Tag Archives: camera module

Thomas and Ed become a RealLifeDoodle on the ISS

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/astro-pi-reallifedoodle/

Thanks to the very talented sooperdavid, creator of some of the wonderful animations known as RealLifeDoodles, Thomas Pesquet and Astro Pi Ed have been turned into one of the cutest videos on the internet.

space pi – Create, Discover and Share Awesome GIFs on Gfycat

Watch space pi GIF by sooperdave on Gfycat. Discover more GIFS online on Gfycat

And RealLifeDoodles aaaaare?

Thanks to the power of viral video, many will be aware of the ongoing Real Life Doodle phenomenon. Wait, you’re not aware?

Oh. Well, let me explain it to you.

Taking often comical video clips, those with a know-how and skill level that outweighs my own in spades add faces and emotions to inanimate objects, creating what the social media world refers to as a Real Life Doodle. From disappointed exercise balls to cannibalistic piles of leaves, these video clips are both cute and sometimes, though thankfully not always, a little heartbreaking.

letmegofree – Create, Discover and Share Awesome GIFs on Gfycat

Watch letmegofree GIF by sooperdave on Gfycat. Discover more reallifedoodles GIFs on Gfycat

Our own RealLifeDoodle

A few months back, when Programme Manager Dave Honess, better known to many as SpaceDave, sent me these Astro Pi videos for me to upload to YouTube, a small plan hatched in my brain. For in the midst of the video, and pointed out to me by SpaceDave – “I kind of love the way he just lets the unit drop out of shot” – was the most adorable sight as poor Ed drifted off into the great unknown of the ISS. Finding that I have this odd ability to consider many inanimate objects as ‘cute’, I wanted to see whether we could turn poor Ed into a RealLifeDoodle.

Heading to the Reddit RealLifeDoodle subreddit, I sent moderator sooperdavid a private message, asking if he’d be so kind as to bring our beloved Ed to life.

Yesterday, our dream came true!

Astro Pi

Unless you’re new to the world of the Raspberry Pi blog (in which case, welcome!), you’ll probably know about the Astro Pi Challenge. But for those who are unaware, let me break it down for you.

Raspberry Pi RealLifeDoodle

In 2015, two weeks before British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake journeyed to the International Space Station, two Raspberry Pis were sent up to await his arrival. Clad in 6063-grade aluminium flight cases and fitted with their own Sense HATs and camera modules, the Astro Pis Ed and Izzy were ready to receive the winning codes from school children in the UK. The following year, this time maintained by French ESA Astronaut Thomas Pesquet, children from every ESA member country got involved to send even more code to the ISS.

Get involved

Will there be another Astro Pi Challenge? Well, I just asked SpaceDave and he didn’t say no! So why not get yourself into training now and try out some of our space-themed free resources, including our 3D-print your own Astro Pi case tutorial? You can also follow the adventures of Ed and Izzy in our brilliant Story of Astro Pi cartoons.

Raspberry Pi RealLifeDoodle

And if you’re quick, there’s still time to take part in tomorrow’s Moonhack! Check out their website for more information and help the team at Code Club Australia beat their own world record!

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PiCorder, the miniature camcorder

Post Syndicated from Janina Ander original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/picorder/

The modest dimensions of our Raspberry Pi Zero and its wirelessly connectable sibling, the Pi Zero W, enable makers in our community to build devices that are very small indeed. The PiCorder built by Wayne Keenan is probably the slimmest Pi-powered video-recording device we’ve ever seen.

PiCorder – Pimoroni HyperPixel

A simple Pi-camcorder using @pimoroni #HyperPixel, ZeroLipo, lipo bat, camera and #PiZeroW. All parts from the Pirates, total of ~£85. Project build instructions: https://www.hackster.io/TheBubbleworks/picorder-0eb94d

PiCorder hardware

Wayne’s PiCorder is a very straightforward make. On the hardware side, it features a Pimoroni HyperPixel screen, Pi Zero camera module, and Zero LiPo plus LiPo battery pack. To put it together, he simply soldered header pins onto a Zero W, and connected all the components to it – easy as Pi! (Yes, I went there.)

PiCorder

So sleek as to be almost aerodynamic

Recording with the PiCorder (rePiCording?)

Then it was just a matter of installing the HyperPixel driver on the Pi, and the PiCorder was good to go. In this basic setup, recording is controlled via SSH. However, there’s a discussion about better ways to control the device in the comments on Wayne’s write-up. As the HyperPixel is a touchscreen, adding a GUI would make full use of its capabilities.

Picorder screen

Think about how many screens you’re looking at right now

The PiCorder is a great project to recreate if you’re looking to build a small portable camera. If you’re new to soldering, this build is perfect for you: just follow our ‘How to solder’ video and tutorial, and you’re on your way. This could be the start of your journey into the magical world of physical computing!

You could also check our blog on Alex Ellis‘s implementation of YouTube live-streaming for the Pi, and learn how to share your videos in real time.

Cool camera projects

Our educational resources include plenty of cool projects that could use the PiCorder, or for which the device could be adapted.

Get your head around using the official Raspberry Pi Camera Module with this picamera tutorial. Learn how to set up a stationary or wearable time-lapse camera, and turn your images into animated GIFs. You could also kickstart your career as a director by making an amazing stop-motion film!

No matter which camera project you choose to work on, we’d love to see the results. So be sure to share a link in the comments.

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A Raspbian desktop update with some new programming tools

Post Syndicated from Simon Long original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/a-raspbian-desktop-update-with-some-new-programming-tools/

Today we’ve released another update to the Raspbian desktop. In addition to the usual small tweaks and bug fixes, the big new changes are the inclusion of an offline version of Scratch 2.0, and of Thonny (a user-friendly IDE for Python which is excellent for beginners). We’ll look at all the changes in this post, but let’s start with the biggest…

Scratch 2.0 for Raspbian

Scratch is one of the most popular pieces of software on Raspberry Pi. This is largely due to the way it makes programming accessible – while it is simple to learn, it covers many of the concepts that are used in more advanced languages. Scratch really does provide a great introduction to programming for all ages.

Raspbian ships with the original version of Scratch, which is now at version 1.4. A few years ago, though, the Scratch team at the MIT Media Lab introduced the new and improved Scratch version 2.0, and ever since we’ve had numerous requests to offer it on the Pi.

There was, however, a problem with this. The original version of Scratch was written in a language called Squeak, which could run on the Pi in a Squeak interpreter. Scratch 2.0, however, was written in Flash, and was designed to run from a remote site in a web browser. While this made Scratch 2.0 a cross-platform application, which you could run without installing any Scratch software, it also meant that you had to be able to run Flash on your computer, and that you needed to be connected to the internet to program in Scratch.

We worked with Adobe to include the Pepper Flash plugin in Raspbian, which enables Flash sites to run in the Chromium browser. This addressed the first of these problems, so the Scratch 2.0 website has been available on Pi for a while. However, it still needed an internet connection to run, which wasn’t ideal in many circumstances. We’ve been working with the Scratch team to get an offline version of Scratch 2.0 running on Pi.

Screenshot of Scratch on Raspbian

The Scratch team had created a website to enable developers to create hardware and software extensions for Scratch 2.0; this provided a version of the Flash code for the Scratch editor which could be modified to run locally rather than over the internet. We combined this with a program called Electron, which effectively wraps up a local web page into a standalone application. We ended up with the Scratch 2.0 application that you can find in the Programming section of the main menu.

