Matrix Voice review

Matrix Voice review

Measuring 3.14 inches (8 cm) in diameter, this circular add-on should, in mathematical terms at least, prove a perfect fit for the Raspberry Pi. A GPIO header extender enables it to clear the Pi 3’s USB ports, but will also work with any newer 40-pin model, including the Pi Zero. It looks good mounted on top, a blue LED on its underside illuminating the Raspberry Pi board below. This article first appeared in The MagPi 68 and was written by Phil King In essence, the Matrix Voice is a slimmed-down spin-off of Matrix’s original Creator board. Whereas the Creator was crammed with all sorts of sensors, and other bells and whistles, the Voice focuses on voice recognition. To this end, it retains the array of eight digital MEMS MP34DB02 microphones, although here they’re arranged differently: seven placed at regular intervals around the perimeter and an eighth in the middle. Audio processing – including noise cancellation and de-reverberation – is handled by a Xilinx XC6SLX9 Spartan 6 FPGA (field-programmable gate array), whose 9152 logic cells offer scope for customisation if you know how. ESP or not Two versions of the Voice are available: standard and ESP32 with built-in WiFi and Bluetooth. While the former relies on connection to a Raspberry Pi, the latter (costing an extra $10) can be programmed on a Pi before being set free to function as a standalone device. The most visually impressive aspect of the Voice is its circular ‘Everloop’ array of 18 RGBW LEDs. As well as the ability to display cool light patterns, this can provide useful visual feedback during voice interactions. Near the middle of the board, as on the Creator, is a square hole for mounting a Camera Module if you wish. Elsewhere, a 24-pin female expansion header is connected to the FPGA to connect and control electronic components, but (testing it with a basic LED circuit) we were unable to use it to access the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins directly. Many voices One of the key plus points of the Voice is its compatibility with a wide range of voice assistant platforms, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and PocketSphinx. Disappointingly, however, getting started with the device is made more difficult by the lack of helpful, Voice-specific information on the Matrix website. A lot of the documentation and examples are related to the Matrix Creator, and the Voice data sheet only offered links to…
Source: Matrix Voice review

Install Ubuntu MATE on your Raspberry Pi

Install Ubuntu MATE on your Raspberry Pi

Ubuntu is a big name in the Linux world. Like Raspbian it’s based on Debian architecture, but it’s run by Canonical Ltd which offers commercial support. It’s one of the most popular operating systems in the world and there’s a version available for the Raspberry Pi. Called Ubuntu MATE (pronounced mah-tay), it uses the Ubuntu operating system with the MATE desktop environment. MATE is based on GNOME 2, a popular interface. Ubuntu MATE is an alternative to Raspbian and a lot of fun to experiment with. It is more resource-hungry, and doesn’t have the wealth of programming tools or community support of Raspbian, but it is a popular OS outside of Raspberry Pi and worth investigation – especially with the new faster Raspberry Pi 3B+. Head to the Ubuntu MATE website and click on Raspberry Pi and 16.04.2 (Xenial). Click on Download Link (or choose the magnet link if you want to be a good citizen and use a Torrent download to save on the bandwidth). Now, use Etcher to copy the image file to your microSD card. When ready, put the SD card into your Raspberry Pi and power it up. System configuration The first time you boot Ubuntu MATE, it displays a System Configuration window that requires you to create a user (with a password). Choose your language (English is the default selection) and click Continue. Now you need to choose your WiFi network and fill out the password field; click Connect and Continue. After that, you need to create your location settings. Choose your location on the map and pick your Keyboard Layout. Finally, you get to make your user. Fill out the ‘Your name’ and ‘Pick a username’ fields and enter a password. Click Continue to complete the system installation. Boot and interface Every time you boot into Ubuntu MATE, you’ll need to select your user and enter the password. A Welcome window greets you. Click on the various buttons to take a tour of the system. Click Close when you’re ready to start using the operating system. The Welcome page will open every time you boot up Ubuntu MATE; deselect the ‘Open Welcome when I log on’ option tick and click Close if you don’t want to see it again. The MATE desktop environment will be familiar to anybody who has used a GUI before. Unlike Raspbian, there are two panels at the top and…
Source: Install Ubuntu MATE on your Raspberry Pi

The MagPi now available in French and Dutch!

The MagPi now available in French and Dutch!

