Weather lamp: Cloudy-A forecast light

Weather lamp: Cloudy-A forecast light

We like Raspberry Pi projects that combine craft with cleverness. Cloudy-A is an internet-connected lamp that changes colour depending on the weather. Cloud-A is “a script for light animations for two LED strips according to the weather forecast,” says Gregor, the project maker.

Build a lamp that responds to weather forecast Gregor followed this Bright Side YouTube tutorial to make the lamp itself. It’s a simple cloud lamp made from a recycled plastic bottle covered in cotton wool. “ There are actually quite a lot of good tutorials,” said Gregor. “I just chose this one because it resembles most closely my own process and uses the same kind of container Instead of putting a regular coloured lamp inside, Gregor used two LED strips. His script then uses the WeatherUnderground API to get local weather results. It then changes the lamp colour. Build instructions for Cloudu-A on GitHub “Put the Raspberry Pi, the breadboard or perfboard and the LED-strips all in and have everything attached to the multiple socket strip,” said Gregor. “I used a rectangular clear 5 liter bottle. I cut three sides of it open just where it reaches the biggest diameter under the opening.” “On the side opposite to the attached side I also made a hole for the power cord. Then I made another hole in the exact middle of the bottom (a soldering iron can help) and put the fishing line through that and the hole at the top of the bottle,” said Gregor. “I have done this with a Raspberry Pi 3 since there were no Pi Zero’s to be bought anywhere,” said Gregor. “But since this is probably a bit overkill for this project, I would recommend trying this with a Raspberry Pi Zero.” We think it’s a very stylish project and great for kids. Let us know if you have luck building one or have created something similar for Raspberry Pi. The post Weather lamp: Cloudy-A forecast light appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Earthquake Pi

Earthquake Pi

Russell Grokett has been fascinated by earthquakes and geology ever since he was a child, when his father built him a simple swinging beam seismograph. However, since Russell now lives in Florida, known for hurricanes but not quakes, he’s created the Earthquake Pi to satisfy his interest. Rather than acting as a detector of local tremors, like some Pi-powered projects, it’s a neat alert system that uses real-time open data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) to detect earthquakes around the globe. The full article can be found in The MagPi 49 and was written by Phil King. “I had seen fancy maps and graphs of their data,” explains Russell, “[but] I wanted to ‘feel’ (safely!) when an earthquake occurs. So I came up with the idea of taking their data and building a device that rattles and rumbles when an earthquake occurs. This is different from the typical detection on a chart or graph.” The Earthquake Pi comprises a wooden box containing the electrical components, including a Raspberry Pi Zero and a vibrating motor recycled from an old battery toothbrush to make the box rattle during an alert: “I found that just loosely taping the motor down worked best, as it bounces around a bit while running.” To complete the effect, an external speaker plays earthquake sounds, while a strip of NeoPixels light up and an LCD display shows details of the seismic event. It’s powered by a Pi Zero and it all fits snugly in its box “By default, the vibrating motor alerts run for a few seconds per magnitude: about two seconds for mag. 1 and up to about ten seconds for a mag. 9 (never heard that, luckily!).” The LCD display and NeoPixel bar graph then come on, displaying the quake location and magnitude. Lastly, the earthquake audio sound effect plays for a few seconds more. “You just set the box on your desk or table where is sits quietly… until boom! The first few times it goes off will probably scare you, as it’s completely unpredictable!” Russell’s Python program includes a variable that can be set to the minimum magnitude for alerts. “If you set it to alert on even the smallest (magnitude 1.0 or greater) earthquakes, then it will be going off almost every hour or so.” He tells us his is set to magnitude 3.0 and higher and goes off a few…
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Spirit Rover: Mars robot kit for Raspberry Pi

Spirit Rover: Mars robot kit for Raspberry Pi

Spirit Rover touched down in  Mars in January 2004, just before its (slightly more famous) twin sister, Opportunity. Both robots turned out to be troopers. Spirit lasted 20 times longer than NASA expected, and Curiosity is still trundling around Mars after 12 years. This has made them the two of the most famous robots to exist. Just one reason why this fantastic kit project looks like a great introduction to robotics. Full build information: Spirit Rover project Spirit Rover – Plum Geek Starter Kit

