Raspberry Pi Blog

This is the official Raspberry Pi blog for news and updates from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, education initiatives, community projects and more!

New Wolfram Mathematica free resources for your Raspberry Pi

We’ve worked alongside the team at Wolfram Mathematica to create ten new free resources for our projects site, perfect to use at home, or in your classroom, Code Club, or CoderDojo.

Try out the Wolfram Language today, available as a free download for your Raspberry Pi (download details are below).

The Wolfram Language

The Wolfram language is particularly good at retrieving and working with data, like natural language and geographic information, and at producing visual representations with an impressively small amount of code. The language does a lot of the heavy lifting for you and is a great way to let young learners in particular work with data to quickly produce real results.

If you’d like to learn more about the Wolfram Language on the Raspberry Pi, check out this great blog post written by Lucy, Editor of The MagPi magazine!

Weather dashboard

Wolfram Mathematica Raspberry Pi Weather Dashboard

My favourite of the new projects is the weather dashboard which, in a few quick steps, teaches you to create this shiny-looking widget that takes the user’s location, finds their nearest major city, and gets current weather data for it. I tried this out with my own CoderDojo club and it got a very positive reception, even if Dublin weather usually does report rain!

Coin and dice

Wolfram Mathematica Raspberry Pi Coin and Dice

The coin and dice project shows you how to create a coin toss and dice roller that you can use to move your favourite board game into the digital age. It also introduces you to creating interfaces and controls for your projects, choosing random outcomes, and displaying images with the Wolfram Language.

Day and night

In the day and night tracker project, you create a program that gives you a real-time view of where the sun is up right now and lets you check whether it’s day or night time in a particular country. This is not only a pretty cool way to learn about things like time zones, but also shows you how to use geographic data and create an interactive experience in the Wolfram Language.

Sentimental 8-ball

Wolfram Mathematica Raspberry Pi 8-ball

In Sentimental 8-Ball, you create a Magic 8-Ball that picks its answers based on how positive or negative the mood of the user’s question seems. In doing so, you learn to work with lists and use the power of sentiment analysis in the Wolfram Language.

Face swap

Wolfram Mathematica Raspberry Pi face swap

This fun project lets you take a photo of you and your friend and have the Wolfram Language identify and swap your faces! Perfect for updating your profile photo, and also a great way to learn about functions and lists!

More Wolfram Mathematica projects

That’s only half of the selection of great new projects we’ve got for you! Go check them out, along with all the other Wolfram Language projects on our projects site.

Download the Wolfram Language and Mathematica to your Raspberry Pi

Mathematica and the Wolfram Language are included as part of NOOBS, or you can download them to Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi for free by entering the following commands into a terminal window and pressing Enter after each:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install wolfram-engine

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135 teams will run their experiments on the ISS for Astro Pi Mission Space Lab 2018-19

In this year’s round of Astro Pi Mission Space Lab, 135 teams will run their experiments on the ISS!

CSA Astronaut David Saint-Jacques congratulates all the participants on behalf of ESA and the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques aboard the International Space Station – ENGLISH

CSA astronaut David Saint-Jacques introduces Phase Three of the Raspberry Pi ESA Astro Pi Challenge aboard the International Space Station. Pretty cool, right?

(Find the French version of the video at the bottom of this blog post.)

Astro Pi Challenge 2018/2019

In September of last year, the European Space Agency and Raspberry Pi Foundation launched the European Astro Pi Challenge for 2018/2019.

It offers students and young people the amazing opportunity to conduct scientific investigations in space, by writing computer programs that run on Raspberry Pi computers aboard the International Space Station.

The Challenge offers two missions: Mission Zero and Mission Space Lab.

Astro Pi Mission Space Lab

Mission Space Lab, our more advanced mission, invited teams of students and young people under 19 years of age to take part in Mission Space Lab by submitting an idea for a scientific experiment to be run on the Astro Pi units.

Astro PI IR on ISS

Teams were able to choose between two themes for their experiments: Life in space and Life on Earth. Teams that chose the ‘Life on Earth’ theme were tasked with using the Astro Pi computer Izzy, fitted with a near-infrared camera facing out of an ISS window, to study the Earth. For ‘Life in space’, teams used the Astro Pi computer Ed, which is equipped with a camera for light sensing, and investigate life inside the Columbus module of the ISS.

