If you were one of the people following us on Twitter a couple of Saturdays ago, when we all hoofed it up to Manchester for the Manchester Raspberry Jam, you’ll have had a sneak preview of this: Dr Andrew “Pi Face” Robinson’s latest Pi escapade. I’ll let Andrew explain what’s going on. (Notice the mildly humiliating guest appearances from me and Clive.)
We think this is one of the most interesting photographic applications we’ve seen in the flesh so far. (Although I will admit to a moment’s disappointment when, on seeing it, getting excited and asking what it did, I was told that it was not a working Stargate after all.) You’ll have read many posts here about bringing down the price of professional photography equipment: we’ve seen focus-stacking on a budget, gigapixel photography, setting up moving time-lapse rigs, and shooting water droplets along with many, many other applications. (The photography tag here is one of my favourites – if you’ve got a few minutes, go and have a read.)
Andrew’s Frozen Pi setup shows us yet another example of bringing photographic technology with an astronomical off-the-shelf price down to achievable levels: of course, with 48 Raspberry Pis this still works out pretty pricey, but it means that any school with a classroom set of Pis suddenly finds it has bullet-time effects photography well within its grasp.
We first met Shea Silverman, based down in Florida, on one of our 2012 hackspace tours when we first visited FamiLAB. Shea’s brilliant – he does a lot of work with the Pi and MAME (the Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator), and he made us a really cute little Pi arcade cabinet which we display in the office. We’ve stayed in touch, and he’s let us know about the projects he’s been working on in that time; most recently Shea has written a book called Instant Raspberry Pi Gaming for absolute beginners who want to start gaming with the Raspberry Pi. (Thanks for the copy with the inscription, Shea!)
The book shows you how to set up software like MAME, SNES, Atari 2600 and PlayStation emulators; and how to keep them up to date. If you’re a gamer who wants to get started with a Pi, or someone who’s interested in retro gaming, it’s a great place to begin.
Shea’s blog is another great resource for Raspberry Pi users, with a particular emphasis on games, emulation and embedded systems. Recently, we’ve seen more and more people wanting to add a start-up video to their Pi, and Shea’s noticed the same thing, and has blogged his solution, which is rather neat.
This is Shea’s bootsplash animation for his PiMAME system, running on a Pi-enabled Motorola Lapdock. He’s using OMXPlayer to play a video file while the Pi itself is booting.
You can use any video you choose – it needs to be around 20 seconds long so it runs for long enough to cover up the scrolling kernel messages that you usually see during the Pi’s boot sequence. Shea walks you through the very simple startup script you’ll need, and through installing your video, on his blog. It should take you all of five minutes to set up.
Thanks, as always, for all your work on the Pi, and on your book, Shea. The Raspberry Pi depends on community members like you and the amazing amounts of effort you put in: we couldn’t do it without you and the thousands of other people that make the ecosystem around our little device so rich and interesting.
You met Lance Howarth, the CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation (this means he heads up our charitable giving), when he joined us earlier in the autumn. Today Lance has some news for you – and a very silly hat.
Ho Ho Ho!
He’s leaving presents under the tree, not stealing them. Honest.
Here at Pi Towers we are getting into the festive spirit, and we’ve been thinking how best to pay back the goodwill our community has shown us over the last year. So, in support of “Hour of Code” as part of Computer Science Education week, we got together with our friends from Google and we are going to give away Pis for Christmas. That’s right: we’re giving away up to 2000 Google Raspberry Pis to anyone under the age of 18 in the United Kingdom. To qualify for a free Pi you need to do one of two things. Either:
Design a “My Pi Project” poster and send it to us here at Pi Towers, and we’ll send you your own Raspberry Pi.
How do I take part?
You can get more information on Hour of Code week from our friends at Code.org. They have lots of great ideas of what you can do for the Hour Of Code. If you are a member of Code Club, how about getting your class to have a go at their festive project Christmas Capers? To qualify for your Google Pi, just ask your teacher to register here. At the end of next week we’ll take the first thousand Raspberry Pis and start shipping them out on a first come, first served basis, so the Pis should be waiting for you when you come back to school in January.
Not everyone is going to get the opportunity participate in the Hour of Code week, but don’t worry, you can still get a free Google Pi. All you need to do is design a poster showing us what you think would be a cool Raspberry Pi project. This might be something to do with your pet, like an automatic cat flap or feeder; something to do with photography, like looking at the thermal image of your house; or something festive like controlling the Christmas lights so they flash along to music. If fact, anything will do, we are just looking to see how imaginative you can be and to learn what you think would be a cool project. Once you have designed your poster you need to get your parent to print this form out, fill it in, and then send it with your poster to us by post at:
Raspberry Pi Foundation
Mount Pleasant House
Your poster needs to be with us by the 8th of January, so you’ll have plenty of time to get this done over the Christmas break. So get thinking!
Who ate all the Pis? Santa, of course!
A couple of notes: this promotion is only open to schools and kids in the UK (this requirement is placed on us by our partners at Google UK). You’ll receive Google Pi kits, which include a cased Model B Raspberry Pi, an SD card, a power supply, a copy of The MagPi, some projects recipe cards and a Getting Started guide. If you are a teacher and you send us a successful application, we will be getting in touch later in 2014 to talk about what you’re doing with the Raspberry Pis.
Will Jessop is a systems administrator for 37signals and he runs the North West Ruby User Group in Manchester. I bumped in to him recently and discovered he was working on a personal project with a Raspberry Pi. The aim of the project is to solve the problem of ping pong balls on the floor at the 37signals office in Chicago. The solution is a web-enabled robot with mounted camera allowing people to collect balls in to a basket.
The original version of the robot used the Custard Pi breakout, and then I suggested he looked at the MotorPiTX motor controller developed by Jason Barnett. He ordered one and joined Manchester Hackspace and began working on building or otherwise sourcing all the parts needed for the robot.
An early mains powered version using the MotorPiTX
Finding the new motor board much neater sitting on the original chassis, Will proceeded to design and 3D print motor mounts, caterpillar track mounts, a new base, a ball basket, and then added a mounted picamera with fish-eye lens.
3D printed parts
The underside, showing the pi
With a neat little camera robot, Will looked at options for battery powering it so it could roam free. Looking at power requirements and testing its usage while running the motors and streaming video over wireless, Will opted for a 5000mAh 7.4V lithium battery. He also added a lifter arm to the chassis, controlled independently of the robot itself.
Pi camera board with fish-eye lens
All the software on the Pi is written in Go, which Will sees as a great language for the Raspberry Pi as it creates small, efficient, statically compiled binaries that easily fit within the resource limits of the Pi. This runs alongside Will’s gamepad library (in C, available as a Ruby gem) on a laptop. Will also wrote a power control script to aid clean Pi shutdown via the MotorPiTX.
With the robot roaming free on its new battery, controlled by an xbox controller, the camera feed streaming over wifi, and the lifter arm functional, it was ready to present at the 16th Manchester Raspberry Jam! On a tour of the Manchester Hackspace during the Jam, Eben, Liz and Pete got to see it in action. Eben got hold of the controller and took it round picking up ping pong balls by watching the video stream on the laptop.
Playing at Madlab
Eben, Pete Will, Liz and Andrew at Manchester Hackspace
Eben – moustache and all – examines the robot
Eben gets a go
Will then took the robot to Miami to show it off at RubyConf, where many Rubyists got to have a play with it.
In action at RubyConf
Robot picking up ping pong balls:
Robot’s eye view:
Check out the series of posts on Will’s blog. Thanks to Manchester Hackspace and Jason Barnett for helping to facilitate the project. The robot’s not been installed in the 37signals office yet, but when web access to it is available, we’ll be sure to post the link so you can all have a go!
