Introducing the Raspberry Pi TV HAT

Today we are excited to launch a new add-on board for your Raspberry Pi: the Raspberry Pi TV HAT.

A photograph of a Raspberry Pi a TV HAT with aerial lead connected Oct 2018

The TV HAT connects to the 40-pin GPIO header and to a suitable antenna, allowing your Raspberry Pi to receive DVB-T2 television broadcasts.

A photograph of a Raspberry Pi Zero W with TV HAT connected Oct 2018

Watch TV with your Raspberry Pi

With the board, you can receive and view television on a Raspberry Pi, or you can use your Pi as a server to stream television over a network to other devices. The TV HAT works with all 40-pin GPIO Raspberry Pi boards when running as a server. If you want to watch TV on the Pi itself, we recommend using a Pi 2, 3, or 3B+, as you may need more processing power for this.

A photograph of a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with TV HAT connected Oct 2018

Stream television over your network

Viewing television is not restricted to Raspberry Pi computers: with a TV HAT connected to your network, you can view streams on any network-connected device. That includes other computers, mobile phones, and tablets. You can find instructions for setting up your TV HAT in our step-by-step guide.

A photograph of a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with TV HAT connected Oct 2018
A photograph of a Raspberry Pi a TV HAT with aerial lead connected Oct 2018
A photograph of a Raspberry Pi Zero W with TV HAT connected Oct 2018

New HAT form factor

The Raspberry Pi TV HAT follows a new form factor of HAT (Hardware Attached on Top), which we are also announcing today. The TV HAT is a half-size HAT that matches the outline of Raspberry Pi Zero boards. A new HAT spec is available now. No features have changed electrically – this is a purely mechanical change.

Raspberry Pi TV HAT mechanical drawing Oct 2018

A mechanical drawing of a Raspberry Pi TV HAT, exemplifying the spec of the new HAT form factor. Click to embiggen.

The TV HAT has three bolt holes; we omitted the fourth so that the HAT can be placed on a large-size Pi without obstructing the display connector.

The board comes with a set of mechanical spacers, a 40-way header, and an aerial adaptor.

A photograph of a Raspberry Pi TV HAT Oct 2018

Licences

Digital Video Broadcast (DVB) is a widely adopted standard for transmitting broadcast television; see countries that have adopted the DVB standard here.

Initially, we will be offering the TV HAT in Europe only. Compliance work is already underway to open other DVB-T2 regions. If you purchase a TV HAT, you must have the appropriate license or approval to receive broadcast television. You can find a list of licenses for Europe here. If in doubt, please contact your local licensing body.

The Raspberry Pi TV HAT opens up some fantastic opportunities for people looking to embed a TV receiver into their networks. Head over to the TV HAT product page to find out where to get hold of yours. We can’t wait to see what you use it for!

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HackSpace magazine 12: build your first rocket!

Move over, Elon Musk — there’s a new rocket maverick in town: YOU!

Rockets!

Step inside the UK rocketry scene, build and launch a rocket, design your own one, and discover the open-source rocket programmes around the world! In issue 12, we go behind the scenes at a top-secret launch site in the English Midlands to have a go at our own rocket launch, find the most welcoming bunch of people we’ve ever met, and learn about centre of gravity, centre of pressure, acceleration, thrust, and a load of other terms that make us feel like NASA scientists.

Meet the Maker: Josef Prusa

In makerception news, we meet the maker who makes makers, Josef Prusa, aka Mr 3D Printing, and we find out what’s next for his open-source hardware empire.

Open Science Hardware

There are more than seven billion people on the planet, and 90-odd percent of them are locked out of the pursuit of science. Fishing, climate change, agriculture: it all needs data, and we’re just not collecting as much as we should. Global Open Science Hardware is working to change that by using open, shared tech — read all about it in issue 12!



And there’s more…

As always, the new issue is packed with projects: make a way-home machine to let your family know exactly when you’ll walk through the front door; build an Alexa-powered wheel of fortune to remove the burden of making your own decisions; and pay homage to Indiana Jones and the chilled monkey brains in Temple of Doom with a capacitive touch haunted monkey skull (no monkeys were harmed in the making of this issue). All that, plus steampunk lighting, LEDs, drills, the world’s biggest selfie machine, and more, just for you. So go forth and make something!

Get your copy of HackSpace magazine

If you like the sound of this month’s content, you can find HackSpace magazine in WHSmith, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and independent newsagents in the UK from tomorrow. If you live in the US, check out your local Barnes & Noble, Fry’s, or Micro Center next week. We’re also shipping to stores in Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Belgium, and Brazil, so be sure to ask your local newsagent whether they’ll be getting HackSpace magazine. And if you’d rather try before you buy, you can always download the free PDF now.

Subscribe now

Subscribe now” may not be subtle as a marketing message, but we really think you should. You’ll get the magazine early, plus a lovely physical paper copy, which has a really good battery life.

Oh, and twelve-month print subscribers get an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express loaded with inputs and sensors and ready for your next project. Tempted?

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Electronics 101.1: Electricity basics

In HackSpace issue 9, Dave Astels helps us get familiar with what electricity is, with some key terms and rules, and with a few basic components. Get your copy of HackSpace magazine in stores now, or download it as a free PDF here.

An animated GIF of Pickachu the Pokemon

tl;dr There’s more to electricity than Pikachu.

Electricity basics

Electricity is fascinating. Most of our technology relies on it: computers, lights, appliances, and even cars, as more and more are hybrid or electric. It follows some well-defined rules, which is what makes it so very useful.

According to Wikipedia, electricity is ‘the set of physical phenomena associated with the presence and motion of electric charge’. And what’s electric charge? That’s the shortage or excess of electrons.

Let’s go back (or forward, depending on where you are in life) to high school science and the atom. An atom is, at a very simplified level, a nucleus surrounded by a number of electrons. The nucleus is (again, viewing it simply) made up of neutrons and protons. Neutrons have no charge, but protons have a positive charge. Electrons have a negative charge. The negative charge on a single electron is the exact opposite of the positive charge on a single proton. The simplest atom, hydrogen, is made from a single proton and a single electron. The net charge of the atom is zero: the positive charge of the proton and the negative charge of the electron cancel – or balance – each other. An atom’s electrons aren’t just in an amorphous cloud around the nucleus: you can think of them as being arranged in layers around the nucleus…rather like an onion. Or perhaps an ogre. This is a very simplified visualisation of it, but it suffices for our purposes.

A diagram of a copper atom and the text '29 Electrons'

Figure 1: A very stylised representation of a copper atom with its electron shell

In a more complex atom, say copper, there are more protons, neutrons, and electrons, and the electrons are in more layers. By default, a copper atom has 29 protons and 35 neutrons in its nucleus, which is surrounded by 29 electrons. The way the electrons are distributed in their layers leaves the copper atom with a single electron in the outermost layer. This is represented in Figure 1 (above). Without getting further into subatomic physics, let’s just say that having that single electron in the outermost layer makes it easier to manipulate. When we put a bunch of copper atoms together to make copper metal (e.g. a wire), it’s easy to move those outermost electrons around inside the metal. Those electrons moving around is electricity. The amount of electrons moving over a period of time is called ‘current’.

A multimeter showing the figure 9.99 with a resistor connected via crocodile clips

A single 10 kΩ resistor reads almost 10 000 ohms (no electrical component is perfect).

We started by talking about electrons and charge. Look back at the Wikipedia definition: ‘presence and motion of electric charge’. Charge is measured in coulombs: 1 coulomb is approximately 6.242 × 1018 electrons. That’s 6 242 000 000 000 000 000 electrons. They’re very small. Actually, this would be -1 coulomb. +1 coulomb would be that many protons (or really, the net lack of that many electrons).

That’s charge. Now let’s consider moving charge, which is far more useful in general (unless your goal is to stick balloons to the wall). Consider some amount of charge moving through a wire. The amount of charge that moves past a specific point (and thus through the wire) over a period of time is called ‘current’ (just like the current in a river) and is measured in amperes, generally just called amps. Specifically, 1 amp is equal to 1 coulomb flowing past a point in 1 second.