Spirit Rover is a Kickstarter kit from Plum Geek Robotics (the same people who built the popular Wink robot). It combines both a Raspberry Pi with an Arduino (and a Microchip PIC processor to control the servos). This would make it a good choice for a maker looking to branch out from Raspberry Pi into Arduino projects (or vice versa). The robot contains a pan and tilt head, gripper and neopixel lights. So it’s lot more mobile than other robot kits, and a lot more bling than the real-life version. Mars is the only planet inhabited only by robots Here’s some of its features: Rover Mainboard Raspberry Pi Camera Pan/Tilt Head Ultrasonic rangefinder Gripper 3-axis Accelerometer and a 3-axis Gyroscope 27-neopixel Style RGB Lights “You will learn how robots use inertial navigation to find their way around, and computer vision to identify objects and obstacles,” said Plug Geek. “You’ll also learn the basic electronics and communication methods the individual parts robots use to talk to each other. Learn the inner workings of the Linux operating system and how to write your own code in Python and C/C++ languages along the way. “This project is in honour of the Spirit rover,” said Plug Geek, “and the extraordinary people at Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) who design and pilot the rovers. By making this project possible, you will allow the ‘spirit’ of Spirit to live on – inspiring and educating the Makers, students, and hobbiests that will go on to design and program the rovers of the future.” The post Spirit Rover: Mars robot kit for Raspberry Pi appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Sugru Rebel Tech Kit

Sugru Rebel Tech Kit

Sugru has long struggled to make an impact outside of maker circles. Its original incarnation was billed as ‘soft-touch silicone rubber that moulds and sets permanently’, a somewhat wordy but accurate summary of its capabilities. Nowadays, that has been condensed to ‘mouldable glue’, which still somehow fails to quickly capture the attention and get across just how useful Sugru can be in a variety of situations. The full article can be found in The MagPi 50 and was written by Gareth Halfacree. That’s where, its creators hope, the Rebel Tech Kit comes in. Created following the success of the Home Hacks Made Easy kit, the Rebel Tech Kit is designed to appeal to those who prefer their gadgets and gizmos, rather than anyone looking to fix a leaky tap or make a sieve more comfortable to use. Inside, the kit follows the existing formula: four individual sachets of Sugru – in white, black, grey, and red – are housed in a neat little reusable tin, as is a small plectrum which can aid in the moulding and shaping process. It’s the bundled booklet, though, that’s the real star of the show. Printed in full colour, the guide book runs through 14 individual projects to help showcase the capabilities of Sugru. There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking – the most advanced of the listed projects involves 3D printing a mould which can be used to shape Sugru cable strain-relief grommets – but each is clearly detailed, though perhaps a bit briefly given the limit of two pages per project. Flicking through the booklet gives an insight into the various ways in which Sugru can enhance your existing technology. Showcased ‘fixes’, as the Sugru community terms them, include hanging media playback boxes on the back of TVs, customising console gamepads, creating a hook on which to hang your headphones, and even adding multicoloured bumpers to an old digital camera to make it suitable for kids’ use; though the latter, sadly, requires far more Sugru than is provided in the kit. The bundled sachets of Sugru are used like any other: wash your hands; cut open the foil sachet and remove the Sugru, which has a texture slightly softer than Blu-Tack; knead the Sugru between your fingers, mixing multiple packets together if you want a different colour or a higher volume of Sugru; press the Sugru against the surface to be covered, or between two…
Source: Sugru Rebel Tech Kit

Learn to Code with C – free Raspberry Pi book

Learn to Code with C – free Raspberry Pi book

Programmers rejoice! A new MagPi Essentials book called Learn to Code with C has been released. Learn to Code with C was written by The Raspberry Pi Foundation’s very own Simon Long. The UX engineer responsible for much of Raspbian’s greatness. Written by someone who knows their stuff, Learn to Code with C is your guide to the world’s most popular programming language. It’s free and open source, so you should pick up a copy right now. Click here to download Learn to Code with C While C is a big step up from Python, we can’t think of a better tour guide than this plain-speaking book. Why you should learn C on a Raspberry Pi Learning the C programming language will give you masterful control over a computer. “It can give you control over the smallest details of how a processor operates but is still simple to learn and read,” says Simon. “This series is an introduction to programming in C for absolute beginners; you don’t need any previous programming experience, and a Raspberry Pi running Raspbian is all you need to get started.” Moreover, a working knowledge of coding is a must have tool for your digital toolbox. This imperative language is used to create everything from digital toasters up to massive commercial projects. Most of Linux and the Raspbian operating system is coded in C. As a consequence, learning it gives you a real insight into how programming, and computers, work. Inside Learn to Code with C Inside Learn to Code with C The MagPi Essentials: Learn to Code with C has thirteen chapters, covering every aspect of the language: Getting started: What’s so great about C? Variables & Arithmetic: Create variables and do maths Conditions & Comparisons: Control the flow of your C programs More Advanced Flow Control: For loops and case statements Pointers: Variables have addresses too Functions: Split your code into bite-sized chunks Arrays & Strings: Handle lists of values, and letters The String Library: Simplify common operations on strings User Input: Reading and interpreting user input File Input and Output: Learn to read from and write to files More about Types and Variables: Type definitions, enumerations & more Header Files and the Preprocessor: Splitting code up into multiple files Quick Reference: Cheat sheets and code examples   The post Learn to Code with C – free Raspberry Pi book appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Pi bakery: rhythmic gymnastics

