Why wear a boring bowler hat when you can add technology to make one of Disney’s most evil pieces of apparel?
Meet the Robinsons
Meet the Robinsons is one of Disney’s most underrated movies. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
What’s not to love? Experimental, futuristic technology, a misunderstood villain, lessons of love and forgiveness aplenty, and a talking T-Rex!
For me, one of the stand-out characters of Meet the Robinsons is DOR-15, a best-of-intentions experiment gone horribly wrong. Designed as a helper hat, DOR-15 instead takes over the mind of whoever is wearing it, hellbent on world domination.
Built using a Raspberry Pi and the MATRIX Voice development board, the real-life DOR-15, from Team MATRIX Labs, may not be ready to take over the world, but it’s still really cool.
With a plethora of built-in audio sensors, the MATRIX Voice directs DOR-15 towards whoever is making sound, while a series of servos wiggle 3D‑printed legs for added creepy.
This project uses ODAS (Open embeddeD Audition System) and some custom code to move a servo motor in the direction of the most concentrated incoming sound in a 180 degree radius. This enables the hat to face a person calling to it.
The added wiggly spider legs come courtesy of this guide by the delightful Jorvon Moss, whom HackSpace readers will remember from issue 21.
Python code creates curious, wordless comic strips at random, spewing them from the thermal printer mouth of a laser-cut body reminiscent of Disney Pixar’s WALL-E: meet the Vomit Comic Robot!
The age of the thermal printer!
Thermal printers allow you to instantly print photos, data, and text using a few lines of code, with no need for ink. More and more makers are using this handy, low-maintenance bit of kit for truly creative projects, from Pierre Muth’s tiny PolaPi-Zero camera to the sound-printing Waves project by Eunice Lee, Matthew Zhang, and Bomani McClendon (and our own Secret Santa Babbage).
Interaction designer and developer Cadin Batrack, whose background is in game design and interactivity, has built the Vomit Comic Robot, which creates “one-of-a-kind comics on demand by processing hand-drawn images through a custom software algorithm.”
The robot is made up of a Raspberry Pi 3, a USB thermal printer, and a handful of LEDs.
At the press of a button, Processing code selects one of a set of Cadin’s hand-drawn empty comic grids and then randomly picks images from a library to fill in the gaps.
Each image is associated with data that allows the code to fit it correctly into the available panels. Cadin says about the concept behing his build:
Although images are selected and placed randomly, the comic panel format suggests relationships between elements. Our minds create a story where there is none in an attempt to explain visuals created by a non-intelligent machine.
The Raspberry Pi saves the final image as a high-resolution PNG file (so that Cadin can sell prints on thick paper via Etsy), and a Python script sends it to be vomited up by the thermal printer.
We have a soft spot for cute robots here at Pi Towers, and of course we make no exception for the Vomit Comic Robot. If, like us, you’re a fan of adorable bots, check out Mira, the tiny interactive robot by Alonso Martinez, and Peeqo, the GIF bot by Abhishek Singh.
If, like us, you’ve been bingeflixing your way through Netflix’s new show, Lost in Space, you may have noticed a Raspberry Pi being used as futuristic space tech.
Danger, Will Robinson, that probably won’t work
This isn’t the first time a Pi has been used as a film or television prop. From Mr. Robot and Disney Pixar’s Big Hero 6 to Mr. Robot, Sense8, and Mr. Robot, our humble little computer has become quite the celeb.
Raspberry Pi Spy has been working hard to locate and document the appearance of the Raspberry Pi in some of our favourite shows and movies. He’s created this video covering 2010-2017:
For those moments when you wish the cast of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast was real, only to realise what a nightmare that would be, here’s Paul-Louis Ageneau’s robotic teapot!
See what I mean?
Tale as old as time…
It’s the classic story of guy meets digital killer teapot, digital killer teapot inspires him to 3D print his own. Loosely based on a boss level of the video game Alice: Madness Returns, Paul-Louis’s creation is a one-eyed walking teapot robot with a (possible) thirst for blood.
Kill Build the beast
“My new robot is based on a Raspberry Pi Zero W with a camera.” Paul-Louis explains in his blog. “It is connected via a serial link to an Arduino Pro Mini board, which drives servos.”
Each leg has two points of articulation, one for the knee and one for the ankle. In order to move each of the joints, the teapot uses eight servo motor in total.
Paul-Louis designed and 3D printed the body of the teapot to fit the components needed. So if you’re considering this build as a means of acquiring tea on your laziest of days, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the most you’ll get from your pour will be jumper leads and Pi.
While the Arduino board controls the legs, it’s the Raspberry Pi’s job to receive user commands and tell the board how to direct the servos. The protocol for moving the servos is simple, with short lines of characters specifying instructions. First a digit from 0 to 7 selects a servo; next the angle of movement, such as 45 or 90, is input; and finally, the use of C commits the instruction.
Typing in commands is great for debugging, but you don’t want to be glued to a keyboard. Therefore, Paul-Louis continued to work on the code in order to string together several lines to create larger movements.
