JuiceBox Zero review

JuiceBox Zero review

Billed as the only battery management board in this form factor that requires no code, JuiceBox Zero can be used as a plug-and-play device to provide portable power to your Raspberry Pi Zero. Well, it’s not quite plug-and-play, since you first need to solder on a stacking GPIO header (not supplied) and also provide your own battery. It’s compatible with any 3.7 V or 4.2 V single-cell Li-ion or LiPo battery with a two-pole JST PH 2 mm connector, 1 A current output, and 1 A charge rate. Note: while we’re informed that multi-cell batteries may work, they should only be used if you know for sure they have a reliable cell-levelling mechanism – if in any doubt, don’t risk it! Put it together To mount the JuiceBox Zero on your Pi Zero’s GPIO pins, you’ll need to add your own stacking header: the online instructions advise mounting this on the Pi Zero first, adding a couple of stand-offs (not supplied) to secure the JuiceBox Zero on top, then soldering the header pins. Using a stacking header will enable you to add a pHAT/HAT on top. There shouldn’t be any pin conflict issues since the JuiceBox Zero only uses power, ground, and GPIO 16 (can be changed to GPIO 25). That GPIO pin is used to trigger an optional automatic shutdown (after you add a single-line cron job) if the battery voltage falls below 3.2 V, at which point a low-battery red LED is also lit. As well as providing power to the Pi, the JuiceBox Zero doubles as a battery charger. Just plug a standard 2 A or greater supply into its micro USB port; there are helpful LEDs to indicate when the battery is charging and fully charged. A nice bonus is the inclusion of a handy on/off slider switch and mounting holes for a Pi Camera Module. Last word 4/5 Unlike the rival PiJuice, there are no extensive software-based power management options on offer, but the JuiceBox Zero does its job well, providing portable power and doubling as a battery charger. When plugged into the mains, it can also be used as an uninterruptible power supply (UPS). The post JuiceBox Zero review appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
Source: JuiceBox Zero review

Beocreate 4-Channel Amplifier review

Beocreate 4-Channel Amplifier review

The Beocreate 4-Channel Amplifier enables you to upgrade classic speakers with a Raspberry Pi. Our Beocreate 4-Channel Amplifier review tests out this speaker upgrade kit. Somewhere, in the darkest recesses of your garage or loft, there may be speakers. Not speakers like today’s tiny, tinny Bluetooth excuses, but proper speakers: large, heavy, loud. Although these monoliths are still capable of outperforming today’s examples, they are becoming increasingly useless. Why? Well, unless you’re holding on to your vintage amplifiers, there’s nothing left to drive them. So your wonderful, expensive pieces of engineering excellence sit gathering dust, playing only John Cage’s 4′33″. Until now. This review first appeared in The MagPi 72 and was written by PJ Evans. Click here to download a free digital edition of The MagPi magazine. Beocreate 4-Channel Amplifier review Audiophile giant Bang & Olufsen has partnered with HiFiBerry to produce the Beocreate, a high-end digital sound processor and amplifier for the Raspberry Pi. Not so much a HAT as a full fedora, scarf, and cape, this monster upgrades your favourite tiny computer to audiophile quality. Four channels (a whopping 2×60 W and 2×30 W) can be configured to drive not only standalone speakers, but also their individual woofers and tweeters. The on-board DSP can be endlessly configured over the web, even in real-time as you’re listening, allowing for an incredible amount of tinkering that will have even the most dedicated perfectionist thinking ‘Oh, that’ll do’. The Beocreate also upcycles your classic speakers to work with 21st century music sources. Add a Pi, hook up the wires, install some software, and you’ve got a Bluetooth, Spotify, and AirPlay speaker like no other. Putting a new lease of life into vintage B&O speakers Band and Olufsen with Raspberry Pi B&O has targeted its classic CX50 and CX100 speakers, providing built-in profiles for the DSP to get the absolute best from them and guides to install everything inside the speakers. The good news is it also works with any passive speaker, providing a default ‘safe’ profile that you can then tweak if you see fit. For a rather breathtaking £149, you do get very good build quality. On board are a power input (which also powers your Pi), four speaker terminals, and TOSLink connectors for digital input and output, enabling multiple Beocreates to be chained together. Your Raspberry Pi plugs in upside-down, with thoughtfully provided posts to hold it firmly in place.…
Source: Beocreate 4-Channel Amplifier review