Pi bakery: rhythmic gymnastics

This project was inspired by the recent Olympic games. We’ve always liked the rhythmic gymnastics, especially the section with the ribbons, so we set off to recreate this on the Pi. This project is a bit of a departure from normal Bakery stuff, in that for the first time we switch languages from Python to Processing. While Processing is a strange name for a programming language, the language itself is quite good. Basically, it’s an implementation of Java, and Java is implemented with a C syntax. It’s a language much beloved by the artistic, creative community, and there are plenty of stunning examples of its use. We used it for this project because there was already an excellent ribbon drawing class that makes the code writing so much easier. The full article can be found in The MagPi 49 and was written by Mike Cook. You’ll need MCP3004 – analogue-to-digital converter 2× thumb joysticks 13-by-10-hole stripboard Wooden box (MDF) 4× 15mm M3 tapped pillars 0.1uF ceramic capacitor 8-way ribbon cable The hardware The two ribbons are controlled by small thumb joysticks, and are read into the Pi with an MCP3004 analogue-to-digital converter (ADC). This is the cousin of the MCP3002 chip we used in the Spectrum Display and the Hairgrip sequencer of MagPi issues 45 and 46. This chip has four analogue inputs, but uses the same SPI software commands to interface with it as the smaller chip. You could also use the eight-channel MCP3008 if you like, and there are a few pre-built Pi interfaces that use this chip. The schematic is quite simple and is shown above; we used the surface-mount version of the chip, but through-hole chips are also available. Full construction notes for the through-hole chip are below. The full circuit diagram for this project – use it for reference! Building the ribbon controller STEP-01 Prepare the board Get a piece of 13-by-10-hole stripboard and cut the tracks as shown, with the view from under the board. There’s just one IC on this board; the rest of the board is used to hold the input/output wires. Solder a 14‑pin socket to the other side of the board. Prepare the board STEP-02 Mounting the components Solder solid wire links between the holes as shown and fit the 0.1uF decoupling capacitor. Wire the two thumb joysticks to the board. Wire the connections to the Pi using a length…
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Cheapest Raspberry Pi portable games console

Cheapest Raspberry Pi portable games console

Making amazing digital projects out of recycled parts is a real joy. So imagine how happy we are to see BotchBoy: the cheapest Raspberry Pi games console ever. BotchBoy was built by Joe Foulkes who wanted to make the cheapest GameBoy console around. As a matter of fact: no expense has been spent on this project. The total build cost is less than £15 ($20). And we love it. For instance, Joe made the case out of an old Samsung Galaxy S4 box. For this build he followed an Instructables page by Tyler Spadgenske. See: Instructables: $20 Portable Raspberry Pi game console Building the cheapest Raspberry Pi games console

A Pi Zero and a portable power bank are glued inside the Samsung S4 Box. Also, holes are cut into the case for the buttons and screen. It’s using a 2.4-inch display, which is wired to the GPIO pins (as are the buttons). “The inspiration behind this project was that I wanted to make my own portable Raspberry Pi game system” says Joe, “and I wanted to make it as affordable as possible.” As a matter of fact, it may look a little rough around the edges, but the idea is sound. “The reason it’s in a shoddy case, an old phone box, was for the thing to be affordable,” he explains. “Total costs came to less than £15.” That price includes the £4 for a Raspberry Pi Zero. Speaking about the Instructables page, it shows some clever material usage. For example, the build materials include: Raspberry Pi Zero 2.4 inch TFT Display Lithium Ion Battery cell Prototyping Board Charging Circuit Micro USB Breakout 3v to 5v DC-DC Step Up Boost Converter Inside the BotchBoy. Looking at the components and build materials. Indeed, the BotchBoy delivers a much better experience than its looks suggest. “The sound does work really well,” says Joe. “It’s pretty good. I paid about a pound for the USB audio.” “I was quite pleased with the results,” says Joe, “I probably could have taken a bit more care when cutting holes out for the screen.” Not to mention that Joe isn’t finished yet. “I’m going to be doing a version two of this then see if I maybe up by budget by five pounds then make it look a bit better.” The post Cheapest Raspberry Pi portable games console appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Community profile – Zach Igielman