The final control system of the teapot runs on a web browser as a standard four-axis arrow pad, with two extra arrows for turning.
Something there that wasn’t there before
Jean-Paul also included an ‘eye’ in the side of the pot to fit the Raspberry Pi Camera Module as another nod to the walking teapot from the video game, but with a purpose other than evil and wrong-doing. As you can see from the image above, the camera live-streams footage, allowing for remote control of the monster teapot regardless of your location.
If you like it all that much, it’s yours
In case you fancy yourself as an inventor, Paul-Louis has provided the entire build process and the code on his blog, documenting how to bring your own teapot to life. And if you’ve created any robotic household items or any props from video games or movies, we’d love to see them, so leave a link in the comments or share it with us across social media using the hashtag #IBuiltThisAndNowIThinkItIsTryingToKillMe.
Backblaze is growing rapidly and as we have more and more job listings coming online and more employees to corral, we needed another member on our Human Resources team! Enter Michele, who is joining the HR folks to help recruit, onboard, and expand our HR organization. Lets learn a bit more about Michele shall we?
What is your Backblaze Title? HR Coordinator.
Where are you originally from? I was born and raised in the East Bay.
What attracted you to Backblaze? The opportunity to learn new skills, as most of my experience is in office administration… I’m excited to jump into the HR world!
What do you expect to learn while being at Backblaze? So much! All of the ins and outs of HR, the hiring and onboarding processes, and everything in between…so excited!
Where else have you worked? I’ve previously worked at Clars Auction Gallery where I was Consignor Relations for 6 years, and most recently at Stellar Academy for Dyslexics where I was the Office Administrator/Bookkeeper.
Where did you go to school? San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology.
What’s your dream job? Pastry Chef!
Favorite place you’ve traveled? Maui. I could lay on the beach and bob in the water all day, every day! But also, Disney World…who doesn’t love a good Disney vacation?
Favorite hobby? Baking, traveling, reading, exploring new restaurants, SF Giants games
Star Trek or Star Wars? Star Wars.
Coke or Pepsi? Black iced tea?
Favorite food? Pretty much everything…street tacos, ramen, sushi, Thai, pho.
Why do you like certain things? Because why not?
Anything else you’d like you’d like to tell us? I love Disney!
Another person who loves Disney! Welcome to the team Michele, we’ll have lots of tea ready for you!
As Backblaze continues to grow a couple of our departments need to grow right along with it. One of the quickest-growing departments we have at Backblaze is Customer Support. We do all of our support in-house and the team grows to accommodate our growing customer base! We have a new person joining us in support, Lin! Lets take a moment to learn a bit more about her shall we?
What is your Backblaze Title? Jr. Support Technician.
Where are you originally from? Ventura, CA. It’s okay if you haven’t heard of it, it is very, very, small.
What attracted you to Backblaze? The company culture, the delightful ads on Critical Role, and how immediately genuinely friendly everyone I met was.
Where else have you worked? I previously did content management at Wish, and an awful lot of temp gigs. I did a few years at a coffee shop in the beginning of college, but my first job ever was a JoAnn’s Fabrics.
Where did you go to school? San Francisco State University
What’s your dream job? Magical Girl!
Favorite place you’ve traveled? Tokyo, but Disneyworld is a real close second.
Favorite hobby? I spend an awful lot of time playing video games, and possibly even more making silly costumes.
Star Trek or Star Wars? Truthfully I love both. But I was raised on original series and next generation Trek.
Coke or Pepsi? Coke … definitely coke.
Favorite food? Cupcakes. Especially funfetti cupcakes.
Anything else you’d like you’d like to tell us? I discovered Sailor Moon as a child and it possibly influenced my life way too much. Like many people here I am a huge Disney fan; Anyone who spends longer than a few hours with me will probably tell you I can go on for hours about my cat (but in my defense he’s adorable and fluffy and I have the pictures to prove it).
We keep hiring folks that love Disney! It’s kind of amazing. It’s also nice to have folks in the office that can chat about the latest Critical Role episode! Welcome aboard Lin, we’ll try to get some funfetti stocked for the cupcakes that come in!
This column is from The MagPi issue 59. You can download a PDF of the full issue for free, or subscribe to receive the print edition through your letterbox or the digital edition on your tablet. All proceeds from the print and digital editions help the Raspberry Pi Foundation achieve our charitable goals.
“Hey, world!” Estefannie exclaims, a wide grin across her face as the camera begins to roll for another YouTube tutorial video. With a growing number of followers and wonderful support from her fans, Estefannie is building a solid reputation as an online maker, creating unique, fun content accessible to all.
It’s as if she was born into performing and making for an audience, but this fun, enjoyable journey to social media stardom came not from a desire to be in front of the camera, but rather as a unique approach to her own learning. While studying, Estefannie decided the best way to confirm her knowledge of a subject was to create an educational video explaining it. If she could teach a topic successfully, she knew she’d retained the information. And so her YouTube channel, Estefannie Explains It All, came into being.
