Old rotary phone used as a Raspberry Pi-powered jukebox

James West has taken an old rotary-style telephone and turned it into a Pi-powered jukebox.

To start with, he hooked the dialer up to the Raspberry Pi’s GPIO and then used Dan Aldred’s code to count the pulses generated when the ring was turned. Having done this, he programmed the Pi to play different songs depending on which number had been dialled. He chose songs about phone calls or conversations, starting with Hanging on the Telephone by Blondie when you dial 1. The transfer of the Pi’s audio to the handset was achieved using a Pimoroni Speakerphat, with the volume dialled down (sorry) by simply adding a resistor.

You can see it working below and you can read more here. Take a look at other James West builds by clicking here.

Beating spinal muscular atrophy to fire a gun using a Raspberry Pi

Mike Phillips has spinal muscular atrophy, leaving him only with the control of one eyebrow. However, this hasn’t stopped him creating a list of things to do that would rival most able-bodied “bucket lists”. One of the items on the list was to fire a gun, using nothing but his eyebrow. Bill Binko and the team from ATMakers took this wish and “made it so” by setting up a Glock 17 to be fired with a servo (after they’d cleared the experiment with the relevant authorities, of course!)

The interface with Mike’s eyebrow-controlled system was managed by using a Raspberry Pi Zero, an Adafruit Crickit and a custom circuit board to go between the two. A Pi camera was also used to enable Mike to ‘look down the sights’ and then take the shot.

You can see two videos below about the project and read more about it here.

Cartoon-ifying Raspberry Pi uses camera module and thermal printer

Dan Macnish has taken a Raspberry Pi 3, a camera module and a thermal printer and created a set-up that ‘approximates’ what the camera sees and then prints it out. It’s sort of like a rubbish Polaroid, but it’s more artistic than that. Using a piece of software called Draw This, the Pi recognises objects in front of the camera and then mines Google’s Quick, Draw! dataset to find the images that are closest (in a cartoon fashion) to what the camera saw. After that, it’s just a case of sending the data to the thermal printer and voila – a picture that looks almost nothing like what the camera saw! 😉 You can read more about the project here and see the code here.

This DIY parking assistant uses Lidar, an LED matrix and a Raspberry Pi

Maker Medinc has taken a Raspberry Pi, a couple of Tiny Lidar sensors and a 32×32 LED matrix and created a practical parking assistant. The two sensors are attached to the car at the back and side and then wired through the car to a Raspberry Pi. The Pi is then used to process distance readings and display the assistant’s user interface on the LED matrix.

The 32×32 LED display will assist you by showing arrows to move forward, left or right and a count down display with colored corners to indicate how far you still have to drive.

You can see a demo of the system below and read how he did it on Instructables:

Whisky distillery phone boxes use a Raspberry Pi to get the message across

Grant Gibson from Glasgow-based Bright Signals was contracted by the Jura whisky distillery to build some phone boxes which would allow people in far-flung areas of the country to listen to voices from the Jura island, as well as hear from the brewery and sample some of their produce. This elaborate marketing scheme is powered by a Raspberry Pi which handles the ringing of the telephone, the IVR-style menus (you know the sort: press 1 for… press 2 for…) and the user interface which was displayed on a Pimoroni Display-o-tron HAT.

You can read about the build here and you can see a time-lapse of the build below:

Raspberry Pi launches new software to support High Altitude Ballooning

Raspberry Pi has just announced two software packages to help groups and individuals get into High Altitude Ballooning. Created in conjunction with HAB enthusiast Dave Akerman, one package is installed on the Pi going up into near-space and the other is used to track it when it comes back to Earth.

Pytrack goes on the Space-bound Pi and has the following features:

  • Learners can create their own tracker in a simpler programming language, rather than simply configuring the existing software
  • The core mechanics of the tracker are exposed for the learner to understand, but complex details are abstracted away
  • Learners can integrate the technology with standard Python libraries and existing projects
  • Pytrack is modular, allowing learners to experiment with underlying radio components

SkyGate is a complete tracking application that goes into a Pi with touchscreen and has the following features:

  • Live tunable LoRa reception and decoding
  • Live tunable RTTY reception and decoding (with compatible USB SDR)
  • Image reception and previewing
  • GPS tracking to report your location (when using compatible GPS USB dongle)
  • Data, images, and GPS upload functionality to HabHub tracking site
  • An Overview tab presenting a high-level summary and bearing to payload
  • Full customisation via the Settings tab

You can read more about the two pieces of software here and install them using the commands below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3-pytrack
sudo apt install skygate