RasPad review

RasPad review

Raspberry Pi tablets are one of those Pi projects that took a little while to catch on in the early days, as the hobbyist electronics suppliers had to catch up a bit with the potential of the Raspberry Pi after its runaway success. It’s been a few years now since people have been able to create their own tablet-esque Pi computers, made easier with the introduction of 7-inch touchscreen displays and such. This article first appeared in The MagPi 69 and was written by Rob Zwetsloot The RasPad aims to cut out the DIY part and leave you with a functional, very usable, Raspberry Pi tablet. The only construction you need to do is slot in the Raspberry Pi – or one of many other popular microcomputers/single-board computers. The finished product looks and feels great; it’s solid and has a decent heft to it. The big case makes it pretty easy to hold while also doubling as a way to angle the screen on your table towards you. Like any good tablet computer, the RasPad has an internal battery which makes it portable. As there’s no battery indicator in Raspbian, battery life is handled via some LEDs on the bottom of the case – a more visual reminder that in our opinion works a little better than a normal tablet or laptop percentage. It’s possibly a little too heavy to use in some traditional tablet capacities, though, especially with it using desktop software over smartphone apps; you won’t be using it to catch up on Twitter in bed in the morning, for example.

A tablet for makers While that’s a bit of a shame, it’s not really designed for an early-morning social media catch-up. What it is designed to do is give you a bit of a head-start with using a Raspberry Pi to make some creative projects. The microSD card comes pre-installed with a compatible version of Raspbian, and even in its case the Raspberry Pi Camera Module connector and GPIO pins are easily accessible (although using a ribbon cable instead of individual jumper cables works a bit better). Performance on such a device is incredibly important – after all, you’re going to get a bit frustrated using the RasPad for projects if it’s laggy and slow. We’ve been pleasantly surprised just by how silky smooth it runs; while the Raspberry Pi Desktop isn’t exactly optimised for…
Source: RasPad review

SUSE Linux for Raspberry Pi: Enterprise Server for ARM released

SUSE Linux for Raspberry Pi: Enterprise Server for ARM released

SUSE Linux has released a version of its super-robust server OS for the Raspberry Pi, called SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for ARM. As Jay Kruemcke, Product Manager for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for ARM explains, “SUSE had multiple customers implementing industrial monitoring solutions based on the Raspberry Pi that wanted to use a Linux OS with the same support, security, and reliability that they already used in their data centre.” If your project needs stable and reliable software as well as hardware, SLES for ARM might be a good choice SUSE Linux for Raspberry Pi The new OS follows a demo of SUSE Linux running on a Raspberry Pi at SUSECON 2016, which gained “a tremendous amount of interest” and generated “thousands of downloads in just the first few days,” according to a SUSE Linux statement. Jay says the main challenge in releasing a fully stable version of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) for ARM was timing: “We had to do the Raspberry Pi support after SLES 12 SP3 was already available.” SLES 12 SP3 was released on 6 March, with SLES for ARM launched only 20 days later. SLES for ARM can be used for all kinds of systems – Jay tells us it’s already in use by some of SUSE’s early customers for industrial monitoring. “We intend to make subscriptions for SLES on ARM available… within the next few weeks,” Jay confirms, while anyone with a SUSE Linux customer account can download the 60-day trial of SLES for ARM. The post SUSE Linux for Raspberry Pi: Enterprise Server for ARM released appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Wide Input SHIM review

Wide Input SHIM review

The Wide Input SHIM from Pimoroni is a handy board that widens the range of power sources you can use with a Raspberry Pi. The bare Raspberry Pi board is very particular about its power source. It likes a 5.1 V micro USB power supply – the kind commonly used by smartphones. This article first appeared in The MagPi 69 and was written by Lucy Hattersley This 5.1 V requirement is enough to power the board, most HATs, and even the occasional servo. But what if you want to integrate the Raspberry Pi within a larger project with different voltage requirements? That’s where the Wide Input SHIM steps in. With it you can use a range of power supplies, from 3–16 V. These are converted by the small board to 5 V with 2 A output thanks to a TPS63070 buck-boost converter chip. Measuring just 45×17×6 mm (L×W×H), the SHIM tucks neatly into the corner of the Raspberry Pi board and takes up the first 12 of the 20 GPIO pins. It’s also super-skinny, at just 0.8 mm thick. Connection options You can solder the board to the supplied female header and pop it to the end of the GPIO pins. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can solder the board directly to the GPIO pins on your Raspberry Pi. It’s not a soldering project for the faint of heart (or wobbly of hand). The board features a 3.5 mm barrel jack connector, and included in the package is a 5.5 mm adapter cable. There are additional + and – pins on the SHIM so you can wire up power directly. Or you can use the 3.5 mm to connect black and red tinned wires to integrate the SHIM with your project or hook it up to a bench power supply. Next to the + and – pins is an EN pin. Pulling this to ground will cut the 5 V voltage output. Be warned though that it won’t perform a clean shutdown. There is also a distinct lack of an on/off button on the board. We would have liked to have seen the button and safe shutdown script from the OnOff SHIM. Last word 4/5 A perfectly good product that lets you use a wider range of power inputs in your project. It’s fiddly to solder directly onto the board, but the supplied female header makes for an easier solder project. We would have liked an on/off switch, though. The…
Source: Wide Input SHIM review

