Inside the Dreamcast homebrew scene | Wireframe issue 7

Despite its apparent death 17 years ago, the Sega Dreamcast still has a hardcore group of developers behind it. We uncover their stories in this excerpt from Wireframe issue 7, available now.

In 1998, the release of the Dreamcast gave Sega an opportunity to turn around its fortunes in the home console market. The firm’s earlier system, the Saturn, though host to some beloved titles, was running a distant third in sales behind the Nintendo 64 and PlayStation. The Dreamcast, by contrast, saw a successful launch and quickly became the go-to system for arcade-quality ports of fighting games, among other groundbreaking titles like Seaman and Crazy Taxi.

Unfortunately for fans, it wasn’t to last. The Dreamcast struggled to compete against the PlayStation 2, which launched in 2000, and at the end of March 2001, in the face of the imminent launch of the Nintendo GameCube and Microsoft’s new Xbox, Dreamcast left the stage, and Sega abandoned the console market altogether.

None of this stopped a vibrant homebrew development scene springing up around the console in Sega’s place, and even years later, the Dreamcast remains a thriving venue for indie developers. Roel van Mastbergen codes for Senile Team, the developers of Intrepid Izzy, a puzzle platformer coming soon to the PC, PS4, and Dreamcast.

Of the port to Sega’s ageing console, van Mastbergen tells us, “I started this project with only the PC in mind. I’m more used to developing for older hardware, though, so I tend to write code with low CPU and RAM requirements by force of habit. At some point I decided to see if I could get it running on the Dreamcast, and I was happy to find that it ran almost perfectly on the first try.”

It runs at a lower resolution than on PC, but Intrepid Izzy still maintains a smooth 60fps on Dreamcast.

One of the pluses of the Dreamcast, van Mastbergen points out, is how easy it is to develop for. “There are free tools and sufficient documentation available, and you can run your own code on a standard Dreamcast without any hardware modifications or hacks.”

Games burned to CD will play in most models of unmodified Dreamcast, usually with no extra software required. While this doesn’t result in a huge market — the customer base for new Dreamcast games is difficult to measure but certainly small — it makes development for original hardware far more viable than on other systems, which often need expensive and difficult-to-install modchips.

Many of the games now being developed for the system are available as digital downloads, but the state of Dreamcast emulation lags behind that of its competitors, with no equivalent to the popular Dolphin and PCSX2 emulators for GameCube and PS2. All this makes boxed games on discs more viable than on other systems — and, in many cases, physical games can also become prized collectors’ items.

Intrepid Izzy is developed with a custom code library that works across multiple systems; it’s simple to downscale PC assets and export a Dreamcast binary.

Kickstarting dreams

By now, you might be asking yourself what the point of developing for these old systems is — especially when creating games for PC is a much easier and potentially more profitable route to take. When it comes to crowdfunding, though, catering to a niche but dedicated audience can pay dividends.

Belgian developer Alice Team, creators of Alice Dreams Tournament, asked for €8000 in funding to complete its Dreamcast exclusive, which began development in 2006. It eventually raised €28,000 — more than treble its goal.

Intrepid Izzy didn’t quite reach such dizzying heights, only just meeting its €35,000 target, but van Mastbergen is clear it wouldn’t have been funded at all without the dedicated Dreamcast base. “The project has been under-funded since the beginning, which is slightly problematic,” van Mastbergen tells us. “Even so, it is true that the Dreamcast community is responsible for the lion’s share of the funding, which is a testament to how well-loved this system still is.”

You can read the rest of the feature in Wireframe issue 7, available 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.

Face your fears in the indie horror, Someday You’ll Return.

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!

The post Inside the Dreamcast homebrew scene | Wireframe issue 7 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Inside the Dreamcast homebrew scene | Wireframe issue 7

GPIO Zero v1.5 is here!

GPIO Zero is a zero-boilerplate Python library that makes physical computing with Python more accessible and helps people progress from zero to hero.

Today, I’m pleased to announce the release of GPIO Zero v1.5.0. It’s packed full of updates, including new features, bug fixes, and lots of improvements to the documentation.

Guido, the creator of Python, happened across the library recently, and he seemed to like it:

Guido van Rossum on Twitter

GPIOzero I love you! https://t.co/w3CnUGx3yO

Pin factories – take your pick

GPIO Zero started out as a friendly API on top of the RPi.GPIO library, but later we extended it to allow other pin libraries to be used. The pigpio library is supported, and that includes the ability to remotely control GPIO pins over the network, or on a Pi Zero over USB.

This also gave us the opportunity to create a “mock” pin factory, so that we could emulate the effect of pin changes without using real Raspberry Pi hardware. This is useful for prototyping without hardware, and for testing. Try it yourself!

As well as the pin factories we provide with the library (RPi.GPIO, pigpio, RPIO, and native), it’s also possible to write your own. So far, I’m aware of only one custom pin factory, and that has been written by the AIY team at Google, who created their own pin factory for the pins on the AIY Vision Kit. This means that you can connect devices to these pins, and use GPIO Zero to program them, despite the fact they’re not connected to the Pi’s own pins.

If you have lots of experience with RPi.GPIO, you might find this guide on migrating from RPi.GPIO to GPIO Zero handy.

Ultrasonic distance sensor

We had identified some issues with the results from the DistanceSensor class, and we dealt with them in two ways. Firstly, GPIO co-creator Dave Jones did some work under the hood of the pins API to use timing information provided by underlying drivers, so that timing events from pins will be considerably more accurate (see #655). Secondly, Dave found that RPi.GPIO would often miss edges during callbacks, which threw off the timing, so we now drop missed edges and get better accuracy as a result (see #719).

The best DistanceSensor results come when using pigpio as your pin factory, so we recommend changing to this if you want more accuracy, especially if you’re using (or deploying to) a Pi 1 or Pi Zero.

Connecting devices

A really neat feature of GPIO Zero is the ability to connect devices together easily. One way to do this is to use callback functions:

button.when_pressed = led.on
button.when_released = led.off

Another way is to set the source of one device to the values of another device:

led.source = button.values

In GPIO Zero v1.5, we’ve made connecting devices even easier. You can now use the following method to pair devices together:

led.source = button

Read more about this declarative style of programming in the source/values page in the docs. There are plenty of great examples of how you can create projects with these simple connections:

Testing

An important part of software development is automated testing. You write tests to check your code does what you want it to do, especially checking the edge cases. Then you write the code to implement the features you’ve written tests for. Then after every change you make, you run your old tests to make sure nothing got broken. We have tools for automating this (thanks pytest, tox, coverage, and Travis CI).

But how do you test a GPIO library? Well, most of the GPIO parts of our test suite use the mock pins interface, so we can test our API works as intended, abstracted from how the pins behave. And while Travis CI only runs tests with mock pins, we also do real testing on Raspberry Pi: there are additional tests that ensure the pins do what they’re supposed to. See the docs chapter on development to learn more about this process, and try it for yourself.

pinout

You may remember that the last major GPIO Zero release introduced the pinout command line tool. We’ve added some new art for the Pi 3A+ and 3B+:

pinout also now supports the -x (or --xyz) option, which opens the website pinout.xyz in your web browser.

Zero boilerplate for hardware

The goal of all this is to remove obstacles to physical computing, and Rachel Rayns has designed a wonderful board that makes a great companion to GPIO Zero for people who are learning. Available from The Pi Hut, the PLAY board provides croc-clip connectors for four GPIO pins, GND, and 3V3, along with a set of compatible components:

Since the board simply breaks out GPIO pins, there’s no special software required. You can use Scratch or Python (or anything else).