Her first videos featured pages of notes with voice-over explanations of data structure and algorithm analysis. Then she moved in front of the camera, and expanded her skills in the process.
But YouTube isn’t her only outlet. With nearly 50000 followers, Estefannie’s Instagram game is strong, adding to an increasing number of female coders taking to the platform. Across her Instagram grid, you’ll find insights into her daily routine, from programming on location for work to behind-the-scenes troubleshooting as she begins to create another tutorial video. It’s hard work, with content creation for both Instagram and YouTube forever on her mind as she continues to work and progress successfully as a software engineer.
As a thank you to her Instagram fans for helping her reach 10000 followers, Estefannie created a free game for Android and iOS called Gravitris — imagine Tetris with balance issues!
Estefannie was born and raised in Mexico, with ambitions to become a graphic designer and animator. However, a documentary on coding at Pixar, and the beauty of Merida’s hair in Brave, opened her mind to the opportunities of software engineering in animation. She altered her career path, moved to the United States, and switched to a Computer Science course.
With a constant desire to make and to learn, Estefannie combines her software engineering profession with her hobby to create fun, exciting content for YouTube.
While studying, Estefannie started a Computer Science Girls Club at the University of Houston, Texas, and she found herself eager to put more time and effort into the movement to increase the percentage of women in the industry. The club was a success, and still is to this day. While Estefannie has handed over the reins, she’s still very involved in the cause.
Through her YouTube videos, Estefannie continues the theme of inclusion, with every project offering a warm sense of approachability for all, regardless of age, gender, or skill. From exploring Scratch and Makey Makey with her young niece and nephew to creating her own Disney ‘Made with Magic’ backpack for a trip to Disney World, Florida, Estefannie’s videos are essentially a documentary of her own learning process, produced so viewers can learn with her — and learn from her mistakes — to create their own tech wonders.
Estefannie’s automated gingerbread house project was a labour of love, with electronics, wires, and candy strewn across both her living room and kitchen for weeks before completion. While she already was a skilled programmer, the world of physical digital making was still fairly new for Estefannie. Having ditched her hot glue gun in favour of a soldering iron in a previous video, she continued to experiment and try out new, interesting techniques that are now second nature to many members of the maker community. With the gingerbread house, Estefannie was able to research and apply techniques such as light controls, servos, and app making, although the latter was already firmly within her skill set. The result? A fun video of ups and downs that resulted in a wonderful, festive treat. She even gave her holiday home its own solar panel!
1,910 Likes, 43 Comments – Estefannie Explains It All (@estefanniegg) on Instagram: “A DAY AT RASPBERRY PI TOWERS!! LINK IN BIO @raspberrypifoundation”
And that’s just the beginning of her adventures with Pi…but we won’t spoil her future plans by telling you what’s coming next. Sorry! However, since this article was written last year, Estefannie has released a few more Pi-based project videos, plus some awesome interviews and live-streams with other members of the maker community such as Simone Giertz. She even made us an awesome video for our Raspberry Pi YouTube channel! So be sure to check out her latest releases.
2,264 Likes, 56 Comments – Estefannie Explains It All (@estefanniegg) on Instagram: “Best day yet!! I got to hangout, play Jenga with a huge arm robot, and have afternoon tea with…”
While many wonderful maker videos show off a project without much explanation, or expect a certain level of skill from viewers hoping to recreate the project, Estefannie’s videos exist almost within their own category. We can’t wait to see where Estefannie Explains It All goes next!
Когато беше предложено на правителството на ГЕРБ да въведе оценка на плурализма при допускане на медийните концентрации, първата страница на Труд беше заета от заглавието Държавни юзди за медиите слага кабинетът. И идеята отпадна от програмата.
Плурализмът на медиите е централен въпрос за демократичния процес в Обединеното кралство и като такъв е защитен от закона. CMA установява, че ако сделката приключи, както е предложено, тя няма да е в обществен интерес. Murdoch Family Trust (MFT), който контролира Fox и News Corporation (News Corp), засилвайки контрола си над Sky, би имал твърде голям контрол над доставчиците на новини във Великобритания във всички медийни платформи (телевизия, радио, онлайн и вестници) и следователно твърде голямо влияние върху общественото мнение и политическия дневен ред. Новините на MFT се гледат, четат или слушат от близо една трета от населението на Обединеното кралство и имат дял от потреблението, който е значително по-голям от всички останали доставчици на новини, с изключение на BBC и ITN.
Поради контрола си върху News Corp, фамилията Мърдок вече има значително влияние върху общественото мнение и поемането на пълния контрол над Sky от Fox ще го укрепи още повече. Въпреки съществуването и на други медийни услуги, предоставящи новини в Обединеното кралство, CMA временно е установила, че те няма да бъдат достатъчни, за да неутрализират увеличеното влияние на MFT, ако се даде ход на сделката.
