Tag Archives: raspberry pi 3

Raspberry Pi snail habitats for Mrs Nation’s class

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-snail-habitats-for-mrs-nations-class/

These Raspberry Pis take hourly photographs of snails in plastic container habitats, sharing them to the Snail Habitat website.

Snails

While some might find them kind of icky, I am in love with snails (less so with their homeless cousin, the slug), so this snail habitat project from Mrs Nation’s class is right up my alley.

Snail Habitats



This project was done in a classroom with 22 students. We broke the kids out into groups and created 5 snail habitats. It would be a great project to do school-wide too, where you create 1 snail habitat per class. This would allow the entire school to get involved and monitor each other’s habitats.

Each snail habitat in Mrs Nation’s class is monitored by a Raspberry Pi and camera module, and Misty Lackie has written specific code to take a photo every hour, uploading the image to the dedicated Snail Habitat website. This allows the class to check in on their mollusc friends without disturbing their environment.

“I would love to see others habitats,” Misty states on the project’s GitHub repo, “so if you create one, please share it and I would be happy to publish it on snailhabitat.com.”

Snail facts according to Emma, our resident Bug Doctor

  • The World Snail Racing Championships take place in Norfolk every year. Emma’s friend took a snail there once, but it didn’t win.
  • Roman snails, while common in the UK, aren’t native to the country. They were brought to the country by the Romans. Emma is 99% sure this fact is correct.
  • Garlic snails, when agitated, emit a garlic scent. Helen likes the idea of self-seasoning escargots. Alex is less than convinced.
  • Snails have no backbone, making them awful wingmen during late-night pub brawls and confrontations.
  • This GIF may be fake:

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The grilled cheese-making robot of your dreams

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/the-grilled-cheese-making-robot-of-your-dreams/

Ummm…YES PLEASE!

Cheeseborg: The Grilled Cheese Robot!

More cool stuff at http://www.tabb.me and http://www.evankhill.com Cheeseborg has one purpose: to create the best grilled cheese it possibly can! Cheeseborg is fully automated, voice activated, and easy to move. With Google Assistant SDK integration, Cheeseborg can even be used as a part of your smart home.

Does it use a Raspberry Pi, please?

Sometimes we’ll see a project online and find ourselves hoping and praying that it uses a Raspberry Pi, just so we have a reason to share it with you all.

That’s how it was when I saw Cheeseborg, the grilled cheese robot, earlier this week. “Please, please, please…” I prayed to the robot gods, as I chowed down on a grilled cheese at my desk (true story), and, by the grace of all that is good in this world, my plea was answered.

Cheeseborg: the grilled cheese robot

Cheeseborg uses both an Arduino Mega and a Raspberry Pi 3 in its quest to be the best ever automated chef in the world. The Arduino handles the mechanics, while our deliciously green wonder board runs the Google Assistant SDK, allowing you to make grilled cheese via voice command.

Saying “Google, make me a grilled cheese” will set in motion a series of events leading to the production of a perfectly pressed sammie, ideal for soup dunking or solo snacking.

The robot uses a vacuum lifter to pick up a slice of bread, dropping it onto an acrylic tray before repeating the process with a slice of cheese and then a second slice of bread. Then the whole thing is pushed into a panini press that has been liberally coated in butter spray (not shown for video aesthetics), and the sandwich is toasted, producing delicious ooey-gooey numminess out the other side.

Pareidolia much?

Here at Raspberry Pi, we give the Cheeseborg five slices out of five, and look forward to one day meeting Cheeseborg for real, so we can try out its scrummy wares.

ooooey-gooey numminess

You can find out more about Cheeseborg here.

Toastie or grilled cheese


Yes, there’s a difference: but which do you prefer? What makes them different? And what’s your favourite filling for this crispy, cheesy delight?

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A low-cost, open-source, computer-assisted microscope

Post Syndicated from Helen Lynn original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/a-low-cost-open-source-computer-assisted-microscope/

Low-cost open labware is a good thing in the world, and I was particularly pleased when micropalaeontologist Martin Tetard got in touch about the Raspberry Pi-based microscope he is developing. The project is called microscoPI (what else?), and it can capture, process, and store images and image analysis results. Martin is engaged in climate research: he uses microscopy to study tiny fossil remains, from which he gleans information about the environmental conditions that prevailed in the far-distant past.

microscoPI: a microcomputer-assisted microscope

microscoPI a project that aims to design a multipurpose, open-source and inexpensive micro-computer-assisted microscope (Raspberry PI 3). This microscope can automatically take images, process them, and save them altogether with the results of image analyses on a flash drive. It it multipurpose as it can be used on various kinds of images (e.g.

Martin repurposed an old microscope with a Z-axis adjustable stage for accurate focusing, and sourced an inexpensive X/Y movable stage to allow more accurate horizontal positioning of samples under the camera. He emptied the head of the scope to install a Raspberry Pi Camera Module, and he uses an M12 lens adapter to attach lenses suitable for single-specimen close-ups or for imaging several specimens at once. A Raspberry Pi 3B sits above the head of the microscope, and a 3.5-inch TFT touchscreen mounted on top of the Raspberry Pi allows the user to check images as they are captured and processed.

The Raspberry Pi runs our free operating system, Raspbian, and free image-processing software ImageJ. Martin and his colleagues use a number of plugins, some developed themselves and some by others, to support the specific requirements of their research. With this software, microscoPI can capture and analyse microfossil images automatically: it can count particles, including tiny specimens that are touching, analyse their shape and size, and save images and results before prompting the user for the name of the next sample.

microscoPI is compact – less than 30cm in height – and it’s powered by a battery bank secured under the base of the microscope, so it’s easily portable. The entire build comes in at under 160 Euros. You can find out more, and get in touch with Martin, on the microscoPI website.