New contributors

This release welcomed seven new contributors to the project, including Claire Pollard from PiBorg and ModMyPi, who provided implementations for TonalBuzzer, PumpkinPi, and the JamHat. We also passed 1000 commits!

<GITHUB PULSE>

Watch your tone

As part of the work Claire did to add support for the Jam HAT, she created a new class for working with its buzzer, which works by setting the PWM frequency to emit a particular tone. I took what Claire provided and added some maths to it, then Dave created a whole Tones module to provide a musical API. You can play buzzy jingles, or you can build a theremin:

GPIO Zero theremin

from gpiozero import TonalBuzzer, DistanceSensor buzzer = TonalBuzzer(20) ds = DistanceSensor(14, 26) buzzer.source = ds

…or you can make a siren:

GPIO Zero TonalBuzzer sine wave

from gpiozero import TonalBuzzer from gpiozero.tools import sin_values buzzer = TonalBuzzer(20) buzzer.source = sin_values()

The Tones API is a really neat way of creating particular buzzer sounds and chaining them together to make tunes, using a variety of musical notations:

&gt;&gt;&gt; from gpiozero.tones import Tone&#13;
&gt;&gt;&gt; Tone(440.0)&#13;
&gt;&gt;&gt; Tone(69)&#13;
&gt;&gt;&gt; Tone('A4')

We all make mistakes

One of the important things about writing a library to help beginners is knowing when to expect mistakes, and providing help when you can. For example, if a user mistypes an attribute or just gets it wrong – for example, if they type button.pressed = foo instead of button.when_pressed = foo – they wouldn’t usually get an error; it would just set a new attribute. In GPIO Zero, though, we prevent new attributes from being created, so you’d get an error if you tried doing this. We provide an FAQ about this, and explain how to get around it if you really need to.

Similarly, it’s common to see people type button.when_pressed = foo() and actually call the function, which isn’t correct, and will usually have the effect of unsetting the callback (as the function returns None). Because this is valid, the user won’t get an error to call their attention to the mistake.

In this release, we’ve added a warning that you’ll see if you set a callback to None when it was previously None. Hopefully that will be useful to people who make this mistake, helping them quickly notice and rectify it.

Update now

Update your Raspberry Pi now to get the latest and greatest GPIO Zero goodness in your (operating) system:

sudo apt update&#13;
sudo apt install python3-gpiozero python-gpiozero

What’s next?

We have plenty more suggestions to be working on. This year we’ll be working on SPI and I2C interfaces, including I2C expander chips. If you’d like to make more suggestions, or contribute yourself, find us over on GitHub.

The post GPIO Zero v1.5 is here! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – GPIO Zero v1.5 is here!

Jenni Sidey inspires young women in science with Astro Pi

Today, ESA Education and the Raspberry Pi Foundation are proud to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! In support of this occasion and to encourage young women to enter a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), CSA astronaut Jenni Sidey discusses why she believes computing and digital making skills are so important, and tells us about the role models that inspired her.

Jenni Sidey inspires young women in science with Astro Pi

Today, ESA Education and the Raspberry Pi Foundation are proud to celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science! In support of this occasion and to encourage young women to enter a career in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics), CSA astronaut Jenni Sidey discusses why she believes computing and digital making skills are so important, and tells us about the role models that inspired her.

Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!

The International Day of Women and Girls in Science is part of the United Nations’ plan to achieve their 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to current UNESCO data, less than 30% of researchers in STEM are female and only 30% of young women are selecting STEM-related subjects in higher education
Jenni Sidey

That’s why part of the UN’s 2030 Agenda is to promote full and equal access to and participation in science for women and girls. And to help young women and girls develop their computing and digital making skills, we want to encourage their participation in the European Astro Pi Challenge!

The European Astro Pi Challenge

The European Astro Pi Challenge is an ESA Education programme run in collaboration with the Raspberry Pi Foundation that offers students and young people the amazing opportunity to conduct scientific investigations in space! The challenge is to write computer programs for one of two Astro Pi units — Raspberry Pi computers on board the International Space Station.

Astro Pi Mission Zero logo

Astro Pi’s Mission Zero is open until 20 March 2019, and this mission gives young people up to 14 years of age the chance to write a simple program to display a message to the astronauts on the ISS. No special equipment or prior coding skills are needed, and all participants that follow the mission rules are guaranteed to have their program run in space!

Take part in Mission Zero — in your language!

To help many more people take part in their native language, we’ve translated the Mission Zero resource, guidelines, and web page into 19 different languages! Head to our languages section to find your version of Mission Zero and take part.

If you have any questions regarding the European Astro Pi Challenge, email us at astropi@esa.int.

The post Jenni Sidey inspires young women in science with Astro Pi appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Jenni Sidey inspires young women in science with Astro Pi

Stereoscopic photography with StereoPi and a Raspberry Pi

StereoPi allows users to attached two Camera Modules to their Raspberry Pi Compute Module — it’s a great tool for building stereoscopic cameras, 360º monitors, and virtual reality rigs.

StereoPi draft 1

No Description

My love for stereoscopic photography goes way back

My great-uncle Eric was a keen stereoscopic photographer and member of The Stereoscopic Society. Every memory I have of visiting him includes looking at his latest stereo creations through a pair of gorgeously antique-looking, wooden viewers. And I’ve since inherited the beautiful mahogany viewing cabinet that used to stand in his dining room.

It looks like this, but fancier

Stereoscopic photography has always fascinated me. Two images that seem identical suddenly become, as if by magic, a three-dimensional wonder. As a child, I couldn’t make sense of it. And even now, while I do understand how it actually works, it remains magical in my mind — like fairies at the bottom of the garden. Or magnets.

So it’s no wonder that I was instantly taken with StereoPi when I stumbled across its crowdfunding campaign on Twitter. Having wanted to make a Pi-based stereoscopic camera ever since I joined the organisation, but not knowing how best to go about it, I thought this new board seemed ideal for me.

The StereoPi board

Despite its name, StereoPi is more than just a stereoscopic camera board. How to attach two Camera Modules to a Raspberry Pi is a question people ask us frequently and for various projects, from home security systems to robots, cameras, and VR.

Slim and standard editions of the StereoPi

Slim and standard editions of the StereoPi

The board attaches to any version of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, including the newly released CM3+, and you can use it in conjunction with Raspbian to control it via the Python module picamera.

StereoPi stereoscopic livestream over 4G

StereoPi stereoscopic livestream over 4G. Project site: http://StereoPi.com

When it comes to what you can do with StereoPi, the possibilities are almost endless: mount two wide-angle lenses for 360º recording, build a VR rig to test out virtual reality games, or, as I plan to do, build a stereoscopic camera!

It’s on Crowd Supply now!

StereoPi is currently available to back on Crowd Supply, and purchase options start from $69. At 69% funded with 30 days still to go, we have faith that the StereoPi project will reach its goal and make its way into the world of impressive Raspberry Pi add-ons.

The post Stereoscopic photography with StereoPi and a Raspberry Pi appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Stereoscopic photography with StereoPi and a Raspberry Pi

Guess what…

Raspberry Pi Store – NOW OPEN #RPiStore

We opened a store! Visit us in the Grand Arcade, Cambridge, UK, and follow #RPiStore for more photos and funtimes!


