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  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 20:30
    Community Corner: This Past Week in the Adafruit Community 3/21/2014

    Featured Adafruit Community Project

    NateWinesett

    Nate Winesett shared:

    I just wrapped up my first Raspberry Pi project. I’m using one to run my own TV station within the house. A +Plex media server on my network serves out video to an +XBMC distribution running on the +Raspberry Pi where the video is then sent to a modulator and then combined with all the over-the-air channels that we happen to get. The result is that we can tune into a specific channel (set at the modulator) on any TV in the house and watch an endless loop of, in our case, Simpsons and Futurama episodes. You get the sense of it being a normal TV channel, except that it’s only stuff you like and there are no commercials. I’ve been running a desktop to do this for the past 8 years, but finally had the epiphany a week ago to use the Raspberry Pi gathering dust on my shelf to cut the power, heat and noise down to almost nothing.

    (read more)

    There are people making amazing things around the world, are you one of them? Join the 77,311 strong! And check out scores of projects they shared this week after the jump!


    This Week’s Edition of Adafruit’s Electronics Show and Tell!


    From the Google+ Community

    (Note: Google+ login required.)

    SameerAnsari

    Sameer Ansari shared: “Using Google Glass’s gyroscopes to control a camera’s pan and tilt. Stuff used: Raspberry Pi + Camera, ROS rosbridge/rosserial/roslibjs, Arduino + 2 microservos, Hot Glue/Duct-Tape/Dreams”
    (read more)


    RifleCreek

    Rifle Creek shared: “a textile unit: designed in Sketchup for 3D printing, tessellated X Y, and linked in Z, as 3D printer resolution increases…starting to think really small. could be used for maybe… breathable fabric meshes, engineered porous micro tubes, separation and filtering…” (read more)


    Makers hackers artists engineers Community Google

    james wolf shared: “I have been thinking about making a simple crawling bot. I needed to come up with a design for part of it that could operate 2 opposing legs with just one servo. I thought this design might work. The setup pivots the black plastic post that is attached to the lower half of the servo with a box. This keeps the two horizontal pieces in line and allows the “feet” to move up and down with just a rotation of the servo. It is strong, friction free, and maximizes the servos strength….” (read more)


    MikeBarelaHat

    Mike Barela shared: “A quick build for the NoVa Mini Maker Faire using Adafruit #Trinket and #NeoPixels” (read more)


    MilesFlavel

    Miles Flavel shared: “The Norseboard is now electronically and functionally complete. All that’s left to do is print the remaining 5 case sections that make up the top half and I’ll be able to call it “version 1″. Since I last showed it, I’ve added the external power port, an external USB type-B connector, and a switch to toggle between use as a standalone keyboard and keyboard for the internal RasPi.” (read more)


    Makers hackers artists engineers Community Google

    Alfonso E.M. shared: “Cookie Gears. Prototype I.” (read more)


    OlegMazurov

    Oleg Mazurov shared: “Poor man’s automatic oiler, made in 5 minutes. Gravity feed FTW.” (read more)


    Ryan Farr

    Ryan Farr shared: “Ive been having fun animating dual Adafruit Neopixel strips on a headband with the Arduino! This is the random color, random led, fade in/out algorithm I wrote. Give me some other Animation suggestions to work on! :)” (read more)


    Makers hackers artists engineers Community Google

    Richard Freeman shared: “My sister had a leak beside the foundation of her house for several years, and we finally fixed it the other day. When we dug it up to fix it finally, we found what seemed to be a large cavity under the foundation. I was worried that the leak (which was really bad for a really long time. I’m astounded that she didn’t realize there was a leak sooner.) was causing a sinkhole. This was my solution to investigate the hole further. I ran the pi headless & I used Motion as a webcam server. The webcam cost $0.02 off of eBay, and had free shipping. :) and it has the LEDs on it with adjustable brightness. I took it out of its casing.” (read more)


    Community Projects from the Adafruit Blog

    DustinEvans

    Dustin Evans shared his Homemade Tesseract Case in the Adafruit Forums: “Inside is an Arduino with a spectrum shield and BlueSmirf Bluetooth Modem from SparkFun, a Raspberry Pi, 7″ LCD Monitor, two speakers, a digital amp,, a WiFi Card, and 2 strips of NeoPixels I got from Adafruit. The case I got from Harbor Freight. The monitor has two video inputs. The Raspberry Pi has an RCA splitter that connects to the monitor and a video out on the side of the case. The second video input is wired to an RCA coupler on the side of the case. The audio is connected the same way. This means I can have audio or video connected to the case or brought out to a different system. In my living room, I had it connected to my projector. I’m running Raspbian on the Pi with a stand-alone version of XBMC. I followed this guide to make the Pi broadcast its own wireless network. That setup along with AllCast allows me to send movies on my Nexus 7 to the Pi without me having to touch a thing. This is great because I conduct electricity like a member of the X-Men and actually broke one of my LEDs when I zapped the case on accident. The Bluesmirf allows me to connect to, and change the LEDs with a custom Android app I wrote.” (read more)