Стандарти за електронни медии
В разследването на CMA са разгледани и редица доказателства, за да се разбере дали Fox, Sky и MFT имат истински ангажимент към стандартите на електронните медии в Обединеното кралство. В това отношение се констатира, че Fox, който ще упражнява пълен контрол над Sky, не е вероятно да действа срещу обществения интерес. Като цяло Fox има истински ангажимент към стандартите в Обединеното кралство. Тук е утвърден доставчик, притежаващ лицензии повече от 20 години. CMA взе под внимание политиките и процедурите, които Fox има, за да гарантира, че стандартите са изпълнени.
Наистина преди 2012 г. имаше сериозни недостатъци в контролирания от МФТ вестник News of the world, който спазваше закона и медийните стандарти. Но News Corp впоследствие е въвела процеси и процедури за справяне с проблема. CMA е установила, че оттогава насам няма опасения за стандартите в пресата на MFT.
Разследването разгледа неотдавнашните твърдения за сексуален тормоз срещу служители на Fox News в САЩ. Макар да са сериозни, CMA смята, че те не са пряко свързани с постигането на стандартите за радио- и телевизионно разпространение в ОК и не поставят под съмнение ангажимента на Fox или MFT към стандартите за електронни медии в Обединеното кралство.
Ан Ламбер, ръководеща групата за независими разследвания, заявява:
Плурализмът на медиите е централен въпрос за нашия демократичен процес. Много е важно никоя група или индивид да няма твърде голям контрол над нашите медии или прекалено голяма власт, за да може да повлияе на политическата програма.
Ако сливането Fox / Sky продължи съгласно предложението, то ще бъде в противоречие с обществения интерес. Това би довело до факта, че фамилията Мърдок ще има твърде голям контрол върху доставчиците на новини в Обединеното кралство и твърде голямо влияние върху общественото мнение и политическия дневен ред.
CMA изложи редица потенциални възможности за справяне с тези проблеми, посочени в обявлението за обществени средства за защита.Органът предложи евентуални средства за защита, като взе предвид и обявяването от компанията Fox на 14 декември 2017 г., че е договорила продажбата на някои активи, включително интересите им в Sky, на The Walt Disney Company. Докладът на CMA ще бъде финализиран и предоставен на министъра по въпросите на цифровите технологии, културата, медиите и спорта до 1 май 2018 г. Той ще вземе окончателното решение за предложената сделка.
В момента тече триседмичен период на консултации по констатациите на СМА.
As Backblaze continues to grow, one thing that runs linearly with our growth is the number of folks we need in support. We believe strongly that people writing in to get a helping hand should be quickly and kindly take care of. To help us with that, we’d like to welcome Zach, our latest Support Tech to the Backblaze team! Lets take a minute to learn a bit more about Zach shall we?
What is your Backblaze Title? Jr. Support Technician
Where are you originally from? I was born in Pasadena, CA, but I’ve spent most of my life in the Bay Area.
What attracted you to Backblaze? I have a few friends that have been with the company for some time who would do nothing but gush about the respect that Backblaze has for its employees. More than anything I was drawn to the loyalty and faith the company has for its staff.
Where else have you worked? Previously I have worked support roles for other tech companies as well as general IT and computer hardware repair.
What’s your dream job? Somewhere that I feel I can grow within the company and find success in a role that makes me feel satisfied. Or a touring musician. That would be cool, too.
Favorite place you’ve traveled? Canada! Everyone was so nice!
Favorite hobby? In my spare time I like to write sad songs.
Of what achievement are you most proud? One of my favorite singers told me that I have a really nice voice. So I suppose my proudest achievement is being born with a nice voice.
Star Trek or Star Wars? I cried during Episode VII.
Coke or Pepsi? Coke, obviously.
Favorite food? Is bread an acceptable answer?
Anything else you’d like you’d like to tell us? I’m also a big Disney fan like so many other people who work here. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
We certainly do have a lot of Disney fans on staff — there must be something in the air. Welcome aboard Zach!
October has come at last, and with it, the joy of Halloween is now upon us. So while I spend the next 30 days quoting Hocus Pocus at every opportunity, here’s Adafruit’s latest spooky build … the spooktacular Haunted Portrait.
If you’ve visited a haunted house such as Disney’s Haunted Mansion, or walked the halls of Hogwarts at Universal Studios, you will have seen a ‘moving portrait’. Whether it’s the classic ‘did that painting just blink?’ approach, or occupants moving in and out of frame, they’re an effective piece of spooky decoration – and now you can make your own!
John Park, maker extraordinaire, recently posted a live make video where he used the contents of the Raspberry Pi-themed AdaBox 005 to create a blinking portrait.
The Adabox is Adafruit’s own maker subscription service where plucky makers receive a mystery parcel containing exciting tech and inspirational builds. Their more recent delivery, the AdaBox 005, contains a Raspberry Pi Zero, their own Joy Bonnet, a case, and peripherals, including Pimoroni’s no-solder Hammer Headers.