A shelf of Babbage Bear cuddle toys


A shelf of Raspberry Pi Starter Kits
A shelf of Raspberry Pi-branded Travel mugs and ceramic mugs
Photographs of various Raspberry Pi peripherals including a PiBow, mouse and keyboard
A customer looking at a portable hard drive for sale at the Raspberry Pi Store

Raspberry Pi Store
First Floor
Grand Arcade
Cambridge

OPEN FROM 9am

#RPiStore

 

For more information, visit the Raspberry Pi Store webpage.

The post Guess what… appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Guess what…

How do you define ‘maker’?

In our brand-new video, we ask some of our favourite content creators how they define the word ‘maker’, and what being a maker means to them.

How do you define ‘maker’?

We asked some of our favourite content creators how they define the word ‘maker’, and what being a maker means to them.

Joel Telling

Joel took the ultimate content creator plunge in early 2018, quitting his job at Adobe to follow his 3D printing passion full time.

Joel Telling – 3D Printing Nerd on Twitter

It was at this very hour 1 year ago TODAY I left the Adobe offices for the last time and began my career as a host and content creator. ONE YEAR HOLY COW! #highfive https://t.co/fQ6wBGY8Ch

You can find Joel on YouTube as 3D Printing Nerd, and he also makes appearances for Matter Hatters at various conventions — including Maker Faire New York, where we accosted him for this video.

Jackie Craft

Jackie Craft is a cosplay goddess. She has turned her passion for prop making and costume design into her career, and her creations are incredible. Seriously, look at how cool they are:

Jackie Craft Cosplay
Jackie Craft Cosplay
Jackie Craft Cosplay

You can find Jackie on Instagram, and at her website, where you can also buy costume patterns to recreate her designs.

Laura Kampf

Based in Cologne, Germany, Laura Kampf is best known for her dog, Smudo. Avid Smudo devotees may have noticed that Laura is a talented wood and metal worker with a penchant for turning unwanted scrap into fantastic and stylish creations. She also built her own tiny house, complete with an additional tiny house for Smudo.

Smudo´s Tiny Doghouse

Thank You Rockler for supporting this Project! visit them at www.rockler.com I had so much leftover material from my Tiny House Trailer that i figured i might as well build smudo his own Tiny Doghouse.

Yes, okay, we’re all about Smudo here at Raspberry Pi.

Bob Clagett

Bob Clagett likes to make stuff. All kinds of stuff, from wood, to metal, to electronics. His 2.3 million YouTube subscribers tune in for weekly tutorials, tips, and Josh, who occasionally makes appearances on screen, and otherwise helps Bob run I Like To Make Stuff behind the scenes.

Please note: our actual favourite member of the ILTMS team is Ginny Clagget, Queen of Hugs and Wonderfulness.

Jimmy DiResta

You know who he is. We know who he is. So here’s Jimmy cutting things in half with Ron Swanson Nick Offerman.

Making It – “Will It Saw?” with Nick Offerman and Jimmy DiResta (Digital Exclusive)

In the most exciting video you ever saw, Nick Offerman and Jimmy DiResta test the durability of a rollerblade, bongos, a baseball and a roll of salami.

What does it mean to you?

From woodwork and electronics, to crocheting and baking: makers come in all flavours. How do you define the word ‘maker’, and what does being a maker mean to you? Tell us on YouTube, or in the comments below.

The post How do you define ‘maker’? appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – How do you define ‘maker’?

Celebrate our seventh birthday at a Raspberry Jam near you!

Seven years ago, the Raspberry Pi was launched, and that kickstarted everything the Foundation has done. We always celebrate this “birthday” with community-focused events, and this year on the first March weekend, we are again coordinating local Jams all over the world so you can join the party!

Raspberry Pi - Raspberry Jam Big Birthday Weekend animated GIF

Calling all community members

Whether you’re a Raspberry Pi user, club volunteer, avid forum question answerer, regular blog commenter, or brand-new community member, we want you to feel welcome! Look at the map, find a Jam near you, and meet the real-world Raspberry Pi community on 2 or 3 March.

Interactive map of Raspberry Jam locations across the globe

Click through for an up-to-date interactive map

Manchester is coolest!

Coolest Projects UK, our world-leading technology fair for young people, will take place in Manchester on 2 March, and Manchester’s Birthday Jam is going to happen inside the Coolest Projects venue! We’re tying the two events together so that those of you in the North West can attend Coolest Projects without missing out on the Birthday Jam. Keep your eye on mcrraspjam.org.uk for information on Jam tickets — coming soon!

Project idea registration for Coolest Projects UK is on closing 10 Feb — only a scant few days left for the creative young maker in your life to register their idea! If you know someone who might want to participate, head over to the Coolest Projects UK website for more details.

Photobooth fun

One of the treats in the Big Birthday Weekend kit we’ve got for Jam organisers is an arcade button they can use to make their own Raspberry Pi–powered tweeting photobooths for the big day. Download the code for the project and make it your own!

A Raspberry Pi-based photobooth created for last years Raspberry Jam Big Birthday Weekend

RGVSA on Twitter

PiParty photo booth @RGVSA & @ @Nerdvana_io #Rjam

There’s still time

If you’re only just hearing about this now, and you want to run a Jam on the Big Birthday Weekend, all you need to do is:

  1. Find a venue
  2. Create a sign-up page (e.g. on Eventbrite)
  3. Submit the event to the Jam map

Once we’ve checked your submission, we’ll add your Jam to the map and send you a coupon you can use to get a free Big Birthday Weekend kit from ModMyPi.

Along with the kit, you’ll also get up to three free T-shirts. They’re also available to buy just £5.65.

A Raspberry Jam t-shirt - black, with the logo on the front

2020 vision

I’m already looking forward to our eighth birthday — next year is a leap year, so we’ll be able to celebrate on Saturday 29 February 2020!

The post Celebrate our seventh birthday at a Raspberry Jam near you! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Celebrate our seventh birthday at a Raspberry Jam near you!

Monitoring insects at the Victoria and Albert Museum

A simple Raspberry Pi camera setup is helping staff at the Victoria and Albert Museum track and identify insects that are threatening priceless exhibits.

“Fiacre, I need an image of bug infestation at the V&A!”

The problem with bugs

Bugs: there’s no escaping them. Whether it’s ants in your kitchen or cockroaches in your post-apocalyptic fallout shelter, insects have a habit of inconveniently infesting edifices, intent on damaging beloved belongings.

And museums are as likely as anywhere to be hit by creepy-crawly visitors. Especially when many of their exhibits are old and deliciously dusty. Yum!

Tracking insects at the V&A

As Bhavesh Shah and Maris Ines Carvalho state on the V&A blog, monitoring insect activity has become common practice at their workplace. As part of the Integrated Pest Monitoring (IPM) strategy at the museum, they even have trained staff members who inspect traps and report back their findings.

“But what if we could develop a system that gives more insight into the behaviour of insects and then use this information to prevent future outbreaks?” ask Shah and Carvalho.

The team spent around £50 on a Raspberry Pi and a 160° camera, and used these and Claude Pageau’s PI-TIMOLO software project to build an insect monitoring system. The system is now integrated into the museum, tracking insects and recording their movements — even in low-light conditions.

Emma Ormond, Raspberry Pi Trading Office Manager and Doctor of Bugs, believes this to be a Bristletail or Silverfish.

“The initial results were promising. Temperature, humidity, and light sensors could also be added to find out, for example, what time of day insects are more active or if they favour particular environmental conditions.”

For more information on the project, visit the Victoria & Albert Museum blog. And for more information on the Victoria & Albert Museum, visit the Victoria & Albert Museum, London — it’s delightful. We highly recommend attending their Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt exhibition, which is running until 24 February.

