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!

PiPod: the Raspberry Pi Zero portable music player

We’ve seen many Raspberry Pi-powered music players over the years. But rarely are they as portable (and snazzy) as the PiPod by Hackaday user Bram.

PiPod Raspberry Pi music player

Portable music

My biggest regret in life? Convinced I wouldn’t need my 160GB iPod Classic anymore thanks to Spotify, I sold it to CEX for a painfully low price. But not only was I mistaken as to how handy it would have been to hold on to, the money I made doesn’t seem to justify parting ways with such an iconic piece of technology no longer available to purchase anew.

Which is why the PiPod project from Netherlands-based Hackaday user ‘Bram’ caught my attention instantly.

The PiPod

I made this music player because I wasn’t satisfied with the current playback methods that are available. The music streaming services available started to feel like radio stations with the same music repeating, they are also depended on an online internet connection while there might be offline functionality it is still limited by the available storage on your phone.

We hear ya, Bram.

With his mind set on creating a music player of their own to overcome the limitations on offer without having to pay hundreds of Euros for high-end portable devices, Bram got to work.

The PiPod, now in its third iteration, offers users a range of functionality and can be made fairly cheaply using Bram’s custom PCB.

PiPod Raspberry Pi music player

For the display, Bram uses a 2.2″ TFT screen connected to a Raspberry Pi Zero. As can be seen above, the screen offers all the information you could ever require of your media player despite the low 320 by 240 resolution.

For music playback, the PCB also includes the PCM5102A a 24-bit I2S DAC that offers a high-quality audio output accessible via a 3.5mm jack. And for power, Bram has done his homework, incorporating a series of components to protect the device from overcurrent, thermal overload and various other power-related concerns.

PiPod Raspberry Pi music player

The music interface itself uses VLC for backend playback and PyGame at the frontend, and all information and code for the project can be found on the Hackaday project page, including the 3D-printable files for the rather snazzy casing and its fantastic dock.

PiPod Raspberry Pi music player

Such snazziness

We’re sure Bram’s PiPod isn’t the only portable music device with a Pi inside. What have we missed? Share yours with us in the comments or on social media so we may bathe in their glory and give them the attention they deserve.

 

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Beautiful and inspiring plinky-plonky conductivity

Recently shared by Bare Conductive, Hwan Yun‘s interactive installation, Intuition, uses a Raspberry Pi and Bare Conductive tech to transport you to the calm wonder of Icelandic nature.

Intuition (2017)

Interactive sound installation electric paint on paper Listhús Gallery

Incorporation Bare Conductive

Bare Conductive’s water-based Electric Paint allows users to incorporate safe conductivity into their projects. With the use of a Raspberry Pi 3 and the brand’s Touch Board and Pi Cap, this conductivity can be upgraded to take distance, as well as touch, into consideration.

bare conductive Hwan Yun Raspberry Pi

Intuition

For his installation, Hwan created several patterns on paper using Electric Paint, with six patterns connected to the Touch Board and a further six to the Pi Cap.

This irregularity allows users to experiment, further exploring the sounds of nature that inspired the installation.

bare conductive Hwan Yun Raspberry Pi

The sounds themselves are less actual recordings and more a tribute to the way in which Hwan believes the picturesque beauty of the island communicates within itself.

Getting done with #interactive #soundinstallation for #contemporaryart #exhibition. Using #bareconductive

7 Likes, 1 Comments – HWANYUN (@_hwanyun_) on Instagram: “Getting done with #interactive #soundinstallation for #contemporaryart #exhibition. Using…”

Follow Hwan

If you’d like to see more installations from Hwan Yun, including behind-the-scenes posts from the creation of Intuition, be sure to follow him on Instagram. You can also learn more about his past and future projects on his website.

Bare Conductive

Bare Conductive products are available through many of our Approved Resellers, as well as the Bare Conductive website. As mentioned, their Conductive paint is not only water-based but also non-toxic, making it an ideal addition to any maker cupboard. For more inspiration when using Bare Conductive products, check out their Make page.

Low-tech cardboard robot buggy

And for more Bare Conductive products and Raspberry Pi makery, check out this low-tech Raspberry Pi robot by Clément Didier, previously covered on our blog.

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Helen’s hoglet: an adorable adventure

Today is a bank holiday here in England, as well as for lucky people in Wales and Northern Ireland. Pi Towers UK is running on a skeleton crew of Babbage Bear, several automated Raspberry Pis, and Noel Fielding, who lives behind the red door we never open.

So, as a gift for you all while we’re busy doing bank holiday things, here’s a video that Helen Lynn just recorded of one of the baby hedgehogs who live in her garden.

Helen’s hoglet

Uploaded by Raspberry Pi on 2018-08-24.

You’re welcome. See you tomorrow!

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Introducing the PoE HAT – available now!

In March 2018 we announced the launch of Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+. One of the many features added to the new board was the ability to be powered through Power over Ethernet (PoE) with a HAT. We are really pleased to announce that the PoE HAT is on sale from today.

Raspberry Pi PoE HAT Power over ethernet

The HAT connects to the Raspberry Pi 3B+ 0.1” headers: the 40-way GPIO; and the new 4-pin header near the USB connectors, which allows you to power the system using your Ethernet cable.

Power over Ethernet

Power over Ethernet is a widely adopted standard that places power on the Ethernet cable along with the data. It has no effect on the data, so you won’t lose bandwidth by using PoE. There are various standards of PoE; this HAT uses the most common standard 802.3af, which allows delivery of up to 15W. This means that the HAT is capable of providing all the power needed for running your Raspberry Pi. You will need power sourcing equipment to power your Pi. This is either provided by your network switch or with power injectors on an Ethernet cable.

Raspberry Pi PoE HAT Power over ethernet

Using the PoE HAT

The HAT is a compact, single-sided board that sits within the footprint of the Raspberry Pi. It will fit comfortably inside an official Raspberry Pi case. A small (25mm) fan is pre-installed on the board. We see the product as a useful component for people building systems that may be in tougher environments, so the addition of the fan helps with cooling. The fan is controlled over I2C via a small ATMEL processor which allows for it to be temperature-controlled: when your Raspberry Pi processor hits certain temperatures, the fan will be turned on to cool it down. To enable this you will need to get the latest firmware (sudo rpi-update).

Raspberry Pi PoE HAT Power over ethernet

Because the fan is controlled over I2C, none of the GPIO are used, so you can stack a second HAT on top of the connector. To do this you will need to buy some longer pass-through headers that expose the pins on the other side of the PoE HAT. You will need one for the 40-way and one for the 4-way connector that has the PoE splitters on it.

We’ve tested a variety of pass-through headers and can recommend the 2×20 pin header from Pimoroni and the 4-way risers from RS and element14.

Getting mains power to remote areas of buildings is often tricky. PoE support enables this with just an Ethernet cable, allowing you to provide power (and data) to your Pi wherever it is located. With the improved network booting you can now dispense with not only the power supply but also the SD Card, making deployment even cheaper for a Raspberry Pi based system in your factory or workplace.

Get ahead, get a HAT

We are very excited to see what new projects this enables for you. The Raspberry Pi Power over Ethernet HAT is available for sale now at $20, from Farnell, RS and The Approved Reseller Network.

 

Edit: I just saw this online and thought it was cool – Alex

Chris Burton on Twitter

Official @Raspberry_Pi PoE HAT powering the #ClusterHAT. With “temp_soft_limit=70” set, running #dnetc on all Pi Zeros and 4 cores of the #3Bplus looks to max out at 68.8C with no throttling :)

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HackSpace magazine 10: build a drone

If you’re a subscriber to HackSpace magazine you’ll already know all about issue 10. For the rest of you who’ve yet to subscribe, issue 10 is out today!

HackSpace magazine 10 Raspberry Pi Press

Build a drone

Ever since Icarus flew too close to the sun, man has dreamed of flight. Thanks to brushless motors, cheaper batteries than ever before, and smaller, more powerful microcontrollers, pretty much anyone with the right know-how can build their own drone. Discover the crucial steps you need to get right; find the right motors, propellers, and chassis; then get out there while the weather is still good and soar like a PCB eagle.