There are four phases to Mission Space Lab:

    • Phase 1 – Design (September- October 2018)
      • Come up with an idea for your experiment
    • Phase 2 – Create (November 2018 to March 2019)
      • Code your program and test your experiment on Earth
    • Phase 3 – Deploy (April 2019)
      • Your program is deployed on the ISS
    • Phase 4 – Analyse (May 2019)
      • Use the data from your experiment to write your report

Phases 1 and 2

During Phase 1, the Astro Pi team received a record-breaking 471 entries from 24 countries! 381 teams were selected to progress to Phase 2 and had the chance to write computer programs for the scientific experiments they wanted to send to the Astro Pi computers aboard the International Space Station

Phases 3 and 4

After a long process of testing and judging experiments, the European Space Agency and Raspberry Pi Foundation are happy to announce that a record number of 135 teams have been granted ‘flight status’ for Phase 3 of the challenge!

Astro Pi Mission Space Lab logo

53 teams with ‘Life in space’ entries and 82 teams with ‘Life on Earth’ entries have qualified for ‘Phase 3 — Deploy’ and ‘Phase 4 — Analyse’ of the European Astro Pi Challenge. The teams’ experiments were selected based on their experiment quality, their code quality, and the feasibility of their experiment idea. The selected programs have been tested on ground to ensure they will run without error on board the ISS.

The teams will receive their data back after their programs have been deployed on the International Space Station. They will then be tasked with writing a short report about their findings for the Astro Pi team. We will select the 10 best reports as the winners, and those lucky teams will be awarded a special prize!

The selected programs will run in the coming days on the ISS, overseen by CSA Astronaut David Saint-Jacques himself!

L’astronaute David Saint-Jacques de l’ASC à bord de la Station spatiale internationale – FRENCH

L’astronaute David Saint-Jacques de l’ASC présente la troisième phase du défi “Raspberry Pi ESA Astro Pi” à bord de la Station spatiale internationale Watch in English: Subscribe to our YouTube channel: http://rpf.io/ytsub Help us reach a wider audience by translating our video content: http://rpf.io/yttranslate Buy a Raspberry Pi from one

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Eight years, 2000 blog posts

Today’s a bit of a milestone for us: this is the 2000th post on this blog.

Why does a computer company have a blog? When did it start, who writes it, and where does the content come from? And don’t you have sore fingers? All of these are good questions: I’m here to answer them for you.

The first ever Raspberry Pi blog post

Marital circumstances being what they are, I had a front-row view of everything that was going on at Raspberry Pi, right from the original conversations that kicked the project off in 2009. In 2011, when development was still being done on Eben’s and my kitchen table, we met with sudden and slightly alarming fame when Rory Cellan Jones from the BBC shot a short video of a prototype Raspberry Pi and blogged about it – his post went viral. I was working as a freelance journalist and editor at the time, but realised that we weren’t going to get a better chance to kickstart a community, so I dropped my freelance work and came to work full-time for Raspberry Pi.

Setting up an instantiation of WordPress so we could talk to all Rory’s readers, each of whom decided we’d promised we’d make them a $25 computer, was one of the first orders of business. We could use the WordPress site to announce news, and to run a sort of devlog, which is what became this blog; back then, many of our blog posts were about the development of the original Raspberry Pi.

It was a lovely time to be writing about what we do, because we could be very open about the development process and how we were moving towards launch in a way that sadly, is closed to us today. (If we’d blogged about the development of Raspberry Pi 3 in the detail we’d blogged about Raspberry Pi 1, we’d not only have been handing sensitive and helpful commercial information to the large number of competitor organisations that have sprung up like mushrooms since that original launch; but you’d also all have stopped buying Pi 2 in the run-up, starving us of the revenue we need to do the development work.)

Once Raspberry Pis started making their way into people’s hands in early 2012, I realised there was something else that it was important to share: news about what new users were doing with their Pis. And I will never, ever stop being shocked at the applications of Raspberry Pi that you come up with. Favourites from over the years? The paludarium’s still right up there (no, I didn’t know what a paludarium was either when I found out about it); the cucumber sorter’s brilliant; and the home-brew artificial pancreas blows my mind. I’ve a particular soft spot for musical projects (which I wish you guys would comment on a bit more so I had an excuse to write about more of them).