Another common term is voltage. You can think of voltage like water pressure; it’s the pressure pushing the electrons (i.e. charge) through a material. The higher the voltage (measured in volts), the faster charge is pushed through, i.e. the higher the current.

The final term is resistance, measured in ohms. Resistance is just what it sounds like. It’s a measure of how much a material resists the movement of electrons. We said that copper allows electrons to move freely. That’s what makes it so common for wires, PCB traces, etc. We say that it is a good conductor. Glass, on the other hand, locks its electrons in place, not letting them move. It’s an example of a good insulator. There are materials that are in between: they let electrons move, but not too freely. These are crucial to making electronics work.

There’s an interesting (and useful) relationship between voltage, current, and resistance called Ohm’s Law (Georg Ohm was the fellow who explored and documented this relationship): the current (denoted I, in amps) flowing through a material is equal to the voltage across the material (denoted V, in volts) divided by the material’s resistance (denoted R, in ohms): I = V/R. This equation is foundational and, as such, very handy.

Lighting up

There aren’t many electronic devices that don’t have at least one LED on them somewhere, especially not gadgety ones. If you look at a simple Arduino Uno, it has LEDs for power, Tx, Rx, and pin 13. The first program using electronic components that most people try is one to blink an LED.

A colour spectrum from red to purple

Figure 2: The colour spectrum

LED stands for light-emitting diode. We’ll come back to diodes in a later instalment; all we need to know right now is that a diode has to go the right way around. So that leaves ‘light-emitting’. That simply means that it gives off light: it lights up. Specifically, it lights up when enough current flows through it. Be careful, though. Put too much current through it and it’ll likely crack in two. Seriously, we’ve done it. Best case scenario, you’ll get a bright pulse of light as it burns out. How much current do they like? 20 milliamps (20mA) is typical. Because an LED is a diode, i.e. a semiconductor (we’ll look at these in more detail in a future instalment too), it defies Ohm’s Law. How? It always has the same voltage across it, regardless of the current flowing through it.

An LED will have a specific Vf (f is for forward, as in ‘forward voltage’), which will be defined in its data sheet.

The voltage varies with the colour of light that the LED emits, but usually between 1.8V and 3.3V. Vf for red LEDs will typically be 1.8V, and for blue LEDs 3V–3.3V. As a rule, LEDs with a higher frequency colour will have a larger Vf. Figure 2 (above) shows the colour spectrum. Colours on the right end are lower in frequency and LEDs emitting those colours will have a lower Vf, while those on the left end have a higher frequency and a higher Vf.

A screenshot of resistor-calculator website

Resistor colour bands show the resistance. Online calculators can help you learn the values.

So an LED will have a fixed Vf, and a typical LED that we’ll use likes about 20mA of current. An LED won’t do anything to limit how much current is flowing through it. That’s what we meant when we said it defies Ohm’s Law.

If we take a blue LED and hooked it to a 3.3V power supply, it will shine happily. Do the same thing with a red LED, and it will blink and burn out. So how do we deal with that? How do we use 3.3V or 5V to make an LED light up without burning out? We simply limit the current flowing through it. And for that, we need a resistor and Ohm’s Law.

Getting protection

Figure 3: An LED with a current-limiting resistor

If we want to power a red LED from a 5V source, we know the following information: current has to be 20mA, Vcc will be 5V, and the voltage across the LED will be 1.8V. Consider the circuit in Figure 3. The voltage across the resistor will be Vcc – Vf, i.e. 5 – 1.8 = 3.2V. We said the current through the LED should be 20mA. Since there is only one path through the circuit that goes through the resistor as well as the LED, all current has to flow through both: whatever amount of current flows through the resistor has to flow through the LED, no more, no less. This is the crucial thing to realise. We can calculate the value of the resistance needed using Ohm’s Law: R = V/I = 3.2V/20mA = 3.2V/0.020A = 160 ohms.

The resistor should have a value of 160 ohms to allow 20mA of current to flow through the LED. Knowing that the 20mA and 1.8V values are approximate and that resistors are not exact (+/- 5 or 10 percent are the most common), we chose a slightly higher-value resistor. Considering common resistor values, go with 180 ohm or 220ohm. A higher-value resistor will allow slightly less current through, which might result in a slightly dimmer light. Try it and see. For practical purposes, simply using a 220 ohm resistor usually works fine.

Parallel lines

In the previous section we connected a resistor and an LED end to end. That’s called a series circuit. If we connected them side by side, it would be a parallel circuit. Consider the circuits in Figure 4.

Figure 4: A – series circuit; B – parallel circuit

We’ll use 5V for Vcc. What is the total resistance between Vcc and GND in each circuit? How much current is flowing through each circuit? What is the voltage across each resistor?

When resistors are connected in series, as in circuit A, the resistances are added. So the two 100 ohm resistors in series have a total resistance of 200 ohms.

When resistors are connected in parallel, as in circuit B, it’s more complex. Each resistor provides a path for current to flow through. So we could use an indirect method to calculate the total resistance. Each resistor is 100 ohms, and has one end connected to 5V and the other to 0V (GND), so the voltage across each one is 5V. The current flowing through each one is 5V/100 ohms = 0.05A, or 50mA. That flows through each resistor, so the total current is 100mA, or 0.1A. The total resistance is then R = V/I = 5V/0.1A = 50 ohms. A more direct way is to use the equation 1/Rt = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + … + 1/Rn, where Rt is the total resistance, and R1, R2, etc. are the values of the individual resistors that are in parallel. Using this, 1/Rt = 1/100 + 1/100 = 2/100 = 1/50. So Rt = 50. This is a quicker way to do it, and only involves the resistor values.

An image of a multimeter

A multimeter can read voltage, ampage, and resistance

Now for current. We know that the series circuit has a total resistance of 200 ohms, so the current will be I = V/R = 5V/200 ohm = 0.025A = 25mA. For one 100 ohm resistor the current is 5V/100 ohm = 0.05A = 50mA. This is expected: if the resistance is lower, there is less ‘resistance’ to current flowing, so with the same voltage, more current will flow. We already computed the current for the parallel circuit: 100mA. This is higher because we know that each resistor has 50mA flowing through it. In a parallel circuit, the currents are added.

A multimeter showing the figure 19.88 with a resistor connected via crocodile clips

Two 10kΩ (kiloohm) resistors in series read (almost) 20kΩ

The final question is what voltage is across each resistor. Let’s look at the parallel circuit first. One end of each resistor is connected to 5V, and the other end of each is connected to 0V (GND). So clearly, the voltage across each one is 5V. In a series circuit it’s different. We can use Ohm’s Law because we’ve calculated the current flowing through each one (0.025A), and that current flows through both resistors. Each resistor is 100 ohm, so the voltage across each one will be V = I×R = 0.025A × 100 ohm = 2.5 V. This makes sense intuitively, since the resistors have the same value and the same current is flowing through both. It makes sense that the voltage across each would be equal, and half of the total. Remember that it’s unlikely to be exactly half, due to the slop in the resistor values.

Let’s do this one more time with unequal resistors. See Figure 5.

Figure 5: A – series circuit; B – parallel circuit

For the series circuit, we simply add the resistances: 100ohm + 82ohm = 182ohm. The current is 5V / 182ohm = 0.0274725A = 27.4725 mA. Because resistors are inexact, it’s safe to call this 27.5mA. The voltages are 100ohm × 0.0275A = 2.75V across the 100 ohm resistor, and 82ohm × 0.275 = 2.25V across the 82 ohm one. The voltages always have to add up, accepting rounding errors. Relative to ground, the voltage at the point between the resistors is 2.75V. What will happen if we make the top resistor smaller (i.e. have a lower resistance)? The total resistance goes down, the current goes up, so the voltage across the 100ohm resistor goes up. This is what’s generally called a voltage divider.

For the parallel circuit we can use 1/Rt = 1/100 + 1/82 = 82/8200 + 100/8200 = 182/8200 = 1/45, so Rt = 45ohm. The total current is 5V / 45ohm = 0.111A = 111mA. For the individual resistors, the currents are 5V / 100ohm = 50mA and 5V / 82ohm = 61mA. Add these up and we have the total current of 111mA. Parallel resistors act as a current divider.

A multimeter showing the figure 4.96 with a resistor connected via crocodile clips

Two 10kΩ resistors in parallel read (almost) 5kΩ.

I encourage you to create these little circuits on a breadboard and measure the resistances, voltages, and currents for yourself.

Resistors in series for a voltage divider, resisters in parallel for a current divider

Consider what happens if we replace the resistor connected to Vcc in a series circuit with a variable resistor. The voltage between the resistors will vary as the value of the resistor does. As the resistance goes down, the voltage goes up. The reverse is true as well: as the resistance goes up, the voltage goes down. One use of this is to replace the variable resistor with a photoresistor. A photoresistor’s value depends on how much light is shining on it (i.e. how many photons are hitting it, to be precise). More light = lower resistance. Now the voltage divider can be used to measure the strength of light. All you need to do is connect the point between the resistors to an analogue input and read it.

Figure 6 Combined parallel and series circuits

We’ve had a brief look at the basic concepts of electricity: charge, current, voltage, and resistance. We’ve also had a closer look at resistors and ways of combining them. We finished with a practical example of a series resistor circuit being used to measure light.

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Halloween voice-changer using Raspberry Pi Zero

Olivier Ros has put together a short and sweet tutorial for creating your own voice-changing mask for Halloween.

Voice changer with Raspberry Pi Zero for Halloween

How to make a voice changer with Raspberry Pi Zero for Halloween Buy MIC+ sound card on Amazon : goo.gl/VDFzu7 tutorial here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Halloween-Voice-Changer-With-Raspberry-Pi/ https://www.raspiaudio.com/halloween

Halloween: we love it!

Grab your ghostly fairy lights, hollow out your pumpkins, and hunt down your box of spooky knick-knacks — it’s Halloween season! And with every year that passes, we see more and more uses of the Raspberry Pi in haunting costumes and decorations.

Voice-changers

At the top of the list is an increase in the number of voice changers. And Olivier Ros’s recent project is a great example of an easy-to-build piece costumimg that’s possible thanks to the small footprint of the Raspberry Pi Zero.

An image of the Raspberry Pi Zero voice changer inside a scary mask

Playdough: so many uses, yet all we wanted to do as kids was eat it.

Oliver used a Pi Zero, though if you have the mask fit it into, you could use any 40-pin Pi and an audio DAC HAT such as this one. He also used Playdough to isolate the Zero and keep it in place, but some foam should do the trick too. Just see what you have lying around.

When I said this is an easy project, I meant it: Olivier has provided the complete code for you to install on a newly setup SD card, or to download via the terminal on your existing Raspbian configuration.

You can read through the entire build on his website, and see more of his projects over on his Instructables page.

More Halloween inspiration

If you’re looking to beef up your Halloween game this October, you should really include a Raspberry Pi in the mix. For example, our Halloween Pumpkin Light tutorial allows you to control the light show inside your carved fruit without the risk of fire. Yes, you read that correctly: a pumpkin is a fruit.

Halloween Pumpkin Light Effect

Use a Raspberry Pi and Pimoroni Blinkt! to create an realistic lighting effect for your Halloween Pumpkin.

For more inspiration and instructions, check out John Park’s Haunted Portrait, some of our favourite tweeted spooky projects from last year, and our list of some of the best Halloween projects online.

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SelfieBot: taking and printing photos with a smile

Does your camera giggle and smile as it takes your photo? Does your camera spit out your image from a thermal printer? No? Well, Sophy Wong’s SelfieBot does!

Raspberry Pi SelfieBot: Selfie Camera with a Personality

SelfieBot is a project Kim and I originally made for our booth at Seattle Mini Maker Faire 2017. Now, you can build your own! A full tutorial for SelfieBot is up on the Adafruit Learning System at https://learn.adafruit.com/raspberry-pi-selfie-bot/ This was our first Raspberry Pi project, and is an experiment in DIY AI.

Pasties, projects, and plans

Last year, I built a Raspberry Pi photobooth for a friend’s wedding, complete with a thermal printer for instant printouts, and a Twitter feed to keep those unable to attend the event in the loop. I called the project PastyCam, because I built it into the paper mache body of a Cornish pasty, and I planned on creating a tutorial blog post for the build. But I obviously haven’t. And I think it’s time, a year later, to admit defeat.

A photo of the Cornish Pasty photo booth Alex created for a wedding in Cornwall - SelfieBot Raspberry Pi Camera

The wedding was in Cornwall, so the Cornish pasty totally makes sense, alright?

But lucky for us, Sophy Wong has gifted us all with SelfieBot.

Sophy Wong

If you subscribe to HackSpace magazine, you’ll recognise Sophy from issue 4, where she adorned the cover, complete with glowing fingernails. And if you’re like me, you instantly wanted to be her as soon as you saw that image.

SelfieBot Raspberry Pi Camera

Makers should also know Sophy from her impressive contributions to the maker community, including her tutorials for Adafruit, her YouTube channel, and most recently her work with Mythbusters Jr.

sophy wong on Twitter

Filming for #MythbustersJr is wrapped, and I’m heading home to Seattle. What an incredible summer filled with amazing people. I’m so inspired by every single person, crew and cast, on this show, and I’ll miss you all until our paths cross again someday 😊

SelfieBot at MakerFaire

I saw SelfieBot in passing at Maker Faire Bay Area earlier this year. Yet somehow I managed to not introduce myself to Sophy and have a play with her Pi-powered creation. So a few weeks back at World Maker Faire New York, I accosted Sophy as soon as I could, and we bonded by swapping business cards and Pimoroni pins.

Creating SelfieBot

SelfieBot is more than just a printing photo booth. It giggles, it talks, it reacts to movement. It’s the robot version of that friend of yours who’s always taking photos. Always. All the time, Amy. It’s all the time! *ahem*

SelfieBot Raspberry Pi Camera

SelfieBot consists of a Raspberry Pi 2, a Pi Camera Module, a 5″ screen, an accelerometer, a mini thermal printer, and more, including 3D-printed and laser-cut parts.

sophy wong on Twitter

Getting SelfieBot ready for Maker Faire Bay Area next weekend! Super excited to be talking on Sunday with @kpimmel – come see us and meet SelfieBot!

If you want to build your own SelfieBot — and obviously you do — then you can find a complete breakdown of the build process, including info on all parts you’ll need, files for 3D printing, and so, so many wonderfully informative photographs, on the Adafruit Learning System!

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Google Tasks to-do list, or anti-baby-distraction device

Organise your life with the help of a Raspberry Pi, a 3.5″ touchscreen, Google Tasks, and hackster.io user Michal Sporna.

Distracting baby optional, though advised.

Google Tasks Raspberry Pi to-do list Michael Sporna

Baby – in the workplace – thought you ought to know

There’s a baby in the office today. And, as babies tend to do in places of work, he’s stolen all of our attention away from what we’re meant to be doing (our jobs), and has redirected it for the greater good (keeping him entertained). Oh, baby!

If only I had a to-do list to keep all my day’s tasks in plain sight and constantly remind myself of what I should be doing (writing this blog post) instead of what I’m actually doing (naming all the kittens on my T-shirt with the help of a nine-month-old)!

Hold on…

Sorry, the baby just came over to my desk and stole my attention again. Where was I?

Oh yes…

…to-do lists!

Michal Sporna‘s interactive to-do list that syncs with Google Tasks consists of a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and a 3.5″ touchscreen encased in a laser-cut wooden housing, though this last element is optional.

Google Tasks Raspberry Pi to-do list Michael Sporna

“This is yet another web to-do app, but designed for a 3.5″ screen and Raspberry Pi,” says Michal in the introduction to his hackster.io tutorial. “The idea is for this device to serve as task tracking device, replacing a regular notebook and having to write stuff with pen.”