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Using data to help a school garden

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/using-data-to-help-a-school-garden/

Chris Aviles, aka the teacher we all wish we’d had when we were at school, discusses how his school is in New Jersey is directly linking data with life itself…

Over to you, Chris.

Every year, our students take federal or state-mandated testing, but what significant changes have we made to their education with the results of these tests? We have never collected more data about our students and society in general. The problem is most people and institutions do a poor job interpreting data and using it to make meaningful change. This problem was something I wanted to tackle in FH Grows.

FH Grows is the name of my seventh-grade class, and is a student-run agriculture business at Knollwood Middle School in Fair Haven, New Jersey. In FH Grows, we sell our produce both online and through our student-run farmers markets. Any produce we don’t sell is donated to our local soup kitchen. To get the most out of our school gardens, students have built sensors and monitors using Raspberry Pis. These sensors collect data which then allows me to help students learn to better interpret data themselves and turn it into action.

Turning data into action

In the greenhouse, our gardens, and alternative growing stations (hydroponics, aquaponics, aeroponics) we have sensors that log the temperature, humidity, and other important data points that we want to know about our garden. This data is then streamed in real time, online at FHGrows.com. When students come into the classroom, one of the first things we look at is the current, live data on the site and find out what is going on in our gardens. Over the course of the semester, students are taught about the ideal growing conditions of our garden. When looking at the data, if we see that the conditions in our gardens aren’t ideal, we get to work.

If we see that the greenhouse is too hot, over 85 degrees, students will go and open the greenhouse door. We check the temperature a little bit later, and if it’s still too hot, students will go turn on the fan. But how many fans do you turn on? After experimenting, we know that each fan lowers the greenhouse temperature between 7-10 degrees Fahrenheit. Opening the door and turning on both fans can bring a greenhouse than can push close to 100 degrees in late May or early June down to a manageable 80 degrees.

Turning data into action can allow for some creativity as well. Over-watering plants can be a real problem. We found that our plants were turning yellow because we were watering them every day when we didn’t need to. How could we solve this problem and become more efficient at watering? Students built a Raspberry Pi that used a moisture sensor to find out when a plant needed to be watered. We used a plant with the moisture sensor in the soil as our control plant. We figured that if we watered the control plant at the same time we watered all our other plants, when the control plant was dry (gave a negative moisture signal) the rest of the plants in the greenhouse would need to be watered as well.

Chris Aviles Innovation Lab Raspberry Pi Certified Educator

This method of determining when to water our plants worked well. We rarely ever saw our plants turn yellow from overwatering. Here is where the creativity came in. Since we received a signal from the Raspberry Pi when the soil was not wet enough, we played around with what we could do with that signal. We displayed it on the dashboard along with our other data, but we also decided to make the signal send as an email from the plant. When I showed students how this worked, they decided to write the message from the plant in the first person. Every week or so, we received an email from Carl the Control Plant asking us to come out and water him!

 

If students don’t honour Carl’s request for water, use data to know when to cool our greenhouse, or had not done the fan experiments to see how much cooler they make the greenhouse, all our plants, like the basil we sell to the pizza places in town, would die. This is the beauty of combining data literacy with a school garden: failure to interpret data then act based on their interpretation has real consequences: our produce could die. When it takes 60-120 days to grow the average vegetable, the loss of plants is a significant event. We lose all the time and energy that went into growing those plants as well as lose all the revenue they would have brought in for us. Further, I love the urgency that combining data and the school garden creates because many students have learned the valuable life lesson that not making a decision is making a decision. If students freeze or do nothing when confronted with the data about the garden, that too has consequences.

Using data to spot trends and make predictions

The other major way we use data in FH Grows is to spot trends and make predictions. Different to using data to create the ideal growing conditions in our garden every day, the sensors that we use also provide a way for us to use information about the past to predict the future. FH Grows has about two years’ worth of weather data from our Raspberry Pi weather station (there are guides online if you wish to build a weather station of your own). Using weather data year over year, we can start to determine important events like when it is best to plant our veggies in our garden.

For example, one of the most useful data points on the Raspberry Pi weather station is the ground temperature sensor. Last semester, we wanted to squeeze in a cool weather grow in our garden. This post-winter grow can be done between March and June if you time it right. Getting an extra growing cycle from our garden is incredibly valuable, not only to FH Grows as business (since we would be growing more produce to turn around and sell) but as a way to get an additional learning cycle out of the garden.

So, using two seasons’ worth of ground temperature data, we set out to predict when the ground in our garden would be cool enough to do this cool veggie grow. Students looked at the data we had from our weather station and compared it to different websites that predicted the last frost of the season in our area. We found that the ground right outside our door warmed up two weeks earlier than the more general prediction given by websites. With this information we were able to get a full cool crop grow at a time where our garden used to lay dormant.

We also used our Raspberry Pi to help us predict whether or not it was going to rain over the weekend. Using a Raspberry Pi connected to Weather Underground and previous years’ data, if we believed it would not rain over the weekend we would water our gardens on Friday. If it looked like rain over the weekend, we let Mother Nature water our garden for us. Our prediction using the Pi and previous data was more accurate for our immediate area than compared to the more general weather reports you would get on the radio or an app, since those considered a much larger area when making their prediction.

It seems like we are going to be collecting even more data in the future, not less. It is important that we get our students comfortable working with data. The school garden supported by Raspberry Pi’s amazing ability to collect data is a boon for any teacher who wants to help students learn how to interpret data and turn it into action.
 

Hello World issue 10

Issue 10 of Hello World magazine is out today, and it’s free. 100% free.

Click here to download the PDF right now. Right this second. If you want to be a love, click here to subscribe, again for free. Subscribers will receive an email when the latest issue is out, and we won’t use your details for anything nasty.

If you’re an educator in the UK, click here and you’ll receive the printed version of Hello World direct to your door. And, guess what? Yup, that’s free too!