The post Monitoring insects at the Victoria and Albert Museum appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Monitoring insects at the Victoria and Albert Museum

Building a text adventure | Wireframe #6

Game developer Andrew Gillett explains how to make a simple text adventure in Python — and what pitfalls to avoid while doing so — in the latest issue of Wireframe magazine, out now.

Writing games in BASIC

The first game I ever wrote was named Pooh. It had nothing to do with the bear. In September 1982, I was four years old, and the ZX Spectrum home computer had just been released. It was incredible enough that the Spectrum let you play games on the TV, but like most home computers of the time, it also came with a built-in language called BASIC, and a manual which explained how to program it. In my first game, Pooh (the title was a misspelling), the player controlled a baby, represented by a pound sign, and had to guide it to a potty, represented by the letter O. There were no obstacles, no enemies, and if you tried to walk off the screen, the program would stop with an error message. I didn’t have any idea how to create a graphical game more complex than Pooh. I didn’t even know how to display a sprite on the screen.

The Hobbit, released in 1982, was widely praised for its intuitive parser.

Text adventures

Instead, I focused on writing text adventures, where the game describes scenes to the player (“You are in a comfortable, tunnel-like hall. You can see a door,” from 1982’s The Hobbit) and the player enters commands such as “Go through door” or “Kill goblin with sword.” Although this type of game is comparatively easy to write, I implemented it in the worst way possible. The code was essentially a huge list of IF statements. Each room had its own set of code, which would print out a description of the room and then check to see what the player typed. This ‘hard-coding’ led to the code being much longer than necessary, and more difficult to maintain.

The correct way would have been to separate my code and data. Each room would have had several pieces of data associated with it, such as an ID number, the description of the room (“You are in a small cave”), an array of objects which can be found in the room, and an array of room numbers indicating where the player should end up if they try to move in a particular direction – for example, the first number could indicate which room to go to if the player enters ‘NORTH’. You’d then have the main game code which keeps track of the room the player is currently in, and looks up the data for that room. With that data, it can then take the appropriate action based on the command the player typed.

Getting it right

The code below shows how to implement the beginnings of a text adventure game in Python. Instead of numeric IDs and arrays, the code uses string IDs and dictionary data structures, where each piece of data is associated with an ID or ‘key’. This is a more convenient option which wasn’t available in Spectrum BASIC. We first create a list of directions in which the player can potentially move. We then create the class Location which specifies each location’s properties. We store a name, a description, and a dictionary data structure which stores the other locations that the current location is linked to. For example, if you go north from the woods, you’ll reach the lake. The class includes a method named addLink, which adds entries to the linked locations dictionary after checking that the specified direction and destination exist.

Following the class definition, we then create a dictionary named locations. This has two entries, with the keys being woods and lake, and the values being instances of the Location class. Next, we call the addLink method on each of the locations we’ve just created, so that the player will be able to walk between them. The final step of the setup phase is to create the variable currentLocation, specifying where the player will start the game.

We then reach the main game loop, which will repeat indefinitely. We first display the description of the current location, along with the available directions in which the player can move. Then we wait for the player to input a command. In this version of the code, the only valid commands are directions: for example, type ‘north’ at the starting location to go to the lake. When a direction is entered, we check to make sure it’s a valid direction from the current location, then update currentLocation to the new location. When the main loop restarts, the description of the new location is displayed.

I moved on from the ZX Spectrum eight years after my dad first unpacked it. Despite the poor design of my code, I’d learned the essentials of programming. Ten years later, I was a game developer.

Further reading

If you’re keen to learn more about making a text adventure in Python, you could check out Phillip Johnson’s guide to the subject, Make Your Own Python Text Adventure. The author has also written a condensed version of the same guide.

You may also be interested in our free online course Object-oriented Programming in Python: Create Your Own Adventure Game.

More from Wireframe

You can discover more tutorials, alongside great reviews, articles and advice, in Wireframe issue 6, out now and available in Tesco, WHSmith, and all good independent UK newsagents.

Or you can buy Wireframe directly from the Raspberry Pi Press store — worldwide delivery is available. And if you’d like to own a handy digital version of the magazine, you can also download the PDF for free.

The post Building a text adventure | Wireframe #6 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Building a text adventure | Wireframe #6

Upcycle a vintage TV with the Raspberry Pi TV HAT | The MagPi #78

When Martin Mander’s portable Hitachi television was manufactured in 1975, there were just three UK channels and you’d need to leave the comfort of your sofa in order to switch between them.

A page layout of the upcycled vintage television project using the Raspberry Pi TV HAT from The MagPi issue 78

Today, we have multiple viewing options and even a cool Raspberry Pi TV HAT that lets us enjoy DVB-T2 broadcasts via a suitable antenna. So what did nostalgia-nut Martin decide to do when he connected his newly purchased TV HAT to the Pi’s 40-pin GPIO header? Why, he stuck it in his old-fashioned TV set with a butt-busting rotary switch and limited the number of channels to those he could count on one hand – dubbing it “the 1982 experience” because he wanted to enjoy Channel 4 which was launched that year.

Going live

Martin is a dab hand at CRT television conversions (he’s created six since 2012, using monitors, photo frames, and neon signs to replace the displays). “For my latest project, I wanted to have some fun with the new HAT and see if I’d be able to easily display and control its TV streams on some of my converted televisions,” he says. It’s now being promoted to his office, for some background viewing as he works. “I had great fun getting the TV HAT streams working with the rotary dial,” he adds.

Raspberry Pi TV HAT

The project was made possible thanks to the new Raspberry Pi TV HAT

Although Martin jumped straight into the HAT without reading the instructions or connecting an aerial, he eventually followed the guide and found getting it up-and-running to be rather straightforward. He then decided to repurpose his Hitachi Pi project, which he’d already fitted with an 8-inch 4:3 screen.

Upcycled television using the Raspberry Pi TV HAT

The boards, screen, and switches installed inside the repurposed Hitachi television

“It’s powered by a Pi 3 and it already had the rotary dial set up and connected to the GPIO,” he explains. “This meant I could mess about with the TV HAT, but still fall back on the original project’s script if needed, with no hardware changes required.”

Change the channel

Indeed, Martin’s main task was to ensure he could switch channels using the rotary dial and this, he says, was easier to achieve than he expected. “When you go to watch a show from the Tvheadend web interface, it downloads an M3U playlist file for you which you can then open in VLC or another media player,” he says.

Upcycled television using the Raspberry Pi TV HAT

– The Hitachi television is fitted with a Pimoroni 8-inch 4:3 screen and a Raspberry Pi 3
– Programmes stream from a Pi 2 server and the channels are changed by turning the dial
– The name of the channel briefly appears at the bottom of the screen – the playlist files are edited in Notepad

“At first, I thought the playlist file was specific to the individual TV programme, as the show’s name is embedded in the file, but actually each playlist file is specific to the channel itself, so it meant I could download a set of playlists, one per channel, and store them in a folder to give me a full range of watching options.”

Sticking to his theme, he stored playlists for the four main channels of 1982 (BBC1, BBC2, ITV, and Channel 4) in a folder and renamed them channel1, channel2, channel3, and channel4.

Upcycled television using the Raspberry Pi TV HAT

A young Martin Mander decides the blank screen of his black and white Philips TX with six manual preset buttons is preferable to the shows (but he’d like to convert one of these in the future)

“Next, I created a script with an infinite loop that would look out for any action on the GPIO pin that was wired to the rotary dial,” he continues. “If the script detects that the switch has been moved, then it opens the first playlist file in VLC, full-screen. The next time the switch moves, the script loops around and adds ‘1’ to the playlist name, so that it will open the next one in the folder.”