While you can purchase the AdaBoxes as one-off buys, subscribers get extra goodies. With AdaBox 005, they received bonus content including Raspberry Pi swag in the form of stickers, and a copy of The MagPi Magazine.
The contents of AdaBox 005 allows makers to build their own Raspberry Pi Zero tiny gaming machine. But the ever-working minds of the Adafruit team didn’t want to settle there, so they decided to create more tutorials based on the box’s contents, such as John Park’s Haunted Portrait.
Bringing a portrait to life
Alongside the AdaBox 005 content, all of which can be purchased from Adafruit directly, you’ll need a flat-screen monitor and a fancy frame. The former could be an old TV or computer screen while the latter, unless you happen to have an ornate frame that perfectly fits your monitor, can be made from cardboard, CNC-cut wood or gold-painted macaroni and tape … probably.
You’ll need to attach headers to your Raspberry Pi Zero. For those of you who fear the soldering iron, the Hammer Headers can be hammered into place without the need for melty hot metal. If you’d like to give soldering a go, you can follow Laura’s Getting Started With Soldering tutorial video.
In his tutorial, John goes on to explain how to set up the Joy Bonnet (if you wish to use it as an added controller), set your Raspberry Pi to display in portrait mode, and manipulate an image in Photoshop or GIMP to create the blinking effect.
Blinking eyes are just the start of the possibilities for this project. This is your moment to show off your image manipulation skills! Why not have the entire head flash to show the skull within? Or have an ethereal image appear in the background of an otherwise unexceptional painting of a bowl of fruit?
In the final stages of the tutorial, John explains how to set an image slideshow running on the Pi, and how to complete the look with the aforementioned ornate frame. He also goes into detail about the importance of using a matte effect screen or transparent gels to give a more realistic ‘painted’ feel.
You’ll find everything you need to make your own haunted portrait here, including a link to John’s entire live stream.
We’re going to make this for Pi Towers. In fact, I’m wondering whether I could create an entire gallery of portraits specifically for our reception area and see how long it takes people to notice …
… though I possibly shouldn’t have given my idea away on this rather public blog post.
If you make the Haunted Portrait, or any other Halloween-themed Pi build, make sure you share it with us via social media, or in the comments below.
It’s now just under two years since we released the Jessie version of Raspbian. Those of you who know that Debian run their releases on a two-year cycle will therefore have been wondering when we might be releasing the next version, codenamed Stretch. Well, wonder no longer – Raspbian Stretch is available for download today!
Debian releases are named after characters from Disney Pixar’s Toy Story trilogy. In case, like me, you were wondering: Stretch is a purple octopus from Toy Story 3. Hi, Stretch!
The differences between Jessie and Stretch are mostly under-the-hood optimisations, and you really shouldn’t notice any differences in day-to-day use of the desktop and applications. (If you’re really interested, the technical details are in the Debian release notes here.)
However, we’ve made a few small changes to our image that are worth mentioning.
New versions of applications
Version 3.0.1 of Sonic Pi is included – this includes a lot of new functionality in terms of input/output. See the Sonic Pi release notes for more details of exactly what has changed.
The Chromium web browser has been updated to version 60, the most recent stable release. This offers improved memory usage and more efficient code, so you may notice it running slightly faster than before. The visual appearance has also been changed very slightly.
In Jessie, we used PulseAudio to provide support for audio over Bluetooth, but integrating this with the ALSA architecture used for other audio sources was clumsy. For Stretch, we are using the bluez-alsa package to make Bluetooth audio work with ALSA itself. PulseAudio is therefore no longer installed by default, and the volume plugin on the taskbar will no longer start and stop PulseAudio. From a user point of view, everything should still work exactly as before – the only change is that if you still wish to use PulseAudio for some other reason, you will need to install it yourself.
Better handling of other usernames
The default user account in Raspbian has always been called ‘pi’, and a lot of the desktop applications assume that this is the current user. This has been changed for Stretch, so now applications like Raspberry Pi Configuration no longer assume this to be the case. This means, for example, that the option to automatically log in as the ‘pi’ user will now automatically log in with the name of the current user instead.
One other change is how sudo is handled. By default, the ‘pi’ user is set up with passwordless sudo access. We are no longer assuming this to be the case, so now desktop applications which require sudo access will prompt for the password rather than simply failing to work if a user without passwordless sudo uses them.
Scratch 2 SenseHAT extension
In the last Jessie release, we added the offline version of Scratch 2. While Scratch 2 itself hasn’t changed for this release, we have added a new extension to allow the SenseHAT to be used with Scratch 2. Look under ‘More Blocks’ and choose ‘Add an Extension’ to load the extension.
This works with either a physical SenseHAT or with the SenseHAT emulator. If a SenseHAT is connected, the extension will control that in preference to the emulator.
Fix for Broadpwn exploit
A couple of months ago, a vulnerability was discovered in the firmware of the BCM43xx wireless chipset which is used on Pi 3 and Pi Zero W; this potentially allows an attacker to take over the chip and execute code on it. The Stretch release includes a patch that addresses this vulnerability.
