air with these as it is waved about (using a phenomenon termed persistence of vision). At the end of the evening, teams will demonstrate the fruits of their labours to each other and there may well be some Easter eggs to share around as a reward!


Individuals and families with children over the age of 10 (or possibly a very IT-savvy younger child) are welcome to take part. Any participant under 16 years of age must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times.

Each of up to 10 teams will be provided with a Shrimp kit, various electronic components and written project instructions. The kit is driven by a 4.5V DC battery supply, so is perfectly safe. Each team must bring a laptop computer (see details below).

Complimentary refreshments are available throughout. Sandwiches, wraps, fruit and muffins will be served during an interval around 7pm.

Session leaders

Cornelia Boldyreff is a Visiting Professor at the University of Greenwich in the School of Computing and Mathematical Sciences. She has over 25 years’ experience in software engineering research and has published extensively on her research in the field. She is a Fellow of the British Computer Society, and a founding committee member of the BCSWomen Specialist Group, a committee member of the BCS e-Learning Specialist Group, and currently chair of the BCS Open Source Specialist Group. She has been actively campaigning for more women in STEM throughout her career.

Together with Miriam Joy Morris and Yasmine Arafa, she founded the start-up, ebartex Ltd, and together they are developing a new digital bartering currency, ebarts.

Aireni Omerri (ISfA) takes the words of Gandhi to heart: “Be the change that you wish to see”. Her first degree was Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Nairobi and her second was on Information Security at Royal Holloway. She is currently undertaking Inclusive Innovation studies and starting a new chapter on a continent that’s an integral part of her life as founder of Information Security for Africa.

Questions and Answers

What kind of laptop do I need?

Anything reasonably modern, with WiFi. It can run Windows, Linux or Mac OS X, but you need access to the internet. The laptop must run an Arduino-capable C/C++ IDE (integrated development environment), such as Eclipse for C/C++ with Arduino extensions or the Arduino IDE.

Do I need to install anything in advance?

You don’t need to – but if you want to, it will save time on the night and let you get on faster. We’ll be installing it as part of the workshop, but the more people who arrive ready to run, the quicker we can get going with the actual code.

Do I need to bring an Arduino?

If you have one, please do – there’s nothing more fun than getting stuff working on your own device. But kits will be provided to all participants on the night.

My daughter/son is younger than 10 but really keen on computers, can I bring her/him?

Yes, sure, if you think they won’t be disruptive. We’ve had 6 year olds come along to previous events, and really enjoy it. Young kids can get bored easily, and the evening involves talking and working on computers, so please consider whether your kid is likely to get a bit raucous working from 6pm to 8:30pm with short breaks.

Do I have to be a BCS member to come along?

No, the event is free and open to all.

Is there anything else I need to bring?

We’re providing sandwiches/wraps and desserts, including some vegetarian options, but if you have special dietary needs you might want to bring your own food. You might also want a camera to keep a record of your participation.

Letters of invitation

Please note that BCS do not issue letters of invitation.

The UK Border Agencys must be contacted for all visa enquiries.