Physical computing with Scratch 2.0

We didn’t stop there though. We know that people want to use Scratch for physical computing, and it has always been a bit awkward to access GPIO pins from Scratch. In our Scratch 2.0 application, therefore, there is a custom extension which allows the user to control the Pi’s GPIO pins without difficulty. Simply click on ‘More Blocks’, choose ‘Add an Extension’, and select ‘Pi GPIO’. This loads two new blocks, one to read and one to write the state of a GPIO pin.

Screenshot of new Raspbian iteration of Scratch 2, featuring GPIO pin control blocks.

The Scratch team kindly allowed us to include all the sprites, backdrops, and sounds from the online version of Scratch 2.0. You can also use the Raspberry Pi Camera Module to create new sprites and backgrounds.

This first release works well, although it can be slow for some operations; this is largely unavoidable for Flash code running under Electron. Bear in mind that you will need to have the Pepper Flash plugin installed (which it is by default on standard Raspbian images). As Pepper Flash is only compatible with the processor in the Pi 2.0 and Pi 3, it is unfortunately not possible to run Scratch 2.0 on the Pi Zero or the original models of the Pi.

We hope that this makes Scratch 2.0 a more practical proposition for many users than it has been to date. Do let us know if you hit any problems, though!

Thonny: a more user-friendly IDE for Python

One of the paths from Scratch to ‘real’ programming is through Python. We know that the transition can be awkward, and this isn’t helped by the tools available for learning Python. It’s fair to say that IDLE, the Python IDE, isn’t the most popular piece of software ever written…

Earlier this year, we reviewed every Python IDE that we could find that would run on a Raspberry Pi, in an attempt to see if there was something better out there than IDLE. We wanted to find something that was easier for beginners to use but still useful for experienced Python programmers. We found one program, Thonny, which stood head and shoulders above all the rest. It’s a really user-friendly IDE, which still offers useful professional features like single-stepping of code and inspection of variables.

Screenshot of Thonny IDE in Raspbian

Thonny was created at the University of Tartu in Estonia; we’ve been working with Aivar Annamaa, the lead developer, on getting it into Raspbian. The original version of Thonny works well on the Pi, but because the GUI is written using Python’s default GUI toolkit, Tkinter, the appearance clashes with the rest of the Raspbian desktop, most of which is written using the GTK toolkit. We made some changes to bring things like fonts and graphics into line with the appearance of our other apps, and Aivar very kindly took that work and converted it into a theme package that could be applied to Thonny.

Due to the limitations of working within Tkinter, the result isn’t exactly like a native GTK application, but it’s pretty close. It’s probably good enough for anyone who isn’t a picky UI obsessive like me, anyway! Have a look at the Thonny webpage to see some more details of all the cool features it offers. We hope that having a more usable environment will help to ease the transition from graphical languages like Scratch into ‘proper’ languages like Python.

New icons

Other than these two new packages, this release is mostly bug fixes and small version bumps. One thing you might notice, though, is that we’ve made some tweaks to our custom icon set. We wondered if the icons might look better with slightly thinner outlines. We tried it, and they did: we hope you prefer them too.

Downloading the new image

You can either download a new image from the Downloads page, or you can use apt to update:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get dist-upgrade

To install Scratch 2.0:

sudo apt-get install scratch2

To install Thonny:

sudo apt-get install python3-thonny

One more thing…

Before Christmas, we released an experimental version of the desktop running on Debian for x86-based computers. We were slightly taken aback by how popular it turned out to be! This made us realise that this was something we were going to need to support going forward. We’ve decided we’re going to try to make all new desktop releases for both Pi and x86 from now on.

The version of this we released last year was a live image that could run from a USB stick. Many people asked if we could make it permanently installable, so this version includes an installer. This uses the standard Debian install process, so it ought to work on most machines. I should stress, though, that we haven’t been able to test on every type of hardware, so there may be issues on some computers. Please be sure to back up your hard drive before installing it. Unlike the live image, this will erase and reformat your hard drive, and you will lose anything that is already on it!

You can still boot the image as a live image if you don’t want to install it, and it will create a persistence partition on the USB stick so you can save data. Just select ‘Run with persistence’ from the boot menu. To install, choose either ‘Install’ or ‘Graphical install’ from the same menu. The Debian installer will then walk you through the install process.

You can download the latest x86 image (which includes both Scratch 2.0 and Thonny) from here or here for a torrent file.

One final thing

This version of the desktop is based on Debian Jessie. Some of you will be aware that a new stable version of Debian (called Stretch) was released last week. Rest assured – we have been working on porting everything across to Stretch for some time now, and we will have a Stretch release ready some time over the summer.

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“Only a year? It’s felt like forever”: a twelve-month retrospective

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/12-months-raspberry-pi/

This weekend saw my first anniversary at Raspberry Pi, and this blog marks my 100th post written for the company. It would have been easy to let one milestone or the other slide had they not come along hand in hand, begging for some sort of acknowledgement.

Alex, Matt, and Courtney in a punt on the Cam

The day Liz decided to keep me

So here it is!

Joining the crew

Prior to my position in the Comms team as Social Media Editor, my employment history was largely made up of retail sales roles and, before that, bit parts in theatrical backstage crews. I never thought I would work for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, despite its firm position on my Top Five Awesome Places I’d Love to Work list. How could I work for a tech company when my knowledge of tech stretched as far as dismantling my Game Boy when I was a kid to see how the insides worked, or being the one friend everyone went to when their phone didn’t do what it was meant to do? I never thought about the other side of the Foundation coin, or how I could find my place within the hidden workings that turned the cogs that brought everything together.

… when suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a new job with a dream company. #raspberrypi #positive #change #dosomething

12 Likes, 1 Comments – Alex J’rassic (@thealexjrassic) on Instagram: “… when suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a new job with a dream company. #raspberrypi #positive…”

A little luck, a well-written though humorous resumé, and a meeting with Liz and Helen later, I found myself the newest member of the growing team at Pi Towers.

Ticking items off the Bucket List

I thought it would be fun to point out some of the chances I’ve had over the last twelve months and explain how they fit within the world of Raspberry Pi. After all, we’re about more than just a $35 credit card-sized computer. We’re a charitable Foundation made up of some wonderful and exciting projects, people, and goals.

High altitude ballooning (HAB)

Skycademy offers educators in the UK the chance to come to Pi Towers Cambridge to learn how to plan a balloon launch, build a payload with onboard Raspberry Pi and Camera Module, and provide teachers with the skills needed to take their students on an adventure to near space, with photographic evidence to prove it.

All the screens you need to hunt balloons. . We have our landing point and are now rushing to Therford to find the payload in a field. . #HAB #RasppberryPi

332 Likes, 5 Comments – Raspberry Pi (@raspberrypifoundation) on Instagram: “All the screens you need to hunt balloons. . We have our landing point and are now rushing to…”

I was fortunate enough to join Sky Captain James, along with Dan Fisher, Dave Akerman, and Steve Randell on a test launch back in August last year. Testing out new kit that James had still been tinkering with that morning, we headed to a field in Elsworth, near Cambridge, and provided Facebook Live footage of the process from payload build to launch…to the moment when our balloon landed in an RAF shooting range some hours later.

RAF firing range sign

“Can we have our balloon back, please, mister?”

Having enjoyed watching Blue Peter presenters send up a HAB when I was a child, I marked off the event on my bucket list with a bold tick, and I continue to show off the photographs from our Raspberry Pi as it reached near space.