There is also the usual set of minor bug fixes and UI improvements – I’ll leave you to spot those!
How to get Raspbian Stretch
As this is a major version upgrade, we recommend using a clean image; these are available from the Downloads page on our site as usual.
Upgrading an existing Jessie image is possible, but is not guaranteed to work in every circumstance. If you wish to try upgrading a Jessie image to Stretch, we strongly recommend taking a backup first – we can accept no responsibility for loss of data from a failed update.
To upgrade, first modify the files /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list. In both files, change every occurrence of the word ‘jessie’ to ‘stretch’. (Both files will require sudo to edit.)
Then open a terminal window and execute
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get -y dist-upgrade
Answer ‘yes’ to any prompts. There may also be a point at which the install pauses while a page of information is shown on the screen – hold the ‘space’ key to scroll through all of this and then hit ‘q’ to continue.
Finally, if you are not using PulseAudio for anything other than Bluetooth audio, remove it from the image by entering
This column is from The MagPi issue 53. 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.
Let’s Robot streams twice a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and allows the general public to control a team of robots within an interactive set, often consisting of mazes, clues, challenges, and even the occasional foe. Users work together via the Twitch.tv platform, sending instructions to the robots in order to navigate their terrain and complete the set objectives.
Let’s Robot aims to change the way we interact with television, putting the viewer in the driving seat.
Aylobot, the first robot of the project, boasts a LEGO body, while Ninabot, the somewhat 2.0 upgrade of the two, has a gripper, allowing more interaction from users. Both robots have their own cameras that stream to Twitch, so that those in control can see what they’re up to on a more personal level; several new additions have joined the robot team since then, each with their own unique skill.
Twice a week, the robots are controlled by the viewers, allowing them the chance to complete tasks such as force-feeding the intern, attempting to write party invitations, and battling in boss fights.
Let’s Robot is the brainchild of Jillian Ogle, who originally set out to make “the world’s first interactive live show using telepresence robots collaboratively controlled by the audience”. However, Jill discovered quite quickly that the robots needed to complete the project simply didn’t exist to the standard required… and so Let’s Robot was born.
After researching various components for the task, Jill decided upon the Raspberry Pi, and it’s this small SBC that now exists within the bodies of Aylobot, Ninabot, and the rest of the Let’s Robot family.
“Post-Its I drew for our #LetsRobot subscribers. We put these in the physical sets made for the robots. I still have a lot more to draw…”
In her previous life, Jill worked in art and game design, including a role as art director for Playdom, a subsidiary of Disney Interactive; she moved on to found Aylo Games in 2013 and Let’s Robot in 2015. The hardware side of the builds has been something of a recently discovered skill, with Jill admitting, “Anything I know about hardware I’ve picked up in the last two years while developing this project.”
73 Likes, 3 Comments – Jillian Ogle (@letsjill) on Instagram: “This was my first ever drone flight, live on #twitch. I think it went well. #letsrobot #robot…”
Social media funtimes
More recently, as Let’s Robot continues to grow, Jill can be found sharing the antics of the robots across social media, documenting their quests – such as the hilarious attempt to create party invites and the more recent Hillarybot vs Trumpbot balloon head battle, where robots with extendable pin-mounted arms fight to pop each other’s head.
400 Likes, 2 Comments – Jillian Ogle (@letsjill) on Instagram: “Last night was the robot presidential debate, and here is an early version of candidate #Trump bot….”
Gotta catch ’em all
Alongside the robots, Jill has created several other projects that both add to the interactive experience of Let’s Robot and comment on other elements of social trends out in the world. Most notably, there is the Pokémon Go Robot, originally a robot arm that would simulate the throw of an on-screen Poké Ball. It later grew wheels and took to the outside world, hunting down its pocket monster prey.
Originally sitting on a desk, the Pokémon Go Robot earned itself a new upgrade, gaining the body of a rover to allow it to handle the terrain of the outside world. Paired with the Livestream Goggles, viewers can join in the fun.
It’s also worth noting other builds, such as the WiFi Livestream Goggles that Jill can be seen sporting across several social media posts. The goggles, with a Pi camera fitted between the wearer’s eyes, allow viewers to witness Jill’s work from her perspective. It’s a great build, especially given how open the Let’s Robot team are about their continued work and progression.
The WiFi-enabled helmet allows viewers the ability to see what Jill sees, offering a new perspective alongside the Let’s Robot bots. The Raspberry Pi camera fits perfectly between the eyes, bringing a true eye level to the viewer. She also created internet-controlled LED eyebrows… see the video!
And finally, one project we are eager to see completed is the ‘in production’ Pi-powered transparent HUD. By incorporating refractive acrylic, Jill aims to create a see-through display that allows her to read user comments via the Twitch live-stream chat, without having to turn her eyes to a separate monitor
Since the publication of this article in The MagPi magazine, Jill and the Let’s Robot team have continued to grow their project. There are some interesting and exciting developments ahead – we’ll cover their progress in a future blog.
