Tag Archives: instructables

Shelfchecker Smart Shelf: build a home library system

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/smart-shelf-home-library/

Are you tired of friends borrowing your books and never returning them? Maybe you’re sure you own 1984 but can’t seem to locate it? Do you find a strange satisfaction in using the supermarket self-checkout simply because of the barcode beep? With the ShelfChecker smart shelf from maker Annelynn described on Instructables, you can be your own librarian and never misplace your books again! Beep!

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

Harry Potter and the Aesthetically Pleasing Smart Shelf

The ShelfChecker smart shelf

Annelynn built her smart shelf utilising a barcode scanner, LDR light sensors, a Raspberry Pi, plus a few other peripherals and some Python scripts. She has created a fully integrated library checkout system with accompanying NeoPixel location notification for your favourite books.

This build allows you to issue your book-borrowing friends their own IDs and catalogue their usage of your treasured library. On top of that, you’ll be able to use LED NeoPixels to highlight your favourite books, registering their removal and return via light sensor tracking.

Using light sensors for book cataloguing

Once Annelynn had built the shelf, she drilled holes to fit the eight LDRs that would guard her favourite books, and separated them with corner brackets to prevent confusion.

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

Corner brackets keep the books in place without confusion between their respective light sensors

Due to the limitations of the MCP3008 Adafruit microchip, the smart shelf can only keep track of eight of your favourite books. But this limitation won’t stop you from cataloguing your entire home library; it simply means you get to pick your ultimate favourites that will occupy the prime real estate on your wall.

Obviously, the light sensors sense light. So when you remove or insert a book, light floods or is blocked from that book’s sensor. The sensor sends this information to the Raspberry Pi. In response, an Arduino controls the NeoPixel strip along the ‘favourites’ shelf to indicate the book’s status.

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

The book you are looking for is temporarily unavailable

Code your own library

While keeping a close eye on your favourite books, the system also allows creation of a complete library catalogue system with the help of a MySQL database. Users of the library can log into the system with a barcode scanner, and take out or return books recorded in the database guided by an LCD screen attached to the Pi.

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

Beep!

I won’t go into an extensive how-to on creating MySQL databases here on the blog, because my glamourous assistant Janina has pulled up these MySQL tutorials to help you get started. Annelynn’s Github scripts are also packed with useful comments to keep you on track.

Raspberry Pi and books

We love books and libraries. And considering the growing number of Code Clubs and makespaces into libraries across the world, and the host of book-based Pi builds we’ve come across, the love seems to be mutual.

We’ve seen the Raspberry Pi introduced into the Wordery bookseller warehouse, a Pi-powered page-by-page book scanner by Jonathon Duerig, and these brilliant text-to-speech and page turner projects that use our Pis!

Did I say we love books? In fact we love them so much that members of our team have even written a few.*

If you’ve set up any sort of digital making event in a library, have in some way incorporated Raspberry Pi into your own personal book collection, or even managed to recreate the events of your favourite story using digital making, make sure to let us know in the comments below.

* Shameless plug**

Fancy adding some Pi to your home library? Check out these publications from the Raspberry Pi staff:

A Beginner’s Guide to Coding by Marc Scott

Adventures in Raspberry Pi by Carrie Anne Philbin

Getting Started with Raspberry Pi by Matt Richardson

Raspberry Pi User Guide by Eben Upton

The MagPi Magazine, Essentials Guides and Project Books

Make Your Own Game and Build Your Own Website by CoderDojo

** Shameless Pug

 

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Storm Glass: simulate the weather at your desk

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/storm-glass/

Inspired by the tempescope, The Modern Inventor’s Storm Glass is a weather-simulating lamp that can recreate the weather of any location in the world, all thanks to the help of a Raspberry Pi Zero W.

The Modern Inventors Storm Glass

Image c/o The Modern Inventor

The lamp uses the Weather Underground API, which allows the Raspberry Pi to access current and predicted weather conditions across the globe. Some may argue “Why do I need a recreation of the weather if I can look out my window?”, but I think the idea of observing tomorrow’s weather today, or keeping an eye on conditions in another location, say your favourite holiday destination, is pretty sweet.

Building a Storm Glass

The Modern Inventor, whose name I haven’t found out yet so I’ll call him TMI, designed and 3D printed the base and cap for the lamp. The glass bottle that sits between the two is one of those fancy mineral water bottles you’ve seen in the supermarket but never could justify buying before.

The base holds the Pi, as well as a speaker, a microphone, and various other components such as a Speaker Bonnet and NeoPixel Ring from Adafruit.