    WiliamPhelps

    William Phelps shared on the Adafruit Forums: “I’ve written a python program to display GPS satellite data, with some stars and the brighter planets, specifically for the PiTFT display. The GPS parsing is done in a separate thread. The display is unique – it plots circles for each GPS satellite that is overhead, with the size of the circle proportional to the S/N ratio. It even has 10 second position averaging.” (read more)


    feynman17 shared a Arduino SVG plotter v.2 project: “…The frame of the plotter was taken from a ye olde Epson printer, reusing the two stepper motors to move the paper along its length and width. The pen is attached to the laser head of a junked portable CD player. With this, it’s just three stepper motors that allow the Arduino control system to move the pen across the paper and put a few markings down. The motors on the printer are, in the spirit of reuse, still connected to the printer’s driver board, with a few leads going directly from the Arduino to the parallel port interface. The motor in the CD player is another ordeal, with a single H-bridge controlling the lifting of the pen. On the software side of things, a Processing sketch reads an SVG file and generates a list of coordinates along a path. The precision of the coordinates is set as a variable, but from the video of the plotter below, this plotter has at least as much resolution as the tip of the pen….” (read more)


    Alex Stranz shared a cool Raspberry Pi piggy bank with coin sorter: “A piggy bank and coin sorter made using a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino, Lego Mindstorms NXT, a coin acceptor, Adafruit’s LCD Plate, and a fingerprint sensor. It counts, sorts, and stores coins. The Arduino is connected to the Raspberry Pi via a USB hub; it communicates with the fingerprint sensor and detects what kind of coin is inserted. A Python script outputs information to the LCD display and stores data in a text file.” (read more)


    Harvest Zhang and Bonnie Eisenman shared a musical instrument project on the Adafruit Forums – fancy, easy touch sensing + turning water into an instrument: “Thought you might be interested — my friend Harvest and I implemented this adaptation of Disney’s Touche touch sensing system for Arduino, and used it to turn a mug of water in to a musical instrument. The extra parts cost about $1-2; everything else (Arduino, breadboard, mug) you probably already have lying around. And it was so much fun! We got pretty sensitive and robust gesture sensing working — we could tell how many fingers they had on the outside of the mug, when they touched the water’s surface, etc. So then we used ChucK (a musical programming language) to turn it into an instrument. Full blog post, including github w/ all relevant code and sound files, as well as links to an Instructables here! Theoretically this should work with any conductive surface (e.g. people, plants, large metal objects, etc) but we haven’t tested it on other things yet. Would love to hear from anyone else who wants to try this. We owe a lot to other people who have posted similar things; it’s adapted from Disney’s Touché technology (full credits in the Instructables post/github)…(read more)


    Pasted Image 3 21 14 2 55 PM

    Tim Bartlett shared his Valentines Day Blinky Love Note project! “I made a blinky love note for my sweetheart this Valentine’s Day, because what’s more romantic than Morse code? A single LED paints a 6″ x 6″ canvas with light. It first tells a story through color, and then slowly pulses a secret message in Morse code, fading from deep to light pink. The smart LED is run from a 5v Adafruit Trinket, powered by 4 AA batteries. Download the code here. (This just blinks “hello world.” The secret message will remain secret).” (read more)


    AdamRenie

    Adam Renie shared this on the Adafruit Forums: “I purchased the A’SYCK AD-121F2 from Adafruit last year and finally posted a little review and demonstration of it in action on my blog. It’s a really fun display, I may just have to purchase 3-5 more to make a more easily readable and colorful clock!” (read more)


    Scanlime

    One of CODAME‘s featured artists is Micah Elizabeth Scott, who blends technology with art in surprising and interesting ways: From CODAME: “Micah Elizabeth Scott has been doing unconventional things with technology for her whole life, often exploring the boundaries between hardware and software. She’s built satellites, robots, virtual machines, graphics drivers, CPU emulators, networking stacks, USB controllers, reverse engineering tools, and pretty much everything in between. Recently she’s been exploring the interactions between technology and art, with projects like Zen Photon Garden and the Ardent Mobile Cloud Platform. Her current work explores light, perception, and human interconnectedness. Her interests include interactive sculpture, control loops, emergent behavior, unconventional human interfaces, and using technology to help illuminate what makes us human.” (read more)


    Adafruit industries blog


    Check out previous Community Corner posts here!