Astro Pi boards on ISS upgraded with wireless and NoIR

Astro Pi boards on ISS upgraded with wireless and NoIR

The two Astro Pi Raspberry Pi boards hurtling around the Earth at 17 500 mph aboard the International Space Station have been upgraded. The ‘payload’ of upgrades was launched into space on 21 March on a Russian Soyuz MS-08 (54S) rocket crewed by Oleg Artemyev, Andrew Feustel, and Ricky Arnold. Two USB dongles add wireless connectivity to the two Astro Pi units, which are based on the Raspberry Pi 1 B+ and have therefore relied on Ethernet networking. Now the Astro Pi units can participate in experiments in every area of the ISS, not just the Columbus Module. Astro Pi boards on ISS upgraded Alongside the two wireless dongles are four 32GB SD cards “so that future Astro Pi code will need to command fewer windows to download earth observatory imagery to the code”, Dave Honess, Raspberry Pi Foundation education resource engineer (now with the European Space Agency), explains. Lastly, the upgrade package contained five NoIR filters to allow the Astro Pi cameras to see into the infrared portion of the light spectrum. The post Astro Pi boards on ISS upgraded with wireless and NoIR appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Raptor self-driving robots at Formula Pi 2018

Raptor self-driving robots at Formula Pi 2018

The new Formula Pi 2018 Summer 2018 series is open for entries, and sees a new robot class – the much faster “Raptor”. The latest season of Formula Pi has come to a glorious – if slightly chaotic – end, with team lambda.p.racing the clear winner. For those that haven’t seen a live-streamed Formula Pi race, it’s an autonomous racing challenge where entrants submit code to run on standardised MonsterBorg robots. As Formula Pi race director Timothy Freeburn explains, this means competitors “do not require a large budget or their own robot to compete, with the cost of entry being just over $50 (£37).” Formula Pi even provides basic example code to get you started – see formulapi.com. MonsterBorg review: new Formula Pi robot kit tested and rated Rolls-Royce hooks up with Formula Pi for RaceYourCode event New PiBorg Controller Formula Pi: Autonomous Racing This season of Formula Pi saw some big changes. “We added challenge races,” says Timothy, “where two competitors raced head-to-head whilst having to avoid stationary robots on the track.” While these “had a mixed reception,” Timothy adds that “the intention was to make sure competitors thought about adding avoidance code to their entry.” This seemed to pay off, as the final race – which you can see at magpi.cc/cwmmPt – featured a huge crash. Timothy tells us “lambda.p had a bespoke avoidance algorithm which worked quite well… there was probably a small amount of luck involved as well.” The new Raptor Class robot. You can paint your Raptor’s shell, as well as write its controlling code Formula Pi 2018 and Raptor robots Registration for the Summer 2018 series is already open, and there’s a new category of robot for experienced Formula Pi racers. The new Raptor class is by invitation only “for the moment,” Timothy reveals, because Raptors are “much faster than the MonsterBorgs and have a Pozyx localised GPS, inertial measurement unit (IMU), and a wheel speed encoder on board.” The current MonsterBorg category will continue as a parallel formula; entry is open until 31 May and you can sign up here. If you like the sound of Formula Pi and want to give it more support, there is an opening for a major sponsor. Head over to Formula Pi for more details. The post Raptor self-driving robots at Formula Pi 2018 appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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SoFi the robot fish

SoFi the robot fish

In the depths of the South Pacific, a strange new fish is exploring the Rainbow Reef. Flexing its tail from side to side to propel itself serenely along, it captures the underwater scene using a camera – with a fish-eye lens! – mounted in its head, which also contains a Raspberry Pi 2 among other electronics. This article first appeared in The MagPi 69 and was written by Phil King This is SoFi (pronounced ‘Sophie’), a soft-bodied robot created by researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) to study marine life up close, without disturbing it. That ingenious tail was inspired by the biological system used in tuna fins. “The fish’s motor pumps water into two balloon-like chambers in the tail,” explains Robert Katzschmann, lead author of the project. “These work sort of like a pair of pistons in an engine: as one chamber expands, it bends and flexes to one side.”

