Monthly Archives: June 2020

Summer Camp – SparkFun Style

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

We know a lot of summer camps, trips and activities are up in the air, if not downright canceled this year. Not to worry - we’ve got some of your typical summer camp activities covered, with an electronics twist. Check out this summer’s activity schedule, and let’s have some fun!

Wooden trail sign with SparkFun Summer Camp and deal dates

Our summer camp schedule includes:

  • E-textiles: Kick your arts and crafts game up a notch by adding lights and sound to your projects - we see that rad patch you’re working on! (If you end up making a sweet summer camp patch, we’d love to see it! Share on social media and tag @sparkfun.)
  • GPS: Hiking and exploring nature can be tricky if you’re somewhere unfamiliar. Learn more about GPS and try making your own system.
  • Robotics: You could play a classic summertime sport or game – or you could build a robot and teach it to play with you (very slow, two-player tag, anyone?)!
  • Machine Learning: Ever tried to memorize the plants, bugs and animals you might meet in your local great outdoors? Maybe it’s time to have machine learning lend you a hand, so you don't learn the difference between poison ivy and Boston ivy the hard way.

Camp will kick off Thursday evening, July 2nd, and end on Friday, July 31, at 11:59 p.m. MDT. Our special summer camp page will be live on Thursday evening, and each week will have activities, projects and information to get you started on the different topics. While we’re at it, each theme will feature some sort of surprise, because who doesn’t love a sale? Check Thursday evenings for the latest surprise! Please note that we will be closed in observance of the July 4th holiday on Friday, July 3rd.

We’d love to see the projects that you create this summer! Please share with us on social media by tagging us on your post.

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Volunteer your Raspberry Pi to IBM’s World Community Grid

via Raspberry Pi

IBM’s World Community Grid is working with scientists at Scripps Research on computational experiments to help find potential COVID-19 treatments. Anyone with a Raspberry Pi and an internet connection can help.

Why is finding potential treatments for COVID-19 so important?

Scientists all over the globe are working hard to create a vaccine that could help prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, this process is likely to take many months — or possibly even years.

In the meantime, scientists are also searching for potential treatments for the symptoms of COVID-19. A project called OpenPandemics – COVID-19 is one such effort. The project is led by researchers in the Forli Lab at Scripps Research, who are enlisting the help of World Community Grid volunteers.

What is World Community Grid and how does it work? 

World Community Grid is an IBM social responsibility initiative that supports humanitarian scientific research. 

Image text reads: Accelerate research with no investment of time or money. When you become a World Community Grid volunteer, you donate your device's spare computing power to help scientists solve the world's biggest problems in health and sustainability.

As a World Community Grid volunteer, you download a secure software program to your Raspberry Pi, macOS or Windows computer, or Android device. This software program (called BOINC) is used to run World Community Grid projects, and is compatible with the Raspberry Pi OS and most other operating systems. Then, when your device is not using its full power, it automatically runs a simulated experiment in the background that will help predict the effectiveness of a particular chemical compound as a possible treatment for COVID-19. Finally, your device automatically returns the results of the completed simulation and requests the next simulation.

Over the course of the project, volunteers’ devices will run millions of simulations of small molecules interacting with portions of the virus that causes COVID-19. This is a process known as molecular docking, which is the study of how two or more molecules fit together. When a simulated chemical compound fits, or ‘docks’, with a simulation of part of the virus that causes COVID-19, that interaction may point to a potential treatment for the disease.

An image of a calendar with the text: Get results that matter. As a World Community Grid volunteer, your device does research calculations when it's idle, so just by using it as. you do every dat you can help scientists get results in months instead of decades. With your help, they can identify the most important areas to study in the lab, bringing them one step closer to discoveries that save lives and address global problems.

World Community Grid combines the results from your device along with millions of results from other volunteers all over the world and sends them to the Scripps Research team for analysis. While this process doesn’t happen overnight, it accelerates dramatically what would otherwise take many years, or might even be impossible.

OpenPandemics – COVID-19 is the first World Community Grid project to harness the power of Raspberry Pi devices, but the World Community Grid technical team is already working to make other projects available for Raspberry Pi very soon.

Getting ready for future pandemics

Scientists have learned from past outbreaks that pandemics caused by newly emerging pathogens may become more and more common. That’s why OpenPandemics – COVID-19 was designed to be rapidly deployed to fight future diseases, ideally before they reach a critical stage.

A image of a scientist using a microscope. Text reads: Your device could help search for potential treatments for COVID-19. Scientists are using World Community Grid to accelerate the search for treatments to COVIS-19. The tools and techniques the scientists develop to fight COVID-19 could be used in the future by all researchers to help more quickly find treatments for potential pandemics

To help address future pandemics, researchers need access to swift and effective tools that can be deployed very early, as soon as a threatening disease is identified. So, the researchers behind OpenPandemics – COVID-19 are creating a software infrastructure to streamline the process of finding potential treatments for other diseases. And in keeping with World Community Grid’s open data policy, they will make their findings and these tools freely available to the scientific community. 

Join a global community of science supporters

World Community Grid is thrilled to make OpenPandemics – COVID-19 available to everyone who wants to donate computing power from their Raspberry Pi. Every device can play a part in helping the search for COVID-19 treatments. Please join us!

The post Volunteer your Raspberry Pi to IBM’s World Community Grid appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Nathan Seidle on IoT Radar

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

We're popping in today to bring your attention to our LinkedIn page, where you can see Nathan talk about machine learning, artificial intelligence, tinyML, data logging with the Artemis OpenLog, and the origins of SparkFun with Wisse Hettinga at the IoT Radar.