What I’m trying to say here is that there is a group of hard-working, passionate educators who take the time to write incredible content for Hello World, for free, and you would be doing them (and us, and your students, kids and/or friends) a solid by reading it 🙂

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Raspberry Pi interactive wind chimes

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/interactive-wind-chimes/

Grab yourself a Raspberry Pi, a Makey Makey, and some copper pipes: it’s interactive wind chime time!

Perpetual Chimes

Perpetual Chimes is a set of augmented wind chimes that offer an escapist experience where your collaboration composes the soundscape. Since there is no wind indoors, the chimes require audience interaction to gently tap or waft them and encourage/nurture the hidden sounds within – triggering sounds as the chimes strike one another.

Normal wind chimes pale in comparison

I don’t like wind chimes. There, I said it. I also don’t like the ticking of the second hand of analogue clocks, and I think these two dislikes might be related. There’s probably a name for this type of dislike, but I’ll leave the Googling to you.

Sound designer Frazer Merrick’s interactive wind chimes may actually be the only wind chimes I can stand. And this is due, I believe, to the wonderful sounds they create when they touch, much more wonderful than regular wind chime sounds. And, obviously, because these wind chimes incorporate a Raspberry Pi 3.

Perpetual Chimes is a set of augmented wind chimes that offer an escapist experience where your collaboration composes the soundscape. Since there is no wind indoors, the chimes require audience interaction to gently tap or waft them and encourage/nurture the hidden sounds within — triggering sounds as the chimes strike one another. Since the chimes make little acoustic noise, essentially they’re broken until you collaborate with them.

Follow the Instructables tutorial to create your own!

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Raspberry Pi mineral oil tank with added pizzazz

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-mineral-oil-tank-with-added-pizzazz/

This isn’t the first mineral oil bath we’ve seen for the Raspberry Pi, but it’s definitely the first we’ve seen with added fish tank decorations.

Using the see-through casing of an old Apple PowerMac G4, Reddit user u/mjh2901 decided to build a mineral oil tank for their Raspberry Pi, and it looks fabulous. Renamed Apple Pi, this use of mineral oil is a technique used by some to manage the heat produced by tech. Oil is able to transfer heat up to five times more efficiently than air, with some mineral oil projects using a separate radiator to dissipate the heat back into the air.

So, how did they do it?

“Started with a PowerMac G4 case I previously used as a fish tank, then a candy dish. I had cut a piece of acrylic and glued it into the bottom.”


They then placed a Raspberry Pi 3 attached to a 2-line 16 character LCD into the tank, along with various decorations, and began to fill with store-bought mineral oil. Once full, the project was complete, the Raspberry Pi forever submerged.

You can find more photos here. But, one question still remains…

…who would use an old fish tank as a candy bowl?! 🤢

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Record the last seven seconds of everything you see

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/record-the-last-seven-seconds-of-everything-you-see/

Have you ever witnessed something marvellous but, by the time you get your camera out to record it, the moment has passed? ‘s Film in the Past hat-mounted camera is here to save the day!

Record the past

As 18-year-old student Johan explains, “Imagine you are walking in the street and you see a meteorite in the sky – obviously you don’t have time to take your phone to film it.” While I haven’t seen many meteorites in the sky, I have found myself wishing I’d had a camera to hand more than once in my life – usually when a friend trips over or says something ridiculous. “Fortunately after the passage of the meteorite, you just have to press a button on the hat and the camera will record the last 7 seconds”, Johan continues. “Then you can download the video from an application on your phone.”

Johan’s project, Film in the Past, consists of a Raspberry Pi 3 with USB camera attached, mounted to the peak of a baseball cap.

The camera is always on, and, at the press of a button, will save the last seven seconds of footage to the Raspberry Pi. You can then access the saved footage from an application on your smartphone. It’s a bit like the video capture function on the Xbox One or, as I like to call it, the option to record hilarious glitches during gameplay. But, unlike the Xbox One, it’s a lot easier to get the footage off the Raspberry Pi and onto your phone.

Fancy building your own? The full Python code for the project can be downloaded via GitHub, and more information can be found on Instructables and Johan’s website.

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Driverless cars run by Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/driverless-cars-run-by-raspberry-pi/

Could the future of driverless cars be shaped by Raspberry Pi? For undergraduate researchers at the University of Cambridge, the answer is a resounding yes!

Can cars talk to each other?

A fleet of driverless cars working together to keep traffic moving smoothly can improve overall traffic flow by at least 35 percent, researchers have shown. The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, programmed a small fleet of miniature robotic cars to drive on a multi-lane track and observed how the traffic flow changed when one of the cars stopped.

So long, traffic!

By using Raspberry Pis and onboard sensors to program scale-model versions of commercially available cars, undergraduate researchers have built a fleet of driverless cars that ‘talk to each other’. They did this because they are studying how driverless technology can help reduce traffic incidents on our roads.

Cambridge University Driverless cars using Raspberry Pi

The researchers investigated how a car stalled on a multi-lane track affects the buildup of traffic, and how communication between driverless cars can prevent these buildups.

Cambridge University Driverless cars using Raspberry Pi

When the cars acted independently of each other, a stalled car caused other vehicles in the same lane to slow or stop in order to merge into the adjacent lane. This soon led to queues forming along the track. But when the cars communicated via Raspberry Pis, they could tell each other about obstacles on the track, and this allowed cars to shift lanes with the cooperation of other road users.

The researchers recently presented their paper on the subject at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA 2019) in Montréal, Canada. You can find links to their results, plus more information, on the University of Cambridge blog.

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Retrofit a handheld Casio portable TV with a Raspberry Pi

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/retrofit-raspberry-pi-handheld-casio-portable-tv/

What do we say to the god of outdated tech? Not today! Revive an old portable television with a Raspberry Pi 3!