Martin is now planning the next stage of the project, considering expanding the channel-changing script to include streams from his IP cameras, replacing a rechargeable speaker with a speaker HAT, and looking to make the original volume controls work with the Pi’s audio. “It been really satisfying to get this project working, and there are many possibilities ahead,” he says.

More from The MagPi magazine

The MagPi magazine issue 78 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.

The MagPi magazine issue 78

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.

The post Upcycle a vintage TV with the Raspberry Pi TV HAT | The MagPi #78 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Upcycle a vintage TV with the Raspberry Pi TV HAT | The MagPi #78

Our ultimate guide to running your own Coolest Projects event

Coolest Projects, our world-leading technology fair for young people, takes place in seven countries this year: Ireland, the UK, USA, Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Milan in Italy.

Coolest Projects 2019 Logo

Volunteer-led Coolest Projects events

Teams of marvellous volunteers organise and run the events in the Netherlands, Belgium, Bulgaria, and Milan! They are doing incredible work to give children in their regions the chance to present their tech creations and be celebrated for their skills and creativity.

And we want to support you in our global community to do the same: organise your own regional Coolest Projects events, wherever you are, so that young people near you can showcase their work and be inspired by others’ inventions.

5 reasons to host your own Coolest Projects event

Running your own Coolest Projects is your chance to:

  1. Celebrate the creativity of young creators
  2. Grow your local coding and volunteer community
  3. Engage parents and educators with technology
  4. Develop connections with local businesses
  5. Build the worldwide network of Coolest Projects participants, partners, and volunteers

The Coolest Projects Regional Handbook

We’ve put together a free Coolest Projects Regional Handbook that walks you through everything you need to organise your own Coolest Projects event!

Our brand-new handbook brings together everything you need to plan, prepare for, and host your own regional Coolest Projects event. It includes practical advice on:

  • Building your Coolest Projects team
  • Managing an event budget
  • Choosing a venue
  • Sponsorship and partner management
  • Communications and marketing
  • Coolest Projects licensing

Your regional event does not have to be large or formal — it can be as big or small as your community’s volunteers want it to be, and tailored to your community’s needs and interests.

Coolest Projects UK 2018 Raspberry Pi Foundation CoderDojo

Like the volunteer teams who already run regional Coolest Projects, you too can run your own event — with our handbook as guidance.

Download your free handbook now!

If you’re interested in bringing Coolest Projects to your community, email us at hello@coolestprojects.org so we can connect you to other volunteers in your region who have expressed their interest to us! Letting us know you want to be involved will also enable us to give you more support while you’re getting started.

You’ve only got a little time left to register your idea

To participate in this year’s Coolest Projects, just register your project idea by the deadline (see below)! And don’t fret: you don’t have to have started your project to register, just the idea is enough.

If you don’t want to present something by yourself, you can register in a team of up to five members.

And you don’t need to have finished your project to present it at the event, because the most important thing is to showcase your love and enthusiasm for tech!

Registration deadlines:

Registration and attendance for all Coolest Projects events is free! And you’re also more than welcome to visit and check out the amazing projects without submitting your own. For more information, and to get your free visitor tickets, visit the Coolest Projects website and select your nearest event.

The post Our ultimate guide to running your own Coolest Projects event appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Our ultimate guide to running your own Coolest Projects event

Spirit Animal: a guitar with a built-in synthesiser

UK-based Lucem Custom Instruments has teamed up with Seattle’s Tracktion Corporation to create an electric guitar with a built-in Raspberry Pi synthesiser, which they call Spirit Animal.

Raspberry Pi inside a guitar body - Spirit Animal

The Spirit Animal concept guitar

We love seeing the Raspberry Pi incorporated into old technology such as radios, games consoles and unwanted toys. And we also love Pi-based music projects. So can you imagine how happy we were to see an electric guitar with an onboard Raspberry Pi synthesiser?

Raspberry Pi inside a guitar body - Spirit Animal

Tracktion, responsible for synth software BioTek 2, ran their product on a Raspberry Pi, and Lucem fitted this Pi and associated tech inside the hollow body of a through-neck Visceral guitar. The concept guitar made its debut at NAMM 2019 last weekend, where attendees at the National Association of Music Merchants event had the chance to get hands-on with the new instrument.

Raspberry Pi inside a guitar body - Spirit Animal

The instrument boasts an onboard Li-ion battery granting about 8 hours of play time, and a standard 1/4″ audio jack for connecting to an amp. To permit screen-sharing, updates, and control via SSH, the guitar allows access to the Pi’s Ethernet port and wireless functionality.

See more

You can find more information about the design on the Gear News website, and see the instrument in action at NAMM on the Lucem Custom Instruments Facebook page. We look forward to seeing where this collaboration will lead!

Music and Pi

If you’re a guitarist and keen to incorporate a Raspberry Pi into your music, then also check out these other projects:

  • pisound — the Raspberry Pi–powered guitar pedal

PiSound with hardware and peripherals

  • Pedalumi — the illuminated pedal board

  • Guitarboy — is it a Gameboy? Is it a guitar? Unclear, but it’s awesome!

Guitar Boy video

The Guitar Boy is a guitar. The Guitar Boy is a Game Boy. The Guitar Boy is the best of both worlds! Created for the BitFix Gaming 2015 Game Boy Classic build-off, this Game Boy guitar plays both Pokemon and rock and roll!

The post Spirit Animal: a guitar with a built-in synthesiser appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Spirit Animal: a guitar with a built-in synthesiser

Compute Module 3+ on sale now from $25

Today we bring you the latest iteration of the Raspberry Pi Compute Module series: Compute Module 3+ (CM3+). This newest version of our flexible board for industrial applications offers over ten times the ARM performance, twice the RAM capacity, and up to eight times the Flash capacity of the original Compute Module.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+

A long time ago…

On 7 April 2014 we launched the original Compute Module (CM1), with a Broadcom BCM2835 application processor, a single-core ARM11 at 700MHz, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of eMMC Flash. Although it seems like yesterday, that was nearly half a decade ago! At that point I had no kids, looked significantly younger (probably because I had no kids), and had more hair (fortunately I’m still better off in that department than Eben). [This is fair – Ed.]

Just under three years later we launched Compute Module 3 (CM3) based on the quad-core BCM2837A1, and now, almost exactly two years on, we bring you the CM3+.

The Compute Module has evolved

While we’ve greatly improved the performance, RAM capacity, and Flash capacity of the Compute Module, some things remain the same: CM3+ is an evolution of CM3 and CM1, bringing new features while keeping the form factor, electrical compatibility, price point, and ease of use of the earlier products.

Our aim for the Compute Module was to deliver the core Raspberry Pi technology in a form factor that allowed others to incorporate it into their own products cheaply and easily. If someone wanted to create a Raspberry Pi-based product but found the Model A or B Raspberry Pi boards did not fit their needs, they could use a Compute Module, create a simple low-tech carrier PCB, and make their own thing.

It’s for enterprises of all sizes

We limit the price so that the “maker in a shed” is not disadvantaged when producing only a few hundred products relative to professionals with much larger production runs. The Compute Module takes care of the high-tech bits (fine-pitched BGAs, high-speed memory interfaces, and core power supply), allowing the designer to focus on the differentiating features they really care about. The eMMC Flash device on a Compute Module is more reliable and robust than normal SD cards, so it is more suited to industrial applications. The Compute Module also provides more interfaces than the regular Raspberry Pi, supporting two cameras and two displays, as well as extra GPIO.