As we’ve grown, my job has grown too, so I don’t write all the posts here like I used to. I oversee press, communications, marketing and PR for Raspberry Pi Trading now, working with a team of writers, editors, designers, illustrators, photographers, videographers and managers – it’s very different from the days when the office was that kitchen table. Alex Bate, our magisterial Head of Social Media, now writes a lot of what you see on this blog, but it’s always a good day for me when I have time to pitch in and write a post.

I’d forgotten some of the early stuff before looking at 2011’s blog posts to jog my memory as I wrote today’s. What were we thinking when we decided to ship without GPIO pins soldered on? (Happily for the project and for the 25,000,000 Pi owners all over the world in 2019, we changed our minds before we finally launched.) Just how many days in aggregate did I spend stuffing envelopes with stickers at £1 a throw to raise some early funds to get the first PCBs made? (I still have nightmares about the paper cuts.) And every time I think I’m having a bad day, I need to remember that this thing happened, and yet everything was OK again in the end. (The backs of my hands have gone all prickly just thinking about it.) Now I think about it, the Xenon Death Flash happened too. We also survived that.

At the bottom of it all, this blog has always been about community. It’s about sharing what we do, what you do, and making links between people all over the world who have this little machine in common. The work you do telling people about Raspberry Pi, putting it into your own projects, and supporting us by buying the product doesn’t just help us make hardware: every penny we make funds the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s charitable work, helps kids on every continent to learn the skills they need to make their own futures better, and, we think, makes the world a better place. So thank you. As long as you keep reading, we’ll keep writing.

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Buy the official Raspberry Pi keyboard and mouse

Liz interjects with a TL;DR: you can buy our official (and very lovely) keyboard and mouse from today from all good Raspberry Pi retailers. We’re very proud of them. Get ’em while they’re hot!

Alex interjects with her own TL;DR: the keyboard is currently available in six layouts – English (UK), English (US), Spanish, French, German, and Italian – and we plan on producing more soon. Also, this video…what is…why is my left hand so weird at typing?!

New and official Raspberry Pi keyboard and mouse

It does what keyboards and mice do. Well, no, not what MICE do, but you get it.

Over to Simon for more on the development.

Magical mystery tour

When I joined Raspberry Pi, there was a feeling that we should be making our own keyboards and mice, which could be sold separately or put into kits. My first assignment was the task of making this a reality.

It was clear early on that the only way we could compete on plastic housings and keyboard matrix assemblies was to get these manufactured and tested in China – we’d love to have done the job in the UK, but we just couldn’t get the logistics to work. So for the past few months, I have been disappearing off on mysterious trips to Shenzhen in China. The reason for these trips was a secret to my friends and family, and the only stories I could tell were of the exotic food I ate. It’s a great relief to finally be able to talk about what I’ve been up to!

I’m delighted to announce the official Raspberry Pi keyboard with integrated USB Hub, and the official Raspberry Pi mouse.

Raspberry Pi official keyboard

Raspberry Pi official mouse

The mouse is a three-button, scroll-wheel optical device with Raspberry Pi logos on the base and cable, coloured to match the Pi case. We opted for high-quality Omron switches to give the click the best quality feel, and we adjusted the weight of it to give it the best response to movement. I think you’ll like it.

Raspberry Pi official mouse

Raspberry Pi official keyboard

The keyboard is a 78-key matrix, like those more commonly found in laptop computers. This is the same compact style used in previous Pi kits, just an awful lot nicer. We went through many prototype revisions to get the feel of the keys right, reduce the light leaks from the Caps Lock and Num Lock LEDs (who would have thought that red LEDs are transparent to red plastics?) and the surprisingly difficult task of getting the colours consistent.

Country-specific keyboards

The PCB for the keyboard and hub was designed by Raspberry Pi, so we control the quality of components and assembly.

We fitted the best USB hub IC we could find, and we worked with Holtek on custom firmware for the key matrix management. The outcome of this is the ability for the Pi to auto-detect what country the keyboard is configured for. We plan to provide a range of country-specific keyboards: we’re launching today with the UK, US, Germany, France, Italy, Spain – and there will be many more to follow.