Community profile – Zach Igielman

You may recognise the name Zachary Igielman from issue #38, where he was mentioned during our review of the exciting Pimoroni Piano HAT. The Piano HAT, for those unaware, was inspired by Zach’s own creation, the PiPiano, a successful crowdfunded add-on board that hit 184% of funding two years ago. At age 14, Zach had decided to incorporate his passions for making, engineering and music, building himself a PCB that could use physical keys to control electronic sound files and Sonic Pi code. The PCB, he explains, is a great classroom tool, educating students on the fundamentals of physically building digital tech and soldering, through to understanding sound generation through PWM frequencies. Zach began to teach himself code at age 11, soon discovering the Raspberry Pi and, later, the Cambridge Raspberry Jams. It was through this collective of like-minded individuals that Zach was inspired to broaden his making skills, moving on to create line-following robots that avoided objects through sensors. Moving forward, Zach visited the Raspberry Pi offices for work experience, continuing to work on and study robots and robotic guides, working alongside our engineers to build upon his knowledge. The PiPiano prototype that became a fully-fledged product It was around this same time, in October 2014, that Zach met Frank Thomas-Hockey via Twitter. Frank was looking for help in creating the first London Raspberry Jam and Zach was more than willing to lend a hand. Between them, they set up the Covent Garden Jam, welcoming over 100 visitors to their first event. Their most recent Jam – now with the additional help of volunteers Ben, Paul, and Joseph – allowed them to simultaneously run workshops on soldering, Sonic Pi and Minecraft, while also highlighting maker projects through show-and-tell and talks. Finally finished with his GCSE exams and about to begin his sixth-form studies in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Computing, Zach now has the time to continue his recent collaboration with friend Jake Blumenow. Zach met Jake and built a fast friendship online, lovingly referring to him as a fellow “computer geek”. The two have worked on projects together, including several websites, and spent time travelling, bouncing ideas off one another with the aim to create something important. It’s their most recent venture that is worthy of recognition. Zach also has a hand in the Covent Garden Jam “At Google Campus, we developed our business model – we believe people…
Source: Community profile – Zach Igielman

RC car robotics with a Raspberry Pi

RC car robotics with a Raspberry Pi

The only thing more fun than a remote control (RC) car is one you’ve turned into a robot thanks to Raspberry Pi. This fantastic guide to turning a cheap shop-bought RC toy into a robotic car is a great way to learn about hot-wiring electronics. Christopher Doyle walks you through his process. Turn an RC car into Raspberry Pi robot

Christopher guts the remote control innards and installs an L298n motor driver and Raspberry Pi. The car is controlled using Python scripts passed to the Raspberry Pi via VNC Server. So technically it’s still remote controlled. But in a much cooler way. “What I’ve done is cut out the microcontroller”, says Christopher. “I replaced it with ml298 and motor driver ”  “I’m controlling that with this Raspberry Pi,” explains Christopher, “which has a Wi-Fi dongle which sends the signal from a VNC server up to my Macbook Pro.”   The post RC car robotics with a Raspberry Pi appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Tablet Ocarina Project

Tablet Ocarina Project

When Robert Mayfair met eight-year-old James at a party in 1994, he gave him the gift of an ocarina. James was blind, and so thankful for the gift that he later contacted Robert and asked for lessons. A new bond was instantly formed between the two. The full article can be found in The MagPi 49 and was written by Alex Bate. Over the years of friendship, Robert and James have collected nearly 30 different instruments, with James’s love for music ever-growing, especially toward the ocarina. The joy of learning music together, however, is often clouded by the inability to truly share the experience; resources are limited for the visually impaired. Recently, Robert discovered that the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) had published a Braille book of ocarina music, and though this was a wonderful advancement in accessibility for the visually impaired, Robert realised that sighted people were unable to interact with the content: “On buying the book I realised that the Braille book was of no use to the sighted person, as it was like looking at a landscape covered with snow.” It may look a mess of wires but it’s very specifically wired up Aiming to find a solution, Robert found his answer far quicker than anticipated when he came across a HackHorsham display in a shopping centre last November. The display, using pieces of fruit to produce music via conductivity, gave him the inspiration he needed to change the way he and James read music together. Robert produced a prototype of plastic and cardboard, and later brad nails, that James was able to interact with, recognising Twinkle Twinkle Little Star via touch. After a few alterations, a tablet was produced where nails formed the notes of the song in Braille, James reading them with one finger. In April this year, Robert attended The Rebel Maker Club, a monthly event hosted by HackHorsham, and met Jonathan Tyler-Moore. Jonathan already had experience of building with Pi and finding solutions for issues using tech. So it was no surprise when the 13-year-old quickly introduced a Pi and speaker to the setup, allowing the appropriate note to be played aloud as split pins were touched on the tablet build. Split pins form the Braille symbols for each note of the song Each split pin is wired, with sets of notes connected together. All A notes, B notes and so…
Source: Tablet Ocarina Project