    Adafruit Google+ Community Footer
    Community Corner! Sharing and celebrating the creative community: Show and tell, Ask an Engineer, mailbag, Twitter, Google+, Facebook, “Makers, hackers, artists & engineers. Sharing, learning and celebrating making!

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 20:01
    NEW PRODUCT – Green Shortening microSD adapter for Raspberry Pi & Macbooks

    NewImage

    NEW PRODUCT – Green Shortening microSD adapter for Raspberry Pi & Macbooks: Adding shortening to a Pi makes it fatter – but this kind of shortening makes your Pi a little slimmer! This green short-style microSD adapter slides in where the SD card goes but is 9mm shorter. This makes it stick out a lot less and makes for a more elegant (and less accident-prone) Pi. All you have to do is pop in a microSD card for a sleeker machine! The outer edge of the SD adapter has a deep grove for a fingernail to pull on for removal.

    NewImage

    Because its just a shorter microSD adapter, this short microSD adapter will work in any Raspberry Pi case (our, other, low-profile microSD adapter card is a bit thicker and doesn’t work in all cases, including the Adafruit Pi case and PiBows). Protrudes from edge of Raspberry Pi 8mm when installed.

    NewImage

    This microSD adapter also worked great in our Macbook pro – load it up with a 64 microSD card and you’ve got a ton more storage, but without the sticking-out of a normal sized SD.

    MicroSD card and Raspberry Pi NOT INCLUDED

    In stock and shipping now!

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 20:00
    19-year-old uses Raspberry Pi to power his server monitor @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi

    9jwRZf

    Brandon’s Raspberry Pi server monitor tweets the changes in online status of designated servers, from manic coding.

    Due to a poorly developed/configured application, the server was outputting a lot of traffic (near 100Mbps). The server host detected it and shut down the server under the assumption that it had been compromised and was being used for malicious activity. I didn’t find out about the issue until several hours when I tried to SSH into it and my password was being rejected due to ‘rescue mode’. After several more hours communicating back and forth with the support team, we finally resolved the issue, but we had to wait for the Datacenter team to check that the server had been secured, which could take a few hours. At this point, I was tired and heading to bed and wouldn’t be up for when the server came back online, yet I wanted users to know when it had returned so that they could continue using the websites and other services I have running.

    I wrote a quick little application in Java that would ping the server to see if it was online and send a tweet when it returned. I gave the application to a small handful of friends that had either computers that they never turned off or servers of their own to run the application for me. Whilst writing the application, I thought about how useful it would be to have a computer or server somewhere in the world that does nothing but monitor online services and alerts people when there is a change in their online status. It wouldn’t take much in the way of resources: minimal RAM, low-end CPU, next to no HDD space required. Pretty much the exact description of a Raspberry Pi. The application I was already working was quick, dirty and almost finished, so I finished that and got it running, but contemplated writing an application that was extensible and had a nice API so could be hooked in other applications if necessary.

    Read more.

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 19:43
    NEW PRODUCTS – Mini Chiclet Keyboard, Mini Wireless Keyboard, and Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo w/ Batteries

    NEW PRODUCTS: Add a good quality, slim keyboard to your Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black or other mini-computer with these sleek black chiclet keyboards. We tried many keyboards to find ones that felt good for every-day use and didn’t take up too much room.

    To use with a Raspberry Pi, change the keyboard to USA PC104 layout:

    • Switch to root user.
    • Run ‘dpkg-reconfigure locales’ and change from en_GB.UTF-8 to en_US.UTF-8.
    • Run ‘dpkg-reconfigure keyboard-configuration’ and change the keyboard to USA PC104 (again, change as needed).

    NewImage
    Mini Chiclet Keyboard – USB Wired – Black: It’s a full QWERTY keyboard with a USB cable and is compatible with all operating systems. While it’s not as small as our Miniature Microcontroller-Friendly Keyboard, this keyboard will work great with a PC, Mac, Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone. And it’s still pretty small at just 11.1″ x 5.2″ x .8″ (282mm x 131mm x 21mm.)

    NewImage
    Mini Wireless Keyboard – Black w/ Batteries: This keyboard is wireless, and the matching dongle connects through a USB port so it works great with just about anything – it shows up just like any other keyboard. 2 x AAA batteries are required but they’re included! The dongle has a storage spot in the battery case, so if you’re unable to find it, try opening up the battery spot and see if its tucked in there.

    NewImage
    Wireless Keyboard and Mouse Combo w/ Batteries – One USB Port!: Add a good quality, slim chiclet keyboard as well as a optical mouse to your Raspberry Pi, Beagle Bone Black or other mini-computer with this wireless combo set. Best of all, it only uses a single USB port! This combo comes with a sleek black chiclet keyboard and and mouse both controlled by a single wireless USB dongle. The mouse is comfortable for all hand sizes, has optical tracking, and two buttons + scroll wheel.