 

Rocket-launching robot

If you prefer to keep your remote-controlled vehicles on the ground, we have an inspiring tale of how one maker combined a miniature strandbeest with our other great obsession (fire, obviously) to create a unique firework launcher. Guy Fawkes would surely be pleased.

HackSpace magazine 10 Raspberry Pi Press

Hardware hacking for the environment

In less frivolous project news, we’re reporting from the Okavango Delta in Botswana, where open hardware, open data, and the hard work of volunteers are giving ecologists more information about this essential wetland region. Makers are bringing science out of labs and classrooms, and putting it into the hands of citizen scientists who want to understand and protect their local environment – that’s something we should be proud of.

HackSpace magazine 10 Raspberry Pi Press

PCBs win prizes

The Hackaday Prize: the Academy Awards of open hardware. Enter your project today and you stand a chance of winning $50,000. The competition is fierce, so before you do, read our interview with Stephen Tranovich. Stephen is the Technical Community Lead at the Hackaday Prize and decides who gets the chance to win the glittering prizes. Learn from their words!

HackSpace magazine 10 Raspberry Pi Press

Food

Our editor Ben loves to eat, so this month he’s been eating lamb kebabs cooked in his home-made tandoor. This ancient cooking method is used all over the Indian subcontinent, and imparts a unique flavour with its combination of heat and steam. Best of all, you can make your own tandoor oven with a Dremel and a few plant pots.

HackSpace magazine 10 Raspberry Pi Press

Tutorials

Add push notifications to your letterbox (so your dog doesn’t eat your new passport), write a game for an Arduino, add a recharging pocket to a bag so you can Instagram on the go, and learn everything there is to know about capacitors. All this and more, in HackSpace magazine issue 10!

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.

HackSpace magazine 10 Raspberry Pi Press

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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Build a social media follower counter

In this tutorial from HackSpace magazine issue 9, Paul Freeman-Powell shows you how to keep track of your social media followers, and encourage subscribers, by building a live follower counter. Get your copy of HackSpace magazine in stores now, or download it as a free PDF here.

Issues 10 of HackSpace magazine is available online and in stores from tomorrow!

The finished build with all components connected, working, and installed in the frame ready for hanging on the wall

If you run a local business like an electronics shop or a café, or if you just want to grow your online following and influence, this project is a fun way to help you keep track of your progress. A counter could also help contribute to growing your following if you hang it on the wall and actively ask your customers to like/follow you to see the numbers go up!

You’ve probably seen those social media follower counters that feature mechanical splitflap displays. In this project we’ll build a counter powered by RGB LEDs that scrolls through four social profiles, using APIs to pull the number of followers for each account. I’m using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram; you can, of course, tailor the project to your needs.

This project involves a bit of electronics, a bit of software coding, and a bit of woodwork, as well as some fairly advanced display work as we transfer a small portion of the Raspberry Pi’s HDMI output onto the LED matrices.

Let’s get social

First, you need to get your Raspberry Pi all set up and talking to the social networks that you’re going to display. Usually, it’s advisable to install Raspbian without any graphical user interface (GUI) for most electronics projects, but in this case you’ll be actively using that GUI, so make sure you start with a fresh and up-to-date installation of full-fat Raspbian.

phpMyAdmin gives you an easy web interface to allow you to access and edit the device’s settings – for example, speed and direction of scrolling, API credentials, and the social network accounts to monitor

You start by turning your humble little Raspberry Pi into your very own mini web server, which will gather your credentials, talk to the social networks, and display the follower counts. To do this, you need to install a LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) stack. Start by installing the Apache web server by opening a Terminal and typing:

sudo apt-get install apache2 -y

Then, open the web browser on your Pi and type http://localhost — you will see a default page telling you that Apache is working. The page on our little ‘website’ will use code written in the PHP language, so install that by returning to your Terminal and typing:

sudo apt-get install php -y

Once that’s complete, restart Apache:

sudo service apache2 restart

Next, you’ll install the database to store your credentials, settings, and the handles of the social accounts to track. This is done with the following command in your Terminal:

