Lorraine Underwood - Using the BBC micro:bit in real life applications


The BBC micro:bit is a tiny computer designed for all kinds of cool creations from robots to musical instruments – the possibilities are endless! It can be coded from any web browser in Blocks, Javascript, Python, Scratch and more - no tricky coding required. The second CodeMill meetup had digital maker and Computing At School teacher Lorraine Underwood explaining what micro:bit actually is and how to use it in real life applications. She talked about her recent work and even brought some projects to demonstrate live.

We explored the possibilities and learned how easy it is to use by a person with no previous coding or engineering experience and how to make it fun to get children involved as well!Some projects mentioned by Lorraine were: cycling indicator jacket, micro:bit cross stitch, a Power Rangers sword, storm cloud, and temperature controlled stair lights.  You can find details of all these projects on Lorraine's blog here: highlight for me was a cycling safety direction indicator using LED strips controlled by a micro:bit - fun and useful!You can listen to the talk and see the slides here:

Using micro:bit with MS MakeCode


Here is the link to the very cool JavaScript Blocks Editor that Lorraine mentioned in her talk: The block-based editor makes it very simple to get started with coding the micro:bit.There is very little learning curve involved. I tried out the examples from Lorraine and made first micro:bit application in just 5 minutes! Here is my first try with the micro:bit - some scrolling text: this for yourself here:



Katie Hassell - Software and Spacecraft: Not Just for Computer Scientists


The first Codemill Digital skills meetup was launched by Katie Haskell, a Spacecraft Thermal Engineer, who over the last six years has worked on a whole range of missions, including: EarthCARE, Solar Orbiter, LISA Pathfinder, Biomass and PLATO.With the talk "Software and Spacecraft: Not Just for Computer Scientists", Katie introduced us to general principles behind spacecraft engineering, including an overview of different roles and uses of software in addition to challenges.

Key Points:

  • Spacecraft engineers also need to be computer scientists

  • Every smallest detail matters, for example, Gaia spacecraft has stability requirements of 14 micro arc seconds.

  • Thermo-elastic distortion

  • EarthCARE

  • Various planets in the universe have been discovered due to funny wobble on another planet

  • After building a spacecraft, testing happens in a vacuum chamber to make sure the thermal model behaves the same and afterwards, simulations can be done by analysis.

You can see the slides here:

CodeMill meetup launch night with spacecraft engineer Katie Hassell - 14 Sept 2017

Launch night at ODI LeedsWe're thrilled to be launching CodeMill at ODI Leeds on Thursday 14 Sept 2017 with a very special guest speaker: spacecraft engineer Katie Hassell (@khassellspace)Register for the meetup at Meetup.comSoftware and Spacecraft: Not Just for Computer ScientistsLike many engineered products of today (cars, aeroplanes, buildings), spacecraft have complex designs; not made any easier by a lack of access after launch and usually no "repeat" mission to iterate a design over.  It will come as no surprise that computational analysis features heavily in the life of a spacecraft engineer.Katie will introduce the general principles behind spacecraft engineering, including an overview of different roles and uses of software.  She will share her experience of being a thermal analyst for spacecraft and a brief history of how software use has changed in the industry, looking at some more recent missions and how software is changing the scope of future space exploration.Katie HassellKatie-Hassell--highres_463897263Originally from Giggleswick in North Yorkshire, Katie studied Physics at The University of Warwick. After a few years in the administrative wilderness, she completed a Masters in Aerospace Engineering, before becoming a Spacecraft Thermal Engineer. Over the last six years she has been lucky enough to work on a whole range of missions, including: EarthCARE, Solar Orbiter, LISA Pathfinder, Biomass and PLATO.@khassellspace---Introduction to CodeMill The founder of CodeMill, Matthew Skelton (@matthewpskelton), will give an overview of CodeMill and what we hope to achieve over the coming months and years: a boost to the digital skills of the region! Register for the meetup at