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Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 in Podcast

Raspberry Pi Today Podcast Episode 10: FUZE’ing old and new

Raspberry Pi Today Podcast Episode 10: FUZE’ing old and new

This week’s podcast is all about the FUZE, a workstation-like computer case for the Raspberry Pi designed to aid the learning of programming and simple electronics. John Silvera, Founder and MD of FUZE Technologies, also talks us through the latest model, the FUZE T2

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John Silvera is the Founder and MD of FUZE Technologies Ltd, maker of the FUZE workstation powered by Raspberry Pi and proponent of BASIC as a first programming language.

Having struggled through school John Silvera discovered a love of technology and learned BASIC with the BBC Micro. Having found success in later life in the software industry, John rediscovered his love of computer programming and shared it with his kids:

“I’ve got three kids of varying ages. I got my BBC Micro down from the loft to show them and they loved it,” Silvera explains. “It just sparked something in me… The kids loved getting involved with text-based programming and I thought: wouldn’t it be great if we could expose kids to that again.”

And so the FUZE was born.

Part of John’s reasoning for creating the FUZE was born out of the Raspberry Pi’s relative vulnerability to static electricity. “Part of the Raspberry Pi’s charm is in its nudity, it’s a bare board… while it’s charming, it’s also very vulnerable to static,” he says.

The real draw of the FUZE, though, comes with its decision to sidestep Python as its predominant programming language in favour for a new and updated version of BASIC, called FUZE BASIC, for which he enlisted the help of Gordon Hendserson, who modified a version of Return to Basics (RTB) – a project Gordon had been working on separately – especially for the FUZE.

Another of the big ticket updates for the new FUZE T2 models (of which there are four variations) is the revised IO board, a breakout for the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins that sits on the back edge of the FUZE chassis.

Below is a walkthrough and unboxing of the FUZE T2 courtesy of our friends at
UK Tech Reviews:

“We’ve revised the IO board to include analog support,” explains Silvera. “People seem to think we live in a digital world… we don’t. Information is generally sent digitally, but our interaction with the world is very much an analogue one.

To get concepts of analogue across via the resistors in things like Xbox controllers is difficult, especially in education, so analogue was a top priority with the FUZE T2.”

Links:
FUZE Type II Models
FUZE BASIC reference guide
FUZE project cards
Gordon Henderson (maker of FUZE BASIC)
Return to Basic (RTB)

I hope you enjoy the podcast.
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Podcast Music

The music used in the podcast is by Eric Skiff. The track used is We’re The Resistors from the album Resistor Anthems. You can find more of Eric’s music at freemusicarchive.org