Provides an overview of the hardware and software needed to put together a home-made Chartplotter with its own GPS and AIS receiver. Cost for this project was about $350 US in 2019.
The entire build cost approximately $350. It incorporates a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, dAISy AIS receiver HAT, USB GPS module, and touchscreen display, all hooked up to his boat.
Perfect for navigating the often foggy San Francisco Bay, the chartplotter allows James to track the position, speed, and direction of major vessels in the area, superimposed over high-quality NOAA nautical charts.
The German charity Save Nemo works to protect coral reefs, and they are developing Nemo-Pi, an underwater “weather station” that monitors ocean conditions. Right now, you can vote for Save Nemo in the Google.org Impact Challenge.
The organisation says there are two major threats to coral reefs: divers, and climate change. To make diving saver for reefs, Save Nemo installs buoy anchor points where diving tour boats can anchor without damaging corals in the process.
In addition, they provide dos and don’ts for how to behave on a reef dive.
To monitor the effects of climate change, and to help divers decide whether conditions are right at a reef while they’re still on shore, Save Nemo is also in the process of perfecting Nemo-Pi.
This Raspberry Pi-powered device is made up of a buoy, a solar panel, a GPS device, a Pi, and an array of sensors. Nemo-Pi measures water conditions such as current, visibility, temperature, carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide concentrations, and pH. It also uploads its readings live to a public webserver.
The Save Nemo team is currently doing long-term tests of Nemo-Pi off the coast of Thailand and Indonesia. They are also working on improving the device’s power consumption and durability, and testing prototypes with the Raspberry Pi Zero W.
The web dashboard showing live Nemo-Pi data
Save Nemo aims to install a network of Nemo-Pis at shallow reefs (up to 60 metres deep) in South East Asia. Then diving tour companies can check the live data online and decide day-to-day whether tours are feasible. This will lower the impact of humans on reefs and help the local flora and fauna survive.
A healthy coral reef
Nemo-Pi data may also be useful for groups lobbying for reef conservation, and for scientists and activists who want to shine a spotlight on the awful effects of climate change on sea life, such as coral bleaching caused by rising water temperatures.
A bleached coral reef
Vote now for Save Nemo
If you want to help Save Nemo in their mission today, vote for them to win the Google.org Impact Challenge:
Click “Abstimmen” in the footer of the page to vote
Click “JA” in the footer to confirm
Voting is open until 6 June. You can also follow Save Nemo on Facebook or Twitter. We think this organisation is doing valuable work, and that their projects could be expanded to reefs across the globe. It’s fantastic to see the Raspberry Pi being used to help protect ocean life.
Last year’s haul sank 15% to 53,000 tons, according to the JF Zengyoren national federation of fishing cooperatives. The squid catch has fallen by half in just two years. The previous low was plumbed in 2016.
Lighter catches have been blamed on changing sea temperatures, which impedes the spawning and growth of the squid. Critics have also pointed to overfishing by North Korean and Chinese fishing boats.
Wholesale prices of flying squid have climbed as a result. Last year’s average price per kilogram came to 564 yen, a roughly 80% increase from two years earlier, according to JF Zengyoren.
As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven’t covered.
With the Greenland shark finally caught on video for the very first time, scientists and engineers are discussing the limitations of current marine monitoring technology. One significant advance comes from the CSAIL team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): SoFi, the robotic fish.
More info: http://bit.ly/SoFiRobot Paper: http://robert.katzschmann.eu/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/katzschmann2018exploration.pdf
The untethered SoFi robot
Last week, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) team at MIT unveiled SoFi, “a soft robotic fish that can independently swim alongside real fish in the ocean.”
Directed by a Super Nintendo controller and acoustic signals, SoFi can dive untethered to a maximum of 18 feet for a total of 40 minutes. A Raspberry Pi receives input from the controller and amplifies the ultrasound signals for SoFi via a HiFiBerry. The controller, Raspberry Pi, and HiFiBerry are sealed within a waterproof, cast-moulded silicone membrane filled with non-conductive mineral oil, allowing for underwater equalisation.
The ultrasound signals, received by a modem within SoFi’s head, control everything from direction, tail oscillation, pitch, and depth to the onboard camera.
As explained on MIT’s news blog, “to make the robot swim, the motor pumps water into two balloon-like chambers in the fish’s tail that operate like a set of pistons in an engine. As one chamber expands, it bends and flexes to one side; when the actuators push water to the other channel, that one bends and flexes in the other direction.”
While we’ve seen many autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) using onboard Raspberry Pis, SoFi’s ability to roam untethered with a wireless waterproof controller is an exciting achievement.