The Modern Inventors Storm Glass

Image c/o The Modern Inventor

“The rain maker is a tiny 5V centrifuge pump I got online, which pumps water along some glass tubing and into the lid where the rain falls from”, TMI explains on his Instructables project page. “The cloud generator is a USB-powered ultrasonic diffuser/humidifier. I just pulled out the guts and got rid of the rest. Make sure to keep the electronics which create the ultrasonic signal that drives the diffuser.”

The Modern Inventor's Storm Glass

Image c/o The Modern Inventor

With the tech in place, TMI (yes, I do appreciate the irony of using TMI as a designator for someone about whom I lack information) used hot glue like his life depended on it, bringing the whole build together into one slick-looking lamp.

Coding the storm

TMI set up the Storm Glass to pull data about weather conditions in a designated location via the Weather Underground API and recreate these within the lamp. He also installed Alexa Voice Service in it, giving the lamp a secondary function as a home automation device.

The Modern Inventor's Storm Glass

Image c/o The Modern Inventor

Code for the Storm Glass, alongside a far more detailed explanation of the build process, can be found on TMI’s project page. He says the total cost of this make comes to less than $80.

Create your own weather device

If you’d like to start using weather APIs to track conditions at home or abroad, we have a whole host of free Raspberry Pi resources for you to try your hand on: begin by learning how to fetch weather data using the RESTful API or using Scratch and the OpenWeatherMap to create visual representations of weather across the globe. You could even create a ‘Dress for the weather’ indicator so you’re never caught without a coat, an umbrella, or sunscreen again!

However you use the weather in your digital making projects, we’d love to see what you’ve been up to in the comments below.

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Steampunk laptop powered by Pi: OMG so fancy!

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/steampunk-laptop/

In this digital age, where backup computers and multiple internet-connected devices are a must, maker phrazelle built this beautiful Raspberry Pi-powered steampunk laptop for his girlfriend.

And now we all want one. I mean, just look at it!

Raspberry Pi Steampunk laptop

There’s no denying that, had Liz seen this before me, she’d have copied the link into an email and titled it INSTABLOG before sending it to my inbox.

This build is gorgeous. And as a fan of quirky-looking tech builds and of making things out of wood, it caught my eye in a heartbeat, causing me to exclaim “Why, I – ugh! – I want a Steampunk laptop?!” Shortly afterwards, there followed the realisation that there is an Instructables page for the project, leading me to rejoice that I could make my own. “You’ll never finish it,” chides the incomplete Magic Mirror beneath my desk. I shush it with a kick.

Winging it

“I didn’t really spec this out when I started building. I knew I wanted a box, but didn’t know how I was going to approach it,” explains phrazelle, a maker after my own “meh, I’ll wing it” heart. He continues, “I started with a mechanical keyboard with some typewriter-esque keys and built out a board for it. This went in a few directions, and I wound up with a Frankenstein keyboard tray.”

Originally wanting a hole for each key, phrazelle used a paint relief method to mark the place of each one. However, this didn’t work out too well, so he decided to jigsaw out a general space for the keys in a group. After a few attempts and an application of Gorilla Glue, it was looking good.

Building a Steampunk laptop

With his father’s help, phrazelle’s next step was to build the box for the body of the laptop. Again, it was something of an unplanned mashup, resulting in a box that was built around the keyboard tray. Via a series of mitred joints, routing, and some last minute trim, he was able to fit an LCD screen from a cannibalised laptop into the lid, complete with an LCD driver acquired from eBay.

All of the Steampunk trimmings

“As I was going in the Steampunk direction, gears and gauges seemed to make sense,” says phrazelle. “I found a lot of cool stuff on Etsy and Amazon. The front battery gauge, back switch plate, and LED indicator housings came off Etsy.” He also discovered that actual watch gears, which he had purchased in bulk, were too flimsy for use as decoration, so he replaced them with some brass replicas from Amazon instead. Hand-blown marbles worked as LED defusers and the case was complete.

Inside the belly of the (beautiful) beast

Within the laptop body, phrazelle (do let us know your actual name, by the way) included a Talentcell battery pack which he modified to cut the output lines, something that was causing grief when trying to charge the battery. He utilised a plugable USB 2.4 four-port powered hub to power the Raspberry Pi and optional USB devices. He also added a bushel of various other modifications, all of which he explains on his Instructables page.

I ran with the Pixel distro for this build. Then I went through and did some basic security housekeeping like changing the default password, closing every unnecessary port on the firewall, and disabling the Bluetooth. I even put the Bro IDS platform on it to keep an eye out for shifty hackers… *shakes fist*

This thing runs like a champ! For its intended functionality, it does everything it needs to. You can get on the internet, write papers, check email… If you want to get nerdy, you can even brush up on your coding skillz.

Instructables and you

As I said, we love this build. Not only is it a great example of creating an all-in-one Raspberry Pi laptop, but it’s also gorgeous! Make sure to check out phrazelle’s other builds on Instructables, including his Zelda-themed bartop arcade and his ornate magic mirror.