Nemo-Pi

Nemo-Pi

Nemo-Pi is an underground weather station powered by Raspberry Pi. Discover how Raspberry Pi computers are being used to protect coral reefs from climate change. For the past two years, the Save Nemo Foundation has worked hard to protect coral reefs off the coast of Thailand and Indonesia. Its members have been sinking concrete blocks next to the reefs, allowing diving and snorkelling boats to safely moor by using them as anchor points. In doing so, they’ve eased the problem of boat crews dropping anchor directly into the reefs, which has already caused significant damage. But while that has had a positive effect on the creeping destruction, the organisation spotted another opportunity. “We realised we could do more by making these moorings smart,” says its CEO Diemo Niemann. “So we created a plan to collect underwater physical and chemical data that is not only essential for science, but helpful for local people and their business.” The result? Nemo-Pi, a device able to measure temperature, visibility, pH levels, and the concentration of CO2 and nitrogen oxide at each anchor point. The Nemo-Pi project, which won a Google Impact Challenge 2018 award,needs volunteer programmers. Interested? Email [email protected] Nemo-Pi: Underwater weather station Every one of the concrete moorings has a buoy attached on top and, as it bobs in the water, it shows boat crews where they can anchor. The idea behind Nemo-Pi is to put an encased Raspberry Pi into the buoy, attach it to a solar panel for power, include a GPS device so that its location can be determined, and run an array of sensors from the computer into the sea that can then feed back vital information. A team of programmers has been busy coding in Python and C++ on a slimmed Debian environment to create the Nemo‑Pi itself. Meanwhile, much testing has been carried out to ensure the project is saltwater resistant and able to withstand high levels of UV irradiation. It is important that the entire setup is simple, sustainable, affordable and reliable, not to mention energy-efficient. Monitoring climate change with Raspberry Pi “The Nemo-Pi has a modified real-time clock and GPRS/GPS hub,” Diemo explains. “With this, the device is powered up and down to save energy and send its data direct to our server, which takes care of the visualisation and processing. During the night, Nemo-Pi is automatically powered off and we have developed a library to…
Source: Nemo-Pi

Robot Glockenspiel

Robot Glockenspiel

This robot Glockenspiel uses Raspberry Pi to bash out its own tunes. Robots have already blown their own trumpet: Toyota developed a humanoid in 2004 which could play When You Wish Upon a Star by clasping the instrument in its hands and blowing air through its mouth. Since then, we’ve seen robots play the drums and guitar; even going as far as recording an album. But now we’ve heard the results of a Raspberry Pi playing a glockenspiel and it’s been music to our ears. It’s all thanks to Robin Newman whose love of computers and music goes way back. In the 1980s, Robin networked 24 BBC Micros and had them play parts of a Bach Brandenburg Concerto. “Today, 80 percent of my work with Raspberry Pi boards involves Sonic Pi,” he says. Robot Glockenspiel controlled by Raspberry Pi Robin got the idea for a Sonic Pi-controlled glockenspiel after seeing similar projects online that used an Arduino. “Version 3.1 was a game changer because it allowed Sonic Pi to communicate with the outside world using either MIDI signals or Open Sound Control messages,” he explains. “It enables Sonic Pi to interact with Python-controlled devices and to interact easily with signals to and from the Pi’s GPIO pins. I wanted to use the fact that it could control a glockenspiel and play itself at the same time to accompany the instrument.” Setting up Robin already had a glockenspiel. A 30-year-old gift to his son, it was languishing in his attic. As such, he sought to produce an easily constructed project that could be added to the instrument. The Pi, he envisaged, would control hammers to strike the glockenspiel’s metal bars and he decided to use solenoids as the actuators. “I bought a 5 V, Adafruit-sourced solenoid and I already had a suitable power supply to hand,” he recalls. “I also had a power transistor and projection diode from an Arduino starter kit. I was able to connect them up to a GPIO pin and use the GPIO Zero LED command to switch it on and off. Hitting the keys This worked fine and so the question was how could this small movement be used to hit the keys.” It was then that he turned to LEGO. Hammer time Before the Pi was launched, Robin had spent a few years working with the LEGO EV3 system, mainly producing colour-sorting robots. “After some experimentation, it turned…
Source: Robot Glockenspiel

Ghost Detector built with Raspberry Pi

Ghost Detector built with Raspberry Pi

The truth is out there… At least that’s what they used to say on The X-Files. Well, if there is any paranormal activity around, Anthony DiPilato’s sensor-packed Ghost Detector aims to find it. While he built the device around two years ago, this top-secret project has only just been shared with the wider world. The idea stemmed from a desire to create a home-made present for his father. “My dad watches a lot of paranormal investigation shows,” says Anthony, “so I thought it would be a fun project to give as a Christmas gift.”

