Hundreds of children present ‘cool’ CoderDojo projects

Games, apps and inventions on show at fifth annual awards in Dublin

Dhruv Bhamidipati (left), Jasper Brezina-Conneffe, Harvey Brezina-Conniffe and Grainne Meghan, pictured at the launch of the fifth CoderDojo awards in March. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Dhruv Bhamidipati (left), Jasper Brezina-Conneffe, Harvey Brezina-Conniffe and Grainne Meghan, pictured at the launch of the fifth CoderDojo awards in March. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

 

Several thousand people descended on the RDS on Saturday for the CoderDojo coolest projects awards.

More than 800 young people from across Ireland and Europe entered the CoderDojo’s annual Coolest Projects awards which featured robots, gadgets, games, blogs and websites designed by coders between the ages of seven and 17.

Now in its fifth year, and rapidly growing, it is a showcase of the global CoderDojo movement, the community-based, free computer coding classes booted-up by James Whelton in 2011.

Its momentum has seen it outgrow its original DCU base, and from an initial 20 children to 800 this year.

Hanna Berhanu, aged 7, from Booterstown in Dublin has been coding for the past two years. Scratch is a free interactive online programming website where you can create your own interactive games and stories.

Hanna created a game from Scratch called Racing Car Two.

Stephen Cushen from Dublin worked on a project called LiFi ,which uses lightbulbs for internet connectivity.

“Any bulb in your house can transmit wifi to you computer. Large colleges such as MIT and Cambridge have been experiment with LiFi and they have achieved speeds of up to 224 gigabits a second. I tried to take a piece of the puzzle before it becomes commercial by developing it myself” said Patrick.

“I have got it to go up to dialup speed which is quite slow by today’s standards but still impressive,” said Patrick.

Harvey Brezina Conniffe from Wicklow was there with his web development project called “Coder DoJo Start-Ups”.

“It’s a system to enable kids in Coder DoJo to develop websites, get domain names and make it easier for them to learn web development and how to make websites. Once they sign up they can choose a sub domain of coder dojo. They can then either programme it in the online editor, they can link it to a website they already have or they can graphically build a placeholder page so it can be seen on the internet,” said Harvey.

Other projects on display were “My Voice” by Niall Kehoe from the coder dojo club in Gorey, Co Wexford.

Niall made a speech enabling app which can be used to help people with speech impediments to communicate easily through pictures and their appropriate headings.

It allows users to take pictures of people, food, activities, etc and save them to their device. To communicate an item, users can tap on the item to enlarge the image and press the microphone button which will then speak the title. Over time, this allows users to build up a huge library of useful photos and words personalised to their own needs.

Ellen Pender from Dublin made an app called RedAlert that sends a message to a trusted contact chosen by the user.

The idea is to alert the chosen contact that the user does not have access to their phone and may be in danger. The user also has the option of including their location (at the time the message is sent) in the message. The app is being built using HTML/CSS and Javascript.