Michal explains that, while he enjoys writing down tasks on paper, editing items on paper isn’t that user-friendly. By replacing pen and paper with stylus and touchscreen, and making use Google Tasks, he improved the process for himself.

Google Tasks

The Google Tasks platform allows you to record and edit tasks, and to share them across multiple devices. The app integrates nicely with Gmail and Google Calendar, and its browser functionality allowed Michal to auto-run it on Chromium in Raspbian, so his tasks automatically display on the touchscreen. #NotSponsored

Google Tasks Raspberry Pi to-do list Michael Sporna

Build your own

Find full build details for the to-do list device on hackster.io! This is the first project Michal has shared on the website, and we’re looking forward to more makes from him in the future.

Now, where did that baby go?

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A waterproof Raspberry Pi?! Five 3D-printable projects to try

Summer is coming to a close. The evenings grow darker. So pack away your flip flops, hang up your beach towel, and settle in for the colder months with these fun 3D-printable projects to make at home or in your local makerspace.

Fallout 4 desktop terminal

Power Up Props’ replica of the Fallout desktop terminals fits a 3.5″ screen and a Raspberry Pi 3B. Any Fallout fans out there will be pleased to know that you don’t need to raise your Science level to hack into this terminal — you’ll just need access to a 3D printer and these free files from My Mini Factory.

Fallout 4 terminal 3d-printable raspberry pi case

And while you’re waiting for this to print, check out Power Up Props’ wall-mounted terminal!

Fallout 4 – Working Terminal (Raspberry Pi Version) – Power Up Props

Howdy neighbors, grab some fusion cores and put on your power armor because today we’re making a working replica of the wall mounted computer “terminals” from the Fallout series, powered by a Raspberry Pi! Want one of your very own terminals?

Falcon Heavy night light

Remixing DAKINGINDANORF‘s low-poly Arduino-based design, this 3D-printable night light is a replica of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. The replica uses a Raspberry Pi Zero and a Pimoroni Unicorn pHAT to create a rather lovely rocket launch effect. Perfect for the budding space explorer in your home!

Falcon Heavy night light

I 3D printed a SpaceX Falcon Heavy night light, with some nice effects like it’s actually launching. Useful? Hell no. Cool? Hell yes! Blogpost with files and code: https://www.dennisjanssen.be/tutorials/falcon-heavy-night-light/

You can download the files directly from Dennis Janssen’s website.

Swimming IoT satellite

We’re really excited about this design and already thinking about how we’ll use it for our own projects:

Floating Raspberry Pi case

Using an acrylic Christmas bauble and 3D-printed parts, you can set your Raspberry Pi Zero W free in local bodies of water — ideal for nature watching and citizen science experiments.

Art Deco clock and weather display

Channel your inner Jay Gatsby with this Art Deco-effect clock and weather display.

Art Deco Raspberry Pi Clock

Fitted with a Raspberry Pi Zero W and an Adafruit piTFT display, this build is ideally suited for any late-night cocktail parties you may have planned.

High-altitude rocket holder

Send four Raspberry Pi Zeros and Camera Modules into the skies with this holder design from Thingiverse user randysteck.

Raspberry Pi Zero rocket holder

The 3D-printable holder will keep your boards safe and sound while they simultaneously record photos or video of their airborne adventure.

More more more

What projects did we miss? Share your favourite 3D-printable designs for Raspberry Pis in the comments so we can see more builds from the internet’s very best community!

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Working model of the Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse

When Dave shared his Raspberry Pi Zero–powered model of the Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse on Reddit, we fell a little bit in love.

Lame_Dave's Raspberry Pi Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse

Hello from the Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse

Dave was getting married inside London’s only lighthouse, situated at Trinity Buoy Wharf across the water from the O2 Arena.

Lame_Dave's Raspberry Pi Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse

The Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse

The Trinity Buoy Wharf lighthouse sits at the confluence of the River Thames (the big ol’ river running through London) and Bow Creek, a tidal estuary of the River Lea (the river Adele sings about in her song River Lea*!). When the wharf was closed in 1988, the lighthouse was put out of commission.

Dave is wonderful, and so are his lighthouses

On Reddit, Dave goes by the username Lame_Dave, but considering how wonderful and thoughtful his project for his lighthouse wedding is, we hereby rename him Wonderful_Thoughtful_Dave. Don’t put yourself down, Dave. You’re brilliant!

“I knew I wanted to make something involving electronics and 3D printing,” explains Wonderful_Thoughtful_Dave in an imgur post. “So I decided to make working model lighthouses as the table centrepieces.”

Designing and building ten tabletop lighthouses

Dave designed the 3D model in Autodesk 123D, with a plethora of photographs of the lighthouse as reference points. And many hours later, he began 3D printing ten lighthouse shells using his Prusa MK2.5.



With Samsung 18650 batteries and a 18650 shield for power, Dave hooked up Raspberry Pi Zeros to 6×2 LCD displays, LEDs, and stepper motors. With these components, each lighthouse to gives off a rather lovely light while also showing table number and meal status to guests. Neat!

Lame_Dave's Raspberry Pi Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse

“Each lighthouse has a JSON file on the Pi that tells it what messages to display when, so each table is personalised.”

The final result is beautiful and would look at home anywhere from a model town to a toy shop, or indeed the entrance of the Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse itself.

We love how Dave put different maker skills to use here, from 3D design and printing, to constructing and coding. Hopefully, we’ll see more projects from him in the future!

Remaking classic landmarks

Here in the UK, people have a thing for iconic buildings. And at Pi Towers, we adore it when you recreate historic landmarks like this with the help of our humble board.

Why not try creating your own reimagining, such as the Project Arthur ISS tracker, a papercraft and Pi build that pays homage to Arthur, the first satellite dish at the Cornish Goonhilly Earth Satellite Station?

Arthur satellite dish Trinity Buoy Wharf Lighthouse

Or come up with something completely new! We’d love to see, say, a working model of London’s Tower Bridge, or a light-up King’s College Chapel. Whatever landmark makes your day, why not build a scale model using your maker skills and electronics?

 

 

 

*Sadly, we are unable to share the song for copyright issues, so here is the Adele edition of Carpool Karaoke instead.

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Today’s blog post is about Junie Genius

It’s Monday. It’s morning. It’s England. The members of the Raspberry Pi Comms team begin to filter into Pi Towers, drowsy and semi-conscious. We’re tired from our weekends of debauchery.

One by one, we file into the kitchen. Fingers are clutching the handles of favourite mugs as we line up for the coffee machine. Select, click, wait. Select, click, wait. Double Americanos and Flat Whites pour, steaming hot and promising the glorious punch of caffeine to finally start our week.

Back in the office space, we turn on laptops, sign into Slack, and half-heartedly skim through pending messages while the coffee buzz begins to make its way through our systems, bringing us back to life.

“Ooooh”, comes a voice from the end desk, and heads turn towards Alex, who has opened the subscriptions page of the Raspberry Pi YouTube channel.

“Ooooh?” replies Helen, lifting herself from her chair to peer over the dividing wall between their desks.

“New Junie!”

Figures gather behind the Social Media Editor as she connects her laptop to her second display and enlarges the video to fullscreen.

It’s Monday. It’s morning. It’s England. And mornings like this are made for Junie Genius.

ROBOTS RUINED MY LIFE (and my sleep schedule)

This week, it gets personal. In the past, I’ve fought robots, and robots have fought me, BUT NOW, together, we’re fighting crime. SUPPORT ME ON PATREON: https://www.patreon.com/JunieGenius HANG W/ ME ONLINE: INSTAGRAM – https://www.instagram.com/juniegenius/ TWITTER – https://twitter.com/Junie_Genius I HAVE TEE SHIRTS: https://teespring.com/stores/junie-genius?page=1 #23942939_ON_TRENDING If you see this, comment if you would join my team of robotic Avengers.

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Argon ONE: a super case for your Raspberry Pi

The friendly people at Argon40, one of our Approved Resellers in Hong Kong, have an already-successful Kickstarter on the go for their Argon ONE Raspberry Pi case. I’ve got one of them on my desk at the moment. It’s a very pleasing object. “That’s quite nice,” enthuses Gordon, who isn’t very good at enthusing.

The Argon ONE: look at the shiny!

The Argon ONE is a nifty little aluminium-alloy case that offers well thought-through cable, power, and temperature management. We chatted to Joseph from Argon40 about the team’s development process, and he explained:

When we started the project, we initially designed the product to suit our needs based on our experiences of playing around with the Raspberry Pi. We wanted a case that is nice to look and at the same time has all the basic features that we loved about the Raspberry Pi: small footprint, access to GPIO, low power consumption. Then we looked into the nice-to-have stuff like good heat dissipation for better performance, a proper shut-down, and a form factor that is elegant but not extravagant.

Clicky magnets

What I find particularly satisfying about the Argon ONE is its GPIO access. It has a neat recess with clear pin labels and access to an inbuilt, colour-coded header that connects to your Pi’s GPIO pins. When you’re not using the pins, you probably want to keep them away from dust, spilled coffee, and the gross candy-corn M&Ms that Alex sometimes throws at you for literally no reason. The Argon ONE helps you out here: a cover fits perfectly over the GPIO recess, held in place by magnets that are just exactly strong enough for the job. Being a fidgeter, I find that this lends itself to compulsive clicking.

*click* *click* *click*

Injection moulding

We like the build quality here, especially at this price point (it’s HK$157, US$20, or GB£15, and early-bird pledges are cheaper). The Argon40 team was keen to use alumnium for the upper part of the case, for robustness and durability along with good looks; that proved a challenge, given that they wanted to keep the case affordable. “Fortunately, we found a factory that allowed us to do aluminum-alloy injection instead of going for the CNC option,” says Joseph.

“Have you tried turning if off and on again?”

The Raspberry Pi doesn’t have a power button, and we hear a lot from people who’d like it to. Happily, our community has come up with lots of ways to add one: this case, for example. Once you install Argon40’s shutdown script in Raspbian, pressing the case’s power button will run the script to shut the Pi down cleanly, then cut the power.

Find out more on Kickstarter — this campaign is well worth a look if you’re after a decent case. Back to Joseph for the last word, with which we heartily agree:

At the end of the day, our goal is for people to have their Raspberry Pis on top of their work desks, study tables, and workstations and in their living rooms, instead of keeping their barebones Pi tucked inside a drawer. Because as the saying goes, “Out of sight, out of mind,” which means that if they don’t see their Raspberry Pi, they won’t be able to tinker around with it or play with it to create projects.

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Announcing Coolest Projects 2019

Coolest Projects is the world’s leading technology fair for young people. It’s the science fair for the digital age, where thousands of young people showcase amazing projects that they’ve built using digital technologies. If you want to meet the innovators of the future, this is the place to be, so today we’re really excited to announce three Coolest Projects events in 2019.

Will you be attending Coolest Projects 2019?

Dates are now live for Coolest Projects 2019. Will you be joining us in the UK, Republic of Ireland, or North America?

I’ll never forget my first Coolest Projects

My first experience was in Dublin in 2016. I had been told Coolest Projects was impressive, but I was blown away by the creativity, innovation, and sheer effort that everyone had put in. Every bit as impressive as the technology was the sense of community, particularly among the young people. Girls and boys, with different backgrounds and levels of skill, travelled from all over the world to show off what they’d made and to be inspired by each other.

Igniting imaginations

Coolest Projects began in 2012, the work of CoderDojo volunteers Noel King and Ben Chapman. The first event was held in Dublin, and this city remains the location of the annual Coolest Projects International event. Since then, it has sparked off events all over the world, organised by the community and engaging thousands more young people.

This year, the baton passed to the Raspberry Pi Foundation. We’ve just completed our first season managing the Coolest Projects events and brand, including the first-ever UK event, which took place in April, and a US event that we held at Discovery Cube in Orange County on 23 September. We’ve had a lot of fun!

We’ve seen revolutionary ideas, including a robot guide dog for blind people and a bot detector that could disrupt the games industry. We’ve seen kids’ grit and determination in overcoming heinous obstacles such as their projects breaking in transit and having to rebuild everything from scratch on the morning of the event.

We’ve also seen hundreds of young people who are levelling up, being inspired to learn more, and bringing more ambitious and challenging projects to every new event.

Coolest Projects 2019

We want to expand Coolest Projects and provide a space for even more young people to showcase their digital makes. Today we’re announcing the dates for three Coolest Projects events that are taking place in 2019:

  • Coolest Projects UK, Saturday 2 March, The Sharp Project, Manchester
  • Coolest Projects USA, Saturday 23 March, Discovery Cube Orange County, California
  • Coolest Projects International, Sunday 5 May, RDS, Dublin, Ireland

These are the events that we’ll be running directly, and there will also be community-led events happening in Milan, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Bulgaria.

Project registration for all three events we’re leading opens in January 2019, so you’ve got plenty of time to plan for your next big idea.

If you need some inspiration, there are plenty of places to start. You could check out our How to make a project worksheets worksheets, or get try out one of our online projects before you plan your own.



Head to coolestprojects.org to find out about the 2019 events and how you can get involved!

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Your face, 14 ft tall: image mapping with As We Are

While at World Maker Faire New York last weekend, I found myself chatting to a rather lovely gentleman by the name of Mac Pierce. During our conversation, Mac mentioned a project he’d worked on called As We Are, an interactive art installation located in the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus, Ohio.

as we are

“So it’s this 14-foot head covered in LEDs…”, Mac began, and after his brief explanation, I found myself grabbing nearby makers to have him tell them about the project too. I was hooked! I hadn’t even seen photos of the sculpture, yet I was hooked. And true to his word, Mac had the press release for As We Are sitting in my inbox when I returned to Pi Towers.

So here is it:

The Greater Columbus Convention Center: “As We Are” – Creating the Ultimate Selfie Machine

DCL, an award-winning fabricator of architectural specialties and custom experiential design elements, worked with artist Matthew Mohr to develop, engineer and fabricate this 14ft, 7,000lb, interactive digital sculpture. Featuring custom LED modules, an integrated 3D photobooth, 32 cameras, and a touch-screen display – this unique project combines technologies to present a seamless experience for visitors to display their own portrait on the sculpture.

As We Are

The brainchild of artist Matthew Mohr, As We Are was engineered and produced by DCL, an award-winning Boston-based fabricator whose greatest achievement to date, in my opinion at least, is hiring Mac Pierce.

as we are

YAY!

DCL built the 14-foot structure using 24 layers of aluminium ‘ribs’ covered in custom Sansi LED modules. These modules add up to an astounding 850000 individual LEDs, allowing for crisp detail of images displayed by the build.

as we are

When a visitor to the Convention Center steps inside the interactive sculpture, they’re met with a wall of 32 Raspberry Pis plus Camera Modules. The Pis use facial recognition software to 3D scan the visitor’s face and flattened the image, and then map the face across the outer surface of the structure.

Matthew Mohr was inspired to show off the diversity of Columbus, OH, while also creating a sense of oneness with As We Are. Combining technology and interaction, the sculpture has been called “the ultimate selfie machine”.

If you’re in or near Columbus and able to visit the installation, we’d love to see your photos, so please share them with us on our social media platforms.

Raspberry Pi facial mapping as we are

You see now why I was dumbstruck when Mac told me about this project, yes?

Always tell us

Had it not been for a chance encounter with Mac at Maker Faire, we may never have heard of As We Are. While Matthew Mohr and DCL installed the sculpture in 2017, very little fuss was made about the use of Raspberry Pis within it, and it completely slipped under our radar. So if you are working on a project for your business, as a maker, or for any other reason, and you’re using a Raspberry Pi, please make sure to let us know by emailing comms@raspberrypi.org.

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Explore the depths with the PiCam Marine

This article from The MagPi issue 74 highlights the use of the Raspberry Pi Zero to build a marine camera for coral exploration. Get your copy of The MagPi in stores now, or download it as a free PDF here.