And even if I say so myself, it’s really nice to have the matching kit of keyboard, mouse and Raspberry Pi case on your desk. Happy coding!

Buy yours today

The Raspberry Pi official keyboard and mouse are both available from our Approved Resellers. You can find your nearest Approved Reseller by selecting your country in the drop-down menu on our products pages.

Raspberry Pi starter kit

The official keyboard, in the English (UK) layout, and the mouse are also available at the Raspberry Pi shop in Cambridge, UK, and can be purchased individually or as part of our new Raspberry Pi Starter Kit, exclusive to our shop (for now!)

 

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Coding Pang’s sprite spawning mechanic | Wireframe #10

Rik Cross, Senior Learning Manager here at Raspberry Pi, shows you how to recreate the spawning of objects found in the balloon-bursting arcade gem Pang.

Pang: bringing balloon-hating to the masses since 1989.

Capcom’s Pang

Programmed by Mitchell and distributed by Capcom, Pang was first released as an arcade game in 1989, but was later ported to a whole host of home computers, including the ZX Spectrum, Amiga, and Commodore 64. The aim in Pang is to destroy balloons as they bounce around the screen, either alone or working together with another player, in increasingly elaborate levels. Destroying a balloon can sometimes also spawn a power-up, freezing all balloons for a short time or giving the player a better weapon with which to destroy balloons.

Initially, the player is faced with the task of destroying a small number of large balloons. However, destroying a large balloon spawns two smaller balloons, which in turn spawns two smaller balloons, and so on. Each level is only complete once all balloons have been broken up and completely destroyed. To add challenge to the game, different-sized balloons have different attributes – smaller balloons move faster and don’t bounce as high, making them more difficult to destroy.

Rik’s spawning balloons, up and running in Pygame Zero. Hit space to divide them into smaller balloons.

Spawning balloons

There are a few different ways to achieve this game mechanic, but the approach I’ll take in my example is to use various features of object orientation (as usual, my example code has been written in Python, using the Pygame Zero library). It’s also worth mentioning that for brevity, the example code only deals with simple spawning and destroying of objects, and doesn’t handle balloon movement or collision detection.

The base Enemy class is simply a subclass of Pygame Zero’s Actor class, including a static enemies list to keep track of all enemies that exist within a level. The Enemy subclass also includes a destroy() method, which removes an enemy from the enemies list and deletes the object.

There are then three further subclasses of the Enemy class, called LargeEnemy, MediumEnemy, and SmallEnemy. Each of these subclasses are instantiated with a specific image, and also include a destroy() method. This method simply calls the same destroy() method of its parent Enemy class, but additionally creates two more objects nearby — with large enemies spawning two medium enemies, and medium enemies spawning two small enemies.

Wireframe 10 Pang

Here’s Rik’s example code, which recreates Pang’s spawning balloons in Python. To get it running on your system, you’ll first need to install Pygame Zero – you can find full instructions here. And you can download the code here.

In the example code, initially two LargeEnemy objects are created, with the first object in the enemies list having its destroy() method called each time the Space key is pressed. If you run this code, you’ll see that the first large enemy is destroyed and two medium-sized enemies are created. This chain reaction of destroying and creating enemies continues until all SmallEnemy objects are destroyed (small enemies don’t create any other enemies when destroyed).

As I mentioned earlier, this isn’t the only way of achieving this behaviour, and there are advantages and disadvantages to this approach. Using subclasses for each size of enemy allows for a lot of customisation, but could get unwieldy if much more than three enemy sizes are required. One alternative is to simply have a single Enemy class, with a size attribute. The enemy’s image, the entities it creates when destroyed, and even the movement speed and bounce height could all depend on the value of the enemy size.

You can read the rest of the feature in Wireframe issue 10, available now in Tesco, WHSmith, and all good independent UK newsagents.

Or you can buy Wireframe directly from us – worldwide delivery is available. And if you’d like to own a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download a free PDF.

Make sure to follow Wireframe on Twitter and Facebook for updates and exclusives, and for subscriptions, visit the Wireframe website to save 49% compared to newsstand pricing!

