Bearables Badge Kit
Pimoroni’s Bearables collection offers a choice of two cute animal LED badges – bear and fox – along with a couple of sensors that can be attached to them using conductive thread. While the badges and sensors are available separately, the complete kit includes either a bear badge with motion sensor, or a fox badge with light sensor. Both versions include a generous 3 metres of conductive thread, along with a CR2032 coin cell that provides 3–4 days of active use (i.e. when the badge is not in sleep mode). On its own, the badge can be operated manually by repeatedly pressing the tiny button on the side to switch between 12 different LED patterns: a good selection, including chase lights and fades. The LEDs are single colour, but come in six shades: blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and pink. There’s also the possibility of creating your own custom patterns using a Raspberry Pi. Sew your wearable Bearable onto your jacket! When sewing the badge to a garment or bag, you need to connect each of its two metal hooks to one of those on the sensor. Polarity doesn’t matter, but you need to avoid the two lengths of conductive thread touching. Getting a good enough connection also requires winding the thread four or five times around each hook – it’s best to secure it with a blob of clear nail varnish, too. Upon holding the badge button down, the attached sensor will then trigger the LEDs through motion or lack of light, depending on its type. The badge can be hooked up to a Raspberry Pi via I2C. This involves soldering wires (or a header) to metal pads on the rear of the badge and connecting them to the relevant GPIO pins. Helpfully, Pimoroni has created a Bearables Python library (magpi.cc/2AcQ3H6) enabling you to control individual LEDs and respond to button presses. Since the badge hooks can read raw ADC values (0-255), they should be usable with pretty much any analogue sensor. Not only that, but they can read GPIO pins pulled high or low, opening up all sorts of possibilities for triggering LED patterns from the Pi. Last word 5/5 Excellent value for money, the badge kit has everything you need to sew your interactive badge and sensor to clothes – although it should be noted that they don’t like water, so don’t put them in the wash! Best…
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ALio Proto Board: dual-layer prototyping board
The ALio Proto Board recently hit its Crowd Supply target, and with a pad layout that can accommodate chips (ICs) it should be useful board to get complex builds running quickly. There are variants compatible with Arduino and USB ports. ALio Lead Engineer (and AERD CEO) Arief Adha tells us, “Currently we are on production for first batch [of ALio boards, but] my next plans are to publish the files [for the boards]. ALio Proto Board for Raspberry Pi As Arief explains, “Since the board itself is fully open-source, we hope we can make rapid prototyping accessible for everyone who wants to prototype with SMD or PTH.” Arief even says, “All profit that we’ll get [from ALio], we will allocate to develop new open-source stuff.” The AERD team are still focused on producing the ALio boards, however, with Arief confirming that “ALio is a good candidate to include in the Digi-Key catalogue.” Keep an eye on digikey.co.uk if ALio looks useful for your next build. See also: Circuit starter guide: Everything you need to prototype, test, and build circuits with a Raspberry Pi computer Raspberry Pi simulator: Microsoft creates online tool for prototyping projects ProtoBoard review The post ALio Proto Board: dual-layer prototyping board appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Raspberry Pi cafés for Manchester schools
Following a successful pilot in 2015, web hosting firm UKFast has announced five further ‘Raspberry Pi Cafés’ for Manchester schools this year. The project represents a £100 000 investment from UKFast. Aaron Saxon, UKFast’s Director of Training and Education, reveals, “We are distributing 120 Pis across the five sites: Holy Name RC Primary School in Moss Side, St Bede’s Prep School in Hulme, Alderley Edge School for Girls, The Hollins Technology College in Accrington, and The Factory Youth Zone in North Manchester.” The sites were chosen “where gaps in digital engagement exist”, Aaron explains. This includes areas lacking “the resources to deliver cutting-edge digital training, as well as all-girl schools which have traditionally seen low uptake in technical subjects.” The five new Pi Cafés will operate much like the pilot site in Broadoak School, Partington Raspberry Pi cafés in Manchester schools We asked Aaron how the Pi Cafés would actually operate, and it seems that’s largely up to the schools: “Some schools may use it as a creative space, others will use it as their computer science classroom as well as an extra-curricular hub and space for the community.” The Raspberry Pi boards in question “won’t look like traditional desktop units,” Aaron tells us, “as we want them to be more computer-science focused.” For UKFast, that means “there will be arcade, old-school gaming, and robotics cases” Aaron says. “We’re providing the technology for the children in a fun and exciting way.” Paul Grier, Network Manager at St Bede’s Prep School (one of the five new sites), adds that “in 20 years’ time, 45% of jobs will be done by AI and robots. So if kids today don’t understand [these things], they won’t understand how the world works.” Paul says he hopes the new Pi Café will “allow both children and the staff [of St Bede’s] to delve more into computer science.” While students and staff of St Bede’s “learn ICT, which is processing and spreadsheets,” Paul tells us that “programming hasn’t taken off as much as I would have liked it to.” The post Raspberry Pi cafés for Manchester schools appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Raspberry Pi on Radio 4