A Compute Module 3+ inserted into a Compute Module IO board

CM3+ in CMIO board

CM1 and CM3 have proven very popular, with sales increasing steadily. We don’t generally get to see what the majority of our module customers are using them for, because they’re often companies that understandably want to keep the insides of their products secret, but one nice example application is Revolution Pi from Kunbus. Many NEC digital-signage displays incorporate a socket for CM3, and there are some excellent community efforts too, of which our favourite is this nifty dual camera board. We’ve also seen enterprising companies start offering turnkey design services using the Compute Module, such as that offered by Kunst Engineering.

So what is Compute Module 3+?

CM3+ is derived from the CM3 board, but incorporates the improved thermal design and Broadcom BCM2837B0 application processor from Raspberry Pi 3B+. This means that, with the exception of a small increase in z-height, CM3+ is a drop-in replacement for CM3 from an electrical and form-factor perspective. Note that due to power-supply limitations the maximum processor speed remains at 1.2GHz, compared to 1.4GHz for Raspberry Pi 3B+.

One of the most frequent requests from users and customers is for Compute Module variants with more on-board Flash memory. CM1 and CM3 both came with 4GB of Flash, and although we are fans of the Henry Ford philosophy of customer choice (“you can have any colour, as long as it’s black”), it was obvious that there was a need for more official options.

With CM3+ we are making available three different eMMC Flash sizes, in addition to a Flash-less “Lite” variant, all at competitive prices:

Product Unit price
CM3+/Lite $25
CM3+/8GB $30
CM3+/16GB $35
CM3+/32GB $40

As CM3+ is a new product, it will need a recent version of the Raspberry Pi firmware (and operating system such as Raspbian) to operate correctly.

Thermals

Due to the improved PCB thermal design and BCM2837B0 processor, the CM3+ has better thermal behaviour under load. It has more thermal mass and can draw heat away from the processor faster than CM3. This can translate into lower average temperatures and/or longer sustained operation under heavy load before the processor hits 80°C and begins to reduce its clock speed.

Note that CM3+ will still output the same amount of heat as CM3 for any given application, so performance (and particularly sustained performance) will depend heavily on the design of the carrier PCB and enclosure. As always, we recommend that product designers pay careful attention to thermal performance under expected use cases.

Having characterised the behaviour of the new product, we have broadened the rated ambient temperature range to -20°C to 70°C.

Development Kit

We are also releasing a refreshed Compute Module 3+ Development Kit today. This kit contains 1 x Lite and 1 x 32GB CM3+ module, a Compute Module IO board, camera and display adapters, jumper wires, and a programming cable.

Updated datasheet

The CM datasheet has been updated to include CM3+.

Long-term availability

CM3+ will be available until at least January 2026.

We are also moving the “legacy” CM1, CM3 and CM3 Lite products to “not recommended for new designs” status. They will continue to be available until at least January 2023 as previously stated, but we recommend customers use CM3+ for new designs, and where possible move existing designs to CM3+ for improved performance and longer availability.

Compute Module 3+ is, like Raspberry Pi 3B+, the last in a line of 40nm-based Raspberry Pi products. We feel that it’s a fitting end to the line, rolling in the best bits of Raspberry Pi 3B+ and providing users with more design flexibility in an all‑round better product. We hope you enjoy it.

The post Compute Module 3+ on sale now from $25 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Compute Module 3+ on sale now from

Disable ‘always-listening’ on your smart home assistant

Project Alias, the newest creation of Amsterdam-based maker Bjørn Karmann, allows you to rename your home assistant and, more importantly, paralyse the device’s always-on listening function — for better security.

Project Alias

Alias is a teachable “parasite” that is designed to give users more control over their smart assistants, both when it comes to customisation and privacy. Through a simple app the user can train Alias to react on a custom wake-word/sound, and once trained, Alias can take control over your home assistant by activating it for you.

Always-on home assistants

Love them or hate them, devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo have become a staple in many homes, thanks to people’s desire to automate mundane chores. I mean, why think about vacuuming my home when my Echo Dot can tell my robot hoover to do it for me?

However, despite their convenience, one concern remains for users of most off-the-shelf products: the always-on, always listening function.

As stories of TV ads prompting unwanted purchases via Amazon surface and South Park commandeers people’s devices via a rather ingenious episode script, more and more people are looking for ways to plug their home assistants’ ears, so to speak.

But how do you get something to do your bidding without it always listening for your commands?

Introducing Project Alias

Bjørn Karmann’s Project Alias serves two purposes: it lets you rename your assistant however you see fit (hello Trogdor!), and it paralyses the device’s always-listening function, taking over command. Then, instead of Amazon/Google/etc. listening to the comings and goings in your home, it’s a headless Raspberry Pi 3A+. And as the Raspberry Pi doesn’t need an internet connection in order to do its thing, the only one listening to you in your home is your significant other, your kids or, in my case, two obnoxious house bunnies.

Bjørn has provided a STL file to let prospective Project Alias makers 3D print their own modern-looking case for the 3A+. And the setup tutorial and complete code are on his GitHub.

Once the add-on is built, you simply access the Project Alias trainer via your phone’s browser and tell your home assistant its new name.

And there you have it: an augemented home assistant that does your bidding without you needing to be concerned about who is listening at the other end.

Other potential names for your home assistant

Now you have Project Alias set up on your Amazon Echo or Google Home, here are some names we think you should use:

  • Hey there Delilah
  • Hey-ay, baby
  • Hey ya!
  • Hey Hei

The post Disable ‘always-listening’ on your smart home assistant appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Disable ‘always-listening’ on your smart home assistant

The explosive inventions of Colin Furze

In January 2007, one plumber and a few friends in a pub set out to build a wall of death out of 850 pallets in a field in Lincolnshire. It’s something we’ve all done as children on a small scale, jumping over a cardboard box perhaps. But to scale it up to something 30ft in diameter and 17ft high, and ride around it on a moped at 25mph… that took a special kind of person. That took maker, inventor, YouTuber, and record-breaker extraordinaire Colin Furze.

Colin Furze

You’ve probably seen one or two of Colin Furze’s videos on YouTube. There’s the one where he shoots flames out of a scooter (gaining the attention of Her Majesty’s Lincolnshire Constabulary). There’s the one where he builds the world’s fastest mobility scooter, and the one where he sets off 5000 fireworks at once to celebrate getting three million YouTube subscribers. Maybe you know the one where he sets himself on fire, or the one with a spinning belt of knives to make chopping vegetables easier.

We had a chat with Colin, and sent a very brave photographer to his house to get some photos of him from a safe distance. If you don’t know him, strap in: over the coming pages you’re going to get an exclusive insight into the world of Britain’s most explosive maker.

How to be a better maker, the Furze way

“The thing that I find most exciting about what I do is that sometimes you have the initial test. You have an idea, you nip out to the shed – this could be after tea at night – and you bodge something together quite crudely. And you get that moment of realisation that it might actually work. I think that’s what I find the most enjoyable.”

“I’ve got to the point now where I’ve set my bar pretty high in terms of what people expect. Some projects, like the belt of knives, I knocked that up pretty quick because it was quite simple, but there were other things like the turbo jet scooter, I made sure things look good and they’re pretty well made, so they can take quite a while.”

“Some are a lot easier than others to make, and if you look through my videos in order, they tend to go from ones that are a bit more complicated to ones that are simple. You can never really predict what you’re going to get next; with some YouTube channels it’s much of the same thing if you know what I mean. When I upload a video, you’ve no idea what it’s going to be. I try to hop around a bit so it doesn’t become the same thing over and over again.”

