PiPodCorder – PiPod Tricorder

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Long-term hardware project: a Raspberry Pi tricorder. It’s not exactly a novel idea, but it gives me the opportunity to merge my software skills with the hardware side of the Pi, which I’m just learning.

PHASE 1 – Tricorder
BASICS

  • Battery-powered Raspberry Pi with 3.5mm (or larger) screen.
  • Additional diagnostics via 16×2 lcd screen.
  • Wifi network access.
  • Extended capabilities via Windows Mobile phone connecting with VNC and Putty.
  • Rii Bluetooth keyboard and touchpad. (Touchpad will be visible all the time as will a couple of the keys, but the main part of the keyboard will be a ‘revealable’ affair.
  • Contained in a clamshell case of some sort.
  • LCD readout panel. (PARTIALLY DONE)
  • LCDs and moving parts for function and decoration.

SENSORS

  • Temperature/humidity
  • Distance via ultrasonic
  • Movement via PIR
  • Barometric pressure

PHASE 2 (Location and Environment)

  • Add GPS module
  • Add mapping interface to GPS
  • Light level sensor
  • Compass module
  • Some kind of on/off switch for the Pi itself
  • Accelerometer

PHASE 3 (Medical tricorder)

  • Some kind of bluetooth/wireless peripheral (“Medical tricorder”) for taking temperatures, that kind of thing.
  • A camera to take picture of ‘patients’.
  • Heart rate / blood oxygen monitor – http://www.coolcomponents.co.uk/catalog/heart-rate-monitor-p-816.html
  • Geiger counter (for when you absolutely MUST know the level of cosmic radiation on that alien planet!)
  • Some kind of sound sensor
  • Some kind of bluetooth/wireless peripheral (“Medical tricorder”) for taking temperatures, that kind of thing.
  • A camera to take picture of ‘patients’.

Hoping that at each Milton Keynes Raspberry Jam I can show a bit more.

The PiPodcorder will run Adafruit’s Occidentalis distro with my Redwing script suite.

Now, if only I could find my original toy tricorder…

Great & Vital Raspberry Pi Websites (#1) – Raspi.TV

This will be a series for Great Raspberry Pi Websites.

First up is Raspi.TV – http://raspi.tv/.
As the site proclaims, it is a site for “Raspberry Pi Information and Videos” but it’s more than that. Alex, the site creator, explained at the Milton Keynes Raspberry Jam that the way he does his videos and instructions is to a) write them and b) try them out himself.
That means, that the site features, if not fool-proof, then hard-to-mess-up and above all accurate instructions on how to do lots of things with your Pi.
Currently (1st October 2012), the site contains articles on everything from first installation to using the Gertboard expansion board to control a motor.

Fantastic, multimedia, content on a very easy to use site. That’s why it becomes our first Great Raspberry Pi Website.

Occidentalis / Redwing

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Well!
That went well!
My Redwing Pi is now back to usable and is using the Adafruit Occidentalis v0.2 distro.

Here’s a list of what it currently has on it now I’ve finished with my tweaks:

  • Hexxeh’s rpi-update
  • Up-to-date raspi-config
  • Memory split to favour core rather than video
  • Overclocked to 900mhz (not verified that’s worked yet)
  • GIT core
  • Two wifi networks (home and work) with auto-connect at boot
  • Using the Edimax wifi adapter that is becoming so beloved (the one with the gold usb contact)
  • Used a script to speed up the boot cycle
  • Increased the size of the shell history to make documentation easier.
  • Installed the following:
    • screen (to allow login sessions to be accessed by multiple users)
    • Apache and PHP (to give you a web server)
    • Samba (to let you see and use your Pi’s drive on a Windows network)
    • Raspcontrol (a web interface to let you see what’s going on with your Pi without remoting in)
Now backing the image up so I can go to the MK Raspberry Jam with my ‘virgin Pi’ presentation and get back to where I was easily.

Vital pieces of software: Advanced IP Scanner

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First in what I suspect will be a long series of posts about software that you just have to have either on your Pi or on your PC in support of it. I work on Windows, so if you’re on a Mac, the software may be available for you too, but I haven’t looked for it.

First up is the Advanced IP Scanner which is a free network utility to scan a range of IP addresses and tell you various pieces of information about them, including their network name.

This is vital for those of us who use the Pi ‘headless’ (aka without-a-screen) and don’t always know the IP address we’ve been assigned. When a network uses “DHCP”, the IP address you are assigned can vary and the Advanced IP Scanner will scan the network and show you what IP address your Pi has.

And yes, that was a lot of semi-repeated text, just in case someone is searching for information and not using the exact wording one is expecting!