While you’re there, check out the other Raspberry Pi-themed builds on Instructables. There are LOADS of them. And they’re great. And if you wrote any of them – ahem! – like I did, you should be proud of yourself – ahem! – like I am. *clears throat even more pointedly*

Have you built your own Pi laptop? Tell us about it in the comments below. We can’t wait to see it!

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Make a PIR speaker system

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/make-a-pir-speaker-system/

I enjoy projects that can be made using items from around the home. Add a Raspberry Pi and a few lines of code, and great joy can be had from producing something smart, connected and/or just plain silly.

The concept of the IoT Smart Lobby Welcoming Music System fits into this category. Take a speaker, add a Raspberry Pi and a PIR sensor (both staples of any maker household, and worthwhile investments for the budding builder), and you can create a motion-sensor welcome system for your home or office.

[DIY] Make a smart lobby music system for your office or home

With this project, you will be able to automate a welcoming music for either your smart home or your smart office. As long as someone is around, the music will keep playing your favorite playlist at home or a welcome music to greet your customers or business partners while they wait in the lobby of your office.

The Naran Build

IoT makers Naran have published their Smart Lobby build on Instructables, where you’ll find all the code and information you need to get making. You’ll also find their original walkthrough of how to use their free Prota OS for Raspberry Pi, which allows you to turn your Pi into a Smart Home hub.

Naran Prota IoT Sensor Speaker System

Their build allows you to use Telegram Bot to control the music played through their speaker. The music begins when movement is sensed, and you can control what happens next.

Telegram Bot for a Sensor Speaker System

It’s a great build for playing information for visitors or alerting you to an intrusion.

Tim Peake Welcoming Committee

A few months back, I made something similar in the lobby at Pi Towers:  I hid a sensor under our cardboard cutout of ESA astronaut Tim Peake. Visitors walking into the lobby triggered the sensor, and were treated to the opening music from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Sadly, with the meeting rooms across the lobby in constant use, the prank didn’t last long.

Alex J’rassic on Twitter

In honour of the #Principia anniversary, I pimped out cardboard @astro_timpeake at @Raspberry_Pi Towers. Listen. https://t.co/MBUOjrARtI

If you’re curious, the Christmas tree should be a clue as to why Tim is dressed like a nativity angel.

The Homebrew Edition

If you’re like me, you learn best by doing. Our free resources allow you to develop new skills as you build. You can then blend the skills you have learned to create your own interesting projects. I was very new to digital making when I put together the music sensor in the lobby. The skills I had developed by following step-by-step project tutorials provided the foundations for something new and original.

Why not make your own welcoming system? The process could teach you new skills, and develop your understanding of the Raspberry Pi. If you’d like to have a go, I’d suggest trying out the Parent Detector. This will show you how to use a PIR sensor with your Raspberry Pi. Once you understand that process, try the Burping Jelly Baby project. This will teach you how to tell your Raspberry Pi when to play an MP3 based on a trigger, such as the poke of a finger or the detection of movement.

From there, you should have all the tools you need to make a speaker system that plays an MP3 when someone or something approaches. Why not have a go this weekend? If you do, tell us about your final build in the comments below.

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Pi-powered Baby Busy Board

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/pi-powered-baby-busy-board/

What’s small, squishy and guaranteed to be more interested in a springy door stopper than in the £100 toy you just bought for them?

A baby.

The author as a baby

This is me as a baby. I was going to use a standard Google Images baby, but instead I figured I’d use me. So here I am. Me in my infant form. Adorbs, right?

Sure, they’re cute. And that post-bath baby smell is intoxicating. We continue to spend our hard-earned money on toys for them, and they continue to be more interested in the box the toy came in. Perhaps it makes sense to give up on expensive toys, and get creative with various bits from around the house instead.

With this in mind, allow me to introduce the Pi-powered Busy Board: a pi-connected collection of things and stuff that make noises when you touch them. Aka Noisy Baby Paradise.

PI Powered Busy Board demo

I made a busy bored using a raspberry pi that can be found @ https://www.instructables.com/id/PI-Powered-Busy-Board/

Keeping baby busy

Kenny Lilly, father of a squishy baby from across the pond, used random noise makers from around his house and coupled them with a Raspberry Pi 3, an Adafruit Capacitive Touch HAT and some Bare Conductive paint.

Raspberry Pi Busy Baby Board

Kenny used stencils to create attractive shapes with the paint. He then hammered copper-plated nails through from the front of the busy board to the back, to create connections between the paint and the HAT.

Raspberry Pi Busy Baby Board

He used the Adafruit Python library to control the touch functions of the HAT. When the user interacts with the stenciled images, the HAT produces appropriate audio playback.

