All posts by Alex Bate

Build a security camera with Raspberry Pi and OpenCV

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-security-camera-opencv/

Tired of opening the refrigerator only to find that your favourite snack is missing? Get video evidence of sneaky fridge thieves sent to your phone, with Adrian Rosebeck’s Raspberry Pi security camera project.

Building a Raspberry Pi security camera with OpenCV

Learn how to build a IoT + Raspberry Pi security camera using OpenCV and computer vision. Send TXT/MMS message notifications, images, and video clips when the security camera is triggered. Full tutorial (including code) here: https://www.pyimagesearch.com/2019/03/25/building-a-raspberry-pi-security-camera-with-opencv

Protecting hummus

Adrian loves hummus. And, as you can see from my author bio, so do I. So it wasn’t hard for me to relate to Adrian’s story about his college roommates often stealing his cherished chickpea dip.

Garlic dessert

“Of course, back then I wasn’t as familiar with computer vision and OpenCV as I am now,” he explains on his blog. “Had I known what I do at present, I would have built a Raspberry Pi security camera to capture the hummus heist in action!”

Raspberry Pi security camera

So, in homage to his time as an undergrad, Adrian decided to finally build that security camera for his fridge, despite now only needing to protect his hummus from his wife. And to build it, he opted to use OpenCV, a Raspberry Pi, and a Raspberry Pi Camera Module.

Adrian’s camera is an IoT project: it not only captures footage but also uses Twillo to send that footage, via a cloud service (AWS), to a smartphone.

Because the content of your fridge lives in the dark when you’re not inspecting it, the code for capturing video footage detects light and dark, and records everything that occurs between the fridge door opening and closing. “You could also deploy this inside a mailbox that opens/closes,” suggests Adrian.

Get the code and more

Adrian provides all the code for the project on his blog, pyimagesearch, with a full explanation of why each piece of code is used — thanks, Adrian!

For more from Adrian, check out his brilliant deep learning projects: a fully functional Pokémon Pokédex and Santa Detector.

The post Build a security camera with Raspberry Pi and OpenCV appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Build a Raspberry Pi robot buggy

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/build-a-raspberry-pi-robot-buggy/

Need a project for the week? We’ve got one for you. Learn to build a Raspberry Pi robot buggy and control it via voice, smart device or homemade controller with our free online resources.

Build your robot buggy

To build a basic Raspberry Pi-powered robot buggy, you’ll need to start with a Raspberry Pi. For our free tutorial, the team uses a Raspberry Pi 3B+, though you should be good with most models.

You’ll also need some wheels, 12v DC motors, and a motor controller board, along with a few other peripherals such as jumper wires and batteries.

Our project resource will talk you through the whole set up, from setting up your tech and assembling your buggy, to writing code that will allow you to control your buggy with Python.

Control your robot buggy

Our follow-up resource will then show you how to set up your Android smartphone or Google AIY kit as a remote control for your robot. Or, for the more homebrew approach, you can find out how to build your own controller using a breadboard and tactile buttons.

Make your robot buggy do cool things

And, lastly, you can show off your coding skills, and the wonder of your new robot by programming it to do some pretty neat tricks, such as line following. Our last tutorial in the Buggy Robot trio will show you how to use sensors and write a line-following algorithm.

Do you want your robot to do more? Of course you do. Check out our How to build a competition-ready Raspberry Pi robot guide for more.

Pi Wars 2019

The William Gates Building in Cambridge will this weekend be home to Pi Wars, the “two-day family-friendly event in which teams compete for prestige and prizes on non-destructive challenge courses”. As the name suggests, all robots competing in the Pi Wars events have Raspberry Pi innards, and we love seeing the crazy creations made by members of the community.

If you can make it to the event, tickets are available here – a lot of us will be there, both as spectators and as judges (we’re not really allowed to participate, bums bums). And if you can’t, follow #PiWars on Twitter for updates throughout the event.

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Laser-engraved Raspberry Pi hologram

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/laser-engraved-raspberry-pi-hologram/

Inspired by an old episode of Pimoroni’s Bilge Tank, and with easy access to the laser cutter at the Raspberry Pi Foundation office, I thought it would be fun to create a light-up multi-layered hologram using a Raspberry Pi and the Pimoroni Unicorn pHAT.

Raspberry Pi layered light

Read more –

Break it to make it

First, I broke down the Raspberry Pi logo into three separate images — the black outline, the green leaves, and the red berry.

RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM
RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM
RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM

Fun fact: did you know that Pimoroni’s Paul Beech designed this logo as part of the ‘design us a logo’ contest we ran all the way back in August 2011?

Once I had the three separate files, I laser-engraved them onto 4cm-wide pieces of 3mm-thick clear acrylic. As there are four lines of LEDs on the Unicorn pHAT, I cut the fourth piece to illuminate the background.

RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM

To keep the engraved acrylic pieces together, I cut out a pair of acrylic brackets (see above) with four 3mm indentations. Then, after a bit of fiddling with the Unicorn pHAT library, I was able to light the pHAT’s rows of LEDs in white, red, green, and white.

RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM

The final result looks pretty spectacular, especially in the dark, and you can build on this basic idea to create fun animations — especially if you use a HAT with more rows of LEDs.

Iterations

This is just a prototype. I plan on building a sturdier frame for the pieces that securely fits a Raspberry Pi Zero W and lets users replace layers easily. As with many projects, I’m sure this will grow and grow as each interaction inspires a new add-on.

How would you build upon this basic principle?

Oh…

…we also laser-engraved this Cadbury’s Creme Egg.

The post Laser-engraved Raspberry Pi hologram appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Win a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and signed case this Pi Day 2019

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/win-raspberry-pi-3b-pi-day/

Happy Pi Day everyone

What is Pi Day, we hear you ask? It’s the day where countries who display their date as month/day/year celebrate the first three digits of today displaying Pi, or 3.14.2019 to be exact.

In celebration of Pi Day, we’re running a Raspberry Pi 3B+ live stream on YouTube. Hours upon hours of our favourite 3B+ in all it’s glorious wonderment.

PI DAY 2019

Celebrate Pi Day with us by watching this Pi

At some point today, we’re going to add a unique hashtag to that live stream, and anyone who uses said hashtag across Instagram and/or Twitter* before midnight tonight (GMT) will be entered into a draw to win a Raspberry Pi Model 3 B+ and an official case, the latter of which will be signed by Eben Upton himself.

Raspberry Pi - PI Day 2019

So sit back, relax, and enjoy the most pointless, yet wonderful, live stream to ever reach the shores of YouTube!

*For those of you who don’t have a Twitter or Instagram account, you can also comment below with the hashtag when you see it.

The post Win a Raspberry Pi 3B+ and signed case this Pi Day 2019 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

FREE NOODS with FOODBEAST and Nissin

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/free-ramen-foodbeast-nissin/

Push a button and share a hashtag to get free ramen, games, or swag with the Dream Machine, a Raspberry Pi–driven vending machine built by FOODBEAST and Nissin.

foodbeast.com on Twitter

This Instagram-powered vending machine gives away FREE @OrigCupNoodles and VIDEO GAMES 🍜🎮!! Where should it travel next? #ad https://t.co/W0YyWOCFVv

Raspberry Pi and marketing

Digital viral marketing campaigns are super popular right now, thanks to the low cost of the technology necessary to build bespoke projects for them. From story-telling phoneboxes to beer-pouring bicycles, we see more and more examples of such projects appear in our inbox every week.

The latest campaign we like is the Dream Machine, a retrofit vending machine that dispenses ramen noodles, video games, and swag in exchange for the use of an Instagram hashtag.

Free ramen from FOODBEAST and Nissin

With Dream Machines in Torrance, California and Las Vegas, Nevada, I’ve yet to convince Liz that it’s worth the time and money for me to fly out and do some field research. But, as those who have interacted with a Dream Machine know, the premise is pretty simple.

The Dream Machine vending machine from FOODBEAST and NissanPress the big yellow button on the front of the vending machine, and it will tell you a unique hashtag to use for posting a selfie with the Dream Machine on Instagram. The machine’s internet-enabled Raspberry Pi brain then uses its magic noodle powers (or, more likely, custom software) to detect the hashtag and pop out a tasty treat, video game, or gift card as a reward.

The Dream Machine vending machine from FOODBEAST and Nissan

The Dream Machines appeared at the start of March, and online sources suggest they’ll stay in their current locations throughout the month. I’d like to take this moment to suggest their next locations: Cambridge, UK and Oakland, California. Please and thank you!

Hold your horses…

We know this is a marketing ploy. We know its intention is to get Joe Public to spread the brand across social media. We know it’s all about money. We know. But still, it’s cool, harmless, and delicious. So let’s not have another robocall debate, OK 😂

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Instaframe: image recognition meets Instagram

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/instaframe-image-recognition-meets-instagram/

Bringing the digital photo frame into an even more modern age than the modern age it already resides in, Sean Tracey uses image recognition and social media to update his mother on the day-to-day happenings of her grandkids.

Sharing social media content

“Like every grandmother, my mum dotes on her grandchildren (the daughter and son of my sister, Grace and Freddie),” Sean explains in his tutorial for the project, “but they don’t live nearby, so she doesn’t get to see them as much as she might like.”

Sean tells of his mother’s lack of interest in social media platforms (they’re too complex), and of the anxiety he feels whenever she picks up his phone to catch up on the latest images of Grace and Freddie.

So I thought: “I know! Why don’t I make my mum a picture frame that filters my Instagram feed to show only pictures of my niece and nephew!”

Genius!

Image recognition and Instagram

Sean’s Instaframe project uses a Watson Visual Recognition model to recognise photos of his niece and nephew posted to his Instagram account, all via a Chrome extension. Then, via a series of smaller functions, these images are saved to a folder and displayed on a screen connected to a Raspberry Pi 3B+.