Ghost Detector and infrared camera While the project started off as a simple Arduino-based EMF (electromagnetic field) meter, it quickly evolved into something far more ambitious. “I saw Raspberry Pi offers an infrared camera,” recalls Anthony, “so I decided to build something that could record video with overlaid sensor data.” The Raspberry Pi records video, audio, and sensor data, then saves it to a USB flash drive. Mounted on top of the device, an official Raspberry Pi 7-inch touchscreen provides a user interface, while also displaying the data from the numerous sensors and a live video view from the infrared camera. Featuring a pistol-grip handle, the body of the detector was 3D-printed on Anthony’s newly acquired Monoprice Maker Select. He designed the enclosure using the Autodesk Fusion 360 CAD software, which offers a free licence for hobbyists. “Since it is a pseudoscientific instrument, I wanted to make it look as ridiculous as possible,” he tells us. “So I included rabbit-ear telescopic antennas [for the EMF sensors] and a Geiger tube. I thought the stained wood enclosure would match that aesthetic.” Anthony tested the electronics out before cramming them into the 3D-printed enclosure Sensory overload Continuing the theme of making it as ludicrous as possible, Anthony crammed the detector with “as many sensors as I could fit.” Along with the EMF sensors, there’s a magnetometer (compass), altimeter, temperature and barometric pressure sensor, microphone, and a Geiger counter to measure radioactivity. Most of the sensors and other electronics are mounted on stripboard, including two 5 V 3 A step-up power supplies, an Arduino Nano, and a logic level converter to interface the Nano to the Raspberry Pi. The Geiger counter is a separate board, while its Geiger tube is mounted on the front along with the camera and two lots of infrared LEDs either side. To power the…
Source: Ghost Detector built with Raspberry Pi

AI made easy in The MagPi #72

AI made easy in The MagPi #72

We’ve covered various AI projects here on The MagPi, most notable when we released issue 57 with the AIY Voice Projects Kit on the cover, however we’ve never gone deep into what AI on Pi actually means. In this issue we get into the nitty gritty, and give you the skills to make a magic seeing wand, an awesome automated robot, and an offline speech recognition system. Make music with Raspberry Pi We’re also excited to show off our complete guide to creating your own recording studio with a Raspberry Pi so that you can compose the music you’ve always wanted to make. All you need to do is supply your own MIDI keyboard and musical talent. Make music with the Raspberry Pi in issue 72 of The MagPi Also in this issue Build your own mini magic mirror. A bedside table-sized magic mirror project. Learn Pygame Zero – part 2. Continue learning about making games with Pygame Zero. Knit your own sensor in the Pi Bakery. This sensor will stretch the limits of your imagination. Hack Minecraft Pi with Mathematica. Change your Minecraft world entirely with code. Get to know the file manager on Raspbian. The humble file manager can do a lot. And much, much more. Grab your copy right now! The post AI made easy in The MagPi #72 appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
Source: AI made easy in The MagPi #72

Win! One of Five YetiBorg V2 Robots

Win! One of Five YetiBorg V2 Robots

We reviewed the YetiBorg in issue 71 and think it’s a great kit for people thinking about getting into robotics, thanks to a robust build quality and powerful programming library. YetiBorg Raspberry Pi Robot Kits https://js.gleam.io/e.js The post Win! One of Five YetiBorg V2 Robots appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
Source: Win! One of Five YetiBorg V2 Robots

Vomit Comic Robot

Vomit Comic Robot

Cadin Batrack enjoys creating his own small comics, and likes to publish a new one every day on his Instagram account. Having decided to create a program to randomly generate high-resolution comics, he was inspired to take things a step further. This article first appeared in The MagPi 71 and was written by Nicola King “Shortly after starting that project, I was invited to participate in a local comic show,” Cadin tells us. “I wanted a way to show off the random comic software at my booth, to let people generate and print a custom comic to take with them. The obvious solution was to build a little yellow robot that vomits comics out of his mouth.” Out of the mouths of robots Having created the random comic software using the Processing language, Cadin chose to use a Raspberry Pi 3 to run this and a Python script. The latter controls the robot’s LEDs, handles push-button input, and sends the comic images to a mini thermal printer connected to the Pi via USB. Cadin made a laser-cut plywood casing to hold all of the components, and the amusing little ‘Vomit Comic Robot’ was born. The insides of the robot. It’s mainly Raspberry Pi in there. When the robot’s button is pressed, the Python script sends a message to the Processing sketch. “The sketch generates a random comic layout, and chooses some of my drawings to populate the frames,” explains Cadin. “It chooses at random from about 100 drawings. Each image has some associated data that informs how it should be composed within a comic frame. The final composite image is saved to the Pi’s SD card.” The Python script then loads the image and sends it to the printer. “With each comic I also print the date, the comic number, and the name of the event.” The robot that gags… gags, geddit? Cadin hopes to tweak the robot in the future: “I would like to make a version that lets you choose a theme for your comic, like ‘food’ or ‘animals’ or ‘nature’. I imagine a big dial on the robot that lets you select the theme and then you get a comic with images from that theme when you press the button.” According to Cadin, the project could easily be replicated using his comic-generating code, and makers can add their own drawings. “If you wanted to print something else…
Source: Vomit Comic Robot