    The keyboard and mouse connects through a USB port so it works great with just about anything. It even comes with batteries, so you’ll be ready to go instantly. The USB dongle stores in either the mouse or keyboard so if you can’t find it, open up the battery cases on either to find the dongle tucked into its storage slot there.

    They’re all in stock and shipping now!

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 19:00
    DoodleBorg: A 65 kg Raspberry Pi powered robot #piday #raspberrypi @raspberry_pi

    We have posted about the DoodleBorg before but the video interview above shows it in action! Created by PiBorg.

    Brains controlled by a Raspberry Pi
    Controller: Motors powered by 6x PicoBorg reverse controllers
    Batteries: 1-2 x 12 V DC (10 Ah each)
    Motors: 6 x 350 W high torque motors
    Chassis: 6 mm thick laser cut steel
    Sides: Perspex cut by Phenoptix
    Power: Approx 3 hp (2.1 KW)
    Size: Approx 30 inches long (76 cm), 27 inches wide (69 cm), 15 inches tall (38 cm)
    Weight: Approx 143 lb (65 Kg)
    Other: 4 x emergency power off switches controlling power relays

    Read more.


    998Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 18:00
    Simple device aims to aid drivers when dust storms hit @raspberry_pi #piday #raspberrypi

    NewImage

    Simple device aims to aid drivers when dust storms hit
    via Joe Ferguson Arizona Daily Star

    CASA GRANDE — A small, relatively inexpensive device a meteorologist built at his Mesa home in his spare time might lead to a warning system to help drivers avoid dangerous dust storms that sweep across Interstate 10 between Tucson and Phoenix.

    Ken Waters’ device, powered by a credit-card-sized, single-board computer, could detect and alert authorities to the storms that often appear without warning.

    His proposal energized the room full of engineers, scientists and various bureaucrats in Casa Grande Wednesday. They were attending an annual dust storm task force meeting.

    Nate Allen, a scientist at Biosphere 2, provided a low-tech approach to curbing dust storms during his 15- minute presentation. He wants to terraform large patches of desolate land in Pinal County that have long been abandoned by farmers.

    While it may sound unusual, Allen wants to temporarily bring in herds of cattle to transform the largely denuded tracts of property.

    Small-scale tests in other parts of Arizona found that the cattle kicked up dirt and provided vast amounts of natural fertilizer on the almost alien-looking landscapes.

    Months later, grass and shrubs began to grow, he said, illustrating with a before and after slide show.

    State agencies have largely struggled with finding a comprehensive solution to mitigating the blinding dust storms that killed 42 people along state highways between 2000 and 2012.

    A 10-mile stretch of Interstate 10 near Picacho Peak, an Arizona Daily Star investigation last year showed, is the deadliest in the entire state.

    A myriad of overlapping government agencies with limited budgets and constrained regulatory powers have only added to the problem of developing a comprehensive plan to making the trip from Tucson to Phoenix safer on windy days.

    The best asset the state has to warn drivers about the hard-to-predict storms are Arizona Department of Public Safety officers out on patrol. Their phone calls to the National Weather Service let officials know about the dangerous weather.

    “I’ve been here six years, and it quickly became apparent to me that this may be the biggest meteorological problem we have here in Arizona,” said Waters, who works for the weather service.

    A self-described geek, Waters had been toying with low-cost, open-solution electronic devices — most notably Ardunio and Raspberry Pi — when he envisioned a possible solution.

    He saw those devices — when paired with air-quality sensors — could be a far cheaper way to warn about potential problem storms than trying to map the wind, visibility and weather patterns in the area.

    “What better way to detect a dust storm than with an air-quality sensor?” the meteorologist explained. “ ’Cause as soon as that first front of dust comes through, you can immediately tell what is going on. It is very dramatic.”

    He envisions a network of these devices scattered around high-risk areas, updating new information every 30 seconds to various government agencies.

    Paired with an existing system, state officials could warn drivers of nearby blinding storms through text messages to their smartphones.

    NewImage

    The state continues to advise drivers to pull off the highway when they see massive dust storms.

    As designed, the devices designed by Waters lend themselves for use near homes or businesses.

    “This low-cost solution works well if you’ve got a house or maybe a building, any kind of already-existing structure,” he said.

    However, when paired with solar panels and low-power transmitters, the boxes could be placed virtually anywhere.

    “There are examples where people have hooked up with inexpensive solar panels,” he said.

    Waters said if initial tests go well later this year, the devices could be deployed relatively quickly.

    A small-scale test of Waters’ devices is planned, but details about when and where that will occur have yet to be decided.