Raspberry Pi Picam Marine

The crew took 20 000 photos in total during the cruise.

Ecologists in Germany are deploying camera-equipped Pi Zero Ws off the coast of Norway to discover more about coral activity. Dr Autun Purser works in the Deep Sea Ecology and Technology group of the Alfred Wegener Institute. The group has a keen interest in cold-water corals, which are found in most European seas.

Raspberry Pi Picam Marine

Besides coral, they identified dozens of crabs.

“In the last three decades, we’ve started to understand these can form reefs whenever conditions are suitable for growth,” explains Autun. “During our cruise in the Skagerrak, we intended to map corals and see when, and under what conditions, they did most feeding.”

Feeding time

Their aim was to continue the development of “cheap camera systems which can be used for a range of applications in the deep sea, down to depths of at least 6000 metres. We investigated the use of Pi Zero W computers and [Raspberry Pi Camera Modules] to record video snippets of both the seafloor and any scientific devices that we place underwater, and we found the small size of the computers to be of great benefit to us.”

Raspberry Pi Picam Marine

The PiCam Marines are sent underwater in the deployment basket of a submarine. The captain, crew, and scientists aboard RV Poseidon cruise POS526 were also essential for the initial deployments.

The Pi Zero Ws and cameras are placed in strong, waterproof pressure containers, and powered by Li-ion batteries that can withstand the cold deep ocean conditions. “The WiFi connectivity allowed us to set up a router on deck to both initiate our cameras and, on retrieval from the sea-floor, download our collected images without having to reopen the pressure housings,” reveals Autun.


He and two colleagues programmed the camera system using Python 3 to turn on an LED light and take a maximum resolution image, at set times. It has proven “capable of imaging individual corals from 2 m distance, allowing us to tell if the tentacles were actively extended or not.”

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Picademy North America 2018: That’s a Wrap!

Hooray! We’re celebrating our third season leading educator training in North America. That’s 20 Picademy workshops in 11 cities with 791 happy teachers graduating as Raspberry Pi Certified Educators. This summer was particularly rich with successes, challenges, and lessons learned let’s take a closer look:

Andrew Collins on Twitter

That’s a wrap on #Picademy North America 2018! We welcomed over 300 educators in Denver, Jersey City, Atlanta and Seattle to the @Raspberry_Pi community. Congrats and go forth on your digital making journey! 😀🙌 https://t.co/aMyHr2KkuL

Picademy North America

Picademy is a free, two-day training program that helps educators jump start their digital making journey. On day one, educators explore digital making with the Raspberry Pi computer: blinking LEDs, taking pictures, making motors spin, sensing their environment, and composing music. On day two, they take what they’ve learned from these experiences and collaborate with a team to design and build their own real world project.

Picademy at Liberty Science Center (June 18, 2018 – June 22, 2018)

A total of 80 educators from all over the globe visited Liberty Science Center the week of June 18 – 22 to learn coding and technology skills as part of the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s Picademy program. The week of learning culminated in a programming design challenge where the participants created projects using their new skills via the Raspberry Pi computer.

Big interest

We received over 1400 applications for this year’s program, a 40% increase from last year. This enormous interest came from educators in North America and across the globe; we received applications from 49 different U.S. States and 20 countries. And it’s not just classroom teachers either. More than half of our applicants worked outside of a traditional classroom environment, as librarians, after-school providers, teacher trainers, museum educators, and technology coordinators. Out of this pool, we accepted 313 educators to our Picademy 2018 workshops in Denver, Jersey City, Atlanta, and Seattle.

Big impact

We want to make sure that the work we do is having the impact we we intend, so we ask educators who come to Picademy about their skills, experience, and confidence before they participate in the program and afterwards. Before Picademy, only 13% said they felt confident using using a Raspberry Pi computer. After attending, this number rose significantly, with 78% now confident using Raspberry Pi. This increase in confidence matched their sense of professional growth: the majority of educators said that learning new content and gaining new skills were the most memorable parts of their Picademy experience.

Raspberry Pi Picademy North America 2018

We also had 100% of attendees indicate that they would recommend Picademy to a colleague, and 70% report that they are very likely to share their learnings with fellow educators. This means an even greater number of educators, those who work alongside Raspberry Pi Certified Educators, will hopefully be impacted by Picademy workshop offerings.

“Picademy was such an engaging and hands-on experience. Every workshop and project was practical, tangible and most importantly, fun” — Amanda Valledor, Boston, MA

Next steps

What do educators go on to accomplish after Picademy? We’re actively gathering this data as we follow up with our certified educators, but based on feedback surveys we know that 58% of this season’s attendees are interested in starting a Code Club or CoderDojo in their community. We also saw that over 70% of educators are interested in leading a Raspberry Pi event or training; this could mean a Raspberry Jam, an educator workshop, or a Raspberry Pi-themed summer camp. Our team will continue to support each and every Raspberry Pi Certified Educator as they continue on their digital making journey.

Carrie Northcott on Twitter

Thank you @Raspberry_Pi for allowing each of us to come and get “debugged”, rewrite our “code”, and “program” our future moves as educators! #picademy #raspberrypi #picademyseattle #edtech @iluvteaching72 @MrsNatto https://t.co/37jMYDZThF

Special thanks to Dana and everyone else who helped to lead an awesome Picademy program this season. If you’d like to take a deeper dive, feel free to explore all of our data and findings in the Picademy North America 2018 Report.

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MagPi 74: Build a Raspberry Pi laptop!

Hey folks! Rob from The MagPi here with the good news that a brand new issue is out today, with a slightly new look. The MagPi 74 shows you how to build a Pi‑powered laptop, and gives tips on how to recycle an old laptop to use with Pi.

magpi 74

The laptop is not spooky, but the Halloween projects definitely are

We’ve got a pretty simple, tiny laptop build that you can follow along with, which will easily slip into your pocket once it’s completed. We also cover the basic Raspberry Pi Desktop experience, in case you fancy installing the x86 version to bring new life to an old laptop.

Welcome, foolish mortals…

I’m also very happy to announce that The MagPi Halloween projects feature is back this year! Put together by yours truly, Haunted Halloween Hacks should get you in the mood for the spookiest time of the year. October is the only month of the year that I’m allowed to make puns, so prepare yourself for some ghastly groaners.

magpi 74

Rob has unleashed his awful alliteration skills this issue, with some putrid puns

Still want more?

On top of all that, you can find more fantastic guides on making games in Python and in C/C++, along with our brand new Quickstart guide, a review of the latest Picade, and more inspiring projects than you can shake a Pi Zero at.

Qwerty the fish keeps this garden growing

magpi 74

Start making a Space Invaders clone with Pygame!

Get The MagPi 74

You can get The MagPi 74 today from WHSmith, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Asda. If you live in the US, head over to your local Barnes & Noble or Micro Center in the next few days for a print copy. You can also get the new issue online from our store, or digitally via our Android or iOS apps. And don’t forget, there’s always the free PDF as well.

Rolling subscription offer!

Want to support the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the magazine? You can now take out a monthly £5 subscription to the magazine, effectively creating a rolling pre‑order system that saves you money on each issue.

The MagPi subscription offer — The MagPi 74

You can also take out a twelve-month print subscription and get a Pi Zero W plus case and adapter cables absolutely free! This offer does not currently have an end date.

We need you!

Issue 75 is next month, and we’re planning to showcase 75 amazing Raspberry Pi projects! We need your help to vote for the top 50, so please head to the voting page and choose your favourite project. Click on a project name to cast your vote for that project.

That’s it for now! Oh, and if you make any Raspberry Pi Halloween projects this year, send them to us on Twitter or via email.

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Raspberry Jam Big Birthday Weekend 2019

For our birthday this year, we coordinated over 100 community-led Raspberry Jam events around the globe. In a few months’ time, Raspberry Pi will be seven years old – and to celebrate we’re hosting another Big Birthday Weekend, which takes place all over the world on 2-3 March 2019.

Raspberry Pi: aged six and a half

Last year’s event was a lot of fun! We sent out starter kits and extra birthday goodies to participating Jams, and even put together a tweeting Raspberry Pi photobooth for people to set up to share their events.