Spend the day launching/chasing a high-altitude balloon. Look how high it went!!! #HAB #ballooning #space #wellspacekinda #ish #photography #uk #highaltitude

13 Likes, 2 Comments – Alex J’rassic (@thealexjrassic) on Instagram: “Spend the day launching/chasing a high-altitude balloon. Look how high it went!!! #HAB #ballooning…”

You can find more information on Skycademy here, plus more detail about our test launch day in Dan’s blog post here.

Dear Raspberry Pi Friends…

My desk is slowly filling with stuff: notes, mementoes, and trinkets that find their way to me from members of the community, both established and new to the life of Pi. There are thank you notes, updates, and more from people I’ve chatted to online as they explore their way around the world of Pi.

Letter of thanks to Raspberry Pi from a young fan

*heart melts*

By plugging myself into social media on a daily basis, I often find hidden treasures that go unnoticed due to the high volume of tags we receive on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on. Kids jumping off chairs in delight as they complete their first Scratch project, newcomers to the Raspberry Pi shedding a tear as they make an LED blink on their kitchen table, and seasoned makers turning their hobby into something positive to aid others.

It’s wonderful to join in the excitement of people discovering a new skill and exploring the community of Raspberry Pi makers: I’ve been known to shed a tear as a result.

Meeting educators at Bett, chatting to teen makers at makerspaces, and sharing a cupcake or three at the birthday party have been incredible opportunities to get to know you all.

You’re all brilliant.

The Queens of Robots, both shoddy and otherwise

Last year we welcomed the Queen of Shoddy Robots, Simone Giertz to Pi Towers, where we chatted about making, charity, and space while wandering the colleges of Cambridge and hanging out with flat Tim Peake.

Queen of Robots @simonegiertz came to visit #PiTowers today. We hung out with cardboard @astro_timpeake and ate chelsea buns at @fitzbillies #Cambridge. . We also had a great talk about the educational projects of the #RaspberryPi team, #AstroPi and how not enough people realise we’re a #charity. . If you’d like to learn more about the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the work we do with #teachers and #education, check out our website – www.raspberrypi.org. . How was your day? Get up to anything fun?

597 Likes, 3 Comments – Raspberry Pi (@raspberrypifoundation) on Instagram: “Queen of Robots @simonegiertz came to visit #PiTowers today. We hung out with cardboard…”

And last month, the wonderful Estefannie ‘Explains it All’ de La Garza came to hang out, make things, and discuss our educational projects.

Estefannie on Twitter

Ahhhh!!! I still can’t believe I got to hang out and make stuff at the @Raspberry_Pi towers!! Thank you thank you!!

Meeting such wonderful, exciting, and innovative YouTubers was a fantastic inspiration to work on my own projects and to try to do more to help others discover ways to connect with tech through their own interests.

Those ‘wow’ moments

Every Raspberry Pi project I see on a daily basis is awesome. The moment someone takes an idea and does something with it is, in my book, always worthy of awe and appreciation. Whether it be the aforementioned flashing LED, or sending Raspberry Pis to the International Space Station, if you have turned your idea into reality, I applaud you.

Some of my favourite projects over the last twelve months have not only made me say “Wow!”, they’ve also inspired me to want to do more with myself, my time, and my growing maker skill.

Museum in a Box on Twitter

Great to meet @alexjrassic today and nerd out about @Raspberry_Pi and weather balloons and @Space_Station and all things #edtech 🎈⛅🛰📚🤖

Projects such as Museum in a Box, a wonderful hands-on learning aid that brings the world to the hands of children across the globe, honestly made me tear up as I placed a miniaturised 3D-printed Virginia Woolf onto a wooden box and gasped as she started to speak to me.

Jill Ogle’s Let’s Robot project had me in awe as Twitch-controlled Pi robots tackled mazes, attempted to cut birthday cake, or swung to slap Jill in the face over webcam.

Jillian Ogle on Twitter

@SryAbtYourCats @tekn0rebel @Beam Lol speaking of faces… https://t.co/1tqFlMNS31

Every day I discover new, wonderful builds that both make me wish I’d thought of them first, and leave me wondering how they manage to make them work in the first place.

Space

We have Raspberry Pis in space. SPACE. Actually space.

Raspberry Pi on Twitter

New post: Mission accomplished for the European @astro_pi challenge and @esa @Thom_astro is on his way home 🚀 https://t.co/ycTSDR1h1Q

Twelve months later, this still blows my mind.

And let’s not forget…

  • The chance to visit both the Houses of Parliment and St James’s Palace

Raspberry Pi team at the Houses of Parliament

  • Going to a Doctor Who pre-screening and meeting Peter Capaldi, thanks to Clare Sutcliffe

There’s no need to smile when you’re #DoctorWho.

13 Likes, 2 Comments – Alex J’rassic (@thealexjrassic) on Instagram: “There’s no need to smile when you’re #DoctorWho.”

We’re here. Where are you? . . . . . #raspberrypi #vidconeu #vidcon #pizero #zerow #travel #explore #adventure #youtube

1,944 Likes, 30 Comments – Raspberry Pi (@raspberrypifoundation) on Instagram: “We’re here. Where are you? . . . . . #raspberrypi #vidconeu #vidcon #pizero #zerow #travel #explore…”

  • Making a GIF Cam and other builds, and sharing them with you all via the blog

Made a Gif Cam using a Raspberry Pi, Pi camera, button and a couple LEDs. . When you press the button, it takes 8 images and stitches them into a gif file. The files then appear on my MacBook. . Check out our Twitter feed (Raspberry_Pi) for examples! . Next step is to fit it inside a better camera body. . #DigitalMaking #Photography #Making #Camera #Gif #MakersGonnaMake #LED #Creating #PhotosofInstagram #RaspberryPi

19 Likes, 1 Comments – Alex J’rassic (@thealexjrassic) on Instagram: “Made a Gif Cam using a Raspberry Pi, Pi camera, button and a couple LEDs. . When you press the…”

The next twelve months

Despite Eben jokingly firing me near-weekly across Twitter, or Philip giving me the ‘Dad glare’ when I pull wires and buttons out of a box under my desk to start yet another project, I don’t plan on going anywhere. Over the next twelve months, I hope to continue discovering awesome Pi builds, expanding on my own skills, and curating some wonderful projects for you via the Raspberry Pi blog, the Raspberry Pi Weekly newsletter, my submissions to The MagPi Magazine, and the occasional video interview or two.

It’s been a pleasure. Thank you for joining me on the ride!

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Acrophobia 1.0: don’t drop the ball!

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/acrophobia/

Using servomotors and shadow tracking, Acrophobia 1.0’s mission to give a Raspberry Pi a nervous disposition is a rolling success.

Acrophobia 1.0

Acrophobia, a nervous machine with no human-serving goal, but with a single fear: of dropping the ball. Unlike any other ball balancing machine, Acrophobia has no interest in keeping the ball centered. She is just afraid to drop it, getting trapped in near-infinite loops of her own making.

How to give a Raspberry Pi Acrophobia

Controlling the MDF body and 3D printed wheels, the heart of Acrophobia contains a Raspberry Pi 2 and a Camera Module. The camera tracks a shadow across a square of semi-elastic synthetic cloth, moving the Turnigy S901D servomotors at each corner to keep it within a set perimeter.

