The RaspberryPi Tricorder – the Picorder

This project has been in progress since I first received my Raspberry Pi last July. Until now, I just haven’t had the time to record video.

The Picorder is a Pi/Arduino combination taking readings from 2 temperature sensors, a hall-effect magnetism sensor and an ultrasonic distance sensor which it then displays, with the aid of a Python script, on an LCD display. The Pi also displays it’s own IP address(es) which can come in useful sometimes!

Here is a list of components:

  • Raspberry Pi Model B 512MB (although it would likely run on a 256MB)
  • Dreamer Nano v4 (Arduino Leonardo clone from
  • PiPlate prototyping board
  • Edimax wifi dongle
  • TMP102 temperature sensor
  • SR-04 Ultrasonic distance sensor
  • Light-resistant resistor
  • MCP9700 active thermistor
  • AL1302EUA-T Hall effect sensor
  • A HD44780-type LCD
  • Stripboard

The scripts for the Picorder are held on my GitHub redwing-pi repository. The main driver Python script is

This project is also detailed on my project page at Ryan Walmsley’s site, which is a fantastic place to add your own Pi project.

Here’s a photograph of the Picorder:


For a walkthrough of the components watch the following video:

See the device in action below:

I will be posting more technical details of the inner workings, code and such like, in the next week, so keep an eye on the blog using the RSS feed or subscribe via email at the top of the screen.

All the articles about, or related to, the Picorder are available here.

7 comments for “The RaspberryPi Tricorder – the Picorder

  1. Hi!

    Nice project! Why would you need both: raspberry pi and arduino? Couldn’t you do it only with raspberry pi? Why did you decide for this combination (pi + arduino)?

    I am a 100% noob on this field, so thanks for you answer in advance 🙂

    • Excellent question. Four reasons, really. 1/ I wanted to learn more about electronics and playing with an Arduino lets me do that. 2/ I won a competition to win the Dreamer Nano v4 (the Arduino clone), so I wanted to use it. 3/ I loved the idea of taking a Pi and an Arduino and showing that they don’t need to be in competition with each other, but could work together well. Aaaaaand 4/ (most importantly) Some of the sensors I wanted to use required analog input channels, which the Pi does not provide. I could’ve hooked up an analog-to-digital converter, of course, but (because of the previous two reasons) using the Nano seemed like more fun 🙂

  2. Not sure you’re still maintaining this project at this late date, but I have a senior in high school who is very excited to try this for their senior STEM credit. Is there an updated BOM or instructions for use with a Pi4? (Or, alternatively, with a Pi/Ard build that can run from battery?) I don’t have a lot of hardware experience, but I’m teaching them Python so they can work on the software part (and maybe add a sensor or two–they want to try and make wireless probes like the medical tricorders have) Thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.