Nate & Wisse

It's a fun interview, and you'll get a glimpse of some projects Nathan is working on at home! The interview is only up until July 3rd, so there are only a few days left to watch it.

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Be a better Scrabble player with a Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera

via Raspberry Pi

One of our fave makers, Wayne from Devscover, got a bit sick of losing at Scrabble (and his girlfriend was likely raging at being stuck in lockdown with a lesser opponent). So he came up with a Raspberry Pi–powered solution!

Using a Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera and a bit of Python, you can quickly figure out the highest-scoring word your available Scrabble tiles allow you to play.


  • Raspberry Pi 3B
  • Compatible touchscreen
  • Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera
  • Power supply for the touchscreen and Raspberry Pi
  • Scrabble board

You don’t have to use a Raspberry Pi 3B, but you do need a model that has both display and camera ports. Wayne also chose to use an official Raspberry Pi Touch Display because it can power the computer, but any screen that can talk to your Raspberry Pi should be fine.


Firstly, the build takes a photo of your Scrabble tiles using raspistill.

Next, a Python script processes the image of your tiles and then relays the highest-scoring word you can play to your touchscreen.

The key bit of code here is twl, a Python script that contains every possible word you can play in Scrabble.

From 4.00 minutes into his build video, Wayne walks you through what each bit of code does and how he made it work for this project, including how he installed and used the Scrabble dictionary.

Fellow Scrabble-strugglers have suggested sneaky upgrades in the comments of Wayne’s YouTube video, such having the build relay answers to a more discreet smart watch.

No word yet on how the setup deals with the blank Scrabble tiles; those things are like gold dust.

In case you haven’t met the Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera yet, Wayne also did this brilliant unboxing and tutorial video for our newest piece of hardware.

And for more projects from Devscover, check out this great Amazon price tracker using a Raspberry Pi Zero W, and make sure to subscribe to the channel for more content.

The post Be a better Scrabble player with a Raspberry Pi High Quality Camera appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Let’s learn about encryption with Digital Making at Home!

via Raspberry Pi

Join us for Digital Making at Home: this week, young people can learn about encryption and e-safety with us! With Digital Making at Home, we invite kids all over the world to code along with us and our new videos every week.

So get ready to decode a secret message with us:

Check out this week’s code-along projects!

And tune in on Wednesday 2pm BST / 9am EDT / 7.30pm IST at to code along with our live stream session.

PS: If you want to learn how to teach students in your classroom about encryption and cybersecurity, we’ve got the perfect free online courses for you!

The post Let’s learn about encryption with Digital Making at Home! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Photodetector Gadget

via SparkFun: Commerce Blog

Hello and happy summer, everyone. This week we are pleased to release the new MAX30101 Qwiic Photodetector Breakout. This tiny board is a perfect addition to our line of Qwiic sensors and will surely find a place in your next project. Also this week we have the new Logitech K400 Wireless Keyboard for your computing and desktop applications, as well as two new sets of 2x20 headers for Raspberry Pi, Nvidia Jetson, and Google Coral boards. Let's jump in and take a closer look!

Go Gadget, Go!

SparkFun Photodetector Breakout - MAX30101 (Qwiic)

SparkFun Photodetector Breakout - MAX30101 (Qwiic)


The SparkFun Photodetector Breakout is an updated version of the SparkFun Particle Sensor Breakout and includes the MAX30101, a highly sensitive optical sensor and successor to the MAX30105 and MAX30102. The MAX30101 Breakout utilizes a photon detector to measure the amount of returning light reflected back from the LEDs. This is useful for various applications like particle (i.e. smoke) detection, proximity measurements and even photoplethysmography.

Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch Keyboard

Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch Keyboard


The Logitech K400 Plus Wireless Touch Keyboard is a compact keyboard with an integrated touchpad that puts all your controls in a single device. Comfortable, quiet keys and a large (3.5-inch) touchpad make navigation effortless. A wireless range of 10m (33') enables a responsive, uninterrupted connection in even the largest rooms. Watch video, stream music, connect with friends, browse web pages and more without annoying delays or dropouts.

Qwiic Power Switch

Qwiic Power Switch

Qwiic PT100 - ADS122C04

Qwiic PT100 - ADS122C04


Two new SparkX boards also released this week: the Qwiic Power Switch and the Qwiic PT100. The Qwiic Power Switch (QPS) will help you control some of the high-power Qwiic boards in the world, while the Qwiic PT100 will allow you to measure temperature with a 100 Ohm Platinum Resistance Thermometer (PRT).

Make sure to check them out and the rest of our SparkX rapid production products!

Extended GPIO Female Header - 2x20 Pin (13.5mm/9.80mm)

Extended GPIO Female Header - 2x20 Pin (13.5mm/9.80mm)

Extended GPIO Female Header - 2x20 Pin (16mm/7.30mm)

Extended GPIO Female Header - 2x20 Pin (16mm/7.30mm)


These 2x20 pin female headers (in 13.5mm/9.8mm and 16mm/7.3mm sizes) allow you to extend the reach of any board with the standard 2x20 GPIO pin footprint, like the Raspberry Pi, Google Coral, and NVIDIA Jetson. You can also solder it to Pi HATs that do not have headers on the board (assuming that the board is only populated on the top, or the height of the components do not get in the way if it is a two-layer board).

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!

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