With the incredible support of the Raspberry Pi community, we were able to celebrate our sixth birthday in 40 countries, covering six continents – that is, every continent except Antarctica! Members of the Raspberry Pi Foundation team joined in with events in the UK, in California, across Europe, and elsewhere, despite unexpected UK snow storms.

Raspberry Jam Big Birthday Weekend 2018

To celebrate the Raspberry Pi’s sixth birthday, we coordinated Raspberry Jams all over the world to take place over the Raspberry Jam Big Birthday Weekend, 3-4 March 2018. A massive thank you to everyone who ran an event and attended.

For 2019, we’re hoping to go even bigger, and this is where you come in.

Get involved

If you’d like to run an event for our Big Birthday Weekend, please head over to the Big Birthday Weekend 2019 page and join our newsletter. That’s where we’ll provide updates on what’s going on and what you need to do to join in.

If this sounds like it might be your kind of thing, but you’ve never done it before, there’s plenty of time to get off to a gentle start and run a Jam before 2018 is out. When you join the newsletter, we’ll invite you to our Jam maker Slack community, where you can get support from us and from wonderful Jam makers all around the world. They have lots of help and advice to offer people who are just starting out with their first Jam, and you’ll be well rehearsed by the time the birthday weekend comes around.

As always, there will be cake. And if you can beat this edible Raspberry Pi from earlier this year, you have our utmost respect.

Start by downloading the Raspberry Jam Guidebook and checking out the Jam activity resources, branding pack, and more on our Jam page. And as ever, you can support the Raspberry Pi community online by following #RJam on Twitter.

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Networked knitting machine: not your average knit one, purl one

The moment we saw Sarah Spencer‘s knitted Stargazing tapestry, we knew we needed to know more. A couple of emails later, and here’s Sarah with a guest blog post telling you all you need to know about her hacking adventure with a 1980s knitting machine and a Raspberry Pi.

Knitting Printer! (slowest speed)

Printing a scarf on a Brother KM950i knitting machine from the 1980’s. To do this I have a Brother Motor arm to push the carriage back and forth and a homemade colour changer that automatically selects the colour on the left (the white and purple device with the LED).

Here’s Sarah…

Raspberry Pi: what’s there not to like? It’s powerful, compact, and oh so affordable! I used one as a portable media box attached to a pico projector for years. Setting one up as a media box is one of the most popular uses for them, but there’s so much more you can do.

Cue a 1980s Brother domestic knitting machine. Yep, you read that right. A knitting machine – to knit jumpers, hats, scarves, you name it. They don’t make domestic knitting machines any more, so a machine from the 1980s is about as modern as you can get. It comes with an onboard scanner to scan knitting patterns and a floppy drive port to back up your scans to an old floppy disk. Aah, the eighties – what a time to be alive!

Building a networked knitting machine

But this is an article about Raspberry Pi, right? So what does a 30-year-old knitting machine have to do with that? Well, I hacked my domestic knitting machine and turned it into a network printer with the help of a Raspberry Pi. By using a floppy drive emulator written in Python and a web interface, I can send an image to the Raspberry Pi over the network, preview it in a knitting grid, and tell it to send the knitting pattern to the knitting machine via the floppy drive port.

Sarah Spencer Networked knitting machine

OctoKnit

I call this set-up OctoKnit in honour of a more famous and widely used tool, OctoPrint for 3D printers, another popular application for Raspberry Pi.

Sarah Spencer Knitting Network Printer

I’ve made the OctoKnit web interface open source. You can find it on GitHub.

This project has been in the works for several years, and there’s been a few modifications to the knitting machine over that time. With the addition of a motor arm and an automatic colour changer, my knitting is getting very close to being hands-free. Here’s a photo of the knitting machine today, although the Raspberry Pi is hiding behind the machine in this shot:

Sarah Spencer Networked knitting machine

I’ve specialised in knitting multicolour work using a double-layered technique called double Jacquard, which requires two beds of needles. Hence the reason the machine has doubled in size from when I first started.

Knitting for Etsy

I made a thing that can make things, so I need to make something with it, right? Here are a few custom orders I’ve completed through my Etsy store:

Sarah Spencer Networked knitting machine

Stargazing

However, none of my previous works quite compares to my latest piece, Stargazing: a knitted tapestry. Knitted in seven panels stitched together by hand, the pattern on the Raspberry Pi is 21 times bigger than the memory available on the vintage knitting machine, so it’s knitted in 21 separate but seamless file transfers. It took over 100 hours of work and weighs 15kg.

Sarah Spencer Networked knitting machine

Stargazing is a celestial map of the night sky, featuring all 88 constellations across both Northern and Southern hemispheres. The line through the center is the Earth’s equator, projected out into space, with the sun, moon and planets of our solar system featured along it. The grey cloud is a representation of our galaxy, the Milky Way.

Heart of Pluto on Twitter

Happy 6pm, Fri 31st Aug 2018 😊 The tapestry is installed and the planets in the sky have now aligned with those in the knitting

When I first picked up a Raspberry Pi and turned it over in my hand, marvelling at the computing power in such a small, affordable unit, I never imagined in my wildest dreams what I’d end up doing with it.

What will you do with your Raspberry Pi?

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Celebrating our translators!

As the world gets ready to celebrate International Translation Day on 30 September, we want to say thank you to our amazing community of volunteer translators. This talented bunch work very hard so that people around the world can learn digital making and computing in their native languages.

Can you help us translate our content?

If you speak an additional language to English, volunteering as a translator is an easy way to make a big difference.

Our translators

The #RPiTranslate community is growing every day, and at the moment we have around 370 volunteers. They are translating our learning projects into 50 languages – everything from Afrikaans, to Tamil, to Scots Gaelic! Projects in 26 of those languages are already available on the Raspberry Pi learning projects website, and we continually add more.

Our translators are all volunteers, and they come from various walks of life. They are students and professionals, translators and coders, young and retired, already passionate about our mission or completely new to it.

Abdulaziz is a language coordinator for the Arabic language team. He is finishing his doctoral research at the University of Toledo in the US, and will soon start working as an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia. He translates for us because he believes our educational resources are great and he’d love to see them used by Arabic speakers of all ages.

Wojtek volunteers at a Code Club in Poland, and helps us translate our projects into Polish because he thinks translations are crucial for learning. When children can access lessons in their native language, they truly understand programming concepts, and that empowers them to experiment and create more.

getting started with raspberry pi

Cor is the main force behind all of our Dutch projects. He is a retired simulator designer and developer for the Royal Netherlands Air Force, and volunteers at a hackerspace in the Netherlands. While teaching young people coding and robotics, he realised how difficult it is for them to learn all of this in English. He decided to translate for us to change that.

Silvia started volunteering for us when she was studying for a degree in translation. She joined us to gain some real-life experience in translation and localisation, but quickly found herself immersed in our amazing community and became passionate about Raspberry Pi’s mission. She is still supporting us now, even though she has finished her degree and is working full-time.

Sanneke is a digital literacy consultant and librarian at Bibliotheek Kennemerwaard in the Netherlands. She runs five Dojos in the area where her library is based. Sanneke translates because it helps children who want to learn to code. English is taught from quite an early age at primary schools in the Netherlands, but having learning resources in Dutch is particularly helpful for young children.

All of these volunteers bring with them a unique set of skills and experiences. They make the #RPiTranslate community an amazing, diverse, successful team.

Raspberry Pi translators: we salute every single one of you. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

A GIF showing lots of Raspberry Pi colleagues smiling, saluting and clapping enthusiastically

Join us

Anyone can join this amazing group of people in their translation efforts. It’s really easy to get involved: you don’t need any experience of translation or coding, and you can choose how much time you want to commit.

Visit our translation page to find out more, or join one of our live Q&A sessions this week to ask our translation manager and language coordinators anything you’d like:

  • Wednesday 26 September at 18:00 BST – join here
  • Friday 28 September at 13:00 BST – join here

Happy translation week!