Pocket televisions

In the late 1980s, when I was a gadget-savvy kid, my mother bought me a pocket TV as a joint Christmas and birthday present. The TV’s image clarity was questionable, its sound tinny, and its aerial so long that I often poked myself and others in the eye while trying to find a signal. Despite all this, it was one of the coolest, most futuristic things I’d ever seen, and I treasured it. But, as most tech of its day, the pocket TV no longer needed: I can watch TV in high definition on my phone — a device half the size, with a screen thrice as large, and no insatiable hunger for AA batteries.

So what do we do with this old tech to save it from the tip?

We put a Raspberry Pi in it, of course!

JaguarWong’s Raspberry Pi 3 pocket TV!

“I picked up a broken Casio TV-400 for the princely sum of ‘free’ a few weeks back. And I knew immediately what I wanted to do with it,” imgur user JaguarWong states in the introduction for the project.

I got the Pi for Christmas a couple of years back and have never really had any plans for it. Not long after I got it, I picked up the little screen from eBay to play with but again, with no real purpose in mind — but when I got the pocket TV everything fell into place.

Isn’t it wonderful when things fall so perfectly into place?

Thanks to an online pinout guide, JW was able to determine how to  connect the screen and the Raspberry Pi; fortunately, only a few jumper wires were needed — “which was handy given the limits on space.”

With slots cut into the base of the TV for the USB and Ethernet ports, the whole project fit together like a dream, with little need for modification of the original housing.

The final result is wonderful. And while JW describes the project as “fun, if mostly pointless”, we think it’s great — another brilliant example of retrofitting old tech with Raspberry Pi!

10/10 would recommend to a friend.

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Raspberry Pi underwater camera drone | The MagPi 80

Post Syndicated from Rob Zwetsloot original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/raspberry-pi-underwater-camera-drone-magpi-80/

Never let it be said that some makers won’t jump in at the deep end for their ambitious experiments with the Raspberry Pi. When Ievgenii Tkachenko fancied a challenge, he sought to go where few had gone before by creating an underwater drone, successfully producing a working prototype that he’s now hard at work refining.

Inspired by watching inventors on the Discovery Channel, Ievgenii has learned much from his endeavour. “For me it was a significant engineering challenge,” he says, and while he has ended up submerging himself within a process of trial-and-error, the results so far have been impressive.

Pi dive

The project began with a loose plan in Ievgenii’s head. “I knew what I should have in the project as a minimum: motions, lights, camera, and a gyroscope inside the device and smartphone control outside,” he explains. “Pretty simple, but I didn’t have a clue what equipment I would be able to use for the drone, and I was limited by finances.”

Bearing that in mind, one of his first moves was to choose a Raspberry Pi 3B, which he says was perfect for controlling the motors, diodes, and gyroscope while sending video streams from a camera and receiving commands from a control device.

The Raspberry Pi 3 sits in the housing and connects to a LiPo battery that also powers the LEDs and motors

“I was really surprised that this small board has a fully functional UNIX-based OS and that software like the Node.js server can be easily installed,” he tells us. “It has control input and output pins and there are a lot of libraries. With an Ethernet port and wireless LAN and a camera, it just felt plug-and-play. I couldn’t find a better solution.”

The LEDs are attached to radiators to prevent overheating, and a pulse driver is used for flashlight control

Working with a friend, Ievgenii sought to create suitable housing for the components, which included a twin twisted-pair wire suitable for transferring data underwater, an electric motor, an electronic speed control, an LED together with a pulse driver, and a battery. Four motors were attached to the outside of the housing, and efforts were made to ensure it was waterproof. Tests in a bath and out on a lake were conducted.

Streaming video

With a WiFi router on the shore connected to the Raspberry Pi via RJ45 connectors and an Ethernet cable, Ievgenii developed an Android application to connect to the Raspberry Pi by address and port (“as an Android developer, I’m used to working with the platform”). This also allowed movement to be controlled via the touchscreen, although he says a gamepad for Android can also be used. When it’s up and running, the Pi streams a video from the camera to the app — “live video streaming is not simple, and I spent a lot of time on the solution” — but the wired connection means the drone can only currently travel as far as the cable length allows.

The camera was placed in this transparent waterproof case attached to the front of the waterproof housing

In that sense, it’s not perfect. “It’s also hard to handle the drone, and it needs to be enhanced with an additional controls board and a few more electromotors for smooth movement,” Ievgenii admits. But as well as wanting to base the project on fast and reliable C++ code and make use of a USB 4K camera, he can see the future potential and he feels it will swim rather than sink.

“Similar drones are used for boat inspections, and they can also be used by rescue squads or for scientific purposes,” he points out. “They can be used to discover a vast marine world without training and risks too. In fact, now that I understand the Raspberry Pi, I know I can create almost anything, from a radio electronic toy car to a smart home.”

The MagPi magazine

This article was lovingly borrowed from the latest issue of The MagPi magazine. Pick up your copy of issue 80 from your local stockist, online, or by downloading the free PDF.

Subscribers to The MagPi also get a rather delightful subscription gift!

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Play Heverlee’s Sjoelen and win beer

Post Syndicated from Rob Zwetsloot original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/play-heverlees-sjoelen-win-beer/

Chances are you’ve never heard of the Dutch table shuffleboard variant Sjoelen. But if you have, then you’ll know it has a basic premise – to slide wooden pucks into a set of four scoring boxes – but some rather complex rules.

Sjoelen machine

Uploaded by Grant Gibson on 2018-07-10.

Sjoelen

It may seem odd that a game which relies so much on hand-eye coordination and keeping score could be deemed a perfect match for a project commissioned by a beer brand. Yet Grant Gibson is toasting success with his refreshing interpretation of Sjoelen, having simplified the rules and incorporated a Raspberry Pi to serve special prizes to the winners.

“Sjoelen’s traditional scoring requires lots of addition and multiplication, but our version simply gives players ten pucks and gets them to slide three through any one of the four gates within 30 seconds,” Grant explains.