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Pi-powered pie-consumption pie chart

Mike MacHenry built a project that’s pure pi(e) for Pi Day. Introducing: the Pie Pie Chart (powered by Pi).

This is a simple little project, the sole purpose of which is to make a pie that outputs visual data to tell you how much of it’s been eaten. Which it does admirably, as you can see in the image above.

Mike’s made the code and instructions available under the MIT licence, so I’m just going to paste his text here, because it’s perfect and we can’t improve on it. (You can check it all out on his GitHub too if you like.) Thanks, Mike!

Materials needed

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Load Cell — 5kg
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Load Cell Amplifier — HX711
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+
  • 3/4 cup shortening
  • 11.1″ LCD Screen
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 8GB microSD card
  • 5 cups fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
  • Tiny breadboard
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • Hookup wires
  • 1-1/3 cups sugar
  • Two 8″ × 8″ × 1/8″ pieces of wood or plastic
  • 2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
  • Two 4M × 10mm screws
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Two 5M × 10mm screws
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Two 4M spacers
  • 1 tablespoon 2% milk
  • Two 5M spacers
  • 3 tablespoons cold water

Tools needed

  • Rolling pin
  • Two large mixing bowls
  • Soldering iron
  • 9″ pie plate
  • Refrigerator
  • Oven
  • Wire stripper
  • Set of measuring cups and spoons

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt; cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  2. Download and install Raspbian to an SD card and boot your Raspberry Pi following the instructions on their website. This project has been tested on version 2018-11-13-raspbian-stretch-full, but most any version should work.
  3. Combine the egg, water and vinegar; stir into flour mixture just until moistened.
  4. Drill holes in each 8″x8″ sheet to support load cell.
  5. Divide dough so that one ball is slightly larger than the other; wrap each in plastic wrap.
  6. Secure load cell between sheets separated by spacers.
  7. Refrigerate (dough, not load cell) for 30 minutes or until easy to handle.
  8. Use the breadboard and wires to connect the HX711 load cell to the Raspberry Pi. Follow this tutorial and test to make sure you’re getting a reading using their example script.
  9. Meanwhile, in another large bowl, combine the sugar, tapioca, cornstarch and raspberries; let stand for 15 minutes.
  10. Download this repository to the Raspberry Pi. git clone https://github.com/mmachenry/pie-pie-chart.git
  11. On a lightly floured surface, roll out larger ball of dough to fit a 9″ pie plate. Transfer dough to pie plate; trim even with edge. Add raspberry filling; dot with butter.
  12. Change working directory to the project code. cd pie-pie-chart/
  13. Roll out remaining dough to fit top of pie; place over filling. Trim, seal, and flute edges. Cut slits in top. Brush with milk; sprinkle with sugar.
  14. Install dependencies. pip3 install -r requirements.txt
  15. Bake at 350° for 50-55 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbly. Cool on a wire rack.
  16. Run script and place pie on scale when prompted. python3 pie_pie_chart.py

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Yoga training with YogAI and a Raspberry Pi smart mirror | The MagPi issue 80

Running on a smart mirror, YogAI uses a database of postures, image recognition software, and the magic of mirrors to not only show users their current posture but to also teach them how to correct their posture to reach peak yogi-ness. Here’s Rob Zwetsloot from The MagPi magazine with more.

yogai

We’ve seen many ‘magic mirror’ projects over the past few years, featuring a TV screen behind the glass to show useful information, but YogAI takes the concept to a whole new level by providing an AI personal trainer to guide and correct your yoga positions.

Self-confessed fitness nuts Salma Mayorquin and Terry Rodriguez thought that having a personal trainer could be a way to keep track of their fitness progress, so why not try to make a virtual one? “With [deep learning] models like pose estimation, we figured there was a way we could make a program that could track how we were exercising and started experimenting from there,” says Terry.

“YogAI guides users through a flow of yoga poses, offering generally helpful advice when the camera senses a user not in the correct pose,” explains Salma. “At the heart, YogAI uses pose estimation to find reference key points on the body. This is used to understand and classify common yoga poses.”

Users interact with YogAI through both visual feedback via the mirror display, and a voice interface — using the Snips AIR voice assistant — which enables the user to give spoken commands to start, stop, pause, and restart a yoga session. YogAI also talks back through the Flite voice synthesiser to guide the yogi to achieve the correct poses.