Special thanks to the Atlassian Foundation and MIT Solve for their continued support in developing our translation community.

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Developer Q&A: brand-new online training courses

There is always a flurry of activity at the start of the new academic year, and we are getting in on the action: this autumn and winter, we’ll be launching four new online courses! They are completely free and aim to give educators a solid grounding in the concepts and practical applications of computing.

I caught up with course developers Marc, Caitlyn, James, and Martin to find out what they have in store for you.




Dan Fisher: Hi everyone! First off, can you give me a rundown of what your courses are called and what your motivation was for creating them?

Martin O’Hanlon: Sure! So my course is called Programming 101: An Introduction to Python for Educators. We wanted to create an ‘introduction to programming’ course that anyone could follow, ensuring that learners get to understand concepts as well as practice coding. They will leave with a really good understanding of why programming is so useful, and of how it works.

James Robinson: Then, as a follow-up to this and many other beginner online programming courses, we will be releasing Programming 102: Think Like A Computer Scientist. A lot of courses spend time on the syntax and core elements of a language, without much focus on how to plan and construct a program. We feel the skills involved in understanding and breaking down a problem, before representing it in code, are fundamental to computer science. My course is therefore designed to give you the opportunity to explore these problem-solving skills while extending your knowledge of programming.

Marc Scott: My How Computers Work: Demystifying Computation course fills in the gaps in people’s knowledge about these amazing lumps of silicon and plastic. Computers are very abstract machines. Most people understand that computers can run large, complicated programs, but few people understand how computers are able to perform even the simplest of operations like counting or adding two numbers together. How Computers Work shows people how computers use simple components such as transistors to do incredible things.

Caitlyn Merry: My course is called Bringing Data to Life: Data Representation with Digital Media. Data representation is a huge part of the GCSE Computer Science curriculum, and we wanted to present some of the more theoretical parts of the subject in a fun, practical, and engaging way. And data is everywhere — it is such an important topic nowadays, with real-world impact, so we’re making sure the course is also useful for anyone else who wants to learn about data through the lens of creative media.

an animation of a dancing computer screen displaying the words 'hello world'

DF: Awesome! So who are the courses for?

MOH: Programming 101 is for anyone who wants to learn how to program in Python and gain an understanding for the concepts of computer programming.

JR: Programming 102 is for beginners who have already tackled some programming basics and have some experience in writing text-based programs.

CM: Bringing Data to Life is great if you want to understand how computers turn data into digital media: text, sound, video, and images — for example, photos on your smartphone.

MS: And How Computers Work is for anyone who is interested in learning how computers work. [laughter from the group]

DF: Short and to the point as ever, Marc.

MS: Okay, if you want a sensible answer, it would most help Computer Science teachers at secondary or high school level get to grips with the fundamentals and architecture.

DF: And what will they be doing in your courses, in practical terms?

MOH: Programming 101 will show you how to set up your computer for Python programming and then how to create Python programs! You’ll learn about the basic programming concepts of sequencing, selection, and repetition, and about how to use variables, input, output, ifs, lists, loops, functions, and more.

an animation showing how programming variables works

JR: Programming 102 discusses the importance of algorithms and their applications, and shows you how to plan and implement your own algorithms and reflect on their efficiency. Throughout the course, you’ll be using functions to structure your code and make your algorithms more versatile.

MS: In How Computers Work, learners will find out some of the historical origins of computers and programming, how computers work with ones and zeros, how logic gates can be used to perform calculations, and about the basic internals of the CPU, the central processing unit.

CM: In my Bringing Data to Life course, you’ll learn how text, images, and sound data is represented and stored by computers, but you’ll also be doing your own media computation: creating your own code and programs to manipulate existing text, images, and data!

DF: Cool! So what will learners end up taking away from your courses?

MOH: When you have completed the Programming 101 course, you’ll be able to create your own computer programs using Python, educate others in the fundamental concepts of computer programming, and take your learning further to understand more advanced concepts.

JR: After Programming 102, you’ll be able to plan and create structured and versatile programs and make use of more programming concepts including functions and dictionaries.

MS: From my course, you’ll get a solid grounding in how computers actually function, and an appreciation for the underlying simplicity behind complex computing architectures and programs.

an animation of how a relay works

At their core, computers works with simple components, e.g. relays like this.

CM: The take-away from mine will be an understanding of how computers present to you all the media you view on your phone, screens, etc., and you’ll gain some new skills to manipulate and change what you see and hear through computers.

DF: And how much would learners need to know before they start?

MOH: Programming 101 is suitable for complete beginners with no prior knowledge.

MS: The same goes for How Computers Work.

JR: For Programming 102, you’ll need to have already tackled some programming basics and have a little experience of writing text-based programs, but generally speaking, the courses are for beginner-level learners who are looking for a place to start.

CM: You’d just need a basic understanding of Python for Bringing Data to Life. Taking Programming 101 would be enough!

DF: That’s great, folks! Thanks for talking to me.


Programming 101 and How Computers Work will both begin running in October. Sign up for them today by visiting the Raspberry Pi Foundation page on FutureLearn.An animation of a castaway learning to codeProgramming 101 and How Computers Work will both begin running in October. Sign up for them today by visiting the Raspberry Pi Foundation page on FutureLearn.

Programming 102 and Bringing Data to Life will launch this winter. Sign up for our education newsletter Raspberry Pi LEARN to hear from us when they’re out!

Got a question you’d like to ask our online course developers? Post your comment below.

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HackSpace magazine issue 11: best maker hardware

Today is that glorious day of the month when a new issue of HackSpace magazine comes out!

Hackspace magazine issue 11 cover

HackSpace magazine #11: All you can hardware

The cream of this year’s hardware crop

You’re on safe and solid ground with an Arduino, or one of Adafruit’s boards — so much so that many makers get comfortable and never again look at the other options that are out there. With the help of Hackster’s chief hardware nerd Alex Glow, we’re here to open your eyes to the new devices and boards that could really kick your making into gear. We know it’s easy to stick with what you know, but trust us — hacker tech is getting better all the time. So try something new!

Hackspace magazine hardware feature spread

One man and his shed shack

If you want to learn stuff like how to build a workbench that includes a voice-activated beer dispenser, then check out Al’s Hack Shack on Youtube.

Al's Hack Shack

We went to see the man inside the shack to learn about the maker community’s love of sharing, why being grown-up means you get more time to play, and why making is good for your mental health.

Hacky Racers

Maker culture shows itself in all sorts of quirky forms. The one we’re portraying in issue 11 is the Hacky Racers: motorsport meets Robot Wars meets mud. Lots of mud. If you feel the need, the need for speed (or mud), then get involved!

Hacky Racers

Laser harp

Yes, you read that right! At HackSpace magazine, we get a lot of gear coming in for us to test, but few items have given us more joy than this laser harp.

It’s easy to build, it’s affordable, and it poses only a very small risk of burning out your retinas. It’s the most fun you can have for £8.59 including postage. Promise. Read our full review in this month’s issue!

And there’s more!

We demystify PAT testing, help you make sense of circuit design with a beginners’ guide to Tinkercad, tell you why you need an angle grinder, and show you the easiest way we’ve ever seen of keeping knives sharp. All this and more, in your latest issue of HackSpace magazine!

Get your copy of HackSpace magazine

If you like the sound of this month’s content, you can find HackSpace magazine in WHSmith, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and independent newsagents in the UK. If you live in the US, check out your local Barnes & Noble, Fry’s, or Micro Center next week. We’re also shipping to stores in Australia, Hong Kong, Canada, Singapore, Belgium, and Brazil, so be sure to ask your local newsagent whether they’ll be getting HackSpace magazine. And if you’d rather try before you buy, you can always download the free PDF.

Subscribe now

Subscribe now” may not be subtle as a marketing message, but we really think you should. You’ll get the magazine early, plus a lovely physical paper copy, which has really good battery life.

Oh, and twelve-month print subscribers get an Adafruit Circuit Playground Express loaded with inputs and sensors and ready for your next project. Tempted?

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