If you’re reading this website, chance are you’re a big of the Raspberry Pi. The cheap and amazing microcomputer is perfect for learning to code, creating fun projects, or even just leaving under your TV to help stream media. It’s easy to forget that however much we love what the Pi can do, it’s easy to forget that six years ago, it was an upcoming ‘gadget’ with seemingly limited and niche appeal. Radio star Eben Upton, co-creator of the Raspberry Pi, has never forgotten this though. On the latest episode of The Life Scientific, a Radio 4 show that interviews leading scientists and engineers on their work, Eben got to talk about the inception, creation, and runaway success of the Raspberry Pi. You can listen to the half-hour show on the BBC iPlayer. The Life Scientific is a great series – give it a look! It’s always good to remember where you came from, and we do recommend it as a refresher on the history and educational mission of the Raspberry Pi. Plus, Eben is a nice chap! And we’re not just saying that because he’s our boss. The post Raspberry Pi on Radio 4 appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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New Pi Zero WH launched
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has launched a new Pi model, the Pi Zero WH. The difference between this edition and the current Pi Zero W is its pre-soldered GPIO header. This makes it much easier to start prototyping with a Pi Zero board, because you no longer need to solder pins to the header manually. The Raspberry Pi Zero WH with pre-soldered header Mike Buffham, Raspberry Pi Foundation Director of Product Management, explains that the new Zero WH has been launched “to support those customers who did not want to or feel comfortable with soldering the header themselves.” While Mike clarifies that “it seemed sensible” to solder the GPIO header on during manufacture, the move is “not completely simple.” As the GPIO header is soldered to the opposite side to other components, this means “the boards have to go through the solder baths twice.” The new Pi Zero WH should be available through all your favourite retailers. Here are some stores selling it: Pi Zero WH at The Pi Hut Pi Zero WH at Pimoroni Pi Zero WH at ModMyPi The post New Pi Zero WH launched appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Solve the eight queens chess problem
This is not a joke or a scam. There really is a prize of one million dollars waiting to be claimed by anyone who can solve the puzzle of placing n queens on an n×n chess-board so that no two queens threaten each other (where n is any number taken from the set of positive integers greater than three). If you decide to take on this challenge then your program will also have to show whether an incomplete solution to the puzzle is a subset of a complete solution. For example, you will need to demonstrate whether a set of six queens placed on and 8×8 board is a subset of a solution to placing eight queens on the same board. If you’re interested in the prize, then we’ll show you how a Python program running on a Raspberry Pi with a Sense HAT can play eight queens as a game, solve the puzzle if you get stuck, and demonstrate whether an incomplete solution is a subset of a complete solution. Our program uses the LED matrix on a Raspberry Pi Sense HAT to represent a chessboard. The program will allow you to place and replace up to eight queens on the board in the quest to find a solution. If you get stuck with an incomplete solution, then the program will solve the puzzle for you and show you where you might have needed to move any of your queens to find a complete solution. Don’t worry if you haven’t got a Sense HAT on your Raspberry Pi: you can also run the program in the online Sense HAT emulator – just paste the code into it. This article first appeared in The MagPi #65 and was written by Gordon Horsington. Readers of a certain age, with good memories and an interest in the BBC Micro may remember Gordon as the author of most of the BBC Telesoftware programming tutorials broadcast on BBC 2 Ceefax during the second half of the 1980s. Can you solve the eight queens puzzle? Eight queens is usually played on a chessboard using eight chess pawns as surrogate queens. Placing queens on the board at random and expecting to find a solution is not a good way to play this game. There are nearly 4.5 billion ways in which it’s possible to place eight queens on a chessboard (4 426 165 368 to be precise), but only 92…
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BitScope Micro testing tool
BitScope Micro is “almost everything you’re likely to need” for testing and measurement, according to Bruce Tulloch, BitScope CEO. All in a package not much longer than a Pi 3 and less than half as wide. The BitScope Micro “has a pair of analogue channels, six logic channels, and a waveform generator,” says Bruce, but it also includes “a high-speed A/D, D/A, compensated inputs, triggers, range and offset controls, and embedded digital signal processing.” The Micro was designed for the Raspberry Pi, and you can even “use BitScope Micro to monitor your project using the same Raspberry Pi,” reveals Bruce. In fact, this is how BitScope tests each Micro during production. BitScope Micro testing tool for Raspberry Pi “BitScope Micro comes with everything you need to get started,” Bruce confirms, but there are other bundles if you need a Hammerhead or Tom Thumb attachment. A Raspberry Pi with a display makes for a “convenient ‘stand-alone mixed signal oscilloscope’ at a much lower cost,” Bruce suggests, while using Pimoroni’s Explorer HAT (£18) allows you to read all the signals that a Pi generates. As Bruce explains, “Without