We are HisarCS, a computer science team from Hisar High School in Istanbul, Turkey. We started in 2012 as a couple of students developing projects around a small table and grew throughout the years, and now have over 30 students actively developing CS & robotics projects and attending competitions & conferences all around the world.
Pi Wars Turkey
For the past 2 years, we had the opportunity to attend the Pi Wars competition held at Cambridge University and were amazed by the environment and community. We noticed that unlike many robotics competitions we had previously attended both in Turkey and around the world, Pi Wars had no rivalry between the teams. It felt like everyone attending was there just because they loved making robots, which created an encouraging environment for people just getting started in robotics.
We wanted to bring this culture and community to Turkey and encourage more students to pursue STEAM, especially in underprivileged public schools. With this mission of increasing exposure to STEM fields and creating an equal learning opportunity for young Turkish students, we decided to organize Pi Wars in Turkey. Tim Potten and Michael Horne, the organizers of Pi Wars, gladly accepted our proposal and supported us throughout our journey.
Other RasPi Based Projects
The Raspberry Pi has been the core of many robotics projects made by HisarCS. Our first experience with the microcomputer was through HisArcade, a Raspberry Pi based arcade machine completely built and programmed by us. The arcade included games such as Snake, PAC-MAN, Tetris and Pong.
Following this project, we decided to share the skills we acquired in Raspberry Pi and other fields with schools throughout Istanbul. From this the first Hisar Coding Summit was born: an annual event where HisarCS students host workshops on various topics in computer science, electronics and design to both national and international participants.
Then came “Jonathan”, a mobile smart assistant robot that could move with voice commands, detect faces through its camera and perform basic voice assistant functions. We presented a research poster about Jonathan at PyCon UK 2018 in Cardiff.
Our most recent Raspberry Pi project is “Pomelo”, an interactive education robot that can be 3D printed from scratch and used in class environments to teach elementary school children programming and collaboration skills. Pomelo and the research paper written on its in-class performance were presented alongside university-level projects at the 2019 Human Robot Interaction Conference in Daegu, South Korea, where it where it received the Delegate’s Choice Award.