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Hills Road student Matt Timmons Brown is the ‘Raspberry Pi Guy’

17 Nov 2016
Hills Road Computer Science student, Matt Timmons Brown has created a motorised skateboard by using a Raspberry Pi computer. We caught up with Matt and asked him a few questions about his latest invention.

What is The Raspberry Pi Guy?
“The Raspberry Pi Guy is a YouTube channel that I started when I was 12 years old. I provide computer science tutorials and videos based around the Cambridge-born Raspberry Pi computer.”

When did you start getting interested in electronics/computer science and why?
“I originally became interested in Computer Science in 2012, when I read a tiny magazine article about a computer that I would be able to buy with pocket money. This was a pretty exciting thing for an 11-year-old! Your own computer… For less than £30?! It was called the Raspberry Pi. I bought myself one and over the summer I set about learning everything I possibly could about both Electronics and Computer Science. In September 2012, I decided to share this journey and help other people to learn about computers through Raspberry Pi. To do this, I setup a YouTube channel called ‘The Raspberry Pi Guy’.

Four years, 70 videos and 4.25 million views later, I have just finished my latest Raspberry Pi project: an electric skateboard. This was inspired by another YouTuber, Casey Neistat, who frequently vlogs himself racing through the streets of New York on a commercial electric skateboard. These cost in excess of £1500 and I thought that I would create one for myself to save some money and learn along the way.”

Why are you interested specifically in Pi?
“Raspberry Pi was the device that got me interested in Computer Science and without its creation my life would be very different today. I am interested in the Raspberry Pi specifically because, as a platform, it is a fantastic piece of electronics to work with: there is plenty of documentation, hardware and software to help you create just about anything you want!”
How does my skateboard work?
“The project is based around a top-mounted longboard with two boxes on the bottom. The first of these boxes houses a 22 volt, 8-amp hour lithium polymer battery. This is then fed into the second box. This box contains an electric speed controller (ESC) and a £4 Raspberry Pi Zero. The speed controller is connected to an 80-amp brushless motor that uses a pulley to drive the back wheel. In operation, a Nintendo Wii remote is held and communicates with the Raspberry Pi over Bluetooth. When the up button on the Wii remote is pressed a signal from the Pi travels to the ESC which, in turn, increases the speed of the motor. A similar process happens for deceleration.”

Matt is looking at studying Computer Science at university after he completes his A levels next year. We wish him well.

Read more about Matt on the Cambridge News website