Natural swimmer After working on SoFi and its predecessors for more than five years, Robert’s team have perfected a naturalistic swimming action. “SoFi can turn, speed up, slow down, and move at different depths, including in strong currents,” he reveals. “On average, SoFi swims at a speed of half a body length per second, though we plan to increase this further by improving its pump system and tweaking the design of its body and tail.” The robot has two fins on its side that adjust its pitch for diving up and down, while its overall buoyancy is controlled by an adjustable weight compartment and a chamber that can change its density by compressing and decompressing air. “Among some of the challenges we encountered were the strong pressures that our fish had to withstand at deeper depths (down to 18 m) and the boundaries of our acoustic communication range for commanding SoFi remotely,” says Robert. A diver uses a waterproof controller, containing another Raspberry Pi, to send commands to SoFi. “Methods such as WiFi or Bluetooth don’t work well underwater, so we chose to use sound instead,” explains graduate student Joseph DelPreto. “The remote controller emits ultrasonic acoustic pulses that are too high-pitched for people to hear but that the robot can receive and decode to know how it should behave.” The maximum control range is currently 20 m, but only reliable up to 10 m: “[It] could be higher but we wanted to minimise the disruption…
Source: SoFi the robot fish

Agrihack 2018: solving farm problems with Raspberry Pi

Agrihack 2018: solving farm problems with Raspberry Pi

Agrihack is a two-day Hackathon event in Australia that focuses on hacking problems faced by the agriculture sector. Looking to become an annual event, Agrihack 2018 brought together over 35 organisations to create seven different solutions to three tricky problems. This event will be more than a traditional Hackathon, but rather an annual event to bring innovation to regional Australia and further connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem of metro areas to rural developers and disruptors. Code Club Australia brought kids and farmers together to see how tech can support food production – this year’s challenge was to find sustainable ways to reuse milk containers Agrihack 2017: farming hacked Code Club Australia’s national programme manager Nicola Curnow explains, “We help out on the first day of the event, the kids’ day. And the second day and third day is a Hackathon for adults.” “The kids visit a farm in the morning,” Nicola continues, “do a design thinking challenge with the sponsor of the event, and then participate in our coding workshops.” Challenges are set and teams (with representatives of each interest group) are given 48 hours to create a solution. Cash and mentoring prizes will be awarded as well as the opportunity to further your idea. Bringing together farmers, software and web developers, agribusiness professionals, and academics (among others), sessions have been previosuly facilitated by Hackathons Australia. Nicola also explains that “in Australia, connectivity is a big issue, [so] almost everything was offline.” The Code Club day mainly used Scratch, but “a small group of advanced kids… did a Raspberry Pi / Sense HAT program about weather.” The Hackathon challenges were: reducing stored grain spoilage from high moisture, measuring the live weight of meat chickens to prevent overfeeding, and assisting the handover of farms and fisheries from the older to the younger generation. You can see the winning solutions at the Agrihack website. The post Agrihack 2018: solving farm problems with Raspberry Pi appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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webOS Open Source Edition for Raspberry Pi

webOS Open Source Edition for Raspberry Pi

The webOS operating system – developed by Palm, acquired by HP, licensed to LG Electronics, and sold to Qualcomm – now has an official open-source version optimised for the Raspberry Pi. The new OS has been launched by LG but is an independent project, with its own website and name: webOS Open Source Edition, or webOS OSE for short. According to the webOS OSE website: webOS is a web-centric and usability-focused software platform for smart devices. The operating system has constantly evolved, passing through its journey from Palm to HP, and most recently to LG Electronics. Now, we are releasing webOS as an open source project, named webOS Open Source Edition (OSE). Open source webOS for Raspberry Pi The initial offering is fairly basic, with only a few apps built in. However, you can develop your own apps using IoTivity and iotivity-node. Despite the v1.0 release number, even getting webOS onto your Raspberry Pi is tricky. You need to be running Ubuntu 14.04 LTS 64‑bit to compile the source code, for example, as no pre-built image has been issued. This is despite the Raspberry Pi 3B being the only recommended system for webOS OSE. Helpfully, forum user Vipeax is hosting a webOS pre-built image for download. Also, visit webosose.org for details of webOS OSE, and how to contribute. The post webOS Open Source Edition for Raspberry Pi appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
Source: webOS Open Source Edition for Raspberry Pi

Pi Wars 2018 winners!