    Read more

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 18:00
    PiTFT Plug’n Play image, testers needed! #piday @Raspberry_Pi

    1601 Lrg

    From the forums – PiTFT Plug’n Play image, testers needed, notro writes-

    I have made a plug’n play image for the PiTFT display. All set up and ready to go.
    It has the drivers built into the kernel proper (kernel.img) which enables the display early in the boot process.

    Wiki: https://github.com/notro/fbtft-spindle/wiki/FBTFT-image
    Download: http://tronnes.org/downloads/2014-01-07 … -pitft.zip

    Please give feedback if you try it out. Good or bad.

    Note:
    If the touchpanel stops working, even just once, please report back.
    See: PiTFT: Does Linux 3.10 break touch?


    1601Console Lrg

    NEW PRODUCT – PiTFT Mini Kit – 320×240 2.8 TFT+Touchscreen for Raspberry Pi. This going to be released soon and will be going FAST. Sign up now over the holiday! Oooh is this not the cutest little display for the Raspberry Pi? It features a 2.8″ display with 320×240 16-bit color pixels and a resistive touch overlay. The plate uses the high speed SPI interface on the Pi and can use the mini display as a console, X window port, displaying images or video etc.

    Uses the hardware SPI pins (SCK, MOSI, MISO, CE0, CE1) as well as GPIO #25 and #24. All other GPIO are unused. Since we had a tiny bit of space, there’s 4 spots for optional slim tactile switches wired to four GPIOs, that you can use if you want to make a basic user interface. See below for the link to get the optional tact switches, they’re not included.

    This version comes as a mini-kit, with a 2×13 extra-tall female header (to connect the plate to the Pi) and a 2×13 male header that can be used to connect an IDC cable or cobbler from the side. The photos above also show the optional installed slim tactile buttons. The tactile buttons are not included, but you can pick up a pack of 10 here. Some basic soldering is required to install the headers. You can also pick up an extra-long Pi stacking header if you want to install that instead of the 2×13 female header installed.

    1601Titles Lrg

    We’ve created a custom kernel package based of off Notro’s awesome framebuffer work, so you can install it over your existing Raspbian (or derivative) images in just a few commands. Our tutorial shows you how to install the software, as well as calibrate the touchscreen, show videos, display images such as from your PiCam and more!

    In stock and shipping!

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 17:00
    Turn your Raspberry Pi into an Airplay receiver #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi

    NewImage

    Adam Burkepile put together this great tutorial on how to turn your Raspberry Pi into an AirPlay receiver and a web server to read and write chat messages to an iOS app.

    If you’re like me, you toyed with the idea of getting an AirPort Express in the past but the $100 price seemed a bit steep, since all you really wanted to do with it is play audio using AirPlay. Sound familiar?

    Maybe you also have a new Raspberry Pi and don’t know what to do with it. Well, guess what – you can turn that baby into an AirPlay speaker. That’s right, instead of spending $100 on an AirPort Express, you can put together a cool DIY AirPlay receiver for around $45 using the Raspberry Pi. That’s what you’re going to do in this tutorial. By the end of it you’ll have your very own Raspberry Pi AirPlay receiver!

    After that, you’ll look further into the usefulness of the Raspberry Pi to iOS developers. Most complex apps need some sort of backend web service and a Raspberry Pi is a perfect server for development or perhaps even a small app. You’ll install the Apache web server, MySQL database and PHP, then use them to create a web service that you can access from an iOS chat app.

    Read more.


    998Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 16:00
    Sharpen Your Aim With The Raspberry Pi Smart Target @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi

    NewImage

    Raspberry Pi Smart Target by noelportugal

    The Raspberry Pi Smart Target was designed to be hit by the now famous Flying Monkey, but It can be hit by any other light object such as small ball. When the Target is hit the following events happen:
    A random sound effect is played through a small set of speakers connected to the Raspberry Pi.
    A “congratulations” message is displayed in the front LCD screen.
    The Raspberry Pi grabs a snapshot from a network camera (Dropcam) and is posted to a social network.
    A random message is posted along with the picture taken by the Dropcam.
    The whole action is immortalized in the interwebz.
    I built the target to showcase the Oracle Social Network Public API, which is a RESTful based API. I used the Target during the Oracle Open World 2012 conference. It was setup at the Oracle Technology Network Lounge, so people stopped by throughout the day and gave the Target a shot (pun intended). If someone hit the Target they also got to keep the monkey as a keepsake.

    Since the Oracle Social Network is not released at this point I posted a modified version posting to Twitter.

    Full Tutorial

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 15:34
    What is “Bluetooth Smart Technology” ? Bluetooth 4.0 / Bluetooth Low energy BTLE #bluetoothsmart

    Logobluetoothsmart
    It was referred to as Bluetooth 4.0 / Bluetooth Low energy BTLE, but now it’s Bluetooth Smart – What is Bluetooth Smart Technology?

