When’s the next bus? with a Raspberry Pi

Ismail Uddin has published a nice little tutorial on Science Exposure. In it, he uses a 16×2 HD44780 LCD screen and some Python to produce a next-bus tracking system. He’s uploaded the Python script to GitHub for easy download. Nice little project requiring quite a lot of wiring! Read it here. All you need to know is your bus stop number and you’re away.

Raspberry Pi controls open-source floating robot

Here’s an interesting open-source robot. It’s made up of 3D-printed parts and a tyre tube and uses a Raspberry Pi to control brushless motors beneath the water which propel it along. Take a look at the 3D printable parts here, the team’s (Spanish) discussion forum, and watch the robot in action in the video below:

Lunar eclipse time-lapse with the Raspberry Pi

Norbert Heinz (HomoFaciens) took his Raspberry Pi, a camera module and a zoom lens and captured a time-lapse of the recent lunar eclipse. You can see the time-lapse and an explanation of his method in the video below:

He has written up his project in both English and German, so head over to his site for more information.

Thanks to the Foundation for spotting this one.

New version of Raspberry Pi Scratch brings native GPIO support

When Raspbian Jessie was launched a week-and-a-bit ago, included in it was a new version of Scratch. In addition to an overall improvement in speed/performance, native GPIO support was introduced as well as the ability to control the Camera Module. This means that users now have an ‘officially supported’ way of integrating physical hardware using Scratch on the Pi. As well as basic GPIO control, several add-on boards have been integrated to make it easy to use them. You can read the official announcement from the Foundation here and you can see examples of the new commands available here.

I’d like to add my voice to the thanks to Simon Walters who wrote ScratchGPIO, which was what everyone used before this new version of Scratch was announced. This was a revolutionary way of using Scratch and GPIO together for the past few years and he was always willing to do things like add new add-on boards into it and improve the user experience. Here’s hoping that the new version will receive similar support!

Maplin beginners’ soldering kit only £10 at the moment @maplintweet

Maplin often do clearance items that are of interest to Raspberry Pi owners. I’ve just received their latest email and the good old beginners soldering kit is currently on sale for only £10! This is a great offer and the kit includes:

  • 40W soldering iron (easily enough for most projects like soldering GPIO add-on boards)
  • Tube of unleaded solder.
  • Iron stand with mini-sponge.
  • Solder sucker (for when you mess things up and need to get rid of some solder!)

To take advantage of this offer, head over to Maplin’s website.

(No, I’m not on commission, this is just the kit I started out with and I think it’s great value for a tenner!)

Great Raspberry Pi events in Peterborough in November

Great news for people in Peterborough and the surrounding area. There are two events in November that are all about the Raspberry Pi.

Coding Evening

The first one is a Coding Evening – it’s a (very) informal meet-up, in a pub, designed to be especially helpful to teachers. The idea is to get teachers and professionals/enthusiasts together and then spread knowledge, skills and know-how in a relaxed environment. This Coding Evening is run by teacher Hannah Mills and will take place at The Brewery Tap from 5-9.30pm on Tuesday, 24th November. You can just turn up, but Hannah would love it if you could register for free tickets on Eventbrite so she can work out how many people will be turning up. So, if you’re a teacher, or if you’re someone who would be interested in sharing knowledge, expertise or enthusiasm, get yourself along to the Tap!

Raspberry Jam

The second event is a Raspberry Jam. This will be Peterborough’s second Jam and will take place at Peterborough Regional College (on the University Campus) on Saturday, 28th November from 11am-4.30pm. Hannah’s involved in this one as well and she, Mike Mills and Tony Warner will be ready to welcome you to this great venue. They are looking for people to take part in show-and-tell, give talks in the (rather nice) lecture theatre and facilitate workshops. Tickets, which are £3 for adults and free for 16-and-unders can be obtained from Eventbrite. Last time they had a Jam it was a great event, attracting a lot of well-known faces from the Pi community and having a really nice ‘feel’ to it. I thoroughly recommend going, and if you can get involved in any of the ways mentioned above, even better!