Sean has written up a full rundown of the build process on his website.

Photos and Pi

Do you like photos and Raspberry Pi? Then check out these other photo-focused Pi projects that we’re sure you’ll love (because they’re awesome) and will want to make yourself (because they’re awesome).

FlipFrame

FlipFrame, the rotating picture frame, rotates according to the orientation of the image on display.

FlipFrame

Upstagram

This tiny homage to the house from Up! takes bird’s-eye view photographs of Paris and uploads them to Instagram as it goes.

Pi-powered DSLR shutter

Adrian Bevan hacked his Raspberry Pi to act as a motion-activated shutter remote for his digital SLR — aka NatureBytes on steroids.

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Make our light-up Raspberry Pi box for #MonthOfMaking

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/light-raspberry-pi-box-monthofmaking/

On Tuesday, Rob at The MagPi magazine tweeted this:

The MagPi magazine on Twitter

Hey @Raspberry_Pi, wanna join us in making some stuff for #MonthOfMaking? Rob has some cosplay to do this week and other plans for the rest of the month…

And we said YES!

At this point in time, Alex was hiding in the Raspberry Pi Foundation makerspace, creating thingamabobs and whatsit with the laser cutter, and an idea came into her mind.

(Is it weird that I’m referring to myself in the third person? It is. I’ll stop.)

The idea started with this:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

Oddly satisfying, right?

And ended like this:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

Raspberry Crepe Cake?

With a little bit of this in between:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

For hiding treasures

And thanks to some cheap battery-powered lights and magnets from Poundland…

#MonthOfMaking

Whosits and whatsits galore

…it lights up too!

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

Photograph taken inside my rucksack for ambience

Make your own

So, do you want to make your own? Of course you do.

Ideally, you need access to a laser cutter, but if you don’t have one, you can just cut out the layers from some thick cardboard using a craft knife.

You’ll need these four files:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box
Raspberry Pi laser cut box
Raspberry Pi laser cut box
Raspberry Pi laser cut box

These are slightly different to the ones I used, so the acrylic should press-fit without the need for the backing frame you see in the image above.

Feel free to resize the files and change the box design to better fit whatever you want to put inside, but remember: making these boxes to sell, or diverging from our brand guidelines when using the Raspberry Pi logo, is against our trademark rules.

#MonthOfMaking

Join Raspberry Pi and The MagPi magazine in the #MonthOfMaking by using the hashtag in your social posts sharing your makes online. And, just as you can see from my light-up box, your make doesn’t have to use any digital technology. Bake a cake, stitch loop art, restore a car — whatever you plan on making this month, make sure we see your creation! Have fun!

The post Make our light-up Raspberry Pi box for #MonthOfMaking appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Handheld text-based adventure gaming with Quest Smith

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/handheld-text-based-adventure-gaming-with-quest-smith/

Play text-based adventure games that print out in real time, with Quest Smith: the Raspberry Pi Zero W–driven handheld gaming device from Bekir Dağ.

Quest Smith

Quest Smith is a raspberry pi zero driven thermal printing text based game. In each level, it gives you options to choose so every game is different than the other one.

Text-based adventure games

Today I learned:

Around 1975, Will Crowther, a programmer and an amateur caver, wrote the first text adventure game, Adventure (originally called ADVENT because a filename could only be six characters long in the operating system he was using, and later named Colossal Cave Adventure).

But I’m sure you already knew that.

According to the internet, text-based games in their most simple form are video games that use text instead of graphics to let players progress. You read the description of your surroundings and choose from a set of options, or you type in your next step and hope the game understands what you’re talking about.

Colossal Cave Adventure

We have a conversation going in our team right now about whether the term ‘text-based games’ is solely used for video games of this nature, or whether choose your own adventure books also fall into the category of text-based games. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Anyway…

Quest Smith!

After encountering a similar handheld gaming device in a Berlin games museum, Bekir Dağ decided to build his own using a Raspberry Pi Zero W.

Quest Smith text-based game

For Quest Smith’s body, Bekir Dağ designed a 3D print, and he provides the STL files for free on Thingiverse. And for the inner workings?

A Raspberry Pi Zero W fits snugly into the body alongside a thermal printer, a battery, and various tactile buttons. The battery is powered by a solar panel mounted on the outer shell, and all components are connected to a TP4056 board that allows the battery to power the Pi.

Quest Smith text-based game

The Quest Smith software is still somewhat of a work-in-progress. While users can build Quest Smith today and start playing, Bekir has put out the call for the community to submit their own parts of the story.

Each level requires two versions of the story, which makes the possiblities grow exponentially. So it will be very difficult for me to finish a single story by myself. For the player to reach level 9, we will need to have 1023 story parts to be written. If you can help me with that, it would be amazing!