Pi Wars 2018 winners!

Last weekend in Cambridge, the greatest robotics competition ever devised was held. Robots from across the globe turned up to prove their worth in displays of dexterity, strength, and automation. There can only be one winner though… or four winners actually due to the way the categories work. On Saturday, 29 school teams competed for the honour of their respective institutions. Here’s how they faired: Obstacle course: contestants must successfully navigate the treacherous course 1st – 200 – Robot Apocalypse Committee (Melissa Bustamante) 2nd – 192 – DCGS (Lydia Timpson) 3rd – 178 – KESbot (David Hannaford) Golf: robots must putt the ball on this challenging par 3 1st – 150 – Kenilworth School Computer Club (Daniel Sendula) 2nd – 122 – Frostmite (Tim Benson) 3rd – 112 – DasherBot (Kevin Brace) Minimal Maze – a deviously simple maze that the robots need to navigate purely through code 1st – 90 – Robot Apocalypse Committee (Melissa Bustamante) 2nd – 82 – DCGS (Lydia Timpson) 3rd – 65 – Frostmite (Tim Benson) Straight Line Speed Test – gotta go fast, autonomously 1st – 152 – Soham Village College (Huzaifah Zainon) 2nd – 150 – Wilbury Primary School (Nick Gray) 3rd – 138 – DCGS (Lydia Timpson) Duck Shoot – a test of accuracy and firepower 1st – 183 – Autonomouse (David Clark) 2nd – 131 – Westpark Club (Tim Golden) – 131 – Wilbury Primary School (Nick Gray) Somewhere Over the Rainbow – how well can your robot see colours? 1st – 250 – DCGS (Lydia Timpson) 2nd – 235 – Kenilworth School Computer Club (Daniel Sendula) 3rd – 172 – Robot Apocalypse Committee (Melissa Bustamante) Pi Noon – two robots enter, one robot leaves (with their balloons intact) Winner – Wilbury Primary School (Nick Gray) Runner-up – Westpark Club (Tim Golden) Blogging: DasherBot (Kevin Brace) Technical Merit: Autonomouse (David Clark) Artistic Merit: Team Heroes (David Searle) Overall results 1st – 1098 – DCGS (Lydia Timpson) 2nd – 934 – Robot Apocalypse Committee (Melissa Bustamante – 1) 3rd – 798 – Autonomouse (David Clark) 4th – 777 – Westpark Club (Tim Golden) 5th – 776 – Bedford Modern RoboCadets (Anton Leach) 6th – 749 – Kenilworth School Computer Club (Daniel Sendula) 7th – 706 – Wilbury Primary School (Nick Gray) 8th – 627 – The W.A.S.P (Steve Foster) 9th – 627 – Soham Village College (Huzaifah Zainon) 10th – 622 –…
Source: Pi Wars 2018 winners!

Discover affordable 3D printing in The MagPi #69

Discover affordable 3D printing in The MagPi #69

3D printing is one of the most incredible technologies in the world. With a 3D printer you can download and make a huge range of items. The price of 3D printing has reduced dramatically in recent months, and it’s now possible to pick up a 3D printer from £99. You can cut the costs even further by controlling a low-cost 3D Printer with a Raspberry Pi Everything you need is in this month’s edition of The MagPi. Buying your first 3D printer Set up a 3D printer with Raspberry Pi Using OctoPrint with Raspberry Pi Discover AstroBox Gateway and AstroBox Touch Amazing 3D printer projects Plus! Build a Pi Zero TV Stick, Discover new AIY Projects kits and more Upgrade any TV with a modified Pi Zero W. Use the ultimate portable computer to transform your television. Play games,  browse the web, and play digital media! You’ll also discover some of the greatest community projects in the world in this month’s The MagPi magazine. From a gold panning competition in Australia to building robotic fish for the depths of the Pacific ocean. Click here to download your free copy of The MagPi magazine #69. The post Discover affordable 3D printing in The MagPi #69 appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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