While a prototype magic mirror only took the experienced makers a week to build, training the AI to recognise yoga poses in real time was a trickier task. “We need our computer vision models to run quickly so that we have enough resolution in time to identify the move,” reveals Terry.

Strike a pose

A Raspberry Pi 3 interprets the camera images in real time, detecting key body points to display the pose on the mirror and classify it using a deep-learning model trained with a dataset of around 35000 samples.

However, the pair found that the Pi could only run image inference at one frame every 4–5 seconds, resulting in lag. A workaround was soon found: “Shrinking our pose estimation models down using TensorFlow Lite, we were able to bring our frame rate from 0.2 fps to 2.5 fps,” says Salma. “For faster inference, we will look for ways to reduce the model further. We also believe upgrading to the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 will increase the performance significantly.”

“Overall, the accuracy across a dozen common poses is roughly 80%,” divulges Terry. “Not surprisingly, we find similar pose variants, e.g. warrior poses, can be a source of confusion. When the head/face is blocked, the pose estimates degrade, which impacts our classification of poses like downward dog.”

More intense exercise

As well as using the system for yoga, Salma and Terry are planning to adapt YogAI to monitor more energetic workouts. “We’re interested in strength training, and others have suggested dance and karate katas,” says Terry. “We think YogAI is well-positioned to perform more general health and personal wellness tasks.”

“We want to integrate with popular health wearables,” adds Salma. “A smart watch with an accelerometer and heart rate monitor can introduce a lot of important context to bring YogAI closer to our vision for a smart mirror yoga instructor and toward a personal wellness platform.”

More from The MagPi magazine

The MagPi magazine issue 80 is out today. Buy your copy now from the Raspberry Pi Press store, major newsagents in the UK, or Barnes & Noble, Fry’s, or Micro Center in the US. Or, download your free PDF copy from The MagPi magazine website.

Subscribe now

Subscribe to The MagPi magazine on a monthly, quarterly, or twelve-month basis to save money against newsstand prices!

Twelve-month print subscribers get a free Raspberry Pi 3A+, the perfect Raspberry Pi to try your hand at some of the latest projects covered in The MagPi magazine.

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Door Pi Plus — door security system for the elderly

13-year-old Freddie from Monmouthshire has gained national attention for his incredible award-winning invention Door Pi Plus.

Freddie – Door Plus Pi

No Description

Door security system

Freddie spent more than twelve months building a door security system for the elderly, inspired by the desire to help his great-aunt feel more secure at home.

The invention keeps the door locked until the camera recognises a face of a family member and makes it possible to open the lock. Freddie used a Raspberry Pi to enable facial recognition technology in his impressive project.

“I’ve been building this project on and off for a year now,” says Freddie. “I started coding at my primary school Code Club, but now I mainly code at home.”

Coolest Projects UK

Freddie took part in this year’s Coolest Projects UK, entering the Hardware category of the world-leading showcase for young innovators who make stuff with technology.

Mark Feltham on Twitter

The amazing Freddie explaing his security system for dementia sufferers at #coolestprojects @Raspberry_Pi facial recognition, PIR and RFID hooked up to lock through relays, coded in #python. He’s 13… #blownaway

Martin O’Hanlon of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and a judge at Coolest Projects UK, commented “I was blown away by the Door Pi Plus. The motivation to create something which would help others was clear, but the technical aspects of the project also really stood out, integrating lots of different technologies and making skills.

“The project used multiple Raspberry Pis to control an RFID reader, electronic door lock mechanism, cameras, motion sensors, and audio playback. The whole system sent messages to Freddie to ensure that his great-aunt would be safe and that she could get help if she needed it.“

Freddie won his Coolest Projects category to much acclaim, and went on to win the award for Junior Engineer of the Year at the Big Bang Fair and the Siemens Digital Skills Award!

Inspired by his experience making, he is now encouraging other young people to learn to code and start to make their own creations.

“Coding is cool because you can invent cool things to help you and other people around you. I do think more kids should code because lots of the job in the future are probably going to involved coding.”