To see more of Quest Smith’s build process, find the files to make your own device, and instructions on how to contribute toward the story, visit the Quest Smith Hackster.io page.

More text-based adventuring with Python

If you’re interested in writing your own text-based adventure game in Python, we’ve got a free online course available in which you can learn about object-oriented programming while creating a text-based game. And for a briefer intro, check out Wireframe magazine issue 6, where game developer Andrew Gillett explains how to make a simple Python text adventure.

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IBM Q System One quantum computing on a Raspberry Pi?

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/ibm-q-system-one-quantum-computing-raspberry-pi/

IBM Q System One: the world’s first commercial, integrated, universal, approximate quantum computing system…

…on a Raspberry Pi?

What is a quantum computing system?

An excellent question and, while some of you may know the answer, here is Kurzgesagt‘s ‘in a nutshell’ explanation of quantum computing for the rest of us:

Quantum Computers Explained – Limits of Human Technology

Where are the limits of human technology? And can we somehow avoid them? This is where quantum computers become very interesting.

Qrasp — quantum computing on a Raspberry Pi

After seeing a press announcement for IBM’s Q System One, the first-ever commercial quantum computer, IBM Q Ambassador Hassi Norlen decided he wanted his own, and reached for his trusty Raspberry Pi to build one.

“This will not be easy,” he admits on his Medium blog post for the Qrasp project. “IBM Q System One is, after all, a cloud-based quantum computing offering, with the main hardware, cryostats, quantum chips, and all locked away in the IBM labs.”

Hassi goes on to explain the list of required ingredients for building your own Qrasp, including the Raspberry Pi Sense HAT, and the programs one can run on the finished device.

Qrasp

Qiskit interface for Raspberry PI with SenseHat

It’s a great blog post, and to save me summarising it here, check it out for yourself. You’ll also find a link to the GitHub repo for Qrasp, and other tidbits of information on making the most out of the final build.

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Automatic Calling System using Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/automatic-calling-system-using-raspberry-pi/

If like me, you’re awful at remembering birthdays, you need Piyush Charpe’s Automatic Birthday Calling System. It’s the Raspberry Pi device that calls on your behalf – aka Heaven for Introverts.

Building business relationships through niceness

Piyush’s father works as an insurance adviser, and, because he’s a lovely chap, he makes it his mission to wish all of his clients a happy birthday. Nice, right? I hardly remember the birthdays of my closest friends: and here’s Piyush’s father sending his kindest regards to everyone on his client list.

Way to make me feel like a bad friend, Papa Charpe!

So good are Charpe Sr’s customer service skills that he’s unexpectedly built himself an unmanageable amount of birthday wishes to send. So that’s where his son comes in with his idea for an automatic birthday calling system. Huzzah! Take my money, etc. etc.

Automated calling with a Raspberry Pi

Piyush used a Raspberry Pi Zero W, 4G GSM module and Google Firebase for the system, alongside an audio recording of his father wishing a happy birthday, and some help from a friend with experience building Android apps.

Raspberry Pi automatic birthday caller

Acquiring a client list from his father that included names, dates of birth and telephone number (our GDPR manager is weeping into her compliance documents as she reads this), Piyush added the information to Google Firebase, an online real-time database system.

Raspberry Pi automatic birthday caller

The accompanying Android app allows his father to add and remove clients from the list, and updates him on successfully-made calls; it’ll also let him know who he’ll need to follow up with if they were unavailable to receive their birthday greeting.

Raspberry Pi automatic birthday caller
Raspberry Pi automatic birthday caller
Raspberry Pi automatic birthday caller

The system updates at midnight, consolidating a list to be called at 10am the following day. And, at the end of the month, the system’s call history is deleted automatically after sending it in CSV format to his father.

The system has now been working 24/7 for eight months, and has been adopted by other business owners in the area.

You can read more about the project here.

Put down your phone!

What a lovely use of technology with great scope for expansion. Why stop at birthdays? Do I remember my parents’ anniversary? Of course not. And don’t get me started on updating my nearest and dearest on life events, changing address, etc. This system is genius! Introverts need never talk to another human being again! Rejoice!

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Celebrate with us this weekend!

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/celebrate-with-us-this-weekend/

The Raspberry Jam Big Birthday is almost here! In celebration of our seventh birthday, we’re coordinating with over 130 community‑led Raspberry Jams in 40 countries across six continents this weekend, 3-4 March 2019.

Raspberry Jams come in all shapes and sizes. They range from small pub gatherings fueled by local beer and amiable nerdy chatter to vast multi-room events with a varied programme of project displays, workshops, and talks.

To find your nearest Raspberry Jam, check out our interactive Jam map.

And if you can’t get to a Jam location this time, follow #PiParty on Twitter, where people around the world are already getting excited about their Big Birthday Weekend plans. Over the weekend you’ll see Raspberry Jams happening from the UK to the US, from Africa to – we hope – Antarctica, and everywhere in between.

