Dad builds a ‘Princess Cumulus’ costume for his daughter

via Arduino Blog

Maker dad Royce Husain and his daughter Zoey have made it an annual Halloween tradition to build fun and exciting new costumes. Following in the footsteps of last year’s El Niño project and the incredibly popular Minnie Mouse stick figure from 2014, the duo is back with another elaborate getup: a Princess Cumulus thunderstorm that is admittedly “a bit impractical for actual trick-or-treating.” (But cool nevertheless!)

The costume itself consists of a cotton-covered inflatable suit along with LED strips connected to an Arduino programmed to produce a flashing lightning effect.

Be sure to check it out below!


Vox Imperium

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

It should come as no surprise that a lot of us here at SparkFun are huge Star Wars fans. Huge. And not just in an, “I know how to properly spell ‘Wookiee’ and own a pair of socks with Threepio on them” sort of way. Huge as in, “I can’t go within 500 feet of Skywalker Ranch because of some remarks I made in 1999” sort of way. Regardless how huge a fan of the Star Wars franchise I personally am, SparkFun is a fantastic workplace for someone like myself to nurture their inner nerf herder and really take a passion project to the next level.

Surprising no one, I have spent the last 14 months constructing a screen-accurate suit of “Return of the Jedi” biker scout trooper armor. “Why?” you ask? Well, there comes a time in a person’s life when he or she realizes they have the resources and support to just put the action figures away and become an action figure themselves, okay? Dumb question.

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Listen, we could ramble on about the ins and outs of building stormtrooper armor all day and truthfully, I usually do, but that’s not exactly what I want to do here. I don’t want to talk about looking like a stormtrooper. What I want to talk about is sounding like a stormtrooper.

A lot of troopers use a sound system to make their voice sound more, well, imperial. Inside, the helmet tends to make your normal speaking voice sound like you have a mouthful of Peeps and your head in a bucket. Point is, adding a microphone and speaker not only helps you to be heard by others, but it also adds that mechanical stormtrooper crackle to it. Some even go so far as to add a squelch break or “static burst” before and after they speak. Most use an inexpensive personal amplifier (similar to the type tour guides use) made by Aker, and typically those that have a static burst function use a device called iComm.

Both are superb products but they have one annoying flaw. They’re not actually INSIDE the helmet, are they? The mic headset line has to be concealed inside your suit and no matter how hard you try, even the most well-delivered, “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for” sounds like it’s coming from your chest plate instead of your face hole. Disaster! My quest: Cram all that tech on the inside of the helmet without sacrificing too much functionality, whilst preserving its screen-accurate appearance, and also do it in time for Halloween.

I already had a willing helmet, so the next step was figuring out an appropriate circuit. Back in September, Shawn made a project using the Prop Shield and Teensy 3.2 to demonstrate their ability to process sound and I sez to myself, I sez:

“I bet it wouldn’t take much to fork that bad boy right up into that helmet.”

A month later and with no small amount of guidance and patience from Shawn, I give you what we’re calling “Vox Imperium” – my very own in-helmet stormtrooper voice processing system. Bonus round: I put some fans in there too so I’ll die of heat exhaustion slower.


Vox Imperium: Stormtrooper Voice Changer

October 25, 2016

Add some flair to your buckethead uniform by changing your voice. By using a Teensy 3.2 and Prop Shield, you can remove the bass from your voice and add the requisite clicks and static bursts. Now you too can exclaim how these aren't the droids you're looking for.

Check out Shawn’s detailed tutorial and may the force be ever in your favor.

P.S.: If you’re looking for more information on building your own stormtrooper armor, I implore you to contact your local chapter of the 501st Legion, or seek answers from deep within the fantastic pit of money, time, and Bondo that is the Replica Prop Forum. Happy trooping!

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Ophthalmoscope: Saving eyes with Raspberry Pis

via Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is being used to save the eyesight of people in India thanks to the Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope (OIO) project. 

Inside the OIO, machine learning technology is used to spot eye problems. Subsequently, the OIO becomes better at checking for problems over long-term use.