    Bluetooth Smart wireless technology is the ultra-power efficient, application-friendly version of Bluetooth transforming the wireless industry. This technology introduces new opportunities in industry verticals from consumer electronics, medical devices and home automation to retail and wearables. While the power-efficiency of Bluetooth Smart makes it perfect for devices needing to run off tiny batteries for long periods, the magic of Bluetooth Smart is its ability to work with a wide variety of applications on smartphones or tablets consumers already own.

    Bluetooth Smart is developer-friendly, inexpensive and offers flexible development architecture. All major operating systems natively support Bluetooth Smart making it easy for developers to create apps that link with everyday objects like heart-rate monitors, toothbrushes, and even shoes. With Bluetooth Smart, developers are only limited by their imaginations.

    Read more here and here.


    Adafruit Products 1697 Lrg
    Getting Started with the nRF8001 Bluefruit LE Breakout @ The Adafruit Learning System.

    Our nRF8001 Breakout allows you to establish an easy to use wireless link between your Arduino and any compatible iOS or Android (4.3+) device. It works by simulating a UART device beneath the surface, sending ASCII data back and forth between the devices, letting you decide what data to send and what to do with it on either end of the connection.

    Unlike classic Bluetooth, BLE has no big contracts to sign and no major hoops that you have to jump through to create iOS peripherals that you can legally design and distribute in the App Store, which makes it a great choice compared to classic Bluetooth which had (and still has) a lot of restrictions around it on the iOS platform.

    And now that Android also officially supports Bluetooth Low Energy (as of Android 4.3), it’s also — finally! — a universal communication channel covering the main mobile operating systems people are using today.

    We can get you started super fast with this BLE module which can act like an ‘every day’ UART data link. Send and receive data up to 10 meters away, from your Arduino to an iOS device. We’ve even made it easy to get started with our very own BLE connect app that has a “serial console” for sending/receiving data and also an ‘arduino pin i/o control station” to let you set pins on your Arduino to inputs or outputs, high or low logic or even PWM output, as well as read button presses and analog inputs. You can start prototyping your accessory and then use our open source Objective C code to base your new app on!

    Learn more!


    Adafruit 2792

    Tutorial: Introduction to Bluetooth Low Energy @ The Adafruit Learning System.

    Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), sometimes referred to as “Bluetooth Smart”, is a light-weight subset of classic Bluetooth and was introduced as part of the Bluetooth 4.0 core specification. While there is some overlap with classic Bluetooth, BLE actually has a completely different lineage and was started by Nokia as an in-house project called ‘Wibree’ before being adopted by the Bluetooth SIG.

    There are plenty of wireless protocols out there for engineers and product designers, but what makes BLE so interesting is that it’s almost certainly the easiest way to design something that can talk to any modern mobile platform out there (iOS, Android, Windows phones, etc.), and particularly in the case of Apple devices it’s the only HW design option that doesn’t require you to jump through endless hoops to be able to legally market your product for iOS devices.

    This guide will give you a quick overview of BLE, specifically how data is organized in Bluetooth Low Energy, and how devices advertise their presence so that you can connect to them and start passing data back and forth.

    Learn more!


    1697Top Lrg

    NEW PRODUCT – Bluefruit LE – Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE 4.0) – nRF8001 Breakout [v1.0] :Our Adafruit Bluefruit LE (Bluetooth Low Energy) nRF8001 Breakout allows you to establish an easy to use wireless link between your Arduino and any compatible iOS or Android (4.3+) device. It works by simulating a UART device beneath the surface, sending ASCII data back and forth between the devices, letting you decide what data to send and what to do with it on either end of the connection.

    Unlike classic Bluetooth, BLE has no big contracts to sign and no major hoops that you have to jump through to create iOS peripherals that you can legally design and distribute in the App Store, which makes it a great choice compared to classic Bluetooth which had (and still has) a lot of restrictions around it on the iOS platform.

    And now that Android also officially supports Bluetooth Low Energy (as of Android 4.3), it’s also — finally! — a universal communication channel covering the main mobile operating systems people are using today.

    We can get you started super fast with this BLE module which can act like an ‘every day’ UART data link (with an RX and TX characteristic). Send and receive data up to 10 meters away, from your Arduino to an iOS device. We’ve even made it easy to get started with our very own BLE connect app that has a “serial console” for sending/receiving data and also an ‘arduino pin i/o control station” to let you set pins on your Arduino to inputs or outputs, high or low logic or even PWM output, as well as read button presses and analog inputs. You can start prototyping your accessory and then use our open source Objective C code to base your new app on!

