Anne Carlill interview

Anne Carlill interview

“York is a small city but I felt it had potential to have a regular Jam,” Anne Carlill explains to us. For those outside of the UK, York is a historic city, even if it is a little small, and a symbol of the North of England. This article first appeared in The MagPi 84 and was written by Rob Zwetsloot Anne herself definitely has the know-how to run a Jam in York. She’s been coding for 45 years, passing on her skills to her children with a BBC Micro in the eighties. She’s also been a college teacher, and now, although she’s retired, she has been running a Code Club for four years. “There had been a couple of big Jams at the STEM Centre but no follow-up,” Anne continues. “I’ve been going to Leeds Raspberry Jam for about four years and have learnt so much from their organiser Claire Garside – and it was Claire who suggested I should consider running a Raspberry Jam. I went to Cambridge for the training, took a while to find venues, and started running my own at the beginning of 2017. I think of YRJ as a little offshoot of Leeds, as our attendance is small, but we are growing. York Explore Libraries have been very supportive and both of our venues are libraries: one in West and one in East York.” What are the York Raspberry Jam attendees like? They are all ages and abilities, but mostly parents with children: they’re beginners right up to people who know a lot more than me. Luke (@YorkPiJam) and I began organising together in March 2018. It’s a bit odd having a 16-year-old and a grandma, in her late 60s, planning together, but it works. We plan by social media as we don’t see each other between Jams. Luke is the brains, and I’m the facilitator who makes sure the kit works and there are biscuits, etc. How did you learn about Raspberry Pi? I heard a report on the Radio 4 Today programme about six years ago and just had to have one. My Model B setup cost £60 and I have about £20 a month to save up or spend on electronics kit. What excites me most is to see people who haven’t got much cash really taking to the Raspberry Pi! And I’m very keen to know how well Raspberry Pi…
Source: Anne Carlill interview

Best Raspberry Pi 4 projects

Best Raspberry Pi 4 projects

Whenever a new Raspberry Pi model comes out, we end up dreaming about what we can do with it. Raspberry Pi 4 is no different, especially with all the extra power it has! Here are some excellent Raspberry Pi projects that would be made so much better with a Raspberry Pi 4. Want to see just how good Raspberry Pi 4 is? Check out our full specs and benchmark breakdowns in issue 83 of The MagPi. Raspberry Pi 4 starter guide in The MagPi 84 How to set up Raspberry Pi 4 Raspberry Pi 4 Retro Games Console Emulation station. Early tests have shown far better emulation of fifth-generation video game consoles with Raspberry Pi 4. The RetroPie team are hard at work on a version of their excellent retro gaming OS for Raspberry Pi 4, which will make emulation on Raspbian Buster much easier. Watch this space! Picade remains a great option for building a tabletop arcade at home. Blade Buster running on a Raspberry Pi File Server A lot of folks already have a Raspberry Pi file server in their homes. Their size and low power footprint make them perfect for the task. The only issue with them has been networking and storage bottlenecks, due to USB 2.0 and 100MB Ethernet. Now, with super-speed USB 3.0 ports and proper Gigabit Ethernet, Raspberry Pi 4 will give any file server a big speed boost. See: Set up Samba on Raspberry Pi 4 and Apache web server: Build a local HTML server with a Raspberry Pi Raspberry Pi 4 Pi-hole: Ad-blocking We hear about people using Pi-hole all the time, especially with the amount of malicious and suspicious ads that exist on the internet these days. This blocks these ads before they even get to your computer – and with improved networking speeds, Raspberry Pi 4 makes this even better. Pi-Hole is used to block all adverts on your home network Raspberry Pi 4 Robots: Powered-up automatons There are many pros in using a Raspberry Pi 4 as your robot’s brain: the faster processing speeds and improved network connection makes for better control, whether by a remote or code. However, it does eat a bit more power than previous Raspberry Pi models, so consider what your needs are. See: Build a low-cost Raspberry Pi robot: the components you’ll need PiBug 2WD Robot Pi Wars: How to win the Olympics of Raspberry Pi…
Source: Best Raspberry Pi 4 projects

Make Lua games with PICO-8 for Raspberry Pi

Make Lua games with PICO-8 for Raspberry Pi

Coding in PICO-8 is done in a lightweight and easy-to-learn language called Lua. It’s quick, powerful, and is by far the most popular scripting language in game development today, having been used in everything from Dark Souls to World of Warcraft. So even if you’re just a little bit interested in game dev, it’s a good skill to have. This tutorial will walk you through using Raspberry Pi and PICO-8 to make a simple retro space-shooter, a great foundation for things to come. This tutorial was written by Dan Lambton-Howard and first appeared in The MagPi issue #84. Get a free Raspberry Pi computer with a 12-month subscription to The MagPi. See also: PICO-8 for Raspberry Pi starter guide PICO-8 for Raspberry Pi: Launch sequence initiated First things first, launch PICO-8 and, from the console, hit ESC. You should now be staring at the code editor. It isn’t the most beautiful text editor, but you’ll sure grow to love it! We want to start with a blank slate, so if you already have a cart loaded you might need to reboot in the console. Before we start with the code, two things to note: PICO-8 doesn’t use upper case letters, everything is lower case (so hands off that Caps-Lock). Secondly, similar to Python, there is no need for semicolons to end lines. PICO-8 has a strict limit on code complexity, great for avoiding feature creep! The holy trinity of PICO-8 PICO-8 has three special functions that structure any PICO-8 program. The first, _init(), is run once at program startup, whilst _update() and _draw() are called 30 times a second, meaning games are 30 fps by default. Define these three functions in your code, as in Figure 1. You can also give your game a title by using — to comment. We’ve chosen something suitably B-movie for our retro space-shooter. Hit ESC to return to the terminal and type save yourgamename to save your cart (you should do this often), then ESC again to hop back to the code editor. Ready Player One No space-shooter is complete without a solitary pilot flying a super-advanced experimental warfighter. Switch to the sprite editor (using the tabs at the top right) and draw our ship. Don’t worry too much about graphics as we’ll be covering that in a later tutorial. Doodle a spaceship facing right in sprite slot 001. Write the following code into your…
Source: Make Lua games with PICO-8 for Raspberry Pi

Smart Window Fan

Smart Window Fan

Summer days, and nights, can be uncomfortably hot and humid in the Chicago area. As the sun goes down, the outside temperature drops, but homes may remain hot. This is where a Raspberry Pi smart window fan comes in useful, blowing cooler air into the house. Last summer, Ishmael Vargas was using a small window fan upstairs and, after turning it on in the afternoon, he found he had to get up in the middle of the night to turn it off. “That is when I thought there must be a better way to control this fan,” he recalls, “and I started putting this project together. The indoor temperature is read by a DHT22 sensor; if it’s cooler outside, the fan is turned on See also: MYHouse: Smart IoT doll-house Keep cool with a Pi-powered fan Smart palm tree greenhouse Raspberry Pi Smart Window Fan As he was already using a DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor for another project, he opted to use that, connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero running a Python program, to monitor the room temperature. This is then compared with the external temperature; if the latter is cooler, the window fan is turned on via a smart WiFi power plug (TP-Link HS100) – a much simpler method than wiring the fan up to a relay. Watching the weather report To keep things simple, Ishmael opted to source the outdoor temperature from Weather.com (The Weather Channel) using the pywapi Python library, rather than wiring up an external sensor. “The temperature provided by Weather.com as compared to the temperature in my car could differentiate by one or two degrees. This is close enough for this project,” he explains. “In other parts of the world or rural areas where they do not have as many weather stations, an outdoor sensor might be required.” One issue he discovered was that in the early morning, the fan could end up blowing warm air into the house. “Depending on the size of the fan, the size of the room, and house materials, the inside temperature might never be as cool as outside,” he says. “For example, if the temperature outside is 65 °F (18°C), the temperature inside might only drop to 67 °F (19.5°C) through the night. As the temperature outside starts to climb, you want to keep the fan off.” This resulted in him adding an ‘inhibit’ mode to turn the fan off…
Source: Smart Window Fan

Smart Home Herb Garden

Smart Home Herb Garden

If you’ve ever grown herbs in your kitchen, you may have encountered some problems. Coriander flopping about everywhere. Rosemary never really regrowing. Basil growing out of control. Then you leave the house for a few days and come back to withered herbs. It’s tricky! This is where something like the Smart Home Herb Garden from Oscar Prom at Deeplocal comes in handy. This article first appeared in The MagPi 84 and was written by Rob Zwetsloot “The herb garden was built for Google I/O 2019 to showcase the Smart Home API and some newly released traits on the IoT platform,” Oscar explains. “We released it as a DIY project to encourage developers to use it as a jumping off point for their own Smart Home projects.” Automated gardens are all the rage now – we’ve had farm robots, hydroponics, and aquaponics in The MagPi – so scaling it down to a small herb garden seems like a logical next step. So, when Deeplocal were asked to build a Smart Home project using voice control, it’s the route they decided to take. Voice-activated care The system is deceptively simple. Three potted herbs sit under a beam that has lights and water misters. There’s also a humidifier on the tray that the plants sit on, and each plant can rotate to make for easier pruning and watering hard-to-reach areas. There’s even a special function that lets you ‘spotlight’ a specific plant if you want to really show off your prize parsley. The humidifiers release spooky water vapour from the rocks “Raspberry Pi provides a familiar and inexpensive platform to get any project off the ground,” Oscar tells us. “We needed something low-power and internet-connected that could control custom hardware, and there is no dev board that hits that sweet spot better than a Raspberry Pi.” No growing pains After having tried our own hand at growing herbs in the past, we had to ask about the project’s herb-growing prowess: “It’s much better than a human!” asserts Oscar. “It remembers to water the kitchen herbs without issue and automatically rotates the plants to distribute sunlight evenly. We can even increase the brightness of the grow lights on our cloudy Pittsburgh days (read: often).” This isn’t Deeplocal’s first rodeo with Raspberry Pi either, and it seems like the team specialise in amazing home improvement projects. “We’ve built a [Raspberry Pi-powered], voice-controlled drink mixer and an…
Source: Smart Home Herb Garden

Build a low-cost Raspberry Pi robot: the components you’ll need

Build a low-cost Raspberry Pi robot: the components you’ll need

To make a robot, be it a wheeled rover, flying drone, factory robot, or autonomous spacecraft, you will need common classes of components. We’ll discover what they are for, focusing on those needed for a wheeled robot. We’ll look at what options there are for the components, and how we might be able to save money. We’ll go through the trade-offs needed for these options, the tools you might need, and their relative difficulty. This article was written by Danny Staple and first appeared in The MagPi 84. Get a free Raspberry Pi computer with a 12-month subscription to The MagPi. Danny makes robots with his kids as Orionrobots on YouTube, and is the author of Learn Robotics Programming.

Using Raspberry Pi to control a robot Any robot starts with a computer to run code, using sensors to collect data about the world. There are output systems to drive motors and actuators to affect the world. It needs power systems to get the right voltage and current to the right parts. The robot will need mechanical parts for the motors to drive, along with connecting the sensors and a body holding it all together. An overview of robot parts To make a wheeled robot, you are going to need some common part types to make it work: A chassis or body to hold everything together. You will need brackets for sensors eventually, too. Wheels and motors to drive them. This includes balance wheels or castors. A main controller to run your code: Raspberry Pi. A motor controller or driver to connect your Raspberry Pi safely to outputs. Batteries and power regulation for your electronics. Sensors to get data from the real world, like distance sensors and a camera. You can pick up most of the parts for a low-cost robot with a kit. See Build a robot with CamJam EduKit 3 for more info. Here are some other kits PiBug 2WD Robot PiMecha: The Pi-powered humanoid robot MonsterBorg review: new Formula Pi robot kit tested and rated Going low-cost with robotics parts To go low-cost, you going to have to be a little creative. This will mean substituting parts, or finding parts that may not be the obvious choice. You will be able to save by shopping around, and waiting for parts that will take longer to ship will usually reduce cost. Having parts pre-soldered or ready-made usually…
Source: Build a low-cost Raspberry Pi robot: the components you’ll need

Learn Sense HAT with Raspberry Pi

Learn Sense HAT with Raspberry Pi

Astro Pi Resources The Sense HAT is an add‑on board for Raspberry Pi. It adds a range of motion sensors to Raspberry Pi, including a gyroscope, accelerometer, and magnetometer, plus temperature, pressure, and humidity sensors. On top of the Sense HAT board sits an 8×8 LED matrix and five-button joystick. Sense HAT is a lot of fun. It’s a great way to get feedback on an environment with Raspberry Pi, and was made especially for the Astro Pi mission (where two Raspberry Pi units were sent into space). Astro Pi is an ESA (European Space Agency) project run with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. It enables young people to conduct scientific investigations in space by writing computer programs that run on Raspberry Pi computers aboard the International Space Station. Students up to 19 years old can take part. If you’re older than that, you can still get involved by volunteering for a Code Club (codeclub.org) and mentoring students. Even if you don’t want to take part, Astro Pi has a solid set of resources designed to help students set up the Sense HAT and collect data from it. Getting Started with Sense HAT Raspberry Pi Projects If you’re looking to get up-and-running with Sense HAT, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has you covered. The Getting Started with the Sense HAT tutorial shows you how to display text and images on the LED matrix display, set the orientation, and sense the environment and movement. After that, head over to the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s projects website, click ‘Browse all projects’, and change the ‘Any hardware’ drop-down to Sense HAT. Here you’ll find a range of fun projects that explore all the different elements of the Sense HAT – from building a tight-rope game controlled by the accelerometer, to a weather logger and rainbow predictor. The projects are sparkly and designed to appeal to kids, but they’re a great way to learn data capture and basic programming concepts. Experiment with Sense HAT Essentials Guides are short books designed to make it easy to learn Raspberry Pi subjects. One of the most popular and enduring is Experiment with the Sense HAT. You can still pick up a digital copy of this book for free, although print copies are now hard to find. Inside the book, you’ll find eight chapters that cover everything from setting up the Sense HAT to building projects such as a Magic 8 Ball…
Source: Learn Sense HAT with Raspberry Pi

Intelligent Drowsiness Monitor: stop falling asleep behind the wheel

Intelligent Drowsiness Monitor: stop falling asleep behind the wheel

A road accident after falling asleep at the wheel prompted Luis Oliver, and his friend Andre Hernandez, to develop a driver drowsiness monitoring system that can work in any vehicle. “Luckily it was a small accident,” Luis tells us, “but I realised that the next time it happened, it could be my last. So I decided to try and create a smarter solution than just a cup of coffee.” Following some initial research, Luis turned his attention to creating a physical device that could detect if a driver was falling asleep. “I came to the resolution to create a system that continuously monitors my conscious state.” Once he’d settled on the concept for the system, he began to research which hardware and software he was going to use. “The obvious choice was a Raspberry Pi as the main processor of my project, as it needed to be small and portable.” How to stop falling asleep behind the wheel OpenCV is used to analyse the camera image and detect closed eyes If the driver’s eyes are closed for three seconds, an audible alert is triggered A VMA204 accelerometer will detect a possible collision… …In which case, a crash alert is sent to family or emergency services The notification system uses a Soracom mobile data dongle and AWS IoT The camera can be mounted in various positions, but should point at the driver’s face A Raspberry Pi, powered by a battery pack, is connected to the camera, speaker, an accelerometer, and mobile data dongle Wake up sleepy-head! Over the next couple of weeks, and following a number of successful tests in front of computers and eventually in vehicles, the Intelligent Drowsiness Monitor was born, incorporating a crash notification system, but how does it work exactly? Luis and Andre describe the monitor as a kind of ‘guardian angel’. Luis elaborates, “It is continuously monitoring your face at all times. If it notices that you are falling asleep, at that time it will emit a loud sound – which, we can assure you, will wake you up. However, if an accident nevertheless happens, the monitor will send an alert at that time to family or friends and to emergency services, if the user opts to use that functionality.” Luis says the most complicated part of the design was installing the OpenCV computer vision library (used to analyse the camera images) on Raspberry Pi: “You have to…
Source: Intelligent Drowsiness Monitor: stop falling asleep behind the wheel

Control servos with CircuitPython and Raspberry Pi

Control servos with CircuitPython and Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi 4 is the perfect computer for controlling robots. In celebration of Adafruit’s upcoming CircuitPython Day (8 August 2019), we’re going to take a look at how easy it is to use CircuitPython on Raspberry Pi. CircuitPython is designed to control low-cost microcontroller boards. For running robotics, Adafruit has many different breakout sensors and boards. We’re going to be looking at two boards that make a great combination in robotics: the BNO055 9-Degrees-of-Freedom (DOF) Absolute Orientation Breakout and the 16-Channel 12-bit PWM/Servo Driver. This article first appeared in The MagPi 84 and was written by Melissa LeBlanc-Williams The BNO055 is unique in that the sensor includes a built-in microprocessor that takes all of the data from the other sensors and calculates everything you want to know, for improved accuracy. The 16-channel servo driver allows you to drive up to 16 different servos, which is excellent for robotics. Both of these boards can be driven through I2C, so they only take up two pins on Raspberry Pi. For this project, you will need both male-to-male and male-to-female jumper wires. You’ll need 16-Channel Servo Driver BNO055 9-DOF Breakout 2 × Servos 5 V power supply Female DC power adapter Breadboard Jumper wires Solder the headers If you haven’t already soldered the headers that came with the breakouts to the boards, let’s do it. One of the easiest ways is to cut the headers to length and insert them into some breadboard with the long pins facing down. Then place the breakout on the pins, apply heat, and solder. Once you have all of the headers connected, take the servo driver, flip it over, and solder the terminal block to the top side. Optionally, you can also add a capacitor to the servo driver board, especially if you have a lot of servos. Connect the servo driver The first item that we’ll hook up is the 16-channel servo driver. Insert the breakout into the breadboard and wire it up to your Raspberry Pi according to the diagram, Figure 1 (below). Take the female DC power adapter, loosen the screws, insert a male-to-male jumper wire in each hole, and tighten down the screws. Connect the other ends of the jumper wire into the terminal block on the servo driver according to the diagram. Be sure to connect the 5 V wire to VCC and not V+. Figure 1: wiring diagram for this project Connect the orientation…
Source: Control servos with CircuitPython and Raspberry Pi

Entries open for Pi Wars 2020

Entries open for Pi Wars 2020

It may be the height of summer, but things are already well under way for a firm fixture on the Raspberry Pi calendar: Pi Wars 2020. The sixth Pi Wars event is due to take place in May 2020. Entries open at the start of August and must be in by 12 September. Course favourites Pi Noon – in which robots have to burst a balloon on their opponent’s robot using a spiked probe – and the Obstacle Course will return, the latter with new obstacles. This Pi Wars is being opened up to wannabe track engineers. Most Pi Wars challenges are built by event co-organiser Tim Richardson, and he’s keen to open up the course design to the rest of the community. Brilliantly, this means the rest of us get to pitch ideas for courses, and even offer our expertise in building them. See also: Pi Wars: How to win the Olympics of Raspberry Pi robotics Pi Wars winners! A robot navigating a maze at Pi Wars Pi Wars 2020: On course for success Pi Wars co-organiser Mike Horne says, “What makes 2020 special is that, for the first time, we are asking the community to contribute to the event by proposing and building courses. We’ve asked as many people as possible to propose courses for the competition, and then to build them.” This will also free up the indefatigable Tim to work on fiendishly clever new advances and surprises for Pi Wars 2020. Previous events filled up very quickly, so get your skates on if you’d like to apply. There are two categories: School and Kids’ Clubs teams on the Saturday, and then All Other Teams on the Sunday. To keep things competitive, teams entering are also split by levels of prior Pi Wars experience. “We’ve found the format works well, allowing us to have a good spread of teams,” says Mike. Volunteers can apply via the Pi Wars website. Malaysia’s Team MYRA celebrate their Pi Wars 2019 win The post Entries open for Pi Wars 2020 appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
Source: Entries open for Pi Wars 2020