As they do this, the Pi (a Model 3B) keeps track of how many pucks are sliding through each gate, figures how much time the player has left, and displays a winning message on a screen. A Logitech HD webcam films the player in action, so bystanders can watch their reactions as they veer between frustration and success.

Taking the plunge

Grant started the project with a few aims in mind: “I wanted something that could be transported in a small van and assembled by a two-person team, and I wanted it to have a vintage look.” Inspired by pinball tables, he came up with a three-piece unit that could be flat-packed for transport, then quickly assembled on site. The Pi 3B proved a perfect component.

Grant has tended to use full-size PCs in his previous builds, but he says the Pi allowed him to use less complex software, and less hardware to control input and output. He used Python for the input and output tasks and to get the Pi to communicate with a full-screen Chromium browser, via JSON, in order to handle the scoring and display tasks in JavaScript.

“We used infrared (IR) sensors to detect when a puck passed through the gate bar to score a point,” Grant adds. “Because of the speed of the pucks, we had to poll each of the four IR sensors over 100 times per second to ensure that the pucks were always detected. Optimising the Python code to run fast enough, whilst also leaving enough processing power to run a full-screen web browser and HD webcam, was definitely the biggest software challenge on this project.”

Bottoms up

The Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins are used to trigger the dispensing of a can of Heverlee beer to the winner. These are stocked inside the machine, but building the vending mechanism was a major headache, since it needed to be lightweight and compact, and to keep the cans cool.

No off-the-shelf vending unit offered a solution, and Grant’s initial attempts with stepper motors and clear laser-cut acrylic gears proved disastrous. “After a dozen successful vends, the prototype went out of alignment and started slicing through cans, creating a huge frothy fountain of beer. Impressive to watch, but not a great mix with electronics,” Grant laughs.

Instead, he drew up a final design that was laser‑cut from poplar plywood. “It uses automotive central locking motors to operate a see-saw mechanism that serve the cans. A custom Peltier-effect heat exchanger, and a couple of salvaged PC fans, keep the cans cool inside the machine,” reveals Grant.

“I’d now love to make a lightweight version sometime, perhaps with a folding Sjoelen table and pop-up scoreboard screen, that could be carried by one person,” he adds. We’d certainly drink to that.

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MagPi 79 cover

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Build a dial-up ISP server using a Raspberry Pi

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

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

The Sound of dial-up Internet

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

Dial-up internet

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

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

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

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

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

Building a Raspberry Pi dial-in server

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sound of dial-up

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

Alex on Twitter

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

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Monitoring insects at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/monitoring-insects-at-the-victoria-and-albert-museum/

A simple Raspberry Pi camera setup is helping staff at the Victoria and Albert Museum track and identify insects that are threatening priceless exhibits.

“Fiacre, I need an image of bug infestation at the V&A!”

The problem with bugs

Bugs: there’s no escaping them. Whether it’s ants in your kitchen or cockroaches in your post-apocalyptic fallout shelter, insects have a habit of inconveniently infesting edifices, intent on damaging beloved belongings.

And museums are as likely as anywhere to be hit by creepy-crawly visitors. Especially when many of their exhibits are old and deliciously dusty. Yum!

Tracking insects at the V&A

As Bhavesh Shah and Maris Ines Carvalho state on the V&A blog, monitoring insect activity has become common practice at their workplace. As part of the Integrated Pest Monitoring (IPM) strategy at the museum, they even have trained staff members who inspect traps and report back their findings.

“But what if we could develop a system that gives more insight into the behaviour of insects and then use this information to prevent future outbreaks?” ask Shah and Carvalho.

The team spent around £50 on a Raspberry Pi and a 160° camera, and used these and Claude Pageau’s PI-TIMOLO software project to build an insect monitoring system. The system is now integrated into the museum, tracking insects and recording their movements — even in low-light conditions.

Emma Ormond, Raspberry Pi Trading Office Manager and Doctor of Bugs, believes this to be a Bristletail or Silverfish.

“The initial results were promising. Temperature, humidity, and light sensors could also be added to find out, for example, what time of day insects are more active or if they favour particular environmental conditions.”

For more information on the project, visit the Victoria & Albert Museum blog. And for more information on the Victoria & Albert Museum, visit the Victoria & Albert Museum, London — it’s delightful. We highly recommend attending their Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt exhibition, which is running until 24 February.

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Upcycle a vintage TV with the Raspberry Pi TV HAT | The MagPi #78

Post Syndicated from Rob Zwetsloot original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/magpi-78-upcycled-vintage-tv-hat/

When Martin Mander’s portable Hitachi television was manufactured in 1975, there were just three UK channels and you’d need to leave the comfort of your sofa in order to switch between them.

A page layout of the upcycled vintage television project using the Raspberry Pi TV HAT from The MagPi issue 78

Today, we have multiple viewing options and even a cool Raspberry Pi TV HAT that lets us enjoy DVB-T2 broadcasts via a suitable antenna. So what did nostalgia-nut Martin decide to do when he connected his newly purchased TV HAT to the Pi’s 40-pin GPIO header? Why, he stuck it in his old-fashioned TV set with a butt-busting rotary switch and limited the number of channels to those he could count on one hand – dubbing it “the 1982 experience” because he wanted to enjoy Channel 4 which was launched that year.

Going live

Martin is a dab hand at CRT television conversions (he’s created six since 2012, using monitors, photo frames, and neon signs to replace the displays). “For my latest project, I wanted to have some fun with the new HAT and see if I’d be able to easily display and control its TV streams on some of my converted televisions,” he says. It’s now being promoted to his office, for some background viewing as he works. “I had great fun getting the TV HAT streams working with the rotary dial,” he adds.