a BitScope Micro, you’re more or less ‘flying blind’ when it comes to seeing and understanding what’s actually going on.” The BitScope Micro is available now for $145 (£108), or for $98 (£73) each for orders of ten or more. The post BitScope Micro testing tool appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Baby monitors have grown up fast. Once confined to audio, they now have all manner of gubbins inside them, from cameras and night vision to temperature readings, two-way talk, and even lullabies. For many parents, they’re an essential tool for ensuring a baby is comfortable and safe. But although there are so many on the market, none of them suited Dmitry Ivanov. So he grabbed a Raspberry Pi and made his own. This article was written by David Crookes and appears in The MagPi #65. Called FruitNanny, the invention essentially began with a camera-connected Pi stuffed inside a plastic lunchbox. “I’d ordered the Pi NoIR module and a microphone and started to experiment,” he tells us. “I played with different programs and tools, but most of them didn’t work.” He found the original Pi wasn’t powerful enough for the job and switched to a Pi 3. “I spent lots of sleepless nights trying to find the right combination,” he continues. “But when I finished a proof of concept with a working setup in a lunchbox, I started to think about a case and a proper web application to combine information from sensors and media streams.” As a bare minimum, Dmitry wanted his baby monitor to stream audio and video to his PC without latency. He also wanted it to show the current temperature and humidity, work at night, and have a quiet mode where it was possible to see the audio streams but not hear them. Sticking with the NoIR camera and a cheap iPhone lens to widen the viewing angle, he added a DHT22 sensor to gather the temperature and humidity data. He also used twelve infrared LEDs for night vision and added resistors. A watchful eye Custom case “I started to design the case too,” he says. “I had several cases for Raspberry Pi, but I couldn’t fit all of the hardware inside. I wanted something that looked pretty and not boring like almost every other baby monitor.” He considered making it in the shape of a toy like Ironman or a Minion. “But I soon realised that I don’t have a designer’s talent. I tried 3D modelling with SketchUp and a 3D printer for the first time and after several failed attempts and with the help of a friend, Christos, printed a simple rectangle, which worked well.” The case is actually in four parts. The Pi and…
WebKiosk 7 for Raspberry Pi released
Signage and kiosk OS specialist Binary Emotions has released Raspberry WebKiosk 7, completing the migration of its bespoke digital signage and kiosk operating systems to Raspbian Stretch. According to Binary Emotions’ Marco Buratto, “Raspberry WebKiosk is designed for the cheapest possible web kiosks and multi-user web workstations,” making the OS ideal for computer terminals in cafes, waiting areas, libraries, and other public spaces. WebKiosk 7 for Raspberry Pi Marco adds: “Raspberry WebKiosk is a browser-only … hacker-proof operating system [which uses Chromium and] supports printing. System parameters are set by a user-friendly web interface”. Raspberry WebKiosk is the last of Binary Emotions’ offerings to be updated to Raspbian Stretch, with the Raspberry Digital Signage and Raspberry Slideshow OSes already updated. While Raspbian Digital Signage is intended for a permanent, internet-enabled digital sign or display, Raspberry Slideshow is “focused on quick-to-set-up image and video slideshows” running image and videos from a USB drive. You can download these OSes for free from binaryemotions.com. The post WebKiosk 7 for Raspberry Pi released appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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Raspberry Pi not affected by Spectre or Meltdown bugs
By now you’ve likely heard of the latest big exploit that is making the news that effects the actual CPU in most PCs built since the late nineties. It’s very wide-ranging, and scary, but at the very least we can confirm to you that the Raspberry Pi is immune to the exploit according to its co-creator Eben Upton. Here you go: We do not believe any generation of Raspberry Pi hardware is susceptible to either the Spectre or Meltdown vulnerabilities. — Eben Upton (@EbenUpton) January 4, 2018 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Very basically, the Meltdown and Spectre exploit takes advantage of the way some processors try and guess what your next calculation will be to then read the memory in your system. This can contain personal and private data, including passwords, and is relatively easy to pull off. It’s a bit tricky to explain as it involves some seriously niche, low-level computing stuff that the vast majority of people would never have to come across – however unfortunately, that does not make it any less dangerous. Eben goes into it in detail on the Raspberry Pi blog post about it. So while your PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone may be compromised by it, you can stay safe in the knowledge that the Raspberry Pi is not affected. A small comfort for now while patches are rolled out but at least you now know which computer in your house is the most secure for online banking. Further reading If you are thinking about temporarily switching to the Raspberry Pi as a more secure desktop, we did recently have a feature where we tasked features editor Rob to use a Raspberry Pi as his desktop PC for a week. There’s some great tips in there that should help you set up your Pi as a desktop! The post Raspberry Pi not affected by Spectre or Meltdown bugs appeared first on The MagPi Magazine.
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