Coolest Projects UK

The first of this year’s Coolest Projects events is also taking place this weekend in Manchester, UK. Coolest Projects is the world’s leading technology fair for young people, showcasing some of the very best creations by young makers across the country (and beyond), and it’s open for members of the public to attend.

Tickets are still available from the Coolest Projects website, and you can follow the action on #CoolestProjects on Twitter.

CBeebies’ Maddie Moate and the BBC’s Greg Foot will be taking over Raspberry Pi’s Instagram story on the day, so be sure to follow @RaspberryPiFoundation on Instagram.

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A smart guitar for blind, deaf, and mute people

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/smart-guitar-blind-deaf-mute/

ChordAssist aims to bring the joy of learning the guitar to those who otherwise may have problems with accessing guitar tutorials. Offering advice in Braille, in speech, and on-screen, ChordAssist has been built specifically for deaf, blind, and mute people. Creator Joe Birch, who also built the BrailleBox device, used Raspberry Pi, Google Assistant, and a variety of accessibility tools and technology for this accessible instrument.

Chord Assist: An accessible smart guitar for the blind, deaf and mute

Powered by the Google Assistant, read more at chordassist.com

Accessibility and music

Inspired by a hereditary visual impairment in his family, Buffer’s Android Lead Joe Birch spent six months working on ChordAssist, an accessible smart guitar.

The Braille converter of the ChordAssist guitar
The ChordAssist guitar
The screen of the ChordAssist guitar

“This is a project that I used to bring my love of music and accessibility (inspired by my family condition of retinitis pigmentosa) together to create something that could allow everyone to enjoy learning and playing music — currently an area which might not be accessible to all,” explained Joe when he shared his project on Twitter earlier this month.

BrailleBox

This isn’t Joe’s first step into the world of smart accessibility devices. In 2017, he created BrailleBox, an Android Things news delivery device that converts daily news stories into Braille, using wooden balls atop solenoids that move up and down to form Braille symbols.

Demonstration of Joe Birch's BrailleBox

ChordAssist

This same technology exists within ChordAssist, along with an LCD screen for visual learning, and a speaker system for text-to-speech conversion.

Chord Assist was already an Action on the Google Project that I built for the Google Home, now I wanted to take that and stick it in a guitar powered by voice, visuals, and Braille. All three of these together will hopefully help to reduce the friction that may be experienced throughout the process of learning an instrument.

ChordAssist is currently still at the prototype stage, and Joe invites everyone to offer feedback so he can make improvements.

To learn more about ChordAssist, visit the ChordAssist website and check out Joe’s write-up on Medium.

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Digital lava lamp!

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/digital-lava-lamp/

Forget the iconic conic shape of the lava lamp from the sixties and seventies — Julian Butler’s digital lava lamp gives you all the magic of its predecessor, without any of the hassle!

My programmable digital lava lamp

Showcasing the construction and display modes of my programmable digital lava lamp. Built with the help of Processing software, FadeCandy + Raspberry Pi hardware this lamp can respond to sound and other aspects of it’s environment via wifi etc.

I lava you (I lava you not)

When I was a teenager, we had a lava lamp at home. It was orange, it took an age to get going, and once the lava was in full flow, it radiated with the heat of a thousand suns.

Julian Butler’s modern version is so much better. “Showcasing the construction and display modes of [his] programmable digital lava lamp,” Julian has shared a rather hypnotic video on his YouTube channel. He’s also created a three-part build tutorial about the project.

Inspired by his co-worker’s salt mood lamp, Julian decided to build something similiar, aiming to smoothe out the creases and add more functionality.

Using a Raspberry Pi and Micah Elizabeth Scott‘s FadeCandy board, plus 120 NeoPixel LEDs, Julian got to work programming lights and prototyping casings until he was happy with the result.

The face of Julian happy with the result

And the result is a beautiful, programmable digital lava lamp: all the mesmerising fun of a regular lava lamp, without the excruciating wait time and significant risk of second-degree burns. Plus, it will never leak, and it can be any colour you like!

Get groovy, baby

Watch Julian’s video, ooh and aah at the swirly-whirly wonderment of his digital creation, and then visit his blog for all the details of how to make your own. Julian has plans to add more interactive elements to the lamp, including voice recognition, and we can’t wait to see the final result!

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Make art with LEDs | HackSpace magazine #16

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/make-art-with-leds-hackspace-16/

Create something beautiful with silicon, electricity, your endless imagination, and HackSpace magazine issue 16 — out today!

HackSpace magazine 16

LEDs are awesome

Basically, LEDs are components that convert electrical power into light. Connect them to a power source (with some form of current limiter) in the right orientation, and they’ll glow.

Each LED has a single colour. Fortunately, manufacturers can pack three LEDs (red, green, and blue) into a single component, and varying the power to each LED-within-an-LED produces a wide range of hues. However, by itself, this type of colourful LED is a little tricky to control: each requires three inputs, so a simple 10×10 matrix would require 300 inputs. But there’s a particular trick electronics manufacturers have that make RGB LEDs easy to use: making the LEDs addressable!