“To our knowledge, this is the first robotic fish that can swim untethered in three dimensions for extended periods of time. We are excited about the possibility of being able to use a system like this to get closer to marine life than humans can get on their own.” – CSAIL PhD candidate Robert Katzschmann
As the MIT news post notes, SoFi’s simple, lightweight setup of a single camera, a motor, and a smartphone lithium polymer battery set it apart it from existing bulky AUVs that require large motors or support from boats.
For more in-depth information on SoFi and the onboard tech that controls it, find the CSAIL team’s paper here.
While adverts for the Echo represent owners calling out to Alexa with a request or question — “Alexa, what is the time?”, “Alexa, order me a pizza”, “Alexa, how do you get red wine out of the carpet?” — any digital maker using the free API from the Amazon Developer team had to include a button within their build, putting a slight dampener on the futuristic vibe of the disembodied Alexa. (We know about this dampening effect, because a bunch of you complained vocally about it.)
With the update removing the press-a-button limitation, anyone using the AVS can now ‘wake’ Alexa with a ‘wake word’, calling out to Alexa, Echo, or Amazon. Thankfully, at least in my household, this choice of wake word means the device won’t be listening whenever anyone calls my name.
Winners of the challenge received various awards including Amazon vouchers, Echos, and trophies. A full list of winners can be seen here, but we thought you’d like to see some of the most noteworthy builds, like Roxie the Voice-Activated Pitching Robot by Terren Peterson:
Coffee Machine: Amazon Alexa & Raspberry Pi, my Internet of Voice project. If you want to develop a project like this, read the following site for instructions: https://www.hackster.io/bastiaan-slee/coffee-machine-amazon-alexa-raspberry-pi-cbc613
One thing I’m looking forward to is integrating the AVS into situations where hands-free truly is the only option. Not only will we begin to see an increase of Alexa-pimped cars, bikes, and drones, but I also see great advances in the use of the service for those with accessibility issues, such as those with mobility concerns or visual impairments. The Smart Cap, winner of the Intermediate Alexa Skill Set category, is a great example. Get in touch if you create something yourself!
Although this Thursday will see the release of issue 49 of The MagPi, we’re already hard at work putting together our 50th issue spectacular. As part of this issue we’re going to be covering 50 of the best Raspberry Pi projects ever and we want you, the community, to vote for the top 20.
Below we have listed the 30 projects that we think represent the best of the best. All we ask is that you vote for your favourite. We will have a few special categories with some other amazing projects in the final article, but if you think we’ve missed out something truly excellent, let us know in the comments. Here’s the list so you can remind yourselves of the projects, with the poll posted at the bottom.
From paper boats to hybrid sports cars
SeeMore – a huge sculpture of 256 Raspberry Pis connected as a cluster
BeetBox – beets (vegetable) you can use to play sick beats (music)
Voyage – 300 paper boats (actually polypropylene) span a river, and you control how they light up
Aquarium – a huge aquarium with Pi-powered weather control simulating the environment of the Cayman Islands
ramanPi – a Raman spectrometer used to identify different types of molecules
Joytone – an electronic musical instrument operated by 72 back-lit joysticks
Before we get to the meat of today’s post, which involves both Hackster and Alexa, we would be remiss if we didn’t remind you all that Hackster’s Internet of Voice competition to create voice-controlled Raspberry Pi projects is open until August 31 2016. It’s open worldwide – go and check it out!
We’re seeing Raspberry Pi users turn all kinds of things into Internet of Things devices: lorries, cat flaps, beer fridges – and now a boat.
Being able to hook your Raspberry Pi up to Amazon’s Alexa means that it’s increasingly easy to use a voice-trigger to set off a physical task. In Ufuk Arslan’s case, he was interested in automating some of the functions of his boat.
Testing a prototype
Ufuk had a bad habit of leaving lights on when going home for the night, which drained the boat’s batteries overnight. This project was initially intended as a quick and easy way to turn all the lights off at once, but has grown in scope. Ufuk’s now engineering it to work as a disembodied deck hand, and his first step in doing that has been to wire the system up to his anchor winch. A somewhat fiddly task. Ufuk says:
Pay attention to cables, colors and poles. You could easily end up wiring wrong cables and cause short-circuits or always running winches (both of which happened to me).
The results? Easy voice-command control of different systems on the boat. We forgive the portrait format video.
This is just a start – we’d love to see where Ufuk is going with this project next. There are already lots of other projects out there for boat owners – navigation projects are a great way to take expense out of your own setup. Ufuk has documented the build all the way from creating an Alexa skill to rewiring his boat over on Hackster.
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