We love seeing the community reaction to The MagPi every month, especially from people around the world who subscribe to the magazine. Not everyone speaks English though, which is why we have a German edition and now a full French and Dutch edition available now! In French In Dutch The first issues of The MagPi France and The MagPi Netherlands are out now, translating past MagPi content for more people to learn from. Live in France or the Netherlands and want to subscribe? Subscriptions will be available this month – keep an eye on the MagPi FR and MagPi NL social media channels to be notified when they go live! The MagPi will also still continue in English and German, and hopefully we’ll have more languages to come in the future! The post The MagPi now available in French and Dutch! appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
Source: The MagPi now available in French and Dutch!

Ambient TV lighting system

Ambient TV lighting system

As well as reducing eye strain, the ambient TV lighting surrounding Jimmy White’s goggle-box is rather eye-catching. AmbientLightServer software captures the television image and projects matching lighting around the television. This article first appeared in The MagPi 68 and was written by David Crookes. Not much beats curling up on the sofa with a lovely cup of tea and a gripping box set, but there is a slight chance that you’ll become square-eyed by the time the credits roll. It’s a well-known fact that watching too much TV, especially in the dark, puts a strain on your peepers. Yet while backlighting a television set helps enormously by increasing the amount of ambient light around the screen, dedicated TVs which do this can prove rather expensive. Realising that and already owning a decent smart TV, Jimmy White decided to make his own light setup using a Raspberry Pi 3, a USB camera, and some LED strips. He wanted to produce a bias lighting effect that took into account whatever he was watching or playing, adjusting the colour of the lighting to match the screen. “I was inspired by the standalone ambient light offerings I have seen on the market, but they all required the ‘source’ to be external to the TV, which did not meet my requirements,” he says. Watching videos on an Ambient TV Jimmy began the project by scouring YouTube for ideas. “I’d seen many videos where people were using Arduinos to drive LED strips, but they all depended on the external HDMI source,” he explains. “I eventually came across a piece of open-source software written especially for the Pi on GitHub and it was just the thing I was looking for.” The software, AmbientLightServer by Waldo Bronchart, works by capturing colours from the edge of a television screen using a webcam. It then uses the data it gathers to update any attached LEDS with those colours. It works very well but Jimmy had to tweak it, editing the number of LEDs in the strips, adding the location of the starting light and creating an install script. He also worked with a companion app called AmbientLightPyClient, which runs on a PC and allows the edges of the screen to be defined and the colour saturation and brightness to be set. The parts list, however, was more straightforward. Jimmy already had some Raspberry Pi 3s (“I wanted to make use of…
Source: Ambient TV lighting system

PiSwitch: Build your own Nintendo Switch-style console

PiSwitch: Build your own Nintendo Switch-style console

PiSwitch is Christopher Foote’s take on the retro-gaming handheld console. It combines a Raspberry Pi with Nintendo’s latest innovative Joy-Con controllers. This article first appeared in The MagPi 68 and was written by David Crookes. See also: RetroPie: video installation guide Build an arcade machine in The MagPi 63 Rediscover Retro Computing in The MagPi #67

PiSwitch: The Nintendo Switch console built with Raspberry Pi One of the most popular things to do with a Raspberry Pi is to put it at the heart of a retro gaming setup. There are myriad multi-system emulators – programs which replicate the gaming systems of old – along with some slick graphical front-ends, making it a rather straightforward process. But we still see projects that go the extra mile such as this one. PiSwitch makes great use of the Joy-Con controllers of the Nintendo Switch console to produce a beautiful handheld machine. PiSwitch is the brainchild of 32-year-old Christopher Foote who, as a child, would get one game a year to play (“two if I was lucky,” he says). He recalls spending countless hours trying to accomplish everything he could in those titles. “But there were always many games that I wanted to play but I couldn’t,” he laments. Spurred on by this, he began using RetroPie a few years ago to enjoy games made for systems as diverse as the Atari 2600 and Mega Drive. But although he ran it on a Adafruit’s PiGRRL2, he found the buttons were sticky and he didn’t like the screen. “Then my wife got a Nintendo Switch for my son and when I played with it I realised the controllers were exactly what I needed for my device,” he tells us. Having discovered the Switch Joy‑Cons were Bluetooth devices, Christopher got to work pairing them with a Raspberry Pi. “I spent a lot of time trying to connect two of them to work as a single controller and I thought if I could solve that problem, then the rest would be a cakewalk,” he says. The rough 3D-printed case needs refinement, but it contains access points for the jack, the microSD card, and the Raspberry Pi’s HDMI port Mapping Joy-Con controls to Raspberry Pi He compiled Linux Joystick Mapper on his Pi 3 before mapping the controllers to keyboard keys and mouse buttons. “It worked great apart from the analogue sticks, so I looked…
Source: PiSwitch: Build your own Nintendo Switch-style console

