Embedded Python Open Space

Notes from the open space discussion Python for embedded systems (e.g. Raspberry Pi, ESP-32, MicroBits).

Date: Friday, 11 October 2019

Topics discussed:

Groups represented at the open space

  • House4Hack (maker space in Johannesburg)
    • Schalk and Philip from House4Hack brought their radio controlled glider, numerous Python controlled robots and some MicroBits with games on them.
  • ZimboPy (train women to code using Raspberry Pi)
  • SKA (Square Kilometer Array, a giant radio telescope)
  • PyGuy Training (introducing people to programming using Raspberry Pi)


  • Located in Centurion.
  • People meet there once a week and sometimes there are courses on weekends.
  • They're planning to relaunch their training with CircuitPython which has broader applications.
  • There is currently a lot of interest in machine learning and AI on smaller devices, and in particular on projects that make use of machine learning but don't require selling your data.
  • How to contact the group:
    • Telegram group
    • http://house4hack.co.za/
    • Pitch up on Tuesday, after 6pm
    • Meetings are unstructured.
    • So bring your project "e.g. I can't get my switch to work"
    • Always keen on teaching.
  • House4Hack is an actual house.
    • It has a training room.
    • And some rooms that can be rented.
    • Machines which can be used:
      • Foam cutters.
      • Laser cutters.
      • 3D printers.
    • Currently the space under-utilized.
    • People from ages 9-81 have all had fun there.
    • The people there provide a pool of collaborative intelligence.
    • E.g. people at House4Hack collaborated to send a small satellite into space on a weather balloon and got telemetry back.

Other groups & spaces

  • Makerstation in Cape Town, but:
    • A paid membership is required.
    • And you pay as you go for use of tools, etc. which makes it less of an option for people exploring and learning.
  • Codewars Academy
    • Is a group in Johannesburg that provides Python training on Thursdays.
    • There was interest in a collaboration between Codewars Academy and House4Hack.

Hardware and devices

  • MicroBit
    • Capable of supporting bluetooth multiplayer games, such as hide and seek.
    • Costs R 299.
    • Available from robotics.org.za & pishop.co.za.
    • Provides Bluetooth, SPI, a light sensor, a temperature sensor, and a small display.
    • Great single package for introducing people to embedded systems without have to solder or build circuits straight away.
  • Circuit Playground Express
    • Provides a speaker, microphone, button, and lights.


  • It was discussed whether is would be a good idea to start an "Embedded Python" track as part of CTPUG or GPUG. In Cape Town there appears to be a gap in this space and in Gauteng GPUG could collaborate with House4Hack.