Coolest Projects International

Freddie will participate in Coolest Projects International next, for which he won a special bursary as part of his award for winning the UK event’s Hardware category.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, Freddie decided to build a new project for the event! It’s called Safe Kids, and it’s a speed camera and ANPR system, to be installed outside primary schools.

He will be showcasing his new creation at Coolest Projects International in the RDS, Dublin on 5 May, alongside hundreds of young coders from around the globe.

Want to share your creation with the world too?

Then register your project idea for Coolest Projects International before the 14 April deadline, and get building for the event.

Participants of all ages and skill levels, and projects using all types of technology and hardware are encouraged!

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Build a security camera with Raspberry Pi and OpenCV

Tired of opening the refrigerator only to find that your favourite snack is missing? Get video evidence of sneaky fridge thieves sent to your phone, with Adrian Rosebeck’s Raspberry Pi security camera project.

Building a Raspberry Pi security camera with OpenCV

Learn how to build a IoT + Raspberry Pi security camera using OpenCV and computer vision. Send TXT/MMS message notifications, images, and video clips when the security camera is triggered. Full tutorial (including code) here: https://www.pyimagesearch.com/2019/03/25/building-a-raspberry-pi-security-camera-with-opencv

Protecting hummus

Adrian loves hummus. And, as you can see from my author bio, so do I. So it wasn’t hard for me to relate to Adrian’s story about his college roommates often stealing his cherished chickpea dip.

Garlic dessert

“Of course, back then I wasn’t as familiar with computer vision and OpenCV as I am now,” he explains on his blog. “Had I known what I do at present, I would have built a Raspberry Pi security camera to capture the hummus heist in action!”

Raspberry Pi security camera

So, in homage to his time as an undergrad, Adrian decided to finally build that security camera for his fridge, despite now only needing to protect his hummus from his wife. And to build it, he opted to use OpenCV, a Raspberry Pi, and a Raspberry Pi Camera Module.

Adrian’s camera is an IoT project: it not only captures footage but also uses Twillo to send that footage, via a cloud service (AWS), to a smartphone.

Because the content of your fridge lives in the dark when you’re not inspecting it, the code for capturing video footage detects light and dark, and records everything that occurs between the fridge door opening and closing. “You could also deploy this inside a mailbox that opens/closes,” suggests Adrian.

Get the code and more

Adrian provides all the code for the project on his blog, pyimagesearch, with a full explanation of why each piece of code is used — thanks, Adrian!

For more from Adrian, check out his brilliant deep learning projects: a fully functional Pokémon Pokédex and Santa Detector.

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Build a Raspberry Pi robot buggy

Need a project for the week? We’ve got one for you. Learn to build a Raspberry Pi robot buggy and control it via voice, smart device or homemade controller with our free online resources.

Build your robot buggy

To build a basic Raspberry Pi-powered robot buggy, you’ll need to start with a Raspberry Pi. For our free tutorial, the team uses a Raspberry Pi 3B+, though you should be good with most models.

You’ll also need some wheels, 12v DC motors, and a motor controller board, along with a few other peripherals such as jumper wires and batteries.

Our project resource will talk you through the whole set up, from setting up your tech and assembling your buggy, to writing code that will allow you to control your buggy with Python.

Control your robot buggy

Our follow-up resource will then show you how to set up your Android smartphone or Google AIY kit as a remote control for your robot. Or, for the more homebrew approach, you can find out how to build your own controller using a breadboard and tactile buttons.

Make your robot buggy do cool things

And, lastly, you can show off your coding skills, and the wonder of your new robot by programming it to do some pretty neat tricks, such as line following. Our last tutorial in the Buggy Robot trio will show you how to use sensors and write a line-following algorithm.

Do you want your robot to do more? Of course you do. Check out our How to build a competition-ready Raspberry Pi robot guide for more.

Pi Wars 2019

The William Gates Building in Cambridge will this weekend be home to Pi Wars, the “two-day family-friendly event in which teams compete for prestige and prizes on non-destructive challenge courses”. As the name suggests, all robots competing in the Pi Wars events have Raspberry Pi innards, and we love seeing the crazy creations made by members of the community.

If you can make it to the event, tickets are available here – a lot of us will be there, both as spectators and as judges (we’re not really allowed to participate, bums bums). And if you can’t, follow #PiWars on Twitter for updates throughout the event.

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