Explore the Raspberry Pi 3B+ in The MagPi #68

Explore the Raspberry Pi 3B+ in The MagPi #68

This month saw the launch of the all-new, faster Raspberry Pi 3B+. And we’ve got it covered in more ways than one. Inside this edition of The MagPi magazine you’ll find the most in-depth coverage of the new Raspberry Pi 3B+ board in existence. Huge photographs of the board show, in close-up detail, all the new technology and engineering expertise that’ve allowed it to become faster, cooler, and pack more technology (onto the same board). The new Raspberry Pi 3B+ has been fully benchmarked across a huge range of tests. We’ve tested the GPIO, CPU, memory, and networking functionality. There are also heat tests of the new board, displaying just how much cooler it runs. You’ll also find an in-depth interview with the engineering team, who explain how the board came together. Plus! We’ve got a whole bunch of project ideas that take advantage of the faster processing. Build battle robots in The MagPi #68 Pi Wars is a classic competition in the community. Every year, Pi fans gather to pit homemade robots against each other in gladiatorial combat. In the run-up to this year’s event we’ve got advice on how to build amazing battle bots. Plus some of the best projects around. We show you how to hook up a Raspberry Pi and touchscreen to Nintendo Switch Joy-Cons to build a Pi Switch; and how to hack a home fan to keep you cool. The MagPi #68 is an essential read. Click here to get your copy today. The post Explore the Raspberry Pi 3B+ in The MagPi #68 appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
Source: Explore the Raspberry Pi 3B+ in The MagPi #68

Win! MeArm Pi Kits

Win! MeArm Pi Kits

We’ve teamed up with Mime Industries to offer ten of these fantastic robot arm kits for Raspberry Pi. We reviewed the MeArm Pi in issue #62 and found it “a joy to build and use”. You can control the MeArm Pi using the twin joysticks, or with code. The MeArm Pi is an easy-to-build robot arm kit that’s designed to get children (and adults!) learning about technology, engineering, and programming. – Mime Industries Learn more at Mime Industries. Win! MeArm Kits https://js.gleam.io/e.js The post Win! MeArm Pi Kits appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
Source: Win! MeArm Pi Kits

Android Auto on Raspberry Pi: OpenAuto

Android Auto on Raspberry Pi: OpenAuto

Software engineer Michal Szwaj has released an open-source Android Auto emulator called OpenAuto, which runs on a Raspberry Pi 3. Michal’s motivation for the project was straightforward: he wanted to retrofit his car and use Android Auto while driving. “I wanted to keep my car’s original head unit to preserve the design of the dashboard,” says Michal, but his car is “14 years old, so its head unit is far, far behind the modern head units.” See also: Running Android on a Raspberry Pi 3 Self-driving RC Car using Tensorflow and OpenCV Dride: Raspberry Pi Alexa car dashcam

Android Auto on Raspberry Pi Thankfully a Raspberry Pi 3 has “a lot of advantages” for OpenAuto, as Michal lists: “It is very cheap, [has a] multicore processor, hardware video decoding, OS based on Linux, support for the MCP2515 CAN Bus module, and RCA video output.” Android Auto essentially allows an Android smartphone to ‘project’ its interface onto another screen, but while this “sounds trivial,” Michal reveals that actually “projection requires processing a huge amount of data” as the projection system needs to display the Android Auto screen, play sounds, and relay user inputs to the smartphone as quickly as possible. Michal reveals, “The challenge is to handle projection on [a Raspberry Pi], where RAM and CPU utilisation is very limited and even a small bottleneck leads to audio or video glitches.” OpenAuto is an Android Auto emulator, allowing your Android smartphone to ‘project’ its interface onto your car’s screen Android Auto and OpenAuto Michal continues, “The most important thing to implement [for successful emulation] was support for hardware acceleration of video decoding.” He tells us, “As far as I know, all Android Auto POCs use GStreamer to render the video stream.” Alas, “GStreamer used on the Raspberry Pi does not provide plug-and-play support for OpenMAX,” according to Michal’s research. This means that OpenAuto’s video is “pretty slow, even at [email protected][fps].” As such, Michal cannot recommend you install OpenAuto in your car just yet, but by the time you read this, version 1.0 of the software should have been released for you to trial on a bench. Head to OpenAuto on GitHub to see how to install OpenAuto in Raspbian. The post Android Auto on Raspberry Pi: OpenAuto appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
Source: Android Auto on Raspberry Pi: OpenAuto