Acrophobia Raspberry Pi

Well-placed lighting creates the perfect shadow for the Raspberry Pi to track

The shadow is cast by a small ball, and the single goal of Acrophobia is to keep that ball from dropping off the edge.

Acrophobia, a nervous machine with no human-serving goal, but with a single fear: of dropping the ball.

Unlike any other ball-balancing machine, Acrophobia has no interest in keeping the ball centered. She is just afraid to drop it, getting trapped in near-infinite loops of her own making.

To set up the build, the Raspberry Pi is accessed via VNC viewer on an iPad. Once the Python code is executed, Acrophobia is stuck in its near-infinite nightmare loop.

Acrophobia Raspberry Pi

This video for Acrophobia 1.0 has only recently been uploaded to Vimeo, but the beta recording has been available for some time. You can see the initial iteration, created by George Adamopoulos, Dafni Papadopoulou, Maria Papacharisi and Filippos Pappas for the National Technical University of Athens School of Architecture Undergraduate course here, and compare the two. The beta video includes the details of the original Arduino/webcam setup that was eventually replaced by the Raspberry Pi and Camera Module.

Team Building

I recently saw a similar build to this, again using a Raspberry Pi, which used tablet computers as game controllers. Instead of relying on a camera to track the ball, two players worked together to keep the ball within the boundaries of the sheet.

Naturally, now that I need the video for a blog post, I can’t find it. But if you know what I’m talking about, share the link in the comments below.

And if you don’t, it’s time to get making, my merry band of Pi builders. Who can turn Acrophobia into an interactive game?

The post Acrophobia 1.0: don’t drop the ball! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

An affordable ocular fundus camera

Post Syndicated from Helen Lynn original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/an-affordable-ocular-fundus-camera/

The ocular fundus is the interior surface of the eye, and an ophthalmologist can learn a lot about a patient’s health by examining it. However, there’s a problem: an ocular fundus camera can’t capture a useful image unless the eye is brightly lit, but this makes the pupil constrict, obstructing the camera’s view. Ophthalmologists use pupil-dilating eye drops to block the eye’s response to light, but these are uncomfortable and can cause blurred vision for several hours. Now, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have built a Raspberry Pi-based fundus camera that can take photos of the retina without the need for eye drops.

Dr Bailey Shen and co-author Dr Shizuo Mukai made their camera with a Raspberry Pi 2 and a Pi NoIR Camera Module, a version of the Camera Module that does not have an infrared filter. They used a small LCD touchscreen display and a lithium battery, holding the ensemble together with tape and rubber bands. They also connected a button and a dual infrared/white light LED to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins.

When the Raspberry Pi boots, a Python script turns on the infrared illumination from the LED and displays the camera view on the screen. The iris does not respond to infrared light, so in a darkened room the operator is able to position the camera and a separate condensing lens to produce a clear image of the patient’s fundus. When they’re satisfied with the image, the operator presses the button. This turns off the infrared light, produces a flash of white light, and captures a colour image of the fundus before the iris can respond and constrict the pupil.

This isn’t the first ocular fundus camera to use infrared/white light to focus and obtain images without eye drops, but it is less bulky and distinctly cheaper than existing equipment, which can cost thousands of dollars. The total cost of all the parts is $185, and all but one are available as off-the-shelf components. The exception is the dual infrared/white light LED, a prototype which the researchers explain is a critical part of the equipment. Using an infrared LED and a white LED side by side doesn’t yield consistent results. We’d be glad to see the LED available on the market, both to support this particular application, and because we bet there are plenty of other builds that could use one!

Read more in Science Daily, in an article exploring the background to the project. The article is based on the researchers’ recent paper, presenting the Raspberry Pi ocular fundus camera in the Journal of Ophthalmology. The journal is an open access publication, so if you think this build is as interesting as I do, I encourage you to read the researchers’ presentation of their work, its possibilities and its limitations. They also provide step-by-step instructions and a parts list to help others to replicate and build on their work.

It’s beyond brilliant to see researchers and engineers using the Raspberry Pi to make medical and scientific work cheaper and more accessible. Please tell us about your favourite applications, or the applications you’d develop in your fantasy lab or clinic, in the comments.

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Raspberry Turk: a chess-playing robot

Post Syndicated from Lorna Lynch original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-turk-chess-playing-robot/

Computers and chess have been a potent combination ever since the appearance of the first chess-playing computers in the 1970s. You might even be able to play a game of chess on the device you are using to read this blog post! For digital makers, though, adding a Raspberry Pi into the mix can be the first step to building something a little more exciting. Allow us to introduce you to Joey Meyer‘s chess-playing robot, the Raspberry Turk.

The Raspberry Turk chess-playing robot

Image credit: Joey Meyer

Being both an experienced software engineer with an interest in machine learning, and a skilled chess player, it’s not surprising that Joey was interested in tinkering with chess programs. What is really stunning, though, is the scale and complexity of the build he came up with. Fascinated by a famous historical hoax, Joey used his skills in programming and robotics to build an open-source Raspberry Pi-powered recreation of the celebrated Mechanical Turk automaton.

You can see the Raspberry Turk in action on Joey’s YouTube channel:

Chess Playing Robot Powered by Raspberry Pi – Raspberry Turk

The Raspberry Turk is a robot that can play chess-it’s entirely open source, based on Raspberry Pi, and inspired by the 18th century chess playing machine, the Mechanical Turk. Website: http://www.raspberryturk.com Source Code: https://github.com/joeymeyer/raspberryturk

A historical hoax

Joey explains that he first encountered the Mechanical Turk through a book by Tom Standage. A famous example of mechanical trickery, the original Turk was advertised as a chess-playing automaton, capable of defeating human opponents and solving complex puzzles.

Image of the Mechanical Turk Automaton

A modern reconstruction of the Mechanical Turk 
Image from Wikimedia Commons

Its inner workings a secret, the Turk toured Europe for the best part of a century, confounding everyone who encountered it. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be a fabulous example of early robotic engineering after all. Instead, it was just an elaborate illusion. The awesome chess moves were not being worked out by the clockwork brain of the automaton, but rather by a human chess master who was cunningly concealed inside the casing.

Building a modern Turk

A modern version of the Mechanical Turk was constructed in the 1980s. However, the build cost $120,000. At that price, it would have been impossible for most makers to create their own version. Impossible, that is, until now: Joey uses a Raspberry Pi 3 to drive the Raspberry Turk, while a Raspberry Pi Camera Module handles computer vision.

Image of chess board and Raspberry Turk robot

The Raspberry Turk in the middle of a game 
Image credit: Joey Meyer

Joey’s Raspberry Turk is built into a neat wooden table. All of the electronics are housed in a box on one side. The chessboard is painted directly onto the table’s surface. In order for the robot to play, a Camera Module located in a 3D-printed housing above the table takes an image of the chessboard. The image is then analysed to determine which pieces are in which positions at that point. By tracking changes in the positions of the pieces, the Raspberry Turk can determine which moves have been made, and which piece should move next. To train the system, Joey had to build a large dataset to validate a computer vision model. This involved painstakingly moving pieces by hand and collecting multiple images of each possible position.

Look, no hands!

A key feature of the Mechanical Turk was that the automaton appeared to move the chess pieces entirely by itself. Of course, its movements were actually being controlled by a person hidden inside the machine. The Raspberry Turk, by contrast, does move the chess pieces itself. To achieve this, Joey used a robotic arm attached to the table. The arm is made primarily out of Actobotics components. Joey explains:

The motion is controlled by the rotation of two servos which are attached to gears at the base of each link of the arm. At the end of the arm is another servo which moves a beam up and down. At the bottom of the beam is an electromagnet that can be dynamically activated to lift the chess pieces.

Joey individually fitted the chess pieces with tiny sections of metal dowel so that the magnet on the arm could pick them up.

Programming the Raspberry Turk

The Raspberry Turk is controlled by a daemon process that runs a perception/action sequence, and the status updates automatically as the pieces are moved. The code is written almost entirely in Python. It is all available on Joey’s GitHub repo for the project, together with his notebooks on the project.

Image of Raspberry Turk chessboard with Python script alongside

Image credit: Joey Meyer

The AI backend that gives the robot its chess-playing ability is currently Stockfish, a strong open-source chess engine. Joey says he would like to build his own engine when he has time. For the moment, though, he’s confident that this AI will prove a worthy opponent.

The project website goes into much more detail than we are able to give here. We’d definitely recommend checking it out. If you have been experimenting with any robotics or computer vision projects like this, please do let us know in the comments!

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I can haz pet-themed resources?

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/pet-themed-resources/

A friend of mine’s cat had kittens this week. So, in honour of their fluffy, cute little gorgeous fuzz-faces, here are some pet-themed resources for you to build for your furry (or feathery) best friend.

Cat Meme Generator

Raspberry Pi pet-themed resources

Everybody loves a good meme. With the right combination of image and text, they can be both relatable and hilarious. There may be many meme-generating apps online, but why bother with them when you can build your own?

Our Cat Meme Generator teaches you how to write functions in JavaScript, how to use JavaScript to manipulate input by a user, and how to use oninput and onchange to make things happen live on a web page in response to user actions.

So grab your camera, take some photos of your favourite pet, and share their exploits with friends and family.

Hamster Party Cam

Hamster Party Cam Raspberry Pi pet-themed resources

The Hamster Party Cam shows you how to turn a hamster wheel into a trigger switch to activate a program, how to write a Python program to take pictures and store them, and how to write a function that makes LED lights flash and play a song. In other words, it teaches you how to pimp your hamster’s cage into THE place to be!

Disclaimer: adding lights and music to the party can be fun, but remember that this may scare hamsters of a shy disposition. As a hamster owner, you have a duty to consider the wellbeing of your pet. Check out the RSPCA Hamster Guide to learn more.

Infrared Bird Box

Infrared Bird Box Raspberry Pi pet-themed resources

We see a lot of infrared nature cams online, and we love to check out the photos and videos that makers share. From wild animals in the garden to chicks hatching in bird boxes, we’ve enjoyed them all.

Building an infrared bird box using the Raspberry Pi NOIR Camera Module and infrared LEDs will allow you and your family to spy on the wonders of nature without disturbing the feathered visitors to your garden.

Expanding on our pet-themed resources

Once you’ve built our fun pet-themed projects, it’s time to take the skills you’ve learned and build on them.

How about using the Raspberry Pi Camera Module to take a photo of your pet from which to create a meme image? You can learn more about getting started with the Camera Module here.

Why not try setting up your bird box to stream footage directly to the internet, so you can keep up to date when you are away from home?

Even if you don’t own a hamster, you can still use the skills in the Hamster Party Cam resource to create switches around the home. So try finding other things that move or spin, like doors and paper windmills, and see what you can hack!

Here at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we take great pride in the wonderful free resources we produce for you to use in classes, at home, and in coding clubs. We publish them under a Creative Commons licence, and they’re an excellent way to develop your digital-making skills.

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The All-Seeing Pi: a Raspberry Pi photo booth

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/all-seeing-pi-photo-booth/

Have you ever fancied building a Raspberry Pi photo booth? How about one with Snapchat-esque overlay filters? What if it tweeted your images to its own Twitter account for all to see?

The All-Seeing Pi on Twitter

The All Seeing Pi has seen you visiting @Raspberry_Pi Party @missphilbin #PiParty

Introducing The All-Seeing Pi

“Well, the thing I really want to say (if you haven’t already) is that this whole thing was a team build”, explains one of the resource creators, Laura Sach. “I think it would be a brilliant project to do as a team!”

The All-Seeing Pi Raspberry Pi Photo Booth

The resource originally came to life at Pycon, where the team demonstrated the use of filters alongside the Camera Module in their hands-on workshops. From there, the project grew into The All-Seeing Pi, which premiered at the Bett stand earlier this year.

The All-Seeing Pi on Twitter

The All Seeing Pi has seen you, @theallseeingpi #PiatBETT #BETT2017

Build your own photo booth

To build your own, you’ll need:

  • A Camera Module
  • A monitor (we used a touchscreen for ours)
  • Two tactile buttons (you can replace these later with bigger buttons if you wish)
  • A breadboard
  • Some male-female jumper leads

If you’re feeling artistic, you can also use a box to build a body for your All-Seeing Pi.

By following the worksheets within the resource, you’ll learn how to set up the Camera Module, connect buttons and a display, control GPIO pins and the camera with Python code, and how to tweet a photo.

The All-Seeing Pi Raspberry Pi Photo Booth

Raspberry Pi Foundation’s free resources

We publish our resources under a Creative Commons license, allowing you to use them for free at home, in clubs, and in schools. The All-Seeing Pi resource has been written to cover elements from the Raspberry Pi Digital Curriculum. You can find more information on the curriculum here.

Raspberry Pi Digital Curriculum

 

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JavaWatch automated coffee replenishment system

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/javawatch-automated-coffee-replenishment-system/

With the JavaWatch system from Terren Peterson, there’s (Raspberry Pi) ZERO reason for you ever to run out of coffee beans again!

By utilising many of the Amazon Web Services (AWS) available to budding developers, Terren was able to create a Pi Zero-powered image detection unit. Using the Raspberry Pi Camera Module to keep tabs on your coffee bean storage, it automatically orders a fresh batch of java when supplies are running low.

JavaWatch Sales Pitch

Introducing JavaWatch, the amazing device that monitors your coffee bean supply and refills from Amazon.com.

Coffee: quite possibly powering Pi Towers’ success

Here at Pi Towers, it’s safe to say that the vast majority of staff members run on high levels of caffeine. In fact, despite hitting ten million Pi boards sold last October, sending two Astro Pi units to space, documenting over 5,000 Code Clubs in the UK, and multiple other impressive achievements, the greatest accomplishment of the Pi Towers team is probably the acquisition of a new all-singing, all-dancing coffee machine for the kitchen. For, if nothing else, it has increased the constant flow of caffeine into the engineers…and that’s always a positive thing, right?

Here are some glamour shots of the beautiful beast:

Pi Towers coffee machine glamour shot
Pi Towers coffee machine glamour shot
Pi Towers coffee machine glamour shot

Anyway, back to JavaWatch

Terren uses the same technology that can be found in an Amazon Dash button, replacing the ‘button-press’ stimulus with image recognition to trigger a purchase request.

JavaWatch flow diagram

Going with the JavaWatch flow… 
Image from Terren’s hackster.io project page.

“The service was straightforward to get working,” Terren explains on his freeCodeCamp blog post. “The Raspberry Pi Camera Module captures and uploads photos at preset intervals to S3, the object-based storage service by AWS.”

The data is used to calculate the amount of coffee beans in stock. For example, the jar in the following image is registered at 73% full:

A jar which is almost full of coffee beans

It could also be 27% empty, depending on your general outlook on life.

A second photo, where the beans take up a mere 15% or so of the jar, registers no beans. As a result, JavaWatch orders more via a small website created specifically for the task, just like pressing a Dash button.

JavaWatch DRS Demo

Demonstration of DRS Capabilities with a project called JavaWatch. This orders coffee beans when the container runs empty.

Terren won second place in hackster.io’s Amazon DRS Developer Challenge for JavaWatch. If you are in need of regular and reliable caffeine infusions, you can find more information on the build, including Terren’s code, on his project page.

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Community Profile: Alex Eames

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/community-profile-alex-eames/

This column is from The MagPi issue 52. You can download a PDF of the full issue for free, or subscribe to receive the print edition in your mailbox or the digital edition on your tablet. All proceeds from the print and digital editions help the Raspberry Pi Foundation achieve its charitable goals.

Alex purchased his first Raspberry Pi in May 2012, after a BBC article caught his eye. Already teaching ICT at his son’s school, he was drawn to the idea of a $35 computer to aid the education of his ten-year-old students.

Alex Eames

Alex is truly a member of the Raspberry Pi community, providing support and resources to those new to, and experienced in, the world of the Pi

Less than a month later, Alex started his website, RasPi.TV. The website allowed him to document his progress with the Raspberry Pi, and to curate an easy-to-use reference library for others.

“I found that when I wanted to learn something new, generally the ‘instructions’ on other Linux sites were either out of date or incomplete. I wanted a place where I could record procedures that I could use again, but that would also be available to others.”

Alex was determined to provide tutorials that worked first time, understanding the frustration for newcomers when their hard work didn’t always pay off. “It’s off-putting for people to follow a list of instructions, get it all right, and then find the process fails,” he says. RasPi.TV was all about “instructions that work first time – even if you’ve never done it before.”

Alex Eames Community Profile

The RasPi.TV website is packed full of tutorials, reviews, and videos, all of which have the aim of helping newcomers and seasoned Raspberry Pi users to expand their skill set and interests. Alex’s YouTube channel boasts more than 8,000 subscribers, with viewing figures of well over 1.5 million across his 121 videos.

In 2012, Alex began to build his own RasPiO boards, with the first releases making an appearance in March 2014. The GPIO labeller, Breakout, and Breakout Pro were successful across the community, earning an honourable mention on the official Raspberry Pi blog. The Pro has since been upgraded to the Pro HAT, while the labeller has been replaced with a newer 40-pin version. The RasPiO collection has now increased to ten different units, each available for direct purchase from the website. A few originally found their feet via successful crowdfunding campaigns.

Alex Eames Community Profile

The RasPiO family is a series of add-on boards, port labellers, GPIO rulers, and tools to aid makers in building with the Raspberry Pi. The ruler, for example, offers GPIO pin reference for easy identification, along with a code reference for using the GPIO Zero library.

Even if you’ve yet to visit either RasPi.TV or Alex’s YouTube channel, the chances are that you’ve seen one aspect of his online contribution to the Raspberry Pi Community. Alex maintains a Raspberry Pi ‘family photo’ on his website, showcasing every model built across the years. It’s a picture that often does the rounds of blogs, news articles, and social media.

Raspberry Pi Family Photo 2017

Updated 28th Feb 2017 to include the newly released Raspberry Pi Zero W

Outside of his life of Pi, Alex has a background in analytical chemistry, a profession that certainly explains his desire for the clean, precise, and well-tested tutorials that brought about the creation of RasPi.TV. From working as a translator to writing his own e-books, Alex is definitely well suited to the maker life, moving on from his past life of pharmaceutical development.

Duinocam designed by Alex Eames

The Duinocam is set up in Alex’s home in Poland. During daylight hours, it emails him photos and temperature data while also responding to tweeted commands
such as video capture and upload. Using a Pi Model B, a RasPiO Duino, a Camera Module, and two servos, the unit can pan and tilt to survey the area.

His tutorial and review videos on YouTube reach viewing figures in the thousands, with his popular Raspberry Pi DSI Display Launch video garnering close to 300,000 views at the time of writing of this article. While Alex has updated us on his newest unreleased projects and plans, we’ll keep them quiet for now. You’ll have to watch the RasPi.TV website for details.

Note – Since writing this article, Alex has continued his work, producing new content to support the Raspberry Pi Zero W, while also releasing his newest crowdfunding campaign, RasPiO InsPiRing.

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Stent-testing smart robot makes the medical grade

Post Syndicated from Lucy Hattersley original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/stent-testing-robot/

The Raspberry Pi often makes the world a better place. This time, it’s helping to test 3D-printed stents using a smart stent-testing robot.

Stents are small tubes used to prop open a patient’s airway. They keep people alive, so it’s incredibly important they don’t fail.

In fact, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) requires testing of each design by compressing it over 300,000 times. That’s a sturdy challenge for any human, which is why machines are normally used to mash up the stents.

The usual stent-destroying machines are dumb clamps, with no idea whether the stent is breaking or not.

Stent Testing Robot Camera

A smarter stent-testing robot

Enter the Stent-Testing Robot, an intelligent arm that mashes stents while a Raspberry Pi Camera Module keeps a sharp eye on how it performs.

It’s designed by Henry J. Feldman, Chief Information Architect at Harvard Medical Faculty Physicians.

“We start with a CT scan of the lungs, and via a 3D reconstruction get the size and shape of the bronchus that we wish to stent open,” explains Henry. “The trick is to make it the exact shape of the airway.”

The challenge with testing is if stents start to fail before the end of the test. The dumb devices currently used continue to pulverise the stent when this happens.

Stent Testing Robot Camera Squisher

Machine vision to control stent-testing

The Raspberry Pi, meanwhile, uses machine vision to stop the mashing at the moment of failure.

The instant-stop approach enables Henry’s team to check which part failed, and view a time-lapse leading up to the failure. The video helps them design more reliable stents in the future.

Henry explains:

Naturally, we turned to the Raspberry Pi, since, along with a servo control HAT, it gave us easy OpenCV integration along with the ability to control a Hitec HS-5665MH servo. We also added an Adafruit 16-channel Servo/PWM HAT. The servo controls a ServoCity Parallel Gripper A.

Python was used to write the servo controller application. The program fires off a separate OpenCV thread to process each image.

Henry and his medical team trained the machine learning system to spot failing stents, and outlined the likely points of failure with a black marker.

Each time the gripper released, the robot took a picture with the Pi Camera Module and performed recognition of the coloured circles via OpenCV. If the black marker had a split or was no longer visible, the robot halted its test.

The test was successful:

While the OpenCV could occasionally get fooled, it was remarkably accurate, and given this was done on an academic budget, the Raspberry Pi gave us high-performance multi-core capabilities for very little money.

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PolaPi-Zero: the tiny thermal camera

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/polapi-zero/

Using a Nano Thermal Receipt Printer from Adafruit, a Sharp Memory LCD screen, and a Raspberry Pi Zero, Hackaday.io user Pierre Muth has created the PolaPi-Zero, or as I like to call it, the Oh-My-Days-How-Cute-Is-This-Camera-LOOK.

PolaPi-Zero Raspberry Pi

In lieu of banana, a euro for scale.

Having gifted his previous Pi-powered camera to a friend, it was time to build a new one. A version 2.0, if you please.

The camera considers itself a makeshift Polaroid, allowing for review of an image via the LCD screen before you press a button to print via the thermal printer.