Raspberry Pi TV HAT

The project was made possible thanks to the new Raspberry Pi TV HAT

Although Martin jumped straight into the HAT without reading the instructions or connecting an aerial, he eventually followed the guide and found getting it up-and-running to be rather straightforward. He then decided to repurpose his Hitachi Pi project, which he’d already fitted with an 8-inch 4:3 screen.

Upcycled television using the Raspberry Pi TV HAT

The boards, screen, and switches installed inside the repurposed Hitachi television

“It’s powered by a Pi 3 and it already had the rotary dial set up and connected to the GPIO,” he explains. “This meant I could mess about with the TV HAT, but still fall back on the original project’s script if needed, with no hardware changes required.”

Change the channel

Indeed, Martin’s main task was to ensure he could switch channels using the rotary dial and this, he says, was easier to achieve than he expected. “When you go to watch a show from the Tvheadend web interface, it downloads an M3U playlist file for you which you can then open in VLC or another media player,” he says.

Upcycled television using the Raspberry Pi TV HAT

– The Hitachi television is fitted with a Pimoroni 8-inch 4:3 screen and a Raspberry Pi 3
– Programmes stream from a Pi 2 server and the channels are changed by turning the dial
– The name of the channel briefly appears at the bottom of the screen – the playlist files are edited in Notepad

“At first, I thought the playlist file was specific to the individual TV programme, as the show’s name is embedded in the file, but actually each playlist file is specific to the channel itself, so it meant I could download a set of playlists, one per channel, and store them in a folder to give me a full range of watching options.”

Sticking to his theme, he stored playlists for the four main channels of 1982 (BBC1, BBC2, ITV, and Channel 4) in a folder and renamed them channel1, channel2, channel3, and channel4.

Upcycled television using the Raspberry Pi TV HAT

A young Martin Mander decides the blank screen of his black and white Philips TX with six manual preset buttons is preferable to the shows (but he’d like to convert one of these in the future)

“Next, I created a script with an infinite loop that would look out for any action on the GPIO pin that was wired to the rotary dial,” he continues. “If the script detects that the switch has been moved, then it opens the first playlist file in VLC, full-screen. The next time the switch moves, the script loops around and adds ‘1’ to the playlist name, so that it will open the next one in the folder.”

Martin is now planning the next stage of the project, considering expanding the channel-changing script to include streams from his IP cameras, replacing a rechargeable speaker with a speaker HAT, and looking to make the original volume controls work with the Pi’s audio. “It been really satisfying to get this project working, and there are many possibilities ahead,” he says.

More from The MagPi magazine

The MagPi magazine issue 78 is out today. Buy your copy now from the Raspberry Pi Press store, major newsagents in the UK, or Barnes & Noble, Fry’s, or Micro Center in the US. Or, download your free PDF copy from The MagPi magazine website.

The MagPi magazine issue 78

Subscribe now

Subscribe to The MagPi magazine on a monthly, quarterly, or twelve-month basis to save money against newsstand prices!

Twelve-month print subscribers get a free Raspberry Pi 3A+, the perfect Raspberry Pi to try your hand at some of the latest projects covered in The MagPi magazine.

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Spirit Animal: a guitar with a built-in synthesiser

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/spirit-animal-synth-guitar/

UK-based Lucem Custom Instruments has teamed up with Seattle’s Tracktion Corporation to create an electric guitar with a built-in Raspberry Pi synthesiser, which they call Spirit Animal.

Raspberry Pi inside a guitar body - Spirit Animal

The Spirit Animal concept guitar

We love seeing the Raspberry Pi incorporated into old technology such as radios, games consoles and unwanted toys. And we also love Pi-based music projects. So can you imagine how happy we were to see an electric guitar with an onboard Raspberry Pi synthesiser?

Raspberry Pi inside a guitar body - Spirit Animal

Tracktion, responsible for synth software BioTek 2, ran their product on a Raspberry Pi, and Lucem fitted this Pi and associated tech inside the hollow body of a through-neck Visceral guitar. The concept guitar made its debut at NAMM 2019 last weekend, where attendees at the National Association of Music Merchants event had the chance to get hands-on with the new instrument.

Raspberry Pi inside a guitar body - Spirit Animal

The instrument boasts an onboard Li-ion battery granting about 8 hours of play time, and a standard 1/4″ audio jack for connecting to an amp. To permit screen-sharing, updates, and control via SSH, the guitar allows access to the Pi’s Ethernet port and wireless functionality.

See more

You can find more information about the design on the Gear News website, and see the instrument in action at NAMM on the Lucem Custom Instruments Facebook page. We look forward to seeing where this collaboration will lead!

Music and Pi

If you’re a guitarist and keen to incorporate a Raspberry Pi into your music, then also check out these other projects:

  • pisound — the Raspberry Pi–powered guitar pedal

PiSound with hardware and peripherals

  • Pedalumi — the illuminated pedal board

  • Guitarboy — is it a Gameboy? Is it a guitar? Unclear, but it’s awesome!

Guitar Boy video

The Guitar Boy is a guitar. The Guitar Boy is a Game Boy. The Guitar Boy is the best of both worlds! Created for the BitFix Gaming 2015 Game Boy Classic build-off, this Game Boy guitar plays both Pokemon and rock and roll!

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Clap on, clap off with the Raspberry Pi Clapper 👏👏

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/clap-on-clap-off-raspberry-pi-clapper/

While many people use off-the-shelf automation setups for their electrical appliances, Ash Puckett’s Raspberry Pi Clapper pays homage to the king of infomercial classics.

Remember this?

The Clapper (1989)

Uploaded by Travis Doucette on 2013-06-03.

Build your own Raspberry Pi Clapper

Sometimes, the best Raspberry Pi projects don’t need thousands of lines of code and a makerspace full of tech to make an impact: Ash Puckett‘s Clapper uses only a Raspberry Pi and a USB microphone as a basis. After that, it’s up to you to integrate the device into whatever project you wish, from home lighting and security systems to entertainment consoles — really anything you can switch from one state to another, including a Raspberry Pi!

