Update to Raspbian desktop includes Scratch 2.0 and a new Python IDE

Simon Long has just posted on the Raspberry Pi website about an update to Raspbian that has just been released. The following changes have been implemented:

  • Scratch 2.0 (offline version) pre-installed, including ability to do physical computing!
  • Thonny IDE for Python pre-installed (a new IDE which gives a nicer experience than the popular IDLE IDE).
  • New icon set with thinner outlines.

Also released is an x86 image of the update, allowing both live-booting from a USB stick and wipe-and-installation.

Simon also announced that software development is well under way for the new version of Raspbian, based on Debian Stretch.

Read more about the update here and download the new Raspbian image here.

Automating a coral reef tank with a Raspberry Pi

Ranjib Dey loves his salt water aquarium which is home to a miniature, living, coral reef. It takes a lot of expertise and monitoring to keep this fragile ecosystem alive and to do it he has decided to bring in a little bit of Raspberry Pi know-how. The system, called reef-pi, which comprises the Pi, some relays and an analogue-to-digital converter to grab sensor readings, is growing all the time and currently has the following features:

  • AC 110/220v equipment control (on demand and periodically based on timers)
  • DC pump velocity and LED based light intensity control (using PCA9685 PWM driver)
  • Dawn to dusk lighting setup
  • Temperature and similar sensor (pH, ORP etc) integration using MCP3008 analog to digital converter
  • Automated photo capture (using Raspberry Pi camera)
  • Touch screen and web based interface (allows for directly controlling the Pi using touch screen or by accessing the web UI from mobile or tablet)
  • Adafruit.io integration (temperature and similar data will be sent to adafruit.io, where users can build their dashboard/triggers etc)
  • PID controller is integrated to allow for temperature regulation and other failsafe measures

You can read more about the system, which is written in Go, on his GitHub repository: there’s a full bill-of-materials and all the code on there.

Thanks to Make for spotting this one.

Connected, dreamy drawings using the Raspberry Pi and Bare Conductive’s PiCap

Swedish artist, Rebecka Tollens has collaborated with Playtronica to bring her “Connected Drawings” to life. As part of the Daydream / Darkness / Disgrace exhibition in Paris, Rebecka created drawings to represent her dreams. She then made them interactive by using Bare Conductive’s Touch Board and Pi Cap in ‘proximity mode’. When different areas of the drawings were touched by visitors, Rebecka’s voice would be played through headphones, describing the dreams (or, in many cases, nightmares). You can read more here on Bare Conductive’s site or view a video with Rebecka below:

Real-time, customised version of Raspberry Pi being used within industry

Real-time Ethernet specialists Hilscher have invested in Element 14’s Raspberry Pi customisation service to produce what they are calling the netPi. The netPi uses the same Broadcom technology as the Raspberry Pi 3 but does so in a different form factor. The different interfaces, such as USB, are laid out differently and the netPi has additional functionality in the form of two real-time Ethernet sockets and also a new expansion socket in the mini-PCIe form factor. (Real-time Ethernet is used in industry to send fast sensor readings over an Ethernet cable in real-time). To go with the new hardware comes a new ‘hardened’ operating system which is based on the Yocto project. Running on top of that is Docker with a Raspbian instance to allow software developers to have a more familiar experience.

You can read more about the netPi over on the Element 14 blog.

Answer questions, record sound and print the wave with a Raspberry Pi

Bomani, Eunice, and Matt have created a project called Waves which allows you to see the spoken word in printed form. A set of colour-coded questions is posed and you are then invited to answer them whilst pressing a colour-coded button. The appropriate question and your response are then printed out using a thermal printer – the question as text and your response as a sound wave (pictured above). You can read how they did it, and perhaps create your own, by viewing more about the project over at GitHub and see it in action below.

Retro sound effects typewriter uses a Raspberry Pi

James McCullen has taken inspiration from a 1930s Looney Tunes short film called Hold Anything and created a custom ‘typewriter’ that plays cartoon sound effects. He recorded the effects himself and then copied them to a Raspberry Pi which was then inserted into the casing. By pressing the various buttons and turning dials, he can change what sound effect comes out. See the Fleischer 100 in action below and read more at Raspberry Pi.