PolaPi-Zero

Instant-Printing-Point-and-Shoot camera : https://hackaday.io/project/19731-polapi-zero -Raspberry pi Zero -Camera module -Sharp Memory LCD -Adafruit nano Thermal printer

Having designed the case in 123D, he used an online 3D printing service to complete the body of the camera. You can download the case file here.

Code for the camera can be found on GitHub, where Pierre apologises for the less-than-elegant look:

“This project is a good excuse to start learning Python (finally).”

You can also download the image directly here.

PolaPi-Zero Raspberry Pi

Follow the build via Hackaday.io, and if you make one, be sure to share it with us in the comments below. If you’ve made a similar project, again with the comment sharing.

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Raspberry Pi at Scouts Wintercamp

Post Syndicated from Ben Nuttall original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-at-scouts-wintercamp/

As well as working with classroom teachers and supporting learning in schools, Raspberry Pi brings computing and digital making to educators and learners in all sorts of other settings. I recently attended Wintercamp, a camp for Scouts at Gilwell Park. With some help from Brian and Richard from Vodafone, I ran a Raspberry Pi activity space introducing Scouts to digital making with Raspberry Pi, using the Sense HAT, the Camera Module, and GPIO, based on some of our own learning resources.

Ben Nuttall on Twitter

Today I’m running @Raspberry_Pi activities for @UKScouting at @gpwintercamp with @VodafoneUK!

Note the plastic sheeting on the floor! Kids were dropping into our sessions all day with muddy boots, having taken part in all sorts of fun activities, indoors and out.

Ben Nuttall on Twitter

@gpwintercamp

In the UK, the Scouts have Digital Citizen and Digital Maker badges, and we’re currently working with the Scout Association to help deliver content for the Digital Maker badge, as supported by the Vodafone Foundation.

The activities we ran were just a gentle introduction to creative tech and experimenting with sensors, but they went down really well, and many of the participants felt happy to move beyond the worksheets and try out their own ideas. We set challenges, and got them to think about how they could incorporate technology like this into their Scouting activities.

Having been through the Scouting movement myself, it’s amazing to be involved in working to show young people how technology can be applied to projects related to their other hobbies and interests. I loved introducing the Scouts to the idea that programming and making can be tools to help solve problems that are relevant to them and to others in their communities, as well as enabling them to do some good in the world, and to be creative.

Scouts coding

Ben Nuttall on Twitter

Can you breathe on the Sense HAT to make the humidity read 90?” “That’s cool. It makes you light-headed…

While conducting a survey of Raspberry Jam organisers recently, I discovered that a high proportion of those who run Jams are also involved in other youth organisations. Many were Scout leaders. Other active Pi community folk happen to be involved in Scouting too, like Brian and Richard, who helped out at the weekend, and who are Scout and Cub leaders. I’m interested to speak to anyone in the Pi community who has an affiliation with the Scouts to share ideas on how they think digital making can be incorporated in Scouting activities. Please do get in touch!

Ben Nuttall on Twitter

Not a great picture but the Scouts made a Fleur de Lys on the Sense HAT at @gpwintercamp



The timing is perfect for young people in this age group to get involved with digital making, as we’ve just launched our first Pioneers challenge. There’s plenty of scope there for outdoor tech projects.

Thanks to UK Scouting and the Wintercamp team for a great weekend. Smiles all round!

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Live-streaming YouTube Drone

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/live-streaming-youtube-drone/

I’ll be tweeting, recording, and schmoozing my way through day one of Bett tomorrow. One thing I sadly won’t be able to do is live-stream to YouTube via drone.

Turn Your Raspberry Pi into the Open Source Drone Youtube Live Video Streamer

Raspberry Pi Video Streamer Pack Now on Kickstarter! http://kck.st/2ef6gnD for SD Card image and how to write image to SD Card: https://youtu.be/lRd4BhN4BHk for more info: www.sixfab.com

However, thanks to this handy guide from Mahmut on Hackaday, such dreams could possibly be realised for future Raspberry Pi events, such as Skycademy and the Big Birthday Weekend.

YouTube Drone

Mahmut uses an LTE shield to supply 4G access to the onboard Raspberry Pi and Camera Module. Then, using the image he supplies here, you’re good to go.

If you want to make your own Pi-powered drone, you’ll find Greg Nichols’s step-by-step guide for building one here. Greg uses a Pi Zero and the total cost comes in under $200.

A Raspberry Pi Zero drone

This video shows a Linux drone made with the PXFmini (http://erlerobotics.com/blog/pxfmini/) autopilot shield for the Raspberry Pi Zero. The drone runs a customized Debian file system with real-time capabilities and the APM flight stack.

The small, lightweight nature of the Raspberry Pi makes it perfect for drone building. If you’ve made your own, we’d love to see it in the comments below.

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Our full 2017 schedule of UK Picademy events

Post Syndicated from Dan Fisher original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/our-full-2017-schedule-of-uk-picademy-events/

Happy new year to everyone! We’re back with a new programme of Picademy events for 2017. All our UK events have been scheduled up to the end of the year, so you can look ahead and choose something at a location and date that is convenient.

An educator gets to grips with our Camera Module

For the uninitiated, Picademy is a free CPD programme that aims to give educators the skills and knowledge they need to get creative with computing, no matter what their level of experience. In fact, you don’t need any previous experience to apply, just an enthusiasm for teaching kids computing. Each course lasts for two full days and is a mixture of digital making workshops, project-based learning, and hacking. Delegates graduate as Raspberry Pi Certified Educators (RCEs).

Last year’s Picademy events yielded some wonderful moments. We trained over 540 educators in the UK and the US, so we had lots of highlights to choose from; I certainly witnessed many in person while delivering events in Glasgow. Two of my favourites included the educator who created music by coding DNA into Sonic Pi as note values (amazing!), and the project that used the Sense HAT to input notes to Sonic Pi and then convert them into coloured blocks in Minecraft for a digital disco.

It was so great to see the enthusiasm, the camaraderie, and the willingness of educators to be open to new experiences. You could see the cogs turning as they thought about how they could apply the new ideas to work in their own classrooms. It was also great to hear about things educators found less easy, and to answer questions about aspects of the computing curriculum. We find this feedback particularly useful as we are always looking for ways to improve our content and provide better support.

Below you’ll find details of the Picademy events we’re running across the UK in 2017:

CITY VENUE DATES
Cardiff Tramshed,
Clare Rd,
Cardiff,
CF11 6QP
21/22 February
Manchester MadLab Manchester,
36-40 Edge St,
Manchester,
M4 1HN
14/15 March
02/03 October
Birmingham The Learning Hub,
Birmingham Airport,
Birmingham,
B26 3QJ
10/11 April
04/05 December
Cambridge Raspberry Pi Foundation,
30 Station Road,
Cambridge,
CB1 2JH
15/16 May
London TBC Late May*
Late November*

* While London details are not fully confirmed, you can still apply for these events. We will email details to applicants later in 2017.

Who should apply?

We are looking for inspirational educators who are passionate about computing, enthusiastic about creating awesome learning experiences for their students, and proactive at sharing good practice.

While we’re primarily looking for primary, secondary, FE and HE teachers to apply, we’re also seeking other outstanding educators such as librarians, community educators, trainee teachers, and trainers of teachers.

We’re committed to running free high-quality training, and we invest substantial time (and money) in the educators that attend. Our hope is that our certified educators not only return home with a digital making mindset to inspire students and colleagues, but also have an impact on their wider education community through social media, meetups, or running their own training.