Back when home television sets were thin on the ground and programmes were monochrome, TV maintained a magical aura, a ‘how do they fit the people in that little box’ wonder which has been lost now that sets are common and almost everyone has their own video camera or recording device. Many older shows were filmed specifically to be watched in black and white, and, in much the same way that plugging your SNES into an HD monitor doesn’t quite look right, old classics just don’t look the same when viewed on the modern screen.
50’s televisions were so pretty. So, so pretty.
Wellington Duraes, Senior Program Manager for Microsoft and proud owner of one of the best names I’ve ever seen, has used a Raspberry Pi and some readily available television content to build a TV Time Machine that draws us back to the days of classic, monochrome viewing the best way he can.
He may not be able to utilise the exact technology of the old screen, but he can trick our mind with the set’s retro aesthetics.
You can see more information about this project here: https://www.hackster.io/wellington-duraes/tv-time-machine-d11b5f
As explained in his hackster.io project page, Wellington joined his local Maker community, the Snohomish County Makers in Everett, WA, who helped him to build the wooden enclosure for the television. By purchasing turquoise speaker grille fabric online, he was able to give a gorgeous retro feeling to the outer shell.
Wellington: “I can’t really keep it on close to me because I’ll stop working to watch…”
“Electronics are the easiest part,” explains Wellington. “This is basically a Raspberry Pi 2 playing videos in an infinite loop from a flash drive, a monitor, and a PC speaker.”
On a personal note, my first – and favourite – television was a black-and-white set, the remote long since lost. A hand-me-down from my parents’ bedroom, I remember watching the launch of Euro Disney on its tiny screen, imagining what the fireworks and parade would look like in colour. Of course, I could have just gone downstairs and watched it on the colour television in the living room, but there was something special about having my own screen whose content I could dictate.
For anyone too young to remember the resort’s original name.
On weekend mornings, I would wake and give up my rights to colour content in order to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Defenders of the Earth, and The Wuzzles (my favourite) on that black-and-white screen, knowing that no one would ask for the channel to be changed – what eight-year-old child wanted to watch boring things like the news and weather?
I think that’s why I love this project so much, and why, despite now owning a ridiculously large smart TV with all the bells and whistles of modern technology, I want to build this for the nostalgia kick.
As the Backblaze office grows we need someone to heard all of our cats (well, in our case dogs). That responsibility used to fall to a bunch of people who were all really really busy with their own workload. Now, that person is JC! And she’s doing an awesome job – we even have a new refrigerator (our previous one was broken for about a year). Lets learn a bit more about JC, shall we?
What is your Backblaze Title? Office Administrator, or She-Makes-Sure-All-Employees-Are-Hydrated-Caffeinated-And-Fed.
Where are you originally from? West Philadelphia born and raised…just kidding. I’m a San Jose, California native.
What attracted you to Backblaze? My friend Chris has worked here for a couple of years. He’s always talked about the great work environment. Backblaze offered a small, family-like atmosphere and chance to grow with and impact a company. You don’t find too many opportunities like this.
What do you expect to learn while being at Backblaze? More about cloud storage and backup. If someone could teach me how to play ukulele while I’m here that would be great, too.
Where else have you worked? Just about every mall in the Santa Clara County area. Memorable stores include Hot Topic, Toys “R” Us, and Starbucks. I also enjoy working for local theater companies and have moonlighted as a House Manager, Box Office Manager, Backstage Manager, and Marketing Assistant.
Where did you go to school? I spent some time going to Sacramento State University before transferring to San Jose State University where I earned my B.S. in Psychology, and a secondary B.A. in Theater Arts.
What’s your dream job? Actress/Full-time Vlogger. I really enjoy performing and entertaining.
Favorite place you’ve traveled? The United Kingdom. I was incredibly lucky to take a senior trip and do a theater tour of the UK. I enjoyed all the tourist sites as well as getting some time to enjoy productions in the West End and see a performance by the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Favorite hobby? Did I mention theater? Aside from the performing arts I also enjoy playing World of Warcraft and RPGs.
Of what achievement are you most proud? A couple of years ago I completed a half marathon. It’s now a new goal of mine to finish a full marathon.
Star Trek or Star Wars? Both? I feel the Star Wars movies are far superior over the Star Trek movies, and I grew up watching Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi. This is what happens when you go to a California State University. They have an agreement with Pepsi and that’s all you get.
Favorite food? Burritos! It can breakfast, lunch or dinner. You can fill it with leftovers. You can get creative and throw in all kinds of crazy combinations. Did you know they make sushi burritos? And it is, by far, the most convenient food to eat whilst driving.
Why do you like certain things? Well, on a physical level my reward center is activated in my basal ganglia portion of my brain, and dopamine is released creating a sense of pleasure or reward. On an emotional/spiritual level I usually like things because I have a connection with them.