Raspberry Pi Busy Baby Board

Kenny used a second piece of wood to make the back of the board, and built a frame using thinner pieces of wood to create a space inside. The  electronics are sandwiched inside the Busy Board, and the whole build is then powered by a USB battery, like the one you may keep in your bag to recharge your mobile phone. Finally, with a small speaker connected to the Pi, the build was complete.

The full how-to for building the Pi-powered Busy Board can be found on Kenny’s Instructables page. And if there are any health and safety concerns regarding a small, slobbery baby playing with conductive paint, Bare Conductive assure their customers that their paint is safe and child-friendly. So there you have it. Baby Paradise.

Raspberry Pi Busy Baby Board

Have you used a Raspberry Pi to appease your infant overlord? Share your project in the comments below.

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Raspberry Pi Zero PiE-Ink Name Badge

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-zero-pie-ink-name-badge/

Gone, it would seem, are the days of ‘Hello, My name is…’ stickers and Sharpies. Who wants a simple sticker on their chest, so flat and dull, when they can wear an entire computer, displaying their name and face in pixelated perfection?

PiE-Ink Name Badge

I created this video with the YouTube Video Editor (http://www.youtube.com/editor)

With this PiE-Ink Name Badge, maker Josh King has taken this simple means of identification and upgraded it. And in his Instructables tutorial, he explains exactly how. But here’s the TL;DR for those wanting to get the basic gist of the build.

Josh King e-ink name badge Raspberry Pi

For the badge, Josh uses a Raspberry Pi Zero, a PaPiRus 2″ e-ink HAT, an Adafruit Powerboost 1000c, and a LiPo battery. He also uses various other components, such as magnets and adhesive putty.

Josh prepped the Zero, soldering the header pins in place, and then attached the Powerboost, allowing the LiPo battery to power the unit and be charged at the same time.

Josh King e-ink name badge Raspberry Pi

From there, he attaches the PaPiRus HAT and secures the whole thing with the putty, to ensure a snug fit. He also attaches a mini slide switch to allow an on/off function.

Josh King e-ink name badge Raspberry Pi

Having pre-installed Raspbian on the SD card, Josh follows the setup for the PaPiRus, ensuring all library information is in place and that the Pi recognises the 2″ screen. The code for the badge can then be downloaded directly from Josh’s GitHub account.  You’ll need to scale your image down to 200×96 in order for it to fit on the e-ink screen.

Josh King e-ink name badge Raspberry Pi

And there you have it. One Raspberry Pi Zero e-ink name badge, ready for you to show off at the next work function, conference, or when you visit Grandma and she still can’t get your name right.

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Harry Potter and the Real-life Weasley Clock

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/harry-potter-real-life-weasley-clock/

Pat Peters (such a wonderful Marvel-sounding name) recently shared his take on the Weasley Clock, a device that hangs on the wall of The Burrow, the rickety home inhabited by the Weasley family in the Harry Potter series.

Mrs. Weasley glanced at the grandfather clock in the corner. Harry liked this clock. It was completely useless if you wanted to know the time, but otherwise very informative. It had nine golden hands, and each of them was engraved with one of the Weasley family’s names. There were no numerals around the face, but descriptions of where each family member might be. “Home,” “school,” and “work” were there, but there was also “traveling,” “lost,” “hospital,” “prison,” and, in the position where the number twelve would be on a normal clock, “mortal peril.”

The clock in the movie has misplaced “mortal peril”, but aside from that it looks a lot like what we’d imagined from the books.

There’s a reason why more and more Harry Potter-themed builds are appearing online. The small size of devices such as the Raspberry Pi and Arduino allow for a digital ‘brain’ to live within an ordinary object, allowing control over it that you could easily confuse with magic…if you allow yourself to believe in such things.

So with last week’s Real-life Daily Prophet doing so well, it’s only right to share another Harry Potter-inspired project.

Harry Potter Weasley Clock

The clock serves not to tell the time but, rather, to indicate the location of Molly, Arthur and the horde of Weasley children. And using the OwnTracks GPS app for smartphones, Pat’s clock does exactly the same thing.

Pat Peters Weasley Clock Raspberry Pi

Pat has posted the entire build on instructables, allowing every budding witch and wizard (and possibly a curious Muggle or two) the chance to build their own Weasley Clock.

This location clock works through a Raspberry Pi that subscribes to an MQTT broker that our phone’s publish events to. Our phones (running the OwnTracks GPS app) send a message to the broker anytime we cross into or out of one of our waypoints that we have set up in OwnTracks, which then triggers the Raspberry Pi to run a servo that moves the clock hand to show our location.

There are no words for how much we love this. Here at Pi Towers we definitely have a soft spot for Harry Potter-themed builds, so make sure to share your own with us in the comments below, or across our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and G+.

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