With this in mind, we should point out that Picademy events are often oversubscribed: for this reason, it’s really important that we get a sense of the person behind the application. We would therefore urge you to take your time when answering questions that ask you to reflect on your own experiences and reasons for applying.

A cohort of Picademy graduates in Manchester

How to apply

To apply for any of the events, fill in our Online Application Form. If you have any further questions, you can email [email protected] or post a message in the Picademy area on our forums.

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Raspberry Pi astrophotography

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

Tonight marks the appearance of the brightest supermoon to grace the sky since 1948, appearing 30% brighter and 14% bigger than the usual glowing orb. The moon will not be this close again until November 2034.

Given this, and assuming the sky remains clear enough tonight to catch a glimpse, here’s one of several Raspberry Pi-powered astrophotography projects to get your creative senses tingling.

Having already created a similar project with a Nokia Lumia, TJ “Lifetime tinkerer” Emsley decided to try attaching a Raspberry Pi and Camera Module to a newly adopted Tesco 45X refractor telescope. They added a $10 USB shield, wireless NIC, and the usual setup components, and the project was underway.

TJ EMSLEY Moon Photography

TJ designed and 3D-printed a mount and bracket; the files are available on Thingiverse for those interested in building their own. The two-part design allows for use with various telescopes, thanks to an adjustable eyepiece adapter.

A Pi Zero fits onto the bracket, the Pi camera snug to the eyepiece, and the build is ready.

TJ EMSLEY Moon Photography

The Pi runs code written by TJ, allowing for image preview and exposure adjustments. You can choose between video and still images, and you can trigger the camera via a keyboard; this way, you don’t unsettle the camera to capture an image by having to touch the adapter in any way.

TJ will eventually be uploading the project to GitHub, but a short search will help you to build your own camera code (start here), so why not share your astrophotography with us in the comments below?

Enjoy the supermoon!

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CERN Coding Pi Science Event

Post Syndicated from Laura Clay original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/cern-coding-pi-science-event/

Laura: MagPi founder and Scottish Pi event organiser extraordinaire Dr. William Bell has sent us this report from the home of the World Wide Web itself…

CERN is the heart of particle physics research, where scientists are working to discover new phenomena using high-energy equipment. These research challenges have driven inventions, such as the internet and superconducting magnets used by the Large Hadron Collider. Theoretical calculations and experimental analyses are both heavily reliant on computer programming, so it’s a great place to host a Raspberry Pi programming event.

20161007_134130

Babbage outside CERN

This year, Brice Copy organised a Coding Pi Science event on the 7th and 8th of October. Working together with long-term Pi supporter Alan McCullagh, he invited three teams to prepare kits to build and program with attendees. To motivate the teams and the other attendees, there were a series of talks on Friday evening; these included a general introduction to the CERN Micro Club and the EU Code Week, as well as a motivational talk on why computer programming is so important for scientific research. Each team then gave an overview of their project, in preparation for the workshop the next day.

On Saturday morning, the teams, volunteers, children, parents, and teachers started to build a muon detector (Muon Hunter), a robotic arm (Poppy Ergo Jr.), or a programmable WiFi car (GianoPi). The idea was to build a kit together with the team leaders and other volunteers, and then take the kit home to program it. These three kits provide different challenges: the Muon Hunter kit requires some soldering and uses a C programming interface, the Poppy Ergo Jr. snaps together and is driven using Snap, and the GianoPi needs soldering and is controlled by Blockly.

Programming Poppy Ergo Jr. in MicroClub Robotics

Programming Poppy Ergo Jr. in MicroClub Robotics

The Muon Hunter was designed by Mihaly Vadai, in collaboration with the CERN Micro Club. The kit includes two Geiger-Müller tubes to detect ionising radiation, a circuit board that produces the 400 volts needed to bias the tubes and read the signals, and an ARM microcontroller to form the coincidence between the two tubes. The circuit board can be directly connected to a Raspberry Pi to read out the signals and produce plots of the data.

Poppy Ergo Jr. was invented by the Flowers team at Inria Bordeaux, and presented by Stephanie Noirpoudre and Theo Segonds. Their projects are designed to encourage children to learn about computer programming through interacting with robots. The kit includes 3D-printed parts and several servo motors controlled by a Raspberry Pi mounted in the base of the robot. A Camera Module can be used to check the colour of objects, and forms part of their Snap programming examples.

GianoPi was designed by Stefania Saladino. It consist of four servo motors, multi-directional wheels, an ultrasonic sensor, a Pi Zero, a servo control HAT from Adafruit, a WiFi adapter, a battery pack, and some electronics to allow the kit to be easily turned on or off. Brice Copy created the software to interface with the GianoPi using Raspbuggy, which is a Blocky application. Similar to the Poppy Ergo Jr., the GianoPi is controlled over a network connection, allowing the robot to be remotely accessed.

Building GianoPi

Building GianoPi

It was an engaging weekend of soldering, building, and programming; hopefully, these kits will encourage even more exciting projects in the future. Alan certainly had fun trying to find a good place to put Babbage, too…

Babbage gets everywhere...

Babbage gets everywhere…

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Ophthalmoscope: Saving eyes with Raspberry Pis

Post Syndicated from Lucy Hattersley original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/ophthalmoscope-eyesight-india/

The Raspberry Pi is being used to save the eyesight of people in India thanks to the Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope (OIO) project. 

Inside the OIO, machine learning technology is used to spot eye problems. Subsequently, the OIO becomes better at checking for problems over long-term use.

“The Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope is a portable retinal camera that uses machine learning to make diagnosis not only affordable but also accurate and reliable,” says Sandeep Vempati, a mechanical engineer at the Srujana Center for Innovation, a part of the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI).

The heart of the OIO is a Raspberry Pi. Our low-cost computer drives down the cost of taking high-quality photos of the retina.

“Currently visual impairment affects 285 million people worldwide,” said Sandeep. “What’s more surprising is the fact that 80 percent of all visual impairment can be prevented, or cured if diagnosed correctly.”

Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope (OIO)

An open-source, ultra-low cost, portable screening device for retinal diseases. OIO(OWL) is an idea conceived in Srujana Innovation Centre at the L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India. It is an open source retinal image capturing device with dynamic diabetic retinopathy grading system.

“India is the diabetes capital of the world,” explained Dr Jay Chhablani, a specialist in retinal disease at the LVPEI. “Diabetes leads to something called diabetic retinopathy”.

For that reason, it’s import to remove barriers to treatment. “If we see the patient at an early stage,” says Dr Chhablani, “we can treat them by controlling diabetes and applying laser treatment”.

“Although eye-care services have become increasingly available,” said Sandeep, “diagnosing diseases like diabetic retinopathy is still a problem in many parts of the world.”

Sandeep’s team strove to build an open device. As a result, OIO can be 3D-printed and assembled anywhere in the world.

Open Direct Ophthalmoscope

Inside the Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope project

“3D printing creates the OIO for a fraction of the cost of conventional devices, and yet maintains the same quality,” explains Sandeep.

Compared to professional devices, the OIO costs just $800 to build. In contrast, professional retinal cameras can cost around ten times as much.

Over on OIO’s Hackaday page you will find the components. Inside is a Raspberry Pi 3, a Camera Module, a 20 dioptre lens, front-end mirrors, and a 5-inch touchscreen.

“Engineering feels great when you see a product being useful in the real world,” says Sandeep.

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