Learn the fundamentals of AI and machine learning with our free online course

via Raspberry Pi

Join our free online course Introduction to Machine Learning and AI to discover the fundamentals of machine learning and learn to train your own machine learning models using free online tools.

Drawing of a machine learning robot helping a human identify spam at a computer.

Although artificial intelligence (AI) was once the province of science fiction, these days you’re very likely to hear the term in relation to new technologies, whether that’s facial recognition, medical diagnostic tools, or self-driving cars, which use AI systems to make decisions or predictions.

By the end of this free online course, you will have an appreciation for what goes into machine learning and artificial intelligence systems — and why you should think carefully about what comes out.

Machine learning — a brief overview

You’ll also often hear about AI systems that use machine learning (ML). Very simply, we can say that programs created using ML are ‘trained’ on large collections of data to ‘learn’ to produce more accurate outputs over time. One rather funny application you might have heard of is the ‘muffin or chihuahua?’ image recognition task.

Drawing of a machine learning ars rover trying to decide whether it is seeing an alien or a rock.

More precisely, we would say that a ML algorithm builds a model, based on large collections of data (the training data), without being explicitly programmed to do so. The model is ‘finished’ when it makes predictions or decisions with an acceptable level of accuracy. (For example, it rarely mistakes a muffin for a chihuahua in a photo.) It is then considered to be able to make predictions or decisions using new data in the real world.

It’s important to understand AI and ML — especially for educators

But how does all this actually work? If you don’t know, it’s hard to judge what the impacts of these technologies might be, and how we can be sure they benefit everyone — an important discussion that needs to involve people from across all of society. Not knowing can also be a barrier to using AI, whether that’s for a hobby, as part of your job, or to help your community solve a problem.

some things that machine learning and AI systems can be built into: streetlamps, waste collecting vehicles, cars, traffic lights.

For teachers and educators it’s particularly important to have a good foundational knowledge of AI and ML, as they need to teach their learners what the young people need to know about these technologies and how they impact their lives. (We’ve also got a free seminar series about teaching these topics.)

To help you understand the fundamentals of AI and ML, we’ve put together a free online course: Introduction to Machine Learning and AI. Over four weeks in two hours per week, you’ll learn how machine learning can be used to solve problems, without going too deeply into the mathematical details. You’ll also get to grips with the different ways that machines ‘learn’, and you will try out online tools such as Machine Learning for Kids and Teachable Machine to design and train your own machine learning programs.

What types of problems and tasks are AI systems used for?

As well as finding out how these AI systems work, you’ll look at the different types of tasks that they can help us address. One of these is classification — working out which group (or groups) something fits in, such as distinguishing between positive and negative product reviews, identifying an animal (or a muffin) in an image, or spotting potential medical problems in patient data.

You’ll also learn about other types of tasks ML programs are used for, such as regression (predicting a numerical value from a continuous range) and knowledge organisation (spotting links between different pieces of data or clusters of similar data). Towards the end of the course you’ll dive into one of the hottest topics in AI today: neural networks, which are ML models whose design is inspired by networks of brain cells (neurons).

drawing of a small machine learning neural network.

Before an ML program can be trained, you need to collect data to train it with. During the course you’ll see how tools from statistics and data science are important for ML — but also how ethical issues can arise both when data is collected and when the outputs of an ML program are used.

By the end of the course, you will have an appreciation for what goes into machine learning and artificial intelligence systems — and why you should think carefully about what comes out.

Sign up to the course today, for free

The Introduction to Machine Learning and AI course is open for you to sign up to now. Sign-ups will pause after 12 December. Once you sign up, you’ll have access for six weeks. During this time you’ll be able to interact with your fellow learners, and before 25 October, you’ll also benefit from the support of our expert facilitators. So what are you waiting for?

Share your views as part of our research

As part of our research on computing education, we would like to find out about educators’ views on machine learning. Before you start the course, we will ask you to complete a short survey. As a thank you for helping us with our research, you will be offered the chance to take part in a prize draw for a £50 book token!

Learn more about AI, its impacts, and teaching learners about them

To develop your computing knowledge and skills, you might also want to:

If you are a teacher in England, you can develop your teaching skills through the National Centre for Computing Education, which will give you free upgrades for our courses (including Introduction to Machine Learning and AI) so you’ll receive certificates and unlimited access.

The post Learn the fundamentals of AI and machine learning with our free online course appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

App note: Utilizing the power shutdown capabilities of the Kionix tri-axis accelerometers

via Dangerous Prototypes

Conserve power on using accelerometers with the help of this app note from Kionix by shutting it down on specific operating duty cycle. Link here (PDF)

Kionix tri-axis accelerometers feature a power shutdown capability. Even with their typically low current draw, there are still applications that may require even less power consumption. For these applications, it is possible to implement a duty-cycle powerreduction methodology that uses a microprocessor to toggle the Enable/Disable pin or register at a specified duty-cycle. This approach can reduce greatly the accelerometer’s current draw during the majority of its time in operation. This application note provides the theory and equations needed to take full advantage of this power saving capability.

App note: Multiplexing Tri-Axis accelerometer outputs

via Dangerous Prototypes

App note from Kionix on reading multiple accelerometer by a single ADC using off the shelf chip or accelerometer built-in multiplexer. Link here (PDF)

A Kionix tri-axis accelerometer with analog outputs provides three output voltages (Xout,Yout, Zout) which are proportional to the respective accelerations in those directions. However, with three analog outputs to digitize, it is possible that the system microprocessor does not have the necessary A-D converters. One solution is to use the internal multiplexing capability of several Kionix accelerometer products to multiplex the three outputs to one analog signal. Another solution is to use an off the shelf multiplexer to multiplex the three outputs of the tri-axis accelerometer to one analog signal.

PocketView is an LED display that shows info through clothes and other fabrics

via Arduino Blog

When receiving a notification on your phone, it can be a tedious process to take the device out of a pocket, unlock the screen, and then read the message. In order to make viewing simple information much faster, a team from the School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo developed a small pocketable display that can shine images and text through fabric. This means seeing the current time or directions can be done far more quickly since all the user has to do is look down. 

The technology driving this system consists of an Arduino Pro Mini board, an HC-05 Bluetooth module for receiving data from a host phone, an 8×8 RGBW NeoPixel matrix, and a single 420mAh LiPo battery cell for power. All of these components were assembled into a single unit and placed within a 3D-printed enclosure that can easily fit into the user’s pocket. 

After studying how LEDs interact with various types of fabrics by using an Arduino Mega, the researchers gathered 12 participants to see how effective their smart display, called the PocketView, was at showing important information. Once several tasks had been performed by the group, they consistently rated the LEDs to be a better viewing experience compared to looking at a phone.

To read more information about the PocketView and the plans the team has for it, you can view their paper here.

Images: Antony Albert Raj Irudayaraj, et al.

The post PocketView is an LED display that shows info through clothes and other fabrics appeared first on Arduino Blog.

This wizard-themed book nook diorama features a face detection system, LEDs, and an ePaper display

via Arduino Blog

The fantastical world of wizards and magic is one that can be explored by reading a book, and what better way to represent this than building your very own interactive diorama within a reading corner? Well, that is exactly what Andy of element14 Presents created when he combined a small display, computer vision, and LED lights into a fun bookshelf adornment, which would accompany readers on their journeys. 

To begin, Andy had to figure out how to get a computer vision system into a space that is no larger than a shoebox, and for this task, he settled on using the Portenta H7 board plus its Vision Shield to gather images and classify them. His attempts to integrate a string of NeoPixels and an ePaper display module with MicroPython were unsuccessful, so this required a switch to only using C with TensorFlow Lite and some custom functions to take the framebuffers from the camera and determine if a face is present. 

The diorama models themselves were fashioned from cardboard model railway kits that included houses and a few streetlights. Finally, the LEDs were added both behind the houses and inside of each lamppost that allows them to flicker and light up when a person is watching the display. The ePaper module switches between various stills such as a wanted poster and the element14 logo. 

To see more about how this diorama was constructed, check out Andy’s video below!

The post This wizard-themed book nook diorama features a face detection system, LEDs, and an ePaper display appeared first on Arduino Blog.

Get a Pulse on the Sensor-ation

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Hello everyone! How are you this fine Friday? This week we are happy to announce that the kid tested, mother approved SparkFun Pulsed Radar Breakout is once again available! We fixed a couple issues we had with the board and secured a great supplier for the A111 chip. Following that, we have a new Big Easy Driver kit that should help you get started with stepper motors, an RTK Surveying Kit, and two U.FL cables (one to SMA, the other to RP-SMA). Don't forget, we still have a few SkeleBoards available for order. We won't be restocking those after they're gone, so get them before while you can! On to the new products!

It's baaaack!

SparkFun Pulsed Radar Breakout - A111

SparkFun Pulsed Radar Breakout - A111


Does your project require high precision, cutting-edge distance measurement? Or maybe speed, motion, or gesture sensing? We're not talking about simple ultrasonic or even infrared here, but 60GHz radar! Well say hello to the SparkFun A111 Pulsed Radar Breakout! The A111 is a single-chip solution for pulsed coherent radar (PCR) and comes complete with an integrated antenna and an SPI interface capable of clock speeds of up to 50 MHz. Though the A111's primary use case is distance sensing, it also supports applications in gesture, motion, material, and speed detection at distances of up to two meters.

SparkFun Big Easy Driver Kit

SparkFun Big Easy Driver Kit


Do you have ideas for a project that moves, like a robot, automatic dog door or moving platform? Whatever the project, the SparkFun Big Easy Driver Kit is designed to help make it a reality. Included in this kit is our popular Big Easy stepper motor driver, a RedBoard, power supply, USB cable, and all other needed hook-ups. The only thing users will need to supply is their own motor.

SparkFun RTK Surveying Kit

SparkFun RTK Surveying Kit


The SparkFun RTK Surveying Kit has everything you need to get centimeter level global positioning measurements using GNSS RTK. We've created a handy carrying case to protect the most expensive parts, allowing you to quickly attach the L1/L2 antenna and RTK Surveyor housing to the pole or tripod of your choice. The kit includes all the antenna bits, cables and chargers you need to jump right into the field.

SparkFun Thing Plus SkeleBoard - ESP32 WROOM (U.FL)

SparkFun Thing Plus SkeleBoard - ESP32 WROOM (U.FL)


As a reminder, we still have some SkeleBoards still available, but stock is running short. We've already sent out about half of what we had available since last week. The SparkFun Thing Plus SkeleBoard features a matte black PCB with a super scary skeleton design in white silk and one of our favorite references out of the last few years: (DOOT). We've also made sure to include a 2.4GHz U.FL PCB Antenna so you won't need to worry about picking up any additional parts to get your board up and running! Other than that, this board is identical to our existing SparkFun Thing Plus - ESP32 WROOM (U.FL).

Rules & Information:

  • Add the SparkFun Thing Plus SkeleBoard - ESP32 WROOM (U.FL) to your cart!
  • Use code "SKELEBOARD21" during checkout when your cart reaches $100 or more (not including this board or shipping/tax/discounts)
  • There is an order limit of five max per customer.
  • No rainchecks or backorders will be allowed. We will not be allowing the combining of orders during this sale. Distributor and Reseller accounts will not be eligible.

Don't worry, you can also purchase this product on its own, even without the promo code!

SMA to U.FL Cable - 150mm

SMA to U.FL Cable - 150mm

RP-SMA to U.FL Cable - 150mm

RP-SMA to U.FL Cable - 150mm


This SMA (or RP-SMA) to U.FL Cable is commonly used to attach WiFi, Bluetooth, or nRFxxx based devices to a 2.4 GHz antenna. What makes this unassuming cable special is the slightly longer length of 150 mm (compared to 100 mm). We found that the extra 50 mm makes all the difference when working with an enclosure.

That's it for this week! As always, we can't wait to see what you make! Shoot us a tweet @sparkfun, or let us know on Instagram or Facebook. We’d love to see what projects you’ve made! Please be safe out there, be kind to one another, and we'll see you next week with even more new products!

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