sudo apt-get install mysql-server php-mysql -y

To set a root password for your database, type the following command and follow the on-screen instructions:

sudo mysql_secure_installation

Restart Apache again. Then, for easier management of the database, I recommend installing phpMyAdmin:

sudo apt-get install phpMyAdmin -y

At this point, it’s a good idea to connect your Pi to a WiFi network, unless you’re going to be running a network cable to it. Either way, it’s useful to have SSH enabled and to know its IP address so we can access it remotely. Type the following to access Pi settings and enable SSH:

sudo raspi-config

To determine your Pi’s IP address (which will likely be something like 192.168.0.xxx), type either of the following two commands:

ifconfig # this gives you lots of extra info
hostname -I # this gives you less info, but all we need in this case

Now that SSH is enabled and you know the LAN IP address of the Pi, you can use PuTTY to connect to it from another computer for the rest of your work. The keyboard, mouse, and monitor can now be unplugged from the Raspberry Pi.

Social media monitor

To set up the database, type http://XXX/ phpmyadmin (where XXX is your Pi’s IP address) and log in as root with the password you set previously. Head to the User Accounts section and create a new user called socialCounter.

You can now download the first bit of code for this project by running this in your Terminal window:

cd /var/www/html

sudo apt-get update

sudo apt-get install git -y

sudo git clone https://github.com/paulfp/social- media-counter.git

Next, open up the db.php script and edit it to include the password you set when creating the socialCounter user:

cd ./social-media-counter

sudo nano db.php

The database, including tables and settings, is contained in the socialCounter.sql file; this can be imported either via the Terminal or via phpMyAdmin, then open up the credentials table. To retrieve the subscriber count, YouTube requires a Google API key, so go to console.cloud.google.com and create a new Project (call it anything you like). From the left-hand menu, select ‘APIs & Services’, followed by ‘Library’ and search for the YouTube Data API and enable it. Then go to the ‘Credentials’ tab and create an API key that you can then paste into the ‘googleApiKey’ database field.

Facebook requires you to create an app at developers.facebook.com, after which you can paste the details into the facebookAppId and facebookSecret fields. Unfortunately, due to recent scandals surrounding clandestine misuse of personal data on Facebook, you’ll need to submit your app for review and approval before it will work.

The ‘social_accounts’ table is where you enter the user names for the social networks you want to monitor, so replace those with your own and then open a new tab and navigate to http://XXX/socialmedia-counter. You should now see a black page with a tiny carousel showing the social media icons plus follower counts next to each one. The reason it’s so small is because it’s a 64×16 pixel portion of the screen that we’ll be displaying on our 64×16 LED boards.

GPIO pins to LED display

Now that you have your social network follower counts being grabbed and displayed, it’s time to get that to display on our screens. The first step is to wire them up with the DuPont jumper cables from the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO pins to the connection on the first board. This is quite fiddly, but there’s an excellent guide and diagram on GitHub within Henner Zeller’s library that we’ll be using later, so head to hsmag.cc/PLyRcK and refer to wiring.md.

The Raspberry Pi connects to the RGB LED screens with 14 jumper cables, and the screens are daisy-chained together with a ribbon cable

The second screen is daisy-chained to the first one with the ribbon cable, and the power connector that comes with the screens will plug into both panels. Once you’re done, your setup should look just like the picture on this page.

To display the Pi’s HDMI output on the LED screens, install Adafruit’s rpi-fb-matrix library (which in turn uses Henner Zeller’s library to address the panels) by typing the following commands:

sudo apt-get install -y build-essential libconfig++-dev

cd ~

git clone --recursive https://github.com/ adafruit/rpi-fb-matrix.git

cd rpi-fb-matrix

Next, you must define your wiring as regular. Type the following to edit the Makefile:

nano Makefile

Look for the HARDWARE_DESC= property and ensure the line looks like this: export HARDWARE_DESC=regular before saving and exiting nano. You’re now ready to compile the code, so type this and then sit back and watch the output:

make clean all

Once that’s done, there are a few more settings to change in the matrix configuration file, so open that up:

nano matrix.cfg

You need to make several changes in here, depending on your setup:

  • Change display_width to 64 and display_height to 16
  • Set panel_width to 32 and panel_height to 16
  • Set chain_length to 2
  • Set parallel_count to 1

The panel array should look like this:

panels = ( 
  ( { order = 1; rotate = 0; }, { order = 0; rotate = 0; } )
)

Uncomment the crop_origin = (0, 0) line to tell the tool that we don’t want to squish the entire display onto our screens, just an equivalent portion starting right in the top left of the display. Press CTRL+X, then Y, then ENTER to save and exit.