Anything else you’d like you’d like to tell us? I often talk about my cat, Disneyland, or YouTube. I’m obsessed.
We keep hiring people that love Disneyland. We might have to have a company off-site there eventually. Thank you for keeping our shiny new fridge stocked and for helping us keep our office under control!
So then. Aquaponics. I’d assumed it was something to do with growing underwater plants. Dead wrong.
My educative moment occurred at Disneyworld’s Epcot a couple of years ago. There’s a ride called The Land, where, after enduring a selection of creaking dioramas illustrating different US habitats, you’re taken on a little motorised punt thing on a watery track through greenhouses groaning under the weight of four-kilogramme mega-lemons, arboreal tomatoes and Mickey-shaped pumpkins.
Giant lemon, from Arild Finne Nybø on Flickr.
At the end of the…river thing…, you’ll find a section on aquaponics. An aquaponics system creates an incredibly efficient symbiotic environment for raising food. Aquatic food (prawns, fish and the like) is raised in water. Waste products from those creatures, which in an aquatic-only environment would degrade the quality of the water, are diverted into a hydroponic system, where nitrogen-fixing bacteria turn them into nitrates and nitrites, which are used to feed edible plants. The water can then be recirculated into the fish tank.
Finesse is required. You need to be able to monitor and control temperature, drainage and pumping. Professional systems are expensive, so the enterprising aquaponics practitioner will want to build their own. Enter the Raspberry Pi. And a shipping container, a shed and some valves.
Raspbery Pi Controlled IBC based Aquaponics. Details and scripts available at http://www.instructables.com/id/Raspberry-Pi-Controlled-Aquaponics/
MatthewH415, the maker, has documented the whole build at Instructables. He says:
This build uses the IBC method of Aquaponics, with modifications to include a Raspberry Pi for controlling a pump, solenoid drain, and temperature probes for water and air temperatures. The relays and timing is controlled with python scripting. Temperature and control data is collected every minute and sent to plot.ly for graphing, and future expansion will include sensors for water level and PH values for additional control.
All of my scripts are available at github.com, feel free to use them for your aquaponics setup. Thanks to Chris @ plot.ly for the help with streaming data to their service, and to the amazingly detailed build instructions provided at IBCofAquaponics.com.
We love it. Thanks Matthew; come the apocalypse, we at Pi Towers are happy in the safe and secure knowledge that we’ll at least have tilapia and cucumbers.
As Backblaze continues growing we need seasoned support veterans to help our customers in times of need. That’s why we hired Troy! He’s been around the block in a few support and tech consulting gigs and is going to be a great addition to the Backblaze team! He’s also musically inclined, which is pretty awesome. Lets learn a bit more about Troy shall we? What is your Backblaze Title? Technical Support Technician Where are you originally from? Castro Valley, CA What attracted you to Backblaze? Backblaze is a company I’ve been familiar with for a long time. In a previous life, I worked as an IT consultant and whenever I was asked for a backup solution, I always recommended Backblaze. They always had a reputation for being honest, affordable, and reliable. I’m excited to be joining such an incredible team. What do you expect to learn while being at Backblaze? I expect to learn how to work as part of a closely-knit team. I’ve mostly worked for larger companies so the change of pace will be refreshing. Where else have you worked? I worked at Apple as a Lead Genius, Elgato in Technical Support, Sweet Memory as an IT Consultant, I opened up a cafe in Berkeley, CA with my uncle that I managed for 2 years, and most recently I was a Content Specialist at Lyft. Where did you go to school? I’m actually still in school! I originally attended Chico State University out of high school. I’m currently attending Chabot College in Hayward, CA and will be transferring to San Francisco State University to complete my Bachelor’s in Business Administration. What’s your dream job? My dream job is not so much a specific title, but I’d like to have a leadership position at a company with a great culture that cares about both its customers and employees. Favorite place you’ve traveled? Vienna – There’s so much culture and amazing architecture. Also, there are street vendors all over the place that sell these amazing cheese-filled sausages. Favorite hobby? I love craft beer and have been homebrewing for several years. Of what achievement are you most proud? When I was 20 I dropped out of college to pursue my dream of being a professional musician. I was the lead singer in a band that toured around the country for several years and even got a record deal. I’m incredibly proud that I was able to follow my dream at the time and make it happen. Star Trek or Star Wars? Well, my last name looks like “Little Jedi” and I once spent a month choreographing a lightsaber duel with a friend so… Coke or Pepsi? Coca-Cola Favorite food? Burritos. All day, every day, Burritos Why do you like certain things? I like things that challenge me. I also like things that are musical. Anything else you’d like you’d like to tell us? I’m a big sports fan (A’s, Raiders, Warriors, Sharks) and a huge Disney nerd. We keep on hiring Disney fans. Who knew there were so many of them out there? Welcome aboard Troy, we’ll try not to force you to sing Disney jingles too much! The post New Customer Support Champion – Troy appeared first on Backblaze Blog | The Life of a Cloud Backup Company.
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