Quality, not quantity

“I used to get a video up every week, or at least try for that, whereas now I’m going to kill myself if I try to match that. I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re ready when they’re ready. If there’s no video on a Thursday, the world’s not going to end. And it makes them a little bit more special when they do come out.”

“I’ve never worked in an office. I think I’d enjoy it for a week, then I’d drive everyone up the wall. I’d be too noisy I think. The only thing I miss from plumbing is the social aspect, because obviously I don’t see many people being in the shed, because I’m only just outside the back door of my house. I haven’t even got a commute. You can just be in there beavering away. I only ever have Rick in there with me when it’s a two-person job. And also it’s not like I’ve got two sheds so something can be being built in the background… a lot of people, when they get to six or seven million subscribers, employ loads of staff, the workshop gets bigger, everything expands, and you start to look at it and think ‘What is this now?’ This is not a guy in the shed at the side of his house trying to make impossible stuff; it’s a factory. Well, you’d expect big stuff to come out of a factory, wouldn’t you? Whereas when I make stuff in that little shed, there’s a little bit of extra interest in it because it’s something that most people could own, if they’ve got the space. So I’ve purposely kept it small and not got too big.”

“I like to go into something thinking ‘Let’s make the best job I can of this.’ Like the shredder that I’ve just made, all the housing and the aluminium surround, I wanted to get it as precise at possible. I used my optical punch and tried to get everything bang on. It all bolts together, and it looks like something that if I’d been shown it before, I’d have gone ‘No, I’m not sure I could make that.’”

Read more!

Read the rest of the exclusive 12-page Colin Furze special in HackSpace magazine issue 15, 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 HackSpace magazine website.

Front cover of HackSpace magazine issue 15

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.

Subscribe now

Subscribe to HackSpace on a monthly, quarterly, or twelve-month basis to save money against newsstand prices.

Twelve-month print subscribers get a free Adafruit Circuit Playground Express, loaded with inputs and sensors and ready for your next project. Tempted?

The post The explosive inventions of Colin Furze appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – The explosive inventions of Colin Furze

New Picademy North America dates for 2019

Hooray, Picademy is back! We’re excited to bring our free computer science and digital making professional development program for educators to three new cities this summer:



Picademy 2019 dates

We’re thrilled to kick off our 2019 season, partnering with three new venues: we’ll be at Computer History Museum in the Bay Area the first week in June, at the University of California, Irvine in July, and at the Toronto Public Library in the second week in August. A big thank you to these venues for hosting us and supporting local educators to attend our free professional development program!



Picademy 2018 highlights

Last year, we partnered with four awesome venues to host eight Picademy events in the United States. Across the country at each Picademy, we met incredibly talented educators who are passionate about bringing digital making to their learners. Whether at the Liberty Science Center makerspace, on Georgia Tech University’s campus, or within the archives of the Living Computer Museum, we were truly inspired by all of our Picademy attendees, and thrilled to welcome them to the Raspberry Pi Certified Educator community.

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

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

The 2018 Picademy cohorts were diverse and experienced in their field: more than 300 educators from 48 different U.S. states and 9 countries participated — a mix of high school, middle, and elementary classroom teachers, librarians, museum staff, university lecturers, and teacher trainers. We loved having the chance to welcome educators from such different backgrounds and help them learn, connect, collaborate, and create awesome projects together.

Picademy has a big impact on educators: last year, 78% of our graduates said they felt confident using Raspberry Pi after attending, and 70% said they were very likely to share their experience with their students and colleagues. And the majority of our Picademy attendees also developed an interest in starting a Code Club or a CoderDojo in their community!








Ready to join us for Picademy 2019? Learn more and apply now.

The post New Picademy North America dates for 2019 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – New Picademy North America dates for 2019

Clap on, clap off with the Raspberry Pi Clapper 👏👏

While many people use off-the-shelf automation setups for their electrical appliances, Ash Puckett’s Raspberry Pi Clapper pays homage to the king of infomercial classics.

Remember this?

The Clapper (1989)

Uploaded by Travis Doucette on 2013-06-03.

Build your own Raspberry Pi Clapper

Sometimes, the best Raspberry Pi projects don’t need thousands of lines of code and a makerspace full of tech to make an impact: Ash Puckett‘s Clapper uses only a Raspberry Pi and a USB microphone as a basis. After that, it’s up to you to integrate the device into whatever project you wish, from home lighting and security systems to entertainment consoles — really anything you can switch from one state to another, including a Raspberry Pi!

GitHub user nikhiljohn10’s clap detection script allows the USB mic to pick up the control clap. With the help of the RPi.GPIO and PyAudio libraries, Ash demonstrates that the Clapper works by turning on and off a red LED attached to the Pi.

You will find instructions for putting together the code and running it on your Pi on the project’s Howchoo page. Howchoo also hosts some of Ash’s other Raspberry Pi projects, including a music streaming device, a smart clock, and a Pi-powered calendar.

Try the Clapper

Why not give the Clapper a go, and let us know what you decide to use it for!

I, for one, will secretly set one up to mess with all the lights in the office — what could possibly go wrong?

The post Clap on, clap off with the Raspberry Pi Clapper 👏👏 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Clap on, clap off with the Raspberry Pi Clapper 👏👏

Raspberry Pi-monitored chemical reactor 💥

In Hello World issue 7, Steven Weir introduces a Raspberry Pi into the classroom to monitor a classic science experiment.

A Raspberry Pi can be used to monitor the reaction between hydrochloric acid and sodium thiosulphate to complement a popular GCSE Chemistry practical.

The rate of reaction between hydrochloric acid and sodium thiosulphate is typically studied as part of GCSE Chemistry. The experiment involves measuring the time required for the reaction mixture to turn cloudy, due to the formation of sulphur as a precipitate. Students can then change the temperature or concentration of the reactants to study their effect on the rate of reaction. The time for the reaction mixture to turn cloudy is normally facilitated by recording the time a hand-drawn cross takes to become obscured when placed underneath a glass vessel holding the reaction mixture. This timing is prone to variability due to operator judgement of when the cross first becomes obscured. This variability can legitimately be discussed as part of the lesson. However, the element of operator judgement can be avoided using a Raspberry Pi-monitored chemical reactor.

The chemical reactor

Attached to a glass jar of approximate 80ml volume (the size is not critical) are two drinking straws, of which one houses a white LED (light-emitting diode) and the other a LDR (light-dependent resistor). The jar is covered in black tape to minimise intrusion of ambient light. The reactor is shown in Figure 1, along with details of other electrical components and connection instructions to a Raspberry Pi.

Figure 1
A: Reactor covered in black tape
B: Drinking straw attached to the reactor, with a further straw inserted housing a white LED
C: Drinking straw attached to the reactor, with a further straw inserted housing a LDR
D: 220Ω resistor to connect to the LED and GPIO 23
E: Wire to connect to ground
F: Wire to connect to 3.3v supply
G: 1µF capacitor to connect to ground
H: Crocodile clip to connect to GPIO 27 (NB: the other end of the wire is situated in between the capacitor and the LDR)

Results

The Python code shown in Figure 2 should be run prior to addition of chemicals to the reactor. Instructions appear on the screen to prompt chemical additions and to start data collection.