GitHub user nikhiljohn10’s clap detection script allows the USB mic to pick up the control clap. With the help of the RPi.GPIO and PyAudio libraries, Ash demonstrates that the Clapper works by turning on and off a red LED attached to the Pi.

You will find instructions for putting together the code and running it on your Pi on the project’s Howchoo page. Howchoo also hosts some of Ash’s other Raspberry Pi projects, including a music streaming device, a smart clock, and a Pi-powered calendar.

Try the Clapper

Why not give the Clapper a go, and let us know what you decide to use it for!

I, for one, will secretly set one up to mess with all the lights in the office — what could possibly go wrong?

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Raspberry Pi-monitored chemical reactor 💥

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

In Hello World issue 7, Steven Weir introduces a Raspberry Pi into the classroom to monitor a classic science experiment.

A Raspberry Pi can be used to monitor the reaction between hydrochloric acid and sodium thiosulphate to complement a popular GCSE Chemistry practical.

The rate of reaction between hydrochloric acid and sodium thiosulphate is typically studied as part of GCSE Chemistry. The experiment involves measuring the time required for the reaction mixture to turn cloudy, due to the formation of sulphur as a precipitate. Students can then change the temperature or concentration of the reactants to study their effect on the rate of reaction. The time for the reaction mixture to turn cloudy is normally facilitated by recording the time a hand-drawn cross takes to become obscured when placed underneath a glass vessel holding the reaction mixture. This timing is prone to variability due to operator judgement of when the cross first becomes obscured. This variability can legitimately be discussed as part of the lesson. However, the element of operator judgement can be avoided using a Raspberry Pi-monitored chemical reactor.

The chemical reactor

Attached to a glass jar of approximate 80ml volume (the size is not critical) are two drinking straws, of which one houses a white LED (light-emitting diode) and the other a LDR (light-dependent resistor). The jar is covered in black tape to minimise intrusion of ambient light. The reactor is shown in Figure 1, along with details of other electrical components and connection instructions to a Raspberry Pi.

Figure 1
A: Reactor covered in black tape
B: Drinking straw attached to the reactor, with a further straw inserted housing a white LED
C: Drinking straw attached to the reactor, with a further straw inserted housing a LDR
D: 220Ω resistor to connect to the LED and GPIO 23
E: Wire to connect to ground
F: Wire to connect to 3.3v supply
G: 1µF capacitor to connect to ground
H: Crocodile clip to connect to GPIO 27 (NB: the other end of the wire is situated in between the capacitor and the LDR)

Results

The Python code shown in Figure 2 should be run prior to addition of chemicals to the reactor. Instructions appear on the screen to prompt chemical additions and to start data collection.

Figure 2: Python code for the chemical reactor

Figure 3 shows the results from the experiment when 25ml 0.1M hydrochloric acid is reacted with 25ml 0.15M sodium thiosulphate at 20°C. The reaction is complete at the time the light transmission first reads 0, (i.e. complete obscuration of the light by the precipitate formation) — in this example, that time is 45.4s. For more advanced students, tangents can be drawn at various points on the curve, and gradients calculated to determine the maximum rate of reaction from various reaction conditions.

Figure 3: Graph showing the change in light transmission with time

Download Hello World for free

Download your free copy of Hello World issue 7 today from the Hello World website, where you’ll also find all previous issues. And if you’re an educator in the UK, you’ll have the chance sign up to receive free hard copies to your door!

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Is this the most ‘all-in-one’ a computer can possibly be?

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/electronic-grenade-computer-mouse/

Electronic Grenade’s Computer Mouse is the turducken of the tech world, stuffed so full of computing gubbins that you genuinely don’t need anything else. Don’t believe us? See for yourself:

The “Computer” Mouse: A DIY Project

The computer mouse is an entire laptop computer in mouse form that uses the raspberry pi zero W as its brain. I originally wanted to just put a raspberry pi into a mouse but I soon discovered that that large of a mouse didn’t exist.

See what we mean?

The Computer Mouse

Sure, your laptop may be considered an all-in-one computer, but if you’re not a fan of trackpads, you’ll still need a mouse to complete the experience. Electronic Grenade‘s Computer Mouse truly has everything — a mouse, a screen, a keyboard — and while the screen is tiny, it’s still enough to get started.

A GIF of the Computer Mouse in action

Electronic Grenade designed the device using Autodesk Fusion 360, housing a Raspberry Pi Zero W, the guts of two USB mice, a slideout Bluetooth keyboard, and a flip-up 1.5″ full-colour OLED display. For power, the mouse also plays host to a 500mAh battery, charged by an Adafruit Micro-LiPo charger.

It’s very cool. Very, very cool.

A GIF from the movie Storks

Homemade Raspberry Pi laptops

From cardboard pizza boxes to ornate, wooden creations, our community members love making Raspberry Pi laptops out of whatever they can get their hands on.


Steampunk Raspberry Pi laptop

Variations on a theme include projects such as Jeremy Lee’s wrist computer with onboard gyromouse, perfect for any Captain Jack cosplay; and Scripto, the Raspberry Pi word processor that processes words and nothing more.


Photo: a red-cased Scripto sits open on a white work surface. It is on, and Its screen is filled with text.

Electronic Grenade

If you’re a fan of retrofit Raspberry Pi projects, check out Electronic Grenade’s Xbox controller hack. And while you’re skimming through their YouTube channel (as you should), be sure to subscribe, and watch the videos of their other Raspberry Pi–based projects, such as this wooden Raspberry Pi 3 laptop. You can also help Electronic Grenade design and build more projects such as the Computer Mouse by supporting them on Patreon.