An RGB LED

Look: you can clearly see the red, green, and blue elements of this RGB LED

Addressable LEDs

Addressable LEDs have microcontrollers built into them. These aren’t powerful, programmable microcontrollers, they’re just able to handle a simple communications protocol. There are quite a few different types of addressable LEDs, but two are most popular with makers: WS2812 (often called NeoPixels) and APA102 (often called DotStars). Both are widely available from maker stores and direct-from-China websites. NeoPixels use a single data line, while DotStars use a signal and a clock line. Both, however, are chainable. This means that you connect one (for NeoPixels) or two (for DotStars) pins of your microcontroller to the Data In connectors on the first LED, then the output of this LED to the input of the next, and so on.

Exactly how many LEDs you can chain together depends on a few different things, including the power of the microcontroller and the intended refresh rate. Often, though, the limiting factor for most hobbyists is the amount of electricity you need.

Which type to use

The big difference between NeoPixels and DotStars comes down to the speed of them. LEDs are made dimmer by turning them off and on very quickly. The proportion of the time they’re off, the dimmer they are. This is known as pulse-width modulation (PWM). The speed at which this blinking on and off can have implications for some makes, such as when the LEDs are moving quickly.

NeoPixels

  • Cheap
  • Slowish refresh rate
  • Slowish PWM rate

DotStars

  • More expensive
  • Faster refresh rate
  • Fast PWM rate
NeoPixels moving in the dark

As a NeoPixel is moved through a long-exposure photograph, you can see it blink on and off. DotStars – which have a faster PWM rate – avoid this.

Safety first!

HackSpace magazine’s LED feature is just a whistle-stop guide to the basics of powering LEDs — it’s not a comprehensive guide to all things power-related. Once you go above a few amperes, you need to think about what you’re doing with power. Once you start to approach double figures, you need to make sure you know what you’re doing and, if you find yourself shopping for an industrial power supply, then you really need to make sure you know how to use it safely.

Read more

Read the rest of the exclusive 14-page LED special in HackSpace magazine issue 16, out today. Buy your copy now from the Raspberry Pi Press store, major newsagents in the UK, or Barnes & Noble, Fry’s, or Micro Center in the US. Or, download your free PDF copy from the HackSpace magazine website.

HackSpace magazine 16 Front Cover

We’re also shipping to stores in Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Belgium, and Brazil, so be sure to ask your local newsagent whether they’ll be getting HackSpace magazine.

Subscribe now

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Twelve-month print subscribers get a free Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, loaded with inputs and sensors and ready for your next project. Tempted?

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Play multiple sounds simultaneously with a Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/multiple-sounds-simultaneously-raspberry-pi/

Playing sound through a Raspberry Pi is a simple enough process. But what if you want to play multiple sounds through multiple speakers at the same time? Lucky for us, Devon Bray figured out how to do it.

Play multiple audio files simultaneously with Raspberry Pi

Artist’s Website: http://www.saradittrich.com/ Blog Post: http://www.esologic.com/multi-audio/ Ever wanted to have multiple different sound files playing on different output devices attached to a host computer? Say you’re writing a DJing application where you want one mix for headphones and one for the speakers.

Multiple audio files through multiple speakers

While working with artist Sara Dittrich on her These Blobs installation for Provincetown Art Association and Museum, Devon was faced with the challenge of playing “8 different mono sound files on 8 different loudspeakers”. Not an easy task, and one that most online tutorials simply do not cover.

These Blobs - Sarah Dittrich

These Blobs by Sara Dittrich

Turning to the sounddevice Python library for help, Devon got to work designing the hardware and code for the project.

The job was to create some kind of box that could play eight different audio files at the same time on eight different unpowered speakers. New audio files had to be able to be loaded via a USB thumb drive, enabling the user to easily switch files without having to use any sort of UI. Everything also had to be under five inches tall and super easy to power on and off.

Devon’s build uses a 12v 10 amp power supply controlled via a DC/DC converter. This supply powers the Raspberry Pi 3B+ and four $15 audio amplifiers, which in turn control simple non-powered speakers designed for use in laptops. As the sound is only required in mono, the four amplifiers can provide two audio tracks each, each track using a channel usually reserved for left or right audio output.

A full breakdown of the project can be seen in the video above, with more information available on Devon’s website, including the link to the GitHub repo.

And you can see the final project in action too! Watch a video of Sara Dittrich’s installation below, and find more of her work on her website.

These Blobs

Poem written and recorded by Daniel Sofaer, speakers, conduit, clay, spray paint, electrical components; 4′ x 4′ x 5′ ft.

 

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Build a dial-up ISP server using a Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-dial-up-server/

Trying to connect an old, dial-up–compatible computer to modern-day broadband internet can be a chore. The new tutorial by Doge Microsystems walks you through the process of using a Raspberry Pi to bridge the gap.