The Next Verse

The Next Verse

Wandering through London’s V&A Museum in December, you had a chance to see works from two major cultural movements: the Renaissance, and the maker movement. On the wall were paintings from 1515, designs by Raphael for his celebrated tapestries. On an easel was a modern work by Stewart Francis Easton that combines embroidery, music, and the Raspberry Pi 2. “I shared a room with Raphael. Just me and Raphael. That’s the dream,” Stewart says. This article first appeared in The MagPi 67 and was written by Sean McManus His work is called The Next Verse, and was part of a digital event at the gallery. It depicts the cycle of life, using scenes of a family along a snaking path through the canvas. “From childhood to death and round again,” explains Stewart. “You begin with a father and child and end with that child’s son releasing the spirit of his father to enable the cycle to begin once again.” The work is completed by a soundtrack. There is a 23-minute composition by Michael Tanner, performed on a psaltery, a stringed instrument often seen in medieval paintings. Additionally, viewers can trigger sounds. “Each illustrated event has a small triangle stitched next to it,” reveals Stewart. “The viewer is required to touch these triangles (one at a time) to trigger the sound that corresponds to the storyline.” To experience the artwork, viewers put on the headphones to hear the accompanying soundtrack Ambient sounds Gawain Hewitt created eight sounds for these points in the journey. “One of the sounds has a bellows playing – almost like a broken accordion with static sounds and whistling,” says Stewart. Another has a recording of sounds made at his daughter’s school playground. These sounds were all required to be able to be played along with the original soundtrack which plays on a loop. Gawain also carried out the technical implementation, which is based on the Touch Board, made by Bare Conductive. Although the Touch Board can be used to trigger MP3s or play MIDI sounds itself, it can only play one audio file at a time. Using the Raspberry Pi enabled Gawain to code polyphonic software, and use high-quality uncompressed audio files. Gawain wrote the software using Pure Data (Pd), an open-source visual programming language for multimedia. “One of the really beautiful things about Pd for me is the ability to code in an exploratory way,” he…
Source: The Next Verse

DigiOne Player review

DigiOne Player review

For many, the audio on the Raspberry Pi’s HDMI port – or even the stereo analogue audio, accessible on the multifunction 3.5 mm jack – is good enough. For others, ‘good enough’ is never good enough – and it’s for these people that the Allo DigiOne Player (£148/$169) has been designed. Based around the DigiOne S/PDIF HAT (available separately, £86/$99), the DigiOne Player is designed to provide a peak-quality digital audio signal. While many will argue that digital audio is digital audio, being made up of zeros and ones which either arrive at the other end perfectly or don’t arrive at all, audiophiles claim otherwise – and in particular, point to ‘jitter,’ the deviation of a period signal from its ideal timings, as a source of audible distortion. See also: Allo DigiOne Pi HAT set to rival top-end hi-fi streaming devices like Sonos Play audio on a Bluetooth speaker with Raspberry Pi 3 JustBoom DAC HAT review DigiOne Player review: peak-quality audio for Raspberry Pi The DigiOne, Allo claims, solves that problem. Using two on-board clocks as stable timing sources, as well as galvanic signal and power isolation and a variety of other engineering tricks, Allo claims to have reduced the jitter of the digital audio signal to 0.6 picoseconds – as close to perfect as practically possible. That signal is available on either of the DigiOne’s two outputs: an RCA jack and a BNC connector. In practice, there’s no difference between the two, bar the BNC connector being more resistant to accidental disconnection. What you won’t find is an optical output, a deliberate design choice by Allo to avoid what it claims is unacceptable 4 nanosecond (4000 picosecond) built-in jitter. The DigiOne Player browser-based interface DigiOne HAT bundle with Raspberry Pi Purchased as the Player bundle, the DigiOne HAT comes with a Raspberry Pi 3; 8GB SD card with a choice of DietPi, Volumio, or Max2Play audiophile-centric distributions pre-installed; a 5 V 3 A power supply; and an attractive acrylic case. Using the DigiOne Player is as simple as connecting a power supply and linking the HAT to your digital-to-analogue converter (DAC), with the tested Volumio software providing a browser-based interface for control as well as acting as a streaming transport device for third-party software. When running, the audio quality from the DigiOne Player is undeniably high – but it is more obvious to scientific instruments than the fallible human ear. DigiOne Player: Last…
Source: DigiOne Player review