Notes

  • A turducken is a chicken stuffed into a duck, that is then in turn stuffed into a turkey, and it sounds all kinds of wrong. Do you know what doesn’t sound all kinds of wrong? Electronic Grenade’s Computer Mouse.
  • The ‘cool, cool, cool’ GIF is from the movie Storks. If you haven’t watched Storks yet, you really should: it’s very underrated and quite wonderful.
  • I meant this Captain Jack and not this Captain Jack.

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YouTube and Google Photos add-ons for your magic mirror

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/youtube-google-photos-magic-mirror-modules/

Bring YouTube videos, Google Photos, and more to your magic mirror, with third-party modules and the MagicMirror² open-source software platform.

NEW Raspberry Pi Magic Mirror Modules!

Today I walk you through two fun modules to add top your Raspberry Pi Magic Mirror! Music in this video was from Epidemic Sound! Green Screen Subscribe Button: Its Frida MAGIC MIRROR Magic Mirror Builder (Michael Teeuw): https://magicmirror.builders/ Magic Mirror Modules in this video: YouTube: https://forum.magicmirror.builders/topic/8481/mmm-iframe-ping Google Photos: https://forum.magicmirror.builders/topic/8437/mmm-googlephotos/18 USB Audio: ROCCAT – Juke Virtual 7.1 USB Stereo Gaming Soundcard Music in this video was from Epidemic Sound.

Magic mirror

Mention Raspberry Pi to the uninitiated, and they’ll probably ask if it’s “that green thing people use for game emulation and smart mirrors?”. The popularity of magic mirrors has grown massively over the past few years, thanks to how easy it’s become to find cheap displays and great online tutorials.An image of a Raspberry Pi Magic Mirror

While big-brand smart mirrors cost upwards of a bajillion dollars, a homemade magic mirror costs pennies in comparison. The basic homemade model consists of a screen (usually an old computer monitor or flatscreen TV), a piece of two-way mirrored acrylic or glass, a frame, and a Raspberry Pi. Once it’s set up, you have yourself both a mirror and a notification board complete with calendar events, memos, and more.

Introducing MagicMirror²!

MagicMirror² is an open source platform for smart mirrors. It provides an extensive API for module development and is easy to setup and use. For more information and downloads visit http://magicmirror.builders and the forum http://forum.magicmirror.builders 🙂

The software most people use for setting up their magic mirror is MagicMirror², a free, group-maintained open-source platform created by Michael Teeuw.

And you know what open-source means…

Third-party add-ons!

The modular nature of MagicMirror² lets third-party developers easily bring their own ideas to the platform. As Brian Cotter explains in the video above, he used AgP42’s MMM-iFrame-Ping and eouia’s MMM-GooglePhotos to integrate YouTube videos and photographs into his magic mirror.

A screenshot from Brian Cotter's Magic Mirror add-on YouTube video.

And of course that’s not all! Other magic mirror add-ons let you implement 3D gesture detection or display international currency values, Google Fit totals, and more. Find a whole host of such third-party add-ons in this GitHub wiki.

Brian Cotter

Looking for more Raspberry Pi videos from Brian? Check out his Raspberry Pi playlist and be sure, as always, to subscribe to his channel.

Inside My Raspberry Pi Magic Mirror!

Checkout this inside look of my Rasberry Pi Magic Mirror build! Magic Mirror Builder (Michael Teeuw): https://magicmirror.builders/ Two-Way Mirror: https://www.tapplastics.com/ Monitor: https://amzn.to/2EusyhQ Raspberry Pi: https://www.raspberrypi.org/products/… Music Credit: Ikson – Paradise New Here? Follow Me Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/techcoderun/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/bfcotter Hi! My name is Brian Cotter and I live in New York City.

We’re forever grateful to all the content creators who make videos of their Raspberry Pi projects. If you have your own, be sure to let us know the link in the comments!

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Build your own South Park Buddha Box

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/south-park-raspberry-pi-buddha-box/

Escape the distractions of the world around you and focus your attention on the thing you love the most in life: your smartphone! It’s easy with the all-new Buddha Box, brought to you by South Park and the 8 Bits and a Byte team!

Introducing The All New Buddha Box | South Park

A brand new invention is sweeping South Park. The Buddha Box will let you escape from anything in the world so that you can focus on the thing you love the most… your phone.

The Buddha Box

Introduced in a recent episode of the cult show South Park, the Buddha Box is an ingenious invention that allows its user to ignore the outside world and fully immerse themselves in their smartphone. With noise-cancelling headphones and a screen so close to your eyes you’ll be seeing light spots for weeks to come, the Buddha Box is the must-have accessory for 2019.

We jest, obviously. It’s a horrible idea. And here’s how to make your own!

Build your own Buddha Box

Using a Raspberry Pi, noise-cancelling headphones, a screen, and a cardboard box, the wonderful 8 Bits and a Byte team has created a real-life Buddha Box that you definitely shouldn’t make yourself. As we said — horrible idea.

But it would be a great way to try out screensharing software on your Pi!

To make it, you’ll need to secure the headphones and a screen inside a suitably sized cardboard box, and then set up your Raspberry Pi to run Screencast.

The inside of the Raspberry Pi-enabled South Park Buddha Box showing the headphones, screen and Pi secured inside

The Screencast software allows you to cast the screen of your smartphone to the screen within the box — hence its name.

Here’s the tutorial from 8 Bits and a Byte, and a working demonstration:

South Park’s Buddha Box

A real, working version of South Parks Buddha Box, made using a pair of headphones, an LCD screen, a powerbank and a Raspberry Pi.

If you have an Android phone that you want to use with your Raspberry Pi, check out this guide for enabling Screencast, written by Make Tech Easier. And if you want to share the screen of an iPhone with your Pi, this Instructables guide will walk you through setting up the RPlay software.

Building props

We love prop builds using Raspberry Pi — if you do too, check out the posts in our ‘props’ blog category. And if you’ve made a prop from TV or film using a Pi, be sure to share it with us!

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