    The nRF8001 is nice in that it is just a BLE ‘peripheral’ (client) front-end, so you can use any micrcontroller with SPI to drive it. We have example C++ code for Arduino, which you can port to any other microcontroller, but some microcontroller is required – it is not a stand-alone module!

    In stock and shipping now!

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 15:00
    Frozen Pi: Re-creating the bullet time effect from The Matrix using 48 Raspberry Pis #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi

    This is one of the coolest Raspberry Pi photo projects we’ve seen- setting up a ring of raspberry pis to re-create the Bullet Time Effect that was used in The Matrix. Via PiFace.

    …It started over 13 years ago watching when I saw the film The Matrix and a BBC documentary called Supernatural: The Unseen Powers of Animals. What linked the two programs was a camera effect where time would stop and the camera would move round the scene. I spent days trying to work out how the effect worked – I accepted that The Matrix used computer generated graphics, but surely the animals in a BBC natural history unit documentary had to be real? My faith in wildlife documentaries was reassured when I discovered a few years later how the effect was created.

    The effect was called Bullet time, or Time-slice and consists of taking pictures from a long line of cameras at the same time, but playing them back one after another. Because all the frames are taken at exactly the same time, the action is frozen, but when the frames from cameras, each with a different view, are shown in order, it gives the effect of moving around a scene while time is frozen. On paper it seemed quite simple, to create a bullet time effect, you just needed a lot of cameras that would trigger in perfect sync. The camera rigs for TV and film are as impressive as the budgets, with tens of digital SLR cameras triggered by a slave cable. I could barely afford one DSLR camera, never mind twenty odd. Nor could I afford the tripods to mount them on! I thought my dreams of creating my own bullet time effect were simply unaffordable. That is, until I had an idea back in June this year.

    I’d been working on a PiFace interface so I could use my Raspberry Pi without a keyboard and monitor. For a bit of fun I wondered if I could turn it into a simple digital camera, that would take a picture when a button was pressed, and to my pleasant surprise, discovered you could. An idea was beginning to form in my head. If I wrote a bit more code, instead of pressing a button to take a picture, I could trigger it remotely over a network. Furthermore, it cost a lot less than any other digital camera. Could the Raspberry Pi really recreate a bullet time style effect?

    I have various crazy ideas, but normally they subside after a few days, but this one wouldn’t. I decided to buy four Raspberry Pi cameras to see if I could trigger them all at once. I laser cut a frame to mount them and it appeared to work, but with four cameras I couldn’t really tell how good the effect was. I decided to buy another four cameras, with the justification that if it didn’t work I’d either sell the cameras or use them in workshops I did with young people. Eight cameras showed promise but nothing conclusive, there was only one way to find out.

    It’s a funny feeling carrying nearly 50 computers in a box barely big enough to hold a laptop. In contrast, after multiplying the original mounting frame by 12, I’d ended up with a 3m wide circle. This was when I first realised I was building something significant. After much plugging, wiring, mounting, and SD card package installing the rig was finally ready. It certainly looked impressive, particularly given it was wider than the office. As such, the first time we tried the full rig was the Manchester Raspberry Jam.

    Read more.

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    998Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 14:00
    Awesome Gears of War Costume

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    The Palace Guard in Gears of War is charged with protection of the Queen and, wait for it, her palace. Their armor looks intricate but also sturdy; it seems like it would be complex to build. RPF user SufferTheLocust accepted the challenge though and created a replica of the costume. He began with a leftover lower jaw piece from a Shao Kahn costume and got inspired from there. Here’s what he did for the head piece:

    After re-drawing the shapes to be symmetrical i templated them on to a plastic sheet that i still don’t know the origin of. It’s between 4mm and 8mm, black, strong, reasonably light weight, can easily be cut with a knife and most importantly – thermoformable. It’s almost like a rigid plastic/foam. I was given it as a cover sheet for some cladding sheets we install in work and tried it out. It’s basically packaging to be discarded, most of the things i make includes this stuff.

    He attached the heat molded foam attached to a cycling helmet base.

    Read more at The RPF.

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 14:00
    The Sinclair ZX81: a Raspberry Pi retro restyle @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrpi

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    Checkout this tutorial from smittytone on how to make a Raspberry Pi retro restyle using a Sinclair ZX81.

    After some searching on eBay, I found an old ZX81 going cheap because it lacked cables, though when it arrived, I found the computer itself to be in excellent condition. Possibly it has never been used, though how if that were the case the cables were lost and the box got so tatty is a mystery I will probably never solve.

    Opening up the Sinclair machine was the work of a moment. Some screws are located under the computer’s rubber feet, so remove the latter carefully so you can put them back afterward – as was unlatching the keyboard connector ribbon and removing the motherboard.

