This Raspberry Pi-controlled laser pointer writes the weather out for you

Please note: these types of lasers can damage your eyes – so please, use appropriate eye-protection.

Tucker Shannon has taken a Raspberry Pi Zero and two stepper motor driver boards and then mounted a 5mw, 405nm laser pointer on top. He’s then programmed the Raspberry Pi to receive messages from Google Assistant via IFTTT and Adafruit IO. This means that he can ask his phone to give him a weather report via laser and the Pi will pick up that signal and draw the current temperature and icon out on UV sensitive paper. You can see how he built it here, download the 3D printable files here and see a tutorial on how to build your own below:

Raspberry Fields – a festival of digital making in Cambridge run by Raspberry Pi – is this weekend!

This weekend (30th June-1st July), digital making festival Raspberry Fields comes to Cambridge. Run by the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and coming off the success of previous “Big Birthday Weekend” celebrations, it’s sure to be a lot of fun.

I will be there both days, helping out in the Drop-in and Exhibitor area, so come and say hello!

Tim Richardson and I will be doing a 20-minute talk on how Pi Wars has progressed from its humble 2014 beginnings to the two-day robotics challenge event it is now. This is in the auditorium at 2pm on the Sunday.

Immediately following that talk, at 2.30pm on Sunday, myself and Albert Hickey will be co-facilitating a drop-in and discussion session about Raspberry Jams in J3. If you’re involved with a Raspberry Jam, or would like to set-up/help at one, this is a great session and should hopefully answer any questions you may have.

Tickets for Raspberry Fields are still available here and are £5 each per day for adults; under-16s go free.

This Raspberry Pi-powered robot can change the shape of its wheels to overcome obstacles

Al Bencomo has created this wonderful 3D-printed robot that can overcome obstacles by changing the shape of its wheels. FRILLER (FRILL Explorer Robot) uses a Raspberry Pi 3 with Android Things OS to control motors connected via an Adafruit Motor HAT. As Al explains it:

The wheel deformation mechanism is composed of two DC geared motors, sliding racks, and an elastic cord. When the motors push out the racks, the wheel diameter becomes larger. The elastic cord around the wheels assists with the return of the spikes to the close position when the motors pull the racks back inside. The wheels remain round for faster travel on roads or indoors, but transform into spikes to overcome obstacles off-road.

You can read more and download the STL files for the 3D printer here and view his code on GitHub here. See it in action in the video below:

Multiple Raspberry Pis used to detect illegal pornography

Christian Haschek from Austria has developed a system to identify illegally uploaded pornographic images. Following the upload of a child sexual abuse image to his image hosting platform, Pictshare, Haschek naturally contacted the police who told him to print it out and give it to them. Knowing that this was illegal in itself, Haschek instead turned to the Raspberry Pi to solve the problem.

Three Pis were used, two with Intel Movidius USB dongles, used to classify images together with open source algorithm NSFW which available from Yahoo free of charge.

He set the scanning system to find any image with a 30% or more chance of being dodgy and got it to report the images to him so he could send them to Interpol and then delete them. So far, he has found more than a dozen illegal images on the platform.

You can read more over on Christian’s blog.

Humble Bundle releases a great selection of Raspberry Pi and Arduino books at knock-down prices

The latest Humble Bundle book deal (just a sample of which is shown above) contains several books from Make including “Make: A Raspberry Pi-Controlled Robot” by Wolfram Donat and various other electronics and programming volumes. Well worth a look if you like your books electronic and informative. Visit Humble Bundle here.

Thanks to Doug Gore for spotting this!

Simple GUI for creating stop motion animations with the Raspberry Pi

Martin O’Hanlon, who recently joined Raspberry Pi as a Content and Curriculum Manager, has been playing around with the PiCamera library in conjunction with guizero which helps you to create simple user interfaces. He has created an app that runs on the Raspberry Pi that helps you to create stop-motion animations. You can download the software from his blog where there are instructions and information about how the app was written.