Miniature NASA Curiosity Rover reproduction has a Raspberry Pi at its heart

The folks over at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena have built a mini-Mars rover, called ROV-E, that has been designed to tour classrooms, museums, and other events. Following a great response from the general public, JPL have now released plans for the rover. Building one will set you back about $2500, but in command is the low-cost Raspberry Pi 3. All the plans are on Github and there is also a website for the project.

While we’re on the space theme, this is just a quick reminder that we recently announced a space exploration theme for Pi Wars, our robotics event in Cambridge at the end of March next year.

Applications close at 8pm on Sunday, 23rd September, so fill in the form soon!

Create and print dynamic mazes using a Raspberry Pi and a thermal printer

Mattias Jahnke (aka YouTube’s Engineerish) has built this lovely project from a thermal printer and a Raspberry Pi. Enclosed in a hand-modified box (gotta love a bit of Dremelling!), the Pi creates mazes using a technique known as recursive backtracking and then sends them to the printer for printing. A button controls when this all happens and, I think you’ll agree, the results are terrific for keeping young-ish ones entertained! 🙂 The source code is available here and you can view Mattias’ video below.

Expression-sensing flower opens up it’s petals for you via a Raspberry Pi

This is a lovely idea, really well executed.

Using a variety of techniques, a team has developed the Expression Flower that senses when it is being smiled at and then opens up to smile back at you. Powered by a Raspberry Pi, the flower is coded using Google’s IoT platform, Android Things. There’s a camera module at the centre which reads in image data, passes it to the Pi which itself uses the ML Kit learning ‘machine’ from Google. Oh, if you wink at it, it closes up again in a bashful kind of way! The entire project, which uses 3D printing and laser-cutting, has been open sourced and documented over on

Dementia/disability friendly music box powered by a Raspberry Pi


Hi everyone. I am back, much refreshed and revived by a holiday to lovely Croatia (which I can thoroughly recommend!).

Ross Porter’s father could no longer operate his CD player to play his favourite music due to impaired mental function caused by dementia. Knowing that music was incredibly beneficial to people in his father’s position, Ross set about making a music box that could be operated simply. He used two rotary encoders fed through to a Raspberry Pi to do this. Pressing or rotating either knob starts the music going. One knob controls the volume and the other changes songs from a playlist stored on a USB drive. His final product came out as above. He’s now documented the build process and open sourced all the designs and software, designing two other cases in the process (one of which is shown below).

I think you’ll agree, this is a lovely idea and I applaud Ross for his efforts to bring music back to his father. You can see a presentation of the music box below and find out how to make your own here:

Interactive doll’s house uses a Playstation Move controller and a Raspberry Pi

Two students from the University of Washington, Maks Surguy and Yi Fan Yin, decided to create an interactive doll’s house that could be controlled by a Playstation Move controller. To do this, they first of all designed the doll’s house, printed it out on cardboard to prototype and then laser-cut the design in plywood to give the house some stability and strength.

The Playstation Move interprets gestures and feeds them to a Raspberry Pi which then decides which gesture was used and then turns features of the doll’s house on or off accordingly. A total of seven gestures were programmed in to control;

…various functional items in the dollhouse (such as) TV, lights, fan, and shutters.

Read more over at The MagPi and watch the video below: