Notagrama interview – a Raspberry Pi that can read music
The subject of a developing crowdfunding campaign, Notagrama caught our eye last month as a really interesting way of teaching music on the Raspberry Pi in a way very different to Sonic Pi. We reached out to creator Daniel Marcial to chat about it. This article was written by Rob Zwetsloot and appears in The MagPi #63. What is Notagrama? The Notagrama is an educational product consisting of a large sheet with two staves, chips in the form of musical symbols, and a computer capable of reproducing the melody formed by the chips. It works with machine vision technology: it has a camera placed above the sheet with which the computer determines the position and shape of the chips to constitute a melody and reproduce it by the speakers. The Notagrama can be used to practise reading and writing scores, composing melodies, imparting music classes, or to have fun playing with musical notes. It is a project that allows interaction with musical symbols in a tangible and innovative way. What’s your music background? I studied piano for six years and I’ve been playing since I was nine years old. I have also taken courses on music production, mixing, harmony, and singing. I like playing the piano and composing music with Ableton Live. How did the idea come about? When I was at university, I made a project with machine vision technology: a score system for a real pool game. I liked the machine vision concept, so I wanted to build a music application with it. First I made sequencers and sliders with chips and illustrations, and afterwards I replaced circular chips with music symbols. That’s how Notagrama started. The Notagrama hardware setup is fairly simple, and the software works very well Why use the Raspberry Pi? I like Raspberry Pi because it’s very accessible and cheap. The most important thing for me is the large amount of information on the web about it. I built the Notagrama prototype with my first Pi, a Raspberry Pi 3. Have you ever used Sonic Pi? Yes, I have used it. I like it because it’s a very different way to compose. I have composed music in the traditional way, but when I discovered Sonic Pi I found a new way to do it. It’s very funny to listen your code! What are your hopes for Notagrama? I want to see a Notagrama in…
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BitBarista: fully autonomous coffee machine built using Raspberry Pi and Bitcoin
A University of Edinburgh project might just be the first fully autonomous business. The Pi-powered BitBarista accepts Bitcoin payments to dispense coffee, pays users to restock supplies, and will call a technician should a fault occur. BitBarista is not some glorified kettle with WiFi, though. Using the Bitcoin from coffee sales, BitBarista “pays people for small services such as filling its water tank and replenishing it with coffee beans,” according to Dr Larissa Pschetz, Programme Director of Product Design and Researcher at the Centre for Design Informatics, University of Edinburgh and co‑creator of BitBarista. BitBarista: fully automated coffee machine pays staff itself When coffee stocks run low, BitBarista asks the user to select a restock vendor. These options could be ranked in price order, or by ethical preference. Larissa explains, “I was also intrigued by this idea of an autonomous coffee machine that would reduce intermediaries in the coffee trade, potentially supporting smallholder famers in developing countries.” BitBarista is currently on a long-term trial throughout the UK, “which is revealing reactions to the machine’s autonomous features,” according to a University of Edinburgh spokesperson. So far, Larissa has seen that “some rituals such as making coffee for colleagues were lost while others, such as watching who chose the ‘best price’ option, were created.” Raspberry Pi and coffee: BitBarista The Pi controlling BitBarista uses Raspbian “and different plug‑ins to simplify tasks and connect things together,” Larissa reveals. “We also use Electrum for the BitCoin payments.” The code is on GitHub. BitBarista might be useful for other vending machines, but Larissa warns, “The machine still needs to follow the social rules of the context where it is placed. If people think it is inappropriate they will probably turn it off.” Asked whether there were machines where BitBarista technology might not ever be appropriate, Larissa replies, “Of course there is always space for malicious practices, but people are careful and good at figuring these things out so it wouldn’t last in the long term.” The post BitBarista: fully autonomous coffee machine built using Raspberry Pi and Bitcoin appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Get the Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book volume 3!
It’s that time of year again: the weather is getting colder, the days are getting shorter, and you’ve already gorged on several boxes of early mince pies. That means it’s also time for volume 3 of the Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book, and it’s out today! Projects for everyone The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Books are a collection of incredibly inspiring community projects, expert tutorials, and definitive reviews covering every aspect of the world of Raspberry Pi. Volume 3 is no different, and we’ve packed its 200 pages with the best of the best. Click to see all the amazing articles packed into Project Books 3 You’ll get to see projects that involve beekeeping, robots, earthquakes, incredible arcade machine builds, and more. There’s tutorials that teach you how to build a GoPro-esque action cam, a Beret-of-Things, a spooky flashing skeleton eye, and your own Apollo mission computer. We even have reviews of robot kits, wildlife cameras, books, and more! Where to buy You can get your copy in WH Smiths and other good news agents today, with copies turning up in Barnes & Noble in the USA very soon. You can also find the digital edition on The MagPi Android and iOS app. You can also buy Projects Book 3 online from the Raspberry Pi Press store! If you buy it before the end of Sunday you can also get 10% off by using the code BLACKFRIDAY at checkout. Think of it as an early Christmas present from us to you. We hope you enjoy the new projects book! The post Get the Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book volume 3! appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Read-only Raspberry Pi script: how to secure a micro SD card so nothing can be written to it
If you’ve ever built a Pi for a kiosk, installation or information display, you’ll find Adafruit’s read-only Pi script invaluable. This script disables all the write-to-SD-card functions, meaning that you can pull the plug without any risk of data loss or corruption. The Adafruit script forces Raspbian to store all its temporary data in memory, so no data stored on the SD card can be corrupted. This also means that nothing at all can be written to the SD card. Adafruit Script puts Raspberry Pi in read-only mode Script author, and Adafruit Creative Engineer, Phillip Burgess tells us, “We’re seeing Raspberry Pi really take off in situations where a microcontroller may have once sufficed,” and points out that less technical users are making things with a Raspberry Pi. Phillip wanted the ability to simply cut power like one does with an Arduino or a consumer product. Phillip’s script includes ways to disable read-only mode, by use of a jumper or quick button connect The script only works on Lite installations – “Stretch or Jessie should work,” Phillip tells us – and you can find the full instructions at Adafruit. The post Read-only Raspberry Pi script: how to secure a micro SD card so nothing can be written to it appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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It’s a sad truth, but right now the world is littered with an estimated 110 million land-mines. Clearing them all could take as long as 1000 years and cost $30 billion, but leaving them in situ is not an option. The number of people killed or injured by these hidden weapons recently reached a ten-year high – so how amazing would it be if the Raspberry Pi could help tackle this ever-present problem? This article was written by David Crookes and appears in The MagPi #63. Cardboard demining Scientists at Arizona State University have been putting their heads together to do just that. They have devised the C-Turtle, a cardboard robot with turtle flippers which has a Raspberry Pi at its heart. It uses machine learning to figure out how to walk across the most unusual and hazardous of terrain, constantly adapting to its surroundings. Modelled on a sea turtle (hence the name), it is not only inexpensive, but easy to transport. “We were looking to develop a cheap and simple robot for the detection of land-mines,” says PhD student Kevin S Luck, who has worked on the project with Joseph Campbell and Michael A Jansen. “Undetected land-mines are a problem in many countries, and often these mines are particularly difficult to detect in sandy environments. The problem is that sand in a desert moves over time and so the location and depth of the land-mines is constantly shifting.” Inspired by nature The C-Turtle is well equipped to cope with this issue. Housed within a single-sheet laminate comprised of layers of paper, foil and adhesive, it mimics the movement of a sea turtle. The scientific trio had noted how quickly sea turtle hatchlings can move over sand and how adults crawl while lifting their immense weight. This led to Michael developing a workable fin shape, and Kevin and Joseph figuring out how the Pi could best power the robot. “We envisioned a system where each robot can carry sensors to detect and mark land-mines, but also where the loss of a single robot is relatively inconsequential for demining operations, thus reducing the risk for humans or bigger demining robots,” explains Kevin. During the design process, some key decisions were made. They ruled out using wheels – “they usually have issues with slippage on sand, and they would create a more complex manufacturing process,” says Kevin – and were unanimous in wanting…
128×64 OLED Bonnet review: Pi Zero W screen with controls
Looking for a low-power yet bright mini display for your Pi project? Adafruit’s latest OLED screen, the 128×64 OLED Bonnet, could well fit the bill. An OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display offers high contrast combined with a low power draw, since it doesn’t require a backlight. While numerous OLED screens are available, including a range from Adafruit itself, most require you to wire them up manually to the Raspberry Pi (or whatever device you’re using). The Pi Zero-sized OLED Bonnet takes the hassle out of connection: pre-assembled with a female header, it simply slots onto the Pi’s GPIO pins. 128×64 OLED Bonnet review Available from Pimoroni in the UK, the OLED Bonnet is the big sibling of the 128×32 PiOLED, doubling the latter’s screen area while adding a mini joystick (four-way plus central push function) and two buttons. This would make it ideal for use as a mini menu system in, for example, a music player. While the screen is monochrome – white on black – and obviously too low-res to use as a main Pi display, its high contrast enables it to show text with great clarity. Any standard TTF font can be used, and one of the Python examples downloaded after cloning the relevant GitHub repo is an old-school sine-wave scrolling text demo. Basic images, which may be converted to bitmaps and resized via PIL, can also be displayed. Unlike an e-ink screen, the OLED Bonnet is even able to handle basic animations. While the frame rate is rather sluggish by default, it can be speeded up to about 15 fps by raising the I2C core baud rate to 1 MHz in the Raspberry Pi’s /boot/config.txt file. As well as two GPIO pins for I2C communication with the Pi, the OLED Bonnet uses seven others for joystick and button inputs. That still leaves plenty of GPIO pins available for use in projects, although due to the full-size female header, you’ll need to break them out using something like a Pico HAT Hacker. Last word: 128×64 OLED Bonnet With its high contrast and clarity, the OLED Bonnet is ideal as a mini status display or – taking advantage of the joystick and buttons – menu system. The screen’s low power draw (around 40 mA on average) is also an advantage for portable projects using battery power. The post 128×64 OLED Bonnet review: Pi Zero W screen with controls appeared first on The…
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Raspberry Pi cat flap project: RPi 3 BLE Bluetooth tag-sensing motorised pet door
The RPI 3 BLE Cat Door is a motorised Raspberry Pi cat flap project with some high-tech smarts. It uses a Raspberry Pi 3, Node-RED and Bluetooth tracking tags to let cats in. Living in Santa Rosa, California, Jeremiah Mattison had a major problem with critters getting into his house through his pet door. “There are many cats in the neighbourhood and I was getting woken up every night by them trying to get into the bulk food. Additionally during the fall, in what I have coined ‘Racktober’, we have a problem with raccoons as well.” The solution was to create a tag-sensing motorised pet door to enable his four cats to get in, but keep other animals out. After a failed attempt based on an Arduino and passive RFID tags, Jeremiah found the purr‑fect solution using a Pi 3 and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) tracking tags. “The [RFID] tags had to be really close to the antenna,” he recalls. “The BLE tags are battery powered, so they have greater range and I can use the RSSI metric to control the distance at which they trigger the door.” Raspberry Pi cat flap: motorised door To slide open the Ideal Ruff-Weather pet door, Jeremiah originally planned to use a stepper motor with a track or pulley system, but ended up using a motorised car antenna instead. “[I] somehow found myself on a forum thread with people talking about using automotive antennas for DIY automated chicken coop doors. They were just using a simple timer to open and close the door, which wouldn’t work for my project, but the antenna part was perfect.” Raspberry Pi cat flap: Controlling the door Mounted in a metal box to one side of the pet door, the Pi 3 is stacked with two Adafruit Perma-Proto HATs wired up with the extra electronics required – including an H-bridge circuit to drive the motor, and three status LEDs. The blue LED flashes whenever the Pi – programmed using Node-RED – senses a permitted Bluetooth tag within range, currently set to around 2 metres. “This allows the door to open far enough in advance not to spook the cats, but still minimise the time open so other animals can’t sneak in.” The door waits 15 seconds after the last BLE trigger before closing, which Jeremiah says should be more than enough time for the cats to make it through…
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Raspberry Pi-controlled LEGO MINDSTORMS
In this tutorial, you will find the tools you need to easily connect to your robots, and a variety of options for programming and controlling them. Interfacing LEGO MINDSTORMS robots with Raspberry Pi is made easy thanks to the Ch Mindstorms Controller (CMC). The C-STEM Center at UC Davis has developed C-STEM Studio with CMC to provide a simple-to-use platform for 4- to 19-year-old students to learn Computing, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths with LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT and EV3 robots. This article was written by Binsen Qian and appears in The MagPi #63. C-STEM Studio is a user-friendly platform that allows you to control LEGO MINDSTORMS NXT and EV3 robots directly from a Raspberry Pi. A single program can also control multiple NXT/EV3 robots at the same time. This tutorial will guide you through the steps of installing the software, connecting to your robots, and controlling them. You’ll need C-STEMbian OS A monitor or display MINDSTORMS NXT/EV3 robots (up to seven) Software In order to connect to your MINDSTORMS robot from the Ch Mindstorms Controller, you will need access to the C-STEM Studio platform. We recommend downloading and installing C-STEMbian, a free open-source Linux operating system for Raspberry Pi. C-STEMbian is a superset of Raspbian, and includes several tools that provide a user-friendly environment for computing, robotics, and cyber-physical systems. If your Raspberry Pi is already running Raspbian, you can install the C-STEM software modules individually. All the necessary software, including C-STEMbian, is available from the C-STEM website, along with instructions to guide you through the installation process, and to help you connect to your Raspberry Pi. Connecting to your MINDSTORMS robot(s) Connecting to your MINDSTORMS robot is simple with the C-STEM software. Open C-STEM Studio and launch the Ch Mindstorms Controller. Ch Mindstorms Controller can connect with both EV3 and NXT robots. Simply press the Scan Robot button, then add the robots that are found to the list on your robot manager. Follow the instructions on screen to pair the robots with your Raspberry Pi, and add the robots you want to work with. Do make sure that the robots are turned on and have Bluetooth enabled. Once the robots have been scanned and added to the list, select the ones you would like to connect to and press Connect. Robots to which you are connected will have a green dot next to their names. Controlling your MINDSTORMS robots…
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Pip: Hackable games console based on Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3
Source: Pip: Hackable games console based on Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3
Status Board review
The Status Board from Pi Hut is one of the most fundamentally simple ideas we’ve seen. It has five dry-wipe strips sitting next to controllable LEDs. A smaller (and slightly cheaper) Status Zero board has just three strips. This article was written by Lucy Hattersley and appears in The MagPi #63. With the board attached to a Raspberry Pi, you get a simple status notification board. You write the name of the item being monitored on the dry-wipe strip, and use code to light up the LEDs. There are two LEDs next to each strip: one green and the other red (making ten alerts in total). “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever,” as a wise man once said. It may well be easy to dismiss such a basic board, but it has many uses and comes with lots of code examples. The Pi Hut suggests using it as a server status, and to monitor WiFi networks or email inboxes. You could also hook it up to weather or transport line information. In fact, anything for which you can imagine a need for a label and a light. And perhaps a button. To the right of each strip are two pin holes so you can connect a button. The status lights can be programmed to react to button pushes or wait until a button is pressed. Setup is remarkably simple. You simply affix the board to the GPIO pins on your Raspberry Pi. Of course, with the Pi Zero, you’ll also need to solder the pins onto the board. The only thing easier than setting up the board is using it, thanks to support from the GPIO Zero library. Simply import the StatusBoard method from GPIO Zero and then create a StatusBoard object (here called sb) to control.from gpiozero import StatusBoard sb = StatusBoard()Then use sb.on() and sb.off() to turn all the lights on or off. Or control each strip and LED individually using sb.one.lights.green.on() and so on. You can blink and pulse the lights, and rename the ‘one,’ ‘two,’ ‘three’ labels to something more meaningful for your code, such as ‘London’ and ‘Cambridge.’ The Pi Hut has a comprehensive tutorial on GitHub along with a whole bunch of code examples, including a London Tube Line status board and a Donald Trump news alert. Last word 4/5 It’s incredibly basic, but the Status Board has charm and is…
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