The Sound of dial-up Internet

I was bored so I wanted to see if I could get free dial up internet so I found that NetZero still has free service so I put in the number and heard the glorious sound of the Dial-up. Remind me of years gone. Unfortunately I was not able to make a connection.

Dial-up internet

Ah, there really is nothing quite like it: listen to the sweet sound of dial-up internet in the video above and reminisce about the days of yore that you spent waiting for your computer to connect and trying to convince other members of your household to not use the landline for a few hours.

But older computers have fallen behind these times of ever faster broadband and ever more powerful processors, and getting your beloved vintage computer online isn’t as easy as it once was.

For one thing, does anyone even have a landline anymore?

Enter Doge Microsystems, who save the day with their Linux-based dial-up server, the perfect tool for connecting computers of yesteryear to today’s broadband using a Raspberry Pi.

Disclaimer: I’m going to pre-empt a specific topic of conversation in the comment section by declaring that, no, I don’t like the words ‘vintage’, ‘retro’, and yesteryear’ any more than you do. But we all need to accept that the times, they are a-changing, OK? We’re all in this together. Let’s continue.

Building a Raspberry Pi dial-in server

For the build, you’ll need a hardware modem — any model should work, as long as it presents as a serial device to the operating system. You’ll also need a Linux device such as a Raspberry Pi, a client device with a modem, and ‘some form of telephony connection to link the two modems’, described by Doge Microsystems as one of the following:

We need a way to connect our ISP modem to clients. There are many ways to approach this:

  • Use the actual PSTN (i.e. real phone lines)
  • Use a PBX to provide local connectivity
  • Build your own circuity (not covered here, as it would require extra configuration)
  • Build a fake PSTN using VoIP ATAs and a software PBX

I’ve gone with the fourth option. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Asterisk — a VoIP PBX — is configured on the dial-in server to accept connections from two SIP client accounts and route calls between them
  • A Linksys PAP2T ATA — which supports two phone lines — is set up as both of those SIP clients connected to the PBX
  • The ISP-side modem is connected to the first line, and the client device to the second line

Doge Microsystems explains how to set up everything, including the Linux device, on the wiki for the project. Have a look for yourself if you want to try out the dial-up server first-hand.

The sound of dial-up

For funsies, I asked our Twitter followers how they would write down the sound of a dial-up internet connection. Check them out.

Alex on Twitter

@Raspberry_Pi dialtone, (phone beeps), rachh racchh rachh rechhhhhhh reccchhhhhh rechhhh, DEE-DONG-DEE-DONG-DI, BachhhhhhhhhhhhBACHHHHBACHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

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Build your own Commodore PET model 8032

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/build-commodore-pet-model-8032/

Build a mini version of one of history’s most iconic personal computers with Lorenzo ‘Tin Cat’ Herrera and his Commodore PET Mini, which is based on the Commodore PET model 8032.

Commodore PET Mini Retrowave intro

3D Print your own Commodore PET Mini retro computer with a Raspberry Pi and Retropie for retro gaming or retro emulation. Fully documented DIY project: https://commodorepetmini.com The Commodore PET is one of the most iconic-looking computer of the 70’s, it reminds us of an era of frenetic innovation, harsh competition and bold design choices that shaped the computer industry as we know it today.

Commodore PET — a (very) brief history

Presented to the world in 1977, the Commodore PET represents a truly iconic piece of computer history: it was the first personal computer sold to the general public. With a built-in keyboard, screen, and cassette deck, and an introductory price of US$795 — roughly $3287 today — it offered everything a home computer user needed. And it beat the Apple II to market by a few months, despite Jobs and Wozniak offering to sell their Apple II technology to Commodore in September 1976.

Commodore PET model 8032

Commodore was also the first company to license Microsoft’s 6502 BASIC, and in the 1980s the Commodore became a staple in many school classrooms, bringing about a surge in the numbers of future computer engineers — a few of which now work in the Raspberry Pi Trading office.

The Commodore PET model was discontinued in 1982, then resurrected briefly in 1986, before finally stepping aside to make way for the popular Commodore 128, 1571, and 1581 models.

Redesigning a mini PET

Based on the Commodore PET model 8032, Lorenzo Herrera’s 3D-printable remake allows users to fit an entire computer — the Raspberry Pi — inside a miniature iconic shell. Lorenzo designed this case to house a working screen, and once you connect the Pi to a Bluetooth keyboard, your Commodore PET Mini will be fully functional as well as stylish and cute as a button.



You’ll need access to a 3D printer to build your own — all parts are listed on the project’s website. You can also purchase them as a kit directly from Lorenzo if you want to save time on sourcing your own.

3D-printing the Commodore PET

To build your own Commodore PET Mini, start by visiting its official website. And if you don’t own a 3D printer, search online for your nearest maker space or 3D printing service to get the parts made.

We’re definitely going to be building our own here at Raspberry Pi, and if you build one for yourself, or use a Raspberry Pi in any iconic computer rebuild, let us know.