Figure 2: Python code for the chemical reactor

Figure 3 shows the results from the experiment when 25ml 0.1M hydrochloric acid is reacted with 25ml 0.15M sodium thiosulphate at 20°C. The reaction is complete at the time the light transmission first reads 0, (i.e. complete obscuration of the light by the precipitate formation) — in this example, that time is 45.4s. For more advanced students, tangents can be drawn at various points on the curve, and gradients calculated to determine the maximum rate of reaction from various reaction conditions.

Figure 3: Graph showing the change in light transmission with time

Download Hello World for free

Download your free copy of Hello World issue 7 today from the Hello World website, where you’ll also find all previous issues. And if you’re an educator in the UK, you’ll have the chance sign up to receive free hard copies to your door!

The post Raspberry Pi-monitored chemical reactor 💥 appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Raspberry Pi-monitored chemical reactor 💥

Is this the most ‘all-in-one’ a computer can possibly be?

Electronic Grenade’s Computer Mouse is the turducken of the tech world, stuffed so full of computing gubbins that you genuinely don’t need anything else. Don’t believe us? See for yourself:

The “Computer” Mouse: A DIY Project

The computer mouse is an entire laptop computer in mouse form that uses the raspberry pi zero W as its brain. I originally wanted to just put a raspberry pi into a mouse but I soon discovered that that large of a mouse didn’t exist.

See what we mean?

The Computer Mouse

Sure, your laptop may be considered an all-in-one computer, but if you’re not a fan of trackpads, you’ll still need a mouse to complete the experience. Electronic Grenade‘s Computer Mouse truly has everything — a mouse, a screen, a keyboard — and while the screen is tiny, it’s still enough to get started.

A GIF of the Computer Mouse in action

Electronic Grenade designed the device using Autodesk Fusion 360, housing a Raspberry Pi Zero W, the guts of two USB mice, a slideout Bluetooth keyboard, and a flip-up 1.5″ full-colour OLED display. For power, the mouse also plays host to a 500mAh battery, charged by an Adafruit Micro-LiPo charger.

It’s very cool. Very, very cool.

A GIF from the movie Storks

Homemade Raspberry Pi laptops

From cardboard pizza boxes to ornate, wooden creations, our community members love making Raspberry Pi laptops out of whatever they can get their hands on.


Steampunk Raspberry Pi laptop

Variations on a theme include projects such as Jeremy Lee’s wrist computer with onboard gyromouse, perfect for any Captain Jack cosplay; and Scripto, the Raspberry Pi word processor that processes words and nothing more.


Photo: a red-cased Scripto sits open on a white work surface. It is on, and Its screen is filled with text.

Electronic Grenade

If you’re a fan of retrofit Raspberry Pi projects, check out Electronic Grenade’s Xbox controller hack. And while you’re skimming through their YouTube channel (as you should), be sure to subscribe, and watch the videos of their other Raspberry Pi–based projects, such as this wooden Raspberry Pi 3 laptop. You can also help Electronic Grenade design and build more projects such as the Computer Mouse by supporting them on Patreon.

Notes

  • A turducken is a chicken stuffed into a duck, that is then in turn stuffed into a turkey, and it sounds all kinds of wrong. Do you know what doesn’t sound all kinds of wrong? Electronic Grenade’s Computer Mouse.
  • The ‘cool, cool, cool’ GIF is from the movie Storks. If you haven’t watched Storks yet, you really should: it’s very underrated and quite wonderful.
  • I meant this Captain Jack and not this Captain Jack.

The post Is this the most ‘all-in-one’ a computer can possibly be? appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – Is this the most ‘all-in-one’ a computer can possibly be?

From Wireframe issue 5: Breakthrough Brits in conversation

BAFTA-recognised developers Adrienne Law and Harry Nesbitt share their thoughts on making games, work-life balance, and more in this excerpt from Wireframe issue 5, available from today.

It’s certainly ‘woollies and scarf’ weather now, but the low-hanging sun provides a beautiful backdrop as Adrienne and Harry make their daily short walk from home to the ustwo games office. In late 2018, Adrienne Law and Harry Nesbitt were both recognised by BAFTA as Breakthrough Brits: an award given by BAFTA to new and emerging talent across a variety of art and entertainment industries. But that’s not the only thing they have in common — Adrienne and Harry work in the same office and are even housemates.

Monument Valley 2 screenshot

Monument Valley 2

Adrienne is a producer at ustwo games, most recently on the acclaimed puzzler Monument Valley 2. Harry doesn’t work for ustwo, but he’s a regular fixture there, taking a spare desk to work as the lead developer and artist for Alto’s Adventure and its sequel, Alto’s Odyssey.

Alto’s Odyssey screenshot

Alto’s Odyssey

As two professionals early in their careers in an ever-evolving industry, Adrienne and Harry find themselves with much in common, but the routes that led them to working and living together were very different. The pair agreed to take an hour out of their work schedules to speak to Wireframe, and to each other, about their personal experiences of game development, how it feels to release a game, work-life balance, and the potential of games to affect and enrich lives.

Adrienne Law: My route into the games industry was semi-accidental. I played games a lot when I was a kid but didn’t know there was an industry as such to go and work in. I did an English degree thinking that might possibly set me up for going into some kind of creative, story-driven field, which was what interested me. After that, I spent a few years working different jobs — I was a teaching assistant, I worked in finance, retail, marketing, and was circling around trying to get into film and TV industries.

Eventually, I got to the point where I went onto job sites and searched for “production assistant” and that’s where I found a production assistant role going at ustwo games. I thought, “Oh! Production is a thing in games! I didn’t know that.” I decided to just go for it. I ended up having a few interviews with ustwo — I think they were worried because I was quite quiet, and they weren’t sure how much I would step into the role — but they let me through the door and gave me a chance. I’ve been here ever since. I never set out to be in the games industry, but I think I’d been gaining a lot of skills and had an awareness of the medium, so those things combined into making me a good candidate for the role.

I went to an all girls’ school that specialised in maths and science, so there was no reason that I would have thought I couldn’t work in tech, but the school didn’t push the idea of working in tech and coding. I think if I had been aware of it from a younger age, I would have been a programmer.

Harry Nesbitt

Harry Nesbitt: I’ve always thought about working in games. From a young age, I had an interest in how games were made from an artistic standpoint. I would always look up who was responsible for the concept art. Concept art as a job was something I was aware of from a very young age.

Around 2006, when I started at university, indie games weren’t in the mainstream, and making games in your own bedroom wasn’t as popular an idea. When I discovered Unity, I thought “Oh, I can download this for free, and I can learn all the basics online.” I saw examples of illustrators who were downloading it and making cool, interesting little projects — almost like little art pieces — bringing their illustrations to life. It made me realise I could have a play with that. My knowledge of the basics of JavaScript and web development helped me pick up the coding side of things a little bit more easily.

When it came to making Alto’s Adventure, I knew a little bit of Unity and had been playing with it for about 12 months, so I realised I could at least be playing around with it, seeing what’s possible and using it as a way to demonstrate certain ideas.

Within a very short space of time, less than a week maybe, I’d been able to put together a basic prototype of the core systems, such as the terrain generation, basic player physics, even some effects such as particles and Alto’s scarf. It took another year and a half from there to get it finished, but online resources gave me what I needed to eventually get the game made. It’s not necessarily an experience I’d want to repeat though!

You can read the rest of this fantastic feature in Wireframe issue 5, out today, 17 January, 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.

The cutest Wireframe cover to date!

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!

The post From Wireframe issue 5: Breakthrough Brits in conversation appeared first on Raspberry Pi.



Source: Raspberry Pi – From Wireframe issue 5: Breakthrough Brits in conversation