“The Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope is a portable retinal camera that uses machine learning to make diagnosis not only affordable but also accurate and reliable,” says Sandeep Vempati, a mechanical engineer at the Srujana Center for Innovation, a part of the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI).

The heart of the OIO is a Raspberry Pi. Our low-cost computer drives down the cost of taking high-quality photos of the retina.

“Currently, visual impairment affects 285 million people worldwide,” said Sandeep. “What’s more surprising is the fact that 80 percent of all visual impairment can be prevented or cured, if diagnosed correctly.”

Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope (OIO)

An open-source, ultra-low cost, portable screening device for retinal diseases. OIO(OWL) is an idea conceived in Srujana Innovation Centre at the L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, India. It is an open source retinal image capturing device with dynamic diabetic retinopathy grading system.

“India is the diabetes capital of the world,” explained Dr Jay Chhablani, a specialist in retinal disease at the LVPEI. “Diabetes leads to something called diabetic retinopathy”.

For that reason, it’s important to remove barriers to treatment. “If we see the patient at an early stage,” says Dr Chhablani, “we can treat them by controlling diabetes and applying laser treatment”.

“Although eye care services have become increasingly available,” said Sandeep, “diagnosing diseases like diabetic retinopathy is still a problem in many parts of the world.”

Sandeep’s team strove to build an open device. As a result, OIO can be 3D printed and assembled anywhere in the world.

Open Direct Ophthalmoscope

Inside the Open Indirect Ophthalmoscope project

“3D printing creates the OIO for a fraction of the cost of conventional devices, and yet maintains the same quality,” explains Sandeep.

Compared to professional devices, the OIO costs just $800 to build. In contrast, professional retinal cameras can cost around ten times as much.

Over on OIO’s Hackaday page you will find the components. Inside is a Raspberry Pi 3, a Camera Module, a 20 dioptre lens, front-end mirrors, and a 5-inch touchscreen.

“Engineering feels great when you see a product being useful in the real world,” says Sandeep.

The post Ophthalmoscope: Saving eyes with Raspberry Pis appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

Fix Dirty COW on the Raspberry Pi

via Raspberry Pi

Hi gang, Rob from The MagPi here. We have a new issue out on Thursday but before that, here comes a PSA.

You may have seen the news recently about a bug in the Linux kernel called Dirty COW – it’s a vulnerability that affects the ‘copy-on-write’ mechanism in Linux, which is also known as COW. This bug can be used to gain full control over a device running a version of Linux, including Android phones, web servers, and even the Raspberry Pi.

We're not sure why a bug got a logo but we're running with it

We’re not sure why a bug got a logo but we’re running with it

You don’t need to worry though, as a patch for Raspbian Jessie to fix Dirty COW has already been released, and you can get it right now. Open up a terminal window and type the following:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install raspberrypi-kernel

Once the install is done, make sure to reboot your Raspberry Pi and you’ll be Dirty COW-free!

The post Fix Dirty COW on the Raspberry Pi appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

T³: Adventures in Science – Ohm’s Law

via SparkFun Electronics Blog Posts

Analyzing voltage and current in a circuit is a great place to start to understand what that circuit is doing. In this episode of “Adventures in Science,” we introduce the resistor and use it to help demonstrate Ohm’s Law.

This interesting law of physics was named after Georg Ohm, and states that the current between two points is directly proportional to the voltage across those two points:

Ohm's Law

With a little bit of algebra, we can move the variables around and arrive at the more memorable:

Redefined Ohm's Law

In the video, we demonstrate voltage and current in a fluid-based circuit, and show how a resistor acts like a piece of steel wool used to restrict the flow of water. We also construct a real circuit using a resistor, measure the voltage and current, and then calculate the resistance using Ohm’s Law.

The information in the video was inspired by the following tutorials:


A tutorial on all things resistors. What is a resistor, how do they behave in parallel/series, decoding the resistor color codes, and resistor applications.

How to Use a Multimeter

Learn the basics of using a multimeter to measure continuity, voltage, resistance and current.

I’ve gotten some good feedback on the previous tutorials, so thank you to everyone who commented! For this video, I put the “intuitive” demo first before touching any math, so hopefully that helps to make things clearer for students. What can be improved for episode 4?

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