Support Piper Make Pulse



(Formerly Heart Rate Sensor)

With Piper Make Pulse, you will receive:
  • Heart Rate Sensor (1)
  • Laser Cut, Laser Etched Wood Pieces 
  • Standoff
  • O-Ring (1)
  • Velcro (2)
  • Jumper Wires M2F
  • Blueprint
  • Piper Make Sticker

Hardware Issues

I've got my kit — now what?

You will need a Piper Make Starter Kit or a Piper Make Base Station to be able to use your Piper Make Pulse! Grab your kit and computer (with a USB port) and head over to Piper Make Mission Control to start with the Starter Expedition. The first mission is "Getting Started" — the tutorial will walk you through building your first button! 

After you've understood Piper Make, grab your Pulse and click the Sensors Expedition. The tutorials will walk you through how to use the heart rate sensor, but Step 1 is the build which you will do according to the blueprint in your kit.

This is what the Pulse looks like when built:

What circuits do I build with my Pulse?

The mission will guide you in building the circuit for your Pulse and wiring everything up.

The wiring diagrams will look like these:

My pulse does not show up when I put my finger on the sensor.

The sensor works by reflecting green light off your skin and measuring changes as blood perfuses through your finger which registers as your pulse. If you're not able to see your pulse, then try to move your finger around to make sure the pad of your finger is on the green light and make sure you are not pressing down tightly on the sensor. 

Rest your finger softly on top of the sensor and hold it still for at least 30 seconds while watching the monitor.
Still not working? Try turning off the lights to minimize interference!

If you're still not seeing a pulse or your range of measured values are >900s on the Y-axis, then you might want to take a black Sharpie and color over the LED and try again. This minimizes the amount of green light which might be overwhelming the sensitive photodiode.

Does skin tone affect Pulse sensor readings?

As the heart rate sensor works by bouncing green light off skin, skin tone can indeed have an effect on pulse measurements! This is actually a common problem in custom wearables - like Fitbits and Apple Watches.
"Early evidence suggests that wearable devices may be less accurate for detection of both heart rate and rhythm in participants with darker skin tones. Further higher quality evidence is needed, involving consistent stratification of participants by race and/or skin tone, to characterize potential racial bias in consumer devices." - JACC 2022

My Pico won't connect to Piper Make.

Using the Raspberry Pi Pico with Piper Make requires a DATA cable. Some USB cables are charge-only, which will not work with our products.

What version of the Raspberry Pi is included in the Piper Make?

The Piper Make Starter Kit includes the Raspberry Pi Pico microcontroller. 

Read more about Raspberry Pis on their site at:

Software Issues

What is Mission Control? Where can I use it?

Piper Make Mission Control refers to our online drag-and-drop coding platform. It is free and open-source with missions that correspond to the hardware widgets you can buy in the Piper Make product line. Access it here:
When you access the site, you will land in the Base Expedition with the mission "Getting Started" first on your screen. Scroll or click right arrow to see more missions in the expedition.
Once when you click into each of the missions, you'll see your Piper Make workspace.

What are Mission Control Expeditions?

Piper Make widgets are designed to fit into career-connected missions that form a cohesive expeditions—whether Energy or Design or more. 

On Mission Control, you can toggle between the Expeditions in the bottom panel:
You can use this bottom panel to see each of the missions in the expedition. For the Piper Make Base Expedition, you can select the missions from the panel or from the individual tiles.

What are the parts of the Piper Make Workspace?

Once you click into a mission, you will see a screen like the following. The individual parts are:
  1. BLOCK CATEGORIES: Code blocks are arranged into helpful color-coded categories. Click on one to reveal its collection of blocks. 
  2. CODE AREA: Drag blocks into the central area to add to your program. You can drop a block under or into another one to connect it. 
  3. START BUTTON: Click the Start button to run your program on the connected Pico. 
  4. CONNECT BUTTON: Click this button to connect the user interface to the Pico plugged into your computer.
  5. DIGITAL VISUALIZER ELEMENTS: Click one of the tabs here to reveal one of four visualizers.
    • DIGITAL VIEW: lets you see if your running program, when you hit Start, is sending signals to particular pins. 
    • CONSOLE: displays what the program is doing in real-time. 
    • DATA: lets you view the data being sent from various inputs. 
    • PYTHON: shows a text version of the MicroPython program you’ve created. 
  6. TUTORIAL/ LIBRARY: If you are doing one of the Maker Challenges, this is where you’ll see instructions for what to do. The Library tab gives info on components.

Who are Piperbot and Pip in StoryMode?

Piperbot and Pip are our trusty Piper characters who were first created for the Piper Computer Kit storyline. Piper Make serves as their prequel, telling the story of their journey together on Mars — and a whole cast of characters they run into!
Check out the videos at the beginning of the missions (like this one for Tally) to follow the stories for each of the missions!

What is Creative Mode?

Creative Mode allows you to create new projects. 

A new project is a blank canvas for you to complete our Maker’s Challenges or create whatever you want. To access Creative Mode, flip the switch in the lower right corner:

What Google Tools are integrated into Piper Make?

Piper Make is integrated with Google Tools to make sharing and using the software easy.
Google Sign On
From the homepage, click ‘Sign In’ at the top right and sign in with your Google Classroom educator account, then click on Allow for all the permissions required by Piper.
Google Classroom Share
To share a Maker Challenge project with a class, click the classroom icon at the top right of its icon on the homepage. Choose a class from the first drop-down, then select ‘Create assignment’ from the second drop-down. Click on Go, add any instructions you like, then click Assign to post it to the class.
Share to Drive
To save a PNG image file of your code blocks for a project, click the down arrow icon next to its icon on the homepage. You then have the option of downloading the file or adding it to your Google Drive.


Piper Make Pulse

See the Build