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Jenni Sidey inspires young women in science with Astro Pi

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/jenni-sidey-inspires-young-women-science-astro-pi/

Today, ESA Education and the Raspberry Pi Foundation are proud to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! In support of this occasion and to encourage young women to enter a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), CSA astronaut Jenni Sidey discusses why she believes computing and digital making skills are so important, and tells us about the role models that inspired her.

Jenni Sidey inspires young women in science with Astro Pi

Today, ESA Education and the Raspberry Pi Foundation are proud to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! In support of this occasion and to encourage young women to enter a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), CSA astronaut Jenni Sidey discusses why she believes computing and digital making skills are so important, and tells us about the role models that inspired her.

Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is part of the United Nations’ plan to achieve their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to current UNESCO data, less than 30% of researchers in STEM are female and only 30% of young women are selecting STEM-related subjects in higher education
Jenni Sidey

That’s why part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda is to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. And to help young women and girls develop their computing and digital making skills, we want to encourage their participation in the European Astro Pi Challenge!

The European Astro Pi Challenge

The European Astro Pi Challenge is an ESA Education programme run in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation that offers students and young people the amazing opportunity to conduct scientific investigations in space! The challenge is to write computer programs for one of two Astro Pi units — Raspberry Pi computers on board the International Space Station.

Astro Pi Mission Zero logo

Astro Pi’s Mission Zero is open until 20 March 2019, and this mission gives young people up to 14 years of age the chance to write a simple program to display a message to the astronauts on the ISS. No special equipment or prior coding skills are needed, and all participants that follow the mission rules are guaranteed to have their program run in space!

Take part in Mission Zero — in your language!

To help many more people take part in their native language, we’ve translated the Mission Zero resource, guidelines, and web page into 19 different languages! Head to our languages section to find your version of Mission Zero and take part.

If you have any questions regarding the European Astro Pi Challenge, email us at [email protected].

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Stereoscopic photography with StereoPi and a Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/stereoscopic-photography-stereopi-raspberry-pi/

StereoPi allows users to attached two Camera Modules to their Raspberry Pi Compute Module — it’s a great tool for building stereoscopic cameras, 360º monitors, and virtual reality rigs.

StereoPi draft 1

No Description

My love for stereoscopic photography goes way back

My great-uncle Eric was a keen stereoscopic photographer and member of The Stereoscopic Society. Every memory I have of visiting him includes looking at his latest stereo creations through a pair of gorgeously antique-looking, wooden viewers. And I’ve since inherited the beautiful mahogany viewing cabinet that used to stand in his dining room.

It looks like this, but fancier

Stereoscopic photography has always fascinated me. Two images that seem identical suddenly become, as if by magic, a three-dimensional wonder. As a child, I couldn’t make sense of it. And even now, while I do understand how it actually works, it remains magical in my mind — like fairies at the bottom of the garden. Or magnets.

So it’s no wonder that I was instantly taken with StereoPi when I stumbled across its crowdfunding campaign on Twitter. Having wanted to make a Pi-based stereoscopic camera ever since I joined the organisation, but not knowing how best to go about it, I thought this new board seemed ideal for me.

The StereoPi board

Despite its name, StereoPi is more than just a stereoscopic camera board. How to attach two Camera Modules to a Raspberry Pi is a question people ask us frequently and for various projects, from home security systems to robots, cameras, and VR.

Slim and standard editions of the StereoPi

Slim and standard editions of the StereoPi

The board attaches to any version of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, including the newly released CM3+, and you can use it in conjunction with Raspbian to control it via the Python module picamera.

StereoPi stereoscopic livestream over 4G

StereoPi stereoscopic livestream over 4G. Project site: http://StereoPi.com

When it comes to what you can do with StereoPi, the possibilities are almost endless: mount two wide-angle lenses for 360º recording, build a VR rig to test out virtual reality games, or, as I plan to do, build a stereoscopic camera!

It’s on Crowd Supply now!

StereoPi is currently available to back on Crowd Supply, and purchase options start from $69. At 69% funded with 30 days still to go, we have faith that the StereoPi project will reach its goal and make its way into the world of impressive Raspberry Pi add-ons.

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Guess what…

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/guess-what/

Raspberry Pi Store – NOW OPEN #RPiStore

We opened a store! Visit us in the Grand Arcade, Cambridge, UK, and follow #RPiStore for more photos and funtimes!


A shelf of Babbage Bear cuddle toys


A shelf of Raspberry Pi Starter Kits
A shelf of Raspberry Pi-branded Travel mugs and ceramic mugs
Photographs of various Raspberry Pi peripherals including a PiBow, mouse and keyboard
A customer looking at a portable hard drive for sale at the Raspberry Pi Store

Raspberry Pi Store
First Floor
Grand Arcade
Cambridge

OPEN FROM 9am

#RPiStore

 

For more information, visit the Raspberry Pi Store webpage.

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