Gordon Hollingworth, our Director of Software, has been Googling himself, and mailed me to let me know about this video he found from Richard Ibbotson. Richard came by Pi Towers last month and filmed this little interview with Gordon and Eben – it’s worth a watch if you’re interested in what goes on behind the scenes. Enjoy! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o774LMtfeJY More
The Raspberry Pi User Guide, co-authored by our very own Eben Upton with Gareth Halfacree, is your complete guide to the Raspberry Pi, from setup and installing software to learning how to use the Pi to play music and video, using it in electronics projects, learning your first programming language, learning about networking – it’s a complete guide to everything you need to get going, and even if Eben wasn’t involved in this book, it’d be our first recommendation for… More
December’s MagPi was released this morning, and it’s full of Christmas cheer. This month you’ll learn how to make your Pi sing carols with Sonic Pi; and you’ll find out about environmental monitoring, so you can keep your electricity bill down without having to turn off the tree lights. We’re very taken by the first in a new series on building your own quadcopter: and by the second installment from Project Curacao, where a Pi is dangling from a radio… More
Have you seen all that stuff in the news about Amazon’s proposed new delivery method? At first glance, it looked like an April Fool’s joke – but then I remembered it was December. My money’s on it being a project that nobody intends to come to fruition; but a very clever bit of marketing for a month when Amazon sees more business than it does in any other month of the year. The idea here is that orders under five… More
I had mail yesterday from Andrew Gregory, a Linux journalist we’ve really enjoyed working with over the last few years. Andrew was already writing about Raspberry Pi before we had even started selling them, and it was good luck for us and for him that on the day we announced our launch, he already had a life-sized image of the Raspberry Pi squarely positioned on the front cover of Linux Format Magazine in shops across the UK. We like Andrew.… More
Well, that was a very long 30 days for both of us. Thanks to the following people and organizations, and one anonymous donor, for raising £1,500 (plus £236 of gift aid) to support Movember’s work in promoting men’s health. David Akerman Richard Ash Phil Atkin Lukas Barta Andy Batey Clive Beale Matthew Brown Tim Cox Hamish Cunningham George Dodds Alex Eames Finlay Edridge Alex Evans Louis Glass Dan Hagon Richard Harmer Matt Hawkins Philip Heron Dave Higham David Honess Michael… More
We’re welcoming a new member to the team at Pi Towers today. Some of you already know Ben Nuttall from his work on the Pi Weekly email newsletter (if you haven’t signed up already, you should), his hosting of the Manchester Jams, and his STEM activities. I first crossed paths with Ben when we met the… More
I’ve been meaning to write about this for ages: I hate watering the garden. I’ve met Ray, the Mind Behind, a couple of times now, I actually *own* one of these boards, and…I hate watering the garden. Did I mention that? If you hate watering the garden but enjoy messing around with computers, OpenSprinkler Pi is a no-brainer. It’s the cheapest and most configurable system of its type I’ve come across, it’s open source (and this means that Ray’s not… More
You might remember that Eben has been taking part in Movember this month, giving over his top lip to charity for thirty days. He’s raising money for men’s mental health, in memory of our friend Oggie, who died in 2007. He elected for the Magnum PI look (geddit?), but sadly, as the month has progressed, we have come to realise that Tom Selleck’s ability to grow hair on the top of his head as well helped him to avoid looking… More
We are huge, giant, enormous fans of Carrie Anne Philbin. Carrie Anne’s a pioneering computing teacher, whose Geek Gurl Diaries YouTube series we can’t say enough good things about. (If you haven’t checked it out yet, please do when you’ve finished reading this post.) Carrie Anne has been busy this year: as well as working full-time as a teacher and producing Geek Gurl Diaries, she’s created a scheme of work for Sonic Pi; she’s been active on the Government’s Computing… More
Before you go any further, please take a minute to consider your eyes. You only have two of them, and they’re not replaceable. You need both for certain applications. Lasers are dangerous, and they can burn flesh: please be careful around them. And with that out of the way… I found this project on our forums, and it knocked my socks off. Daniel Chai has made something incredible with a Pi and parts salvaged from a pair of optical drives:… More
A guest post today: I’m just off a plane and can barely string a sentence together. Thanks so much to all the progressive maths teachers we met at the Wolfram conference in ew York this week; we’re looking forward to finding out what your pupils do with Mathematica from now on! Over to Adam Kemény, from photobot.co in Hove, where he spends the day making robotic photobooths. This summer Photobot.Co Ltd built what we believe to be the world’s first Twitter-triggered… More
jamesh, just now:
General discussion • Re: gcc problem
By default GCc outputs a file called a.out. This should run by just typing ./a.out. it should already have execute permissions.
khisraw, just now:
C/C++ • Using cvPutText
HI, I am trying to print a text on the screeen but I keep getting an error. Can someone help me with the code?cvNamedWindow("Result", CV_NORMAL);cvMoveWindow("Result", 350,300);cvRectangle(img, cvPoint(0,0), cvPoint(2600,2000),cvScalarAll(255), CV_FILLED,8,0);cvShowImage("Result", img);cvPutText(img, mytext,cvPoint(100,100),CV_FONT_HERSHEY_SIMPLEX,cvScalarAll(0));cvWaitKey(0);Error I get is OpenCV Error: Assertion failed (text !=…
redhawk, just now:
General discussion • Re: gcc problem
It's ./cmd not . /cmd as an alternative you could simply enter the full path to binary i.e. /home/pi/cmd which should also work.Richard S.
DougieLawson, just now:
Advanced users • Re: Default rights on /var/www directory
DON'T DO THAT!If you allow me (or the hackers out there) to update any arbitrary file in /var/www then I can do very bad things (cross system script injection). Your upload directory shouldn't be the root directory of your web…