It ain’t pretty…but it’s out of sight. The Raspberry Pi plus the power supply for the screens fit nice and neatly behind the screens. I left each end open to allow airflow

Finally, before you can test the output, there are some other important settings you need to change first, so open up the Raspberry Pi’s boot configuration as follows:

sudo nano /boot/config.txt

First, disable the on-board sound (as it uses hardware that the screens rely on) by looking for the line that says dtparam=audio=on and changing it to off. Also, uncomment the line that says hdmi_force_hotplug=1, to ensure that an HDMI signal is still generated even with no HDMI monitor plugged in. Save and then reboot your Raspberry Pi.

Now run the program using the config you just set:

cd ~/rpi-fb-matrix

sudo ./rpi-fb-matrix matrix.cfg

You should now see the top 64×16 pixels of your Pi’s display represented on your RGB LED panels! This probably consists of the Raspberry Pi icon and the rest of the top portion of the display bar.

No screensaver!

At this point it’s important to ensure that there’s no screensaver or screen blanking enabled on the Pi, as you want this to display all the time. To disable screen blanking, first install the xscreensaver tool:

sudo apt-get install xscreensaver

That will add a screensaver option to the Pi’s GUI menus, allowing you to disable it completely. Finally, you need to tell the Raspberry Pi to do two things each time it loads:

  • Run the rpi-fb-matrix program (like we did manually just now)
  • Open the web browser in fullscreen (‘kiosk’ mode), pointed to the Social Counter web page

To do so, edit the Pi’s autostart configuration file:

sudo nano ~/.config/lxsession/LXDE-pi/autostart

Insert the following two lines at the end:

@sudo /home/pi/rpi-fb-matrix/rpi-fb-matrix /home/ pi/rpi-fb-matrix/matrix.cfg\

@chromium-browser --kiosk http://localhost/ social-media-counter

Et voilà!

Disconnect any keyboard, monitor, or mouse from the Pi and reboot it one more time. Once it’s started up again, you should have a fully working display cycling through each enabled social network, showing up-to-date follower counts for each.

It’s now time to make a surround to hold all the components together and allow you to wall-mount your display. The styling you go for is up to you — you could even go all out and design and 3D print a custom package.

The finished product, in pride of place on the wall of our office. Now I just need some more subscribers…!

For my surround, I went for the more rustic and homemade look, and used some spare bits of wood from an internal door frame lining. This worked really well due to the pre-cut recess. With a plywood back, you can screw everything together so that the wood holds the screens tightly enough to not require any extra fitting or gluing, making for easier future maintenance. To improve the look and readability of the display (as well as soften the light and reduce the brightness), you can use a reflective diffuser from an old broken LED TV if you can lay your hands on one from eBay or a TV repair shop, or just any other bit of translucent material. I found that two layers stapled on worked and looked great. Add some hooks to the back and — Bob’s your uncle — a finished, wall-mounted display!

Phew — that was quite an advanced build, but you now have a sophisticated display that can be used for any number of things and should delight your customers whilst helping to build your social following as well. Don’t forget to tweet us a picture of yours!

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Machine learning and rock, paper, scissors

Use a Raspberry Pi and a Pi Camera Module to build your own machine learning–powered rock paper scissors game!

Rock-Paper-Scissors game using computer vision and machine learning on Raspberry Pi

A Rock-Paper-Scissors game using computer vision and machine learning on the Raspberry Pi. Project GitHub page: https://github.com/DrGFreeman/rps-cv PROJECT ORIGIN: This project results from a challenge my son gave me when I was teaching him the basics of computer programming making a simple text based Rock-Paper-Scissors game in Python.

Virtual rock paper scissors

Here’s why you should always leave comments on our blog: this project from Julien de la Bruère-Terreault instantly had our attention when he shared it on our recent Android Things post.

Julien and his son were building a text-based version of rock paper scissors in Python when his son asked him: “Could you make a rock paper scissors game that uses the camera to detect hand gestures?” Obviously, Julien really had no choice but to accept the challenge.

“The game uses a Raspberry Pi computer and Raspberry Pi Camera Module installed on a 3D-printed support with LED strips to achieve consistent images,” Julien explains in the tutorial for the build. “The pictures taken by the camera are processed and fed to an image classifier that determines whether the gesture corresponds to ‘Rock’, ‘Paper’, or ‘Scissors’ gestures.”

How does it work?

Physically, the build uses a Pi 3 Model B and a Camera Module V2 alongside 3D-printed parts. The parts are all green, since a consistent colour allows easy subtraction of background from the captured images. You can download the files for the setup from Thingiverse.

rock paper scissors raspberry pi

To illustrate how the software works, Julien has created a rather delightful pipeline demonstrating where computer vision and machine learning come in.

rock paper scissors using raspberry pi

The way the software works means the game doesn’t need to be limited to the standard three hand signs. If you wanted to, you could add other signs such as ‘lizard’ and ‘Spock’! Or ‘fire’ and ‘water balloon’. Or any other alterations made to the game in your pop culture favourites.

rock paper scissors lizard spock

Check out Julien’s full tutorial to build your own AI-powered rock paper scissors game here on Julien’s GitHub. Massive kudos to Julien for spending a year learning the skills required to make it happen. And a massive thank you to Julien’s son for inspiring him! This is why it’s great to do coding and digital making with kids — they have the best project ideas!

Sharing is caring

If you’ve built your own project using Raspberry Pi, please share it with us in the comments below, or via social media. As you can tell from today’s blog post, we love to see them and share them with the whole community!

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Astronaut-made virtual co-pilot

This project features several of our favourite things. Astronauts! Machine learning! High-altitude danger! Graphs! (It could only get slightly better with the addition of tap-dancing centaurs.) Read on to have your nerdliest pleasure centres tickled.

Solar Pilot Guard - wing of a plane in flight

Your interest should be focussed on the strange fin with the red tip. Although we agree the mountains look nice too.

Solar Pilot Guard, a Foale family project

Michael Foale is a former astronaut with dual British/American citizenship; and thanks to that dual citizenship was revered by British kids like me as some kind of Superman when he spent time on the Russian Mir space station back in the 1990s. It’s always great to see one of our heroes using the Raspberry Pi, but it’s doubly great when the use it’s being put to is so very, very cool.

Foale’s daughter Jenna is a PhD candidate in computational fluid dynamics, and together they have engineered a machine-learning system called Solar Pilot Guard to help prevent aircraft crashes, using the Wolfram Language on a Raspberry Pi. A solar-powered probe (that fin in the image above) detects changes in acceleration and air pressure to spot potential loss-of-control (LOC) events in flight, calculating the probability of each pressure/acceleration event representing a possible LOC event.

Solar Pilot Guard schematic cross-section

Click to embiggen

If it detects a possible LOC event, the system issues a voice command to the pilot over Bluetooth speakers, using machine learning to tell the pilot what corrective measures they should take.

Here it is in action:

Solar Pilot Guard use in-flight

An example of in-flight operation of the Solar Pilot Guard (SPG), issuing commands for correction of flight behavior that could lead to loss of control (LOC). Demonstrated commands: Push, Power – Left, Left – Right, Right Submitted to EAA AirVenture, Oshkosh 2017.

Losing control to generate training data

In order to train the network, Michael Foale had to feed the machine data about what LOCs and normal flight look like — which meant flying the kit in ways which would make the plane lose control, not just once, but over and over, until the neural net had the data it needed to differentiate different sorts of LOC events. Told you he was a superhero.

A stack of different machine learning functions at different levels of abstraction are working together here. This is a training set from one of the (presumably terrifying) training flights:

Solar Pilot Guard training set

The Pi processes and learns from this data; if you’re interested in a very deep dive into the way this all works, and how you can build your own neural networks using the Wolfram Language, there’s a very comprehensive treatment over at the Wolfram blog.

We love seeing projects like this that recognise just how robust and powerful a little Raspberry Pi can be. Jenna and Michael: thank you for sharing what you’ve been working on here. It’s one of the coolest and most audacious projects we’ve seen in a long time.

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Debian turns 25

Want to feel old? Debian, the popular free Unix-like operating system based on the Linux kernel and GNU userland, is turning 25. Composed entirely of free software, Debian is maintained and packaged entirely by volunteers. Announced to the world by Ian Murdock 25 years ago this week, the first internal release, Debian 0.01, took place in September 1993, followed in June 1996 by a first stable version, Debian 1.1 (code name ‘Bo’).

The following two decades have seen eight further major releases, the most recent being Debian 9.0 (code name ‘Stretch’), released in June 2017.

Raspbian

Raspberry Pi owes a considerable debt to the Debian project. Our operating system images are built on top of Raspbian Stretch, which is a community-led rebuild of Debian Stretch, optimised for the specific ARM cores used in our products.

The Raspberry Pi desktop environment

In addition to the core Debian system, we bundle a variety of useful non-Debian software. Some packages, like Simon’s UI mods, and the Chromium web browser, are free as in speech. Others, like Wolfram Mathematica and Minecraft, are free as in beer.

Our most recent release adds more usability features, including a post-install wizard to simplify the setup process for new users.

Download Raspbian today!

If you’ve yet to try Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi, you can download it here. This tutorial from The MagPi demonstrates how to write an image onto a fresh SD card:

Use Etcher to install operating systems onto an SD card

Lucy Hattersley shows you how to install Raspberry Pi operating systems such as Raspbian onto an SD card, using the excellent Etcher. For more tutorials, check out The MagPi at http://magpi.cc ! Don’t want to miss an issue? Subscribe, and get every issue delivered straight to your door.

And those of you who are already using Raspbian, be sure to check you have the most up-to-date version by following this easy video tutorial:

Updating Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi || Raspberry Pi Foundation

How to update to the latest version of Raspbian on your Raspberry Pi. Download Raspbian here: https://www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/ More informatio…

Don’t have a Raspberry Pi? Don’t worry: we also make a version of our operating system, based on x86 Debian, that will run on your PC or Mac! With an x86-based computer running our Debian Stretch OS, you can also use the PiServer tool to control a fleet of Raspberry Pis without SD cards.

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The Android Things flower that smiles with you

Smile, and the world smiles with you — or, in this case, a laser-cut flower running Android Things on a Raspberry Pi does.

Android Things flower Raspberry Pi Smile recognition Expression Flower

Expression Flower

The aim of the Expression Flower is to “challenge the perception of what robotics can be while exploring the possibility for a whimsical experience that is engaging, natural, and fun.”

Tl;dr: cute interactive flower. No Skynet.

Android Things

The flower is powered by Google’s IoT platform Android Things, running on a Raspberry Pi, and it has a camera mounted in the centre. It identifies facial expressions using the ML Kit machine learning package, also from Google. The software categorises expressions, and responds with a specific action: smile at the flower, and it will open up its petals with a colourful light show; wink at it, and its petals will close up bashfully.

Android Things flower Raspberry Pi Smile recognition Expression Flower

The build is made of laser-cut and 3D-printed parts, alongside off-the-shelf components. The entire build protocol, including video, parts, and code, is available on hackster.io, so all makers can give Expression Flower a go.

Android Things flower Raspberry Pi Smile recognition Expression Flower

Seriously, this may be the easiest-to-follow tutorial we’ve ever seen. So many videos. So much helpful information. It’s pure perfection!

Machine learning and Android Things

For more Raspberry Pi–based machine learning projects, see:

And for more Android Things projects, we highly recommend:

Aaaand, for getting started with all things Android on your Raspberry Pi, check out issue 71 of The MagPi!

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