YetiBorg v2 review

YetiBorg v2 review

Recently at The MagPi we took a look at the DiddyBorg v2 robot kit from PiBorg. This relatively large kit from the PiBorg team is a fantastic, robust robot kit that is fantastic for veteran Raspberry Pi robot builders wanting something a bit more advanced to play with. We don’t think it’s the best kit to choose for beginners, though, which is where the YetiBorg v2 comes in. This article first appeared in The MagPi 71 and was written by Rob Zwetsloot In comparison to the DiddyBorg, it’s pretty small, although it’s definitely not the smallest Pi robot kit out there. Unlike other beginner-friendly robot kits, it includes all the high-quality parts and chassis you’d expect from a PiBorg kit. This quality comes at a price, though, and at £160 it’s quite a bit more than your classic robot starter kit. Construction is pretty simplified, with a fantastic step-by-step guide that takes you through the entire build process. There’s no soldering involved as it comes complete with pre-soldered motors and a Raspberry Pi Zero with a pre-soldered GPIO header. We received our YetiBorg fully constructed, in fact, but we estimate you’d be able to build it in under an hour, and the software won’t take you long to sort out either. This kit comes with a ZeroBorg, a quad motor controller designed with the Pi Zero in mind. While it may be smaller than the ThunderBorg controller used in the DiddyBorg, the ThunderBorg is only able to control two (or two sets of) motors at a time. This means the YetiBorg is truly a four-wheel-drive robot. Like the ThunderBorg, you can stack ZeroBorgs to add more motor controls if you wish, and while it is designed around the Pi Zero form factor, there’s no reason you can’t use it with a full-sized Raspberry Pi if you so wish. High performance The YetiBorg comes with example scripts to get you started, including a remote control script using a game controller, a web interface that lets you see through a mounted Pi camera (not included), automated scripts, and more. You can use these to learn how the robot works and then cobble together your own scripts so the robot will do as you wish. While the ZeroBorg code is still quite complex as per the ThunderBorg code, it’s a bit easier to understand overall. It’s no GPIO Zero but it’s still readable,…
Source: YetiBorg v2 review

MYHouse: Smart IoT doll’s house

MYHouse: Smart IoT doll’s house

When a master’s degree course at the University of Washington required the use of sensors and machine learning in the same project, two students – Maks Surguy and Yi Fan Yin – conceived the idea of an interactive doll’s house. Inside this cool crib, various features – including lighting and shutters – can all be turned on and off by the simple wave of a ‘wand’ (a PlayStation Move controller), with the help of some clever coding and a Raspberry Pi 3.

  “I thought a smart doll’s house would be a great tool to demonstrate technical innovations to people in an approachable way,” says Maks, who worked with Yi Fan over a ten-week period, designing and constructing the clever little doll’s domicile. After consulting Maks’s architect wife about the physical structure, the pair drew the plans in 3D modelling software, then fitted together cardboard pieces for a prototype. Once happy with the design, they laser-cut the pieces out of plywood, made use of snap‑fit to join them, then painted them in different colours. According to Maks, building a doll’s house is akin to building a real house. “Lots of decisions needed to be made about dimensions, colours, structure, function, and interactions between all elements of the dollhouse. We ended up simplifying a lot of the elements through iterative process after realising that what we envisioned is actually a lot harder than it seems. Thankfully we had 24/7 access to a makerspace here in school and were able to reach decisions through prototyping every aspect of the construction.” MyHouse: gesture recognition and response A key characteristic of this smart doll’s house is its ability to recognise gestures and respond accordingly. Having done a great deal of research into gesture recognition, “trial and error went into choosing what gestures perform best across individuals while remaining intuitive to most people,” says Maks. “We read a lot of research papers on gesture recognition and then came up with our own gestures that worked with over 90 percent accuracy.” In total, seven gestures – pre‑trained using machine learning – are stored in the system, and the Raspberry Pi reads the information from the PlayStation Move and then determines if the gesture is similar to one of the stored ones. As Maks explains, if the gesture is recognised, “various functional items in the dollhouse can be activated or deactivated using these pre-trained gestures:…
Source: MYHouse: Smart IoT doll’s house