    One particular sign of age was the keyboard ribbon, which seemed in good condition at first. Unfortunately, 30-odd years is beyond the life expectancy of the plastic from which it was formed, and it soon began to perish and crack open. Eventually it provided so little protection for the delicate wiring, one line broke. Fortunately, I had a modern replacement. With a little gentle prying, I was able to lift the original membrane keyboard off the casing – it was originally attached with a self-adhesive pad – and replace it with the new one, ready to be stuck down in its place.

    That was a relatively easy process; rather more tricky was getting the Pi and its cabling to fit inside the ZX81 casing. Fit it does, but only just, and I have had to make a couple of compromises.

    My goal was to expose as many of the Pi’s ports as possible, at least among those I use. The analogue audio and composite-video jacks, for instance, have never been used, so I was happy for these to be hidden. But the HDMI, Ethernet, USB, GPIO and – obviously – power jack needed to be accessible.

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    Read more.

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 13:01
    Fritzing Friday: TPA2016 Class-D Stereo Amplifier

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    This week, we’ve added the TPA2016 Class-D Stereo Amp Breakout!

    Check it out in the Adafruit Fritzing Library!

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 13:00
    #RaspberryPi for Science, Wrangling Multiple Flow Chemistry Devices #piday @Raspberry_Pi

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    Here’s a chemistry paper that makes a strong case for using a Raspberry Pi as an aid for multiple flow chemistry experiments — where the unit’s price, sufficient processing power, and implementation of Python connects very well with the tools and resources for research and measurement.

    Excerpt from “Integration of enabling methods for the automated flow preparation of piperazine-2-carboxamide by Richard J. Ingham, Claudio Battilocchio, Joel M. Hawkins and Steven V. Ley:

    …All of the reaction parameters could be observed on remote computers, or wirelessly on a tablet computer when moving around the lab. The monitoring software generates an interface for each running experiment, which can be accessed through a web browser. The ability to access real-time experimental information from anywhere – as opposed to only on computers situated next to the apparatus – is very important, because it gives the chemist freedom to perform other tasks at the same time. This is particularly beneficial when data from multiple reactors and devices is combined into a single interface.

    The sensors were interrogated approximately once a second; a Raspberry Pi® microcomputer (as shown in Figure 5b) has more than sufficient processing power to perform the required data collection, interpretation and control. We anticipate that much more complex systems than this one could be controlled using this miniature computer system.

    An example of the error handling behaviour is shown in Figure 7. After approximately 40 minutes the product begins to elute and after it passes a threshold in the absorbance as detected by the FlowIR™ unit, valve V1 is switched to collect the output. After approximately 1.5 h, a loss in pressure is detected corresponding to an air bubble in the input stream. Valve V1 is switched to waste, and an SMS notification is sent to the operator, who re-primes the pump. After the pressure has returned to normal there is a delay calculated to be the dead volume of the column before the output is collected again….

    Read More.


    998Each Friday is PiDay here at Adafruit! Be sure to check out our posts, tutorials and new Raspberry Pi related products. Adafruit has the largest and best selection of Raspberry Pi accessories and all the code & tutorials to get you up and running in no time!

  • Friday, March 21, 2014 - 12:00
    Students design a natural disaster beacon using Raspberry Pi & become finalists in a national competition @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi

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    An after school group has entered their project, a pi-powered natural disaster beacon, into a national contest and has made it to the final round. Via The Blackpool Gazette.

    Blackpool schoolchildren have made it to the final of national science competition after coming up with an ingenious way to help victims of natural disasters.

    The team from Mereside Primary School designed an Emergency PiBeacon, as part of a competition to use the micro computer, Raspberry Pi, to help the environment.

    They are now one of just three schools from across the country in with a chance of winning £1,000 from the competition at the Science Museum in London, on April 2.

    The Year Six class at the school on Langdale Road, Mereside, designed the system after studying natural disasters in Autumn term. The thoughtful youngsters decided to design something that could help those who were affected by the typhoon in the Philippines, for victims to alert emergency services and rescue teams to their whereabouts…

    The school has been running an after school club for ICT, including programming, coding and the Raspberry Pi, since January ready for curriculum changes in September which will see all children study computing.

    Mr Sale explained the equipment: “The device uses a solar powered cell to self charge and is completely portable and weatherproof.

    “It has an in built antenna, that transmits a distress signal (at 103.3Mhz) alongside an LED board that flashes in morse code at the same time as a buzzer ‘beeping’ to increase the chances of being located and rescued.

    “It was been coded using Python, a common programming language available on various systems.

    “The emergency beacon contains a pre recorded emergency message, written by the Year Six children, which would be picked up by search and rescue teams working in natural disaster zones.”

    Read more.

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