Tag Archives: books

Shelfchecker Smart Shelf: build a home library system

via Raspberry Pi

Are you tired of friends borrowing your books and never returning them? Maybe you’re sure you own 1984 but can’t seem to locate it? Do you find a strange satisfaction in using the supermarket self-checkout simply because of the barcode beep? With the ShelfChecker smart shelf from maker Annelynn described on Instructables, you can be your own librarian and never misplace your books again! Beep!

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

Harry Potter and the Aesthetically Pleasing Smart Shelf

The ShelfChecker smart shelf

Annelynn built her smart shelf utilising a barcode scanner, LDR light sensors, a Raspberry Pi, plus a few other peripherals and some Python scripts. She has created a fully integrated library checkout system with accompanying NeoPixel location notification for your favourite books.

This build allows you to issue your book-borrowing friends their own IDs and catalogue their usage of your treasured library. On top of that, you’ll be able to use LED NeoPixels to highlight your favourite books, registering their removal and return via light sensor tracking.

Using light sensors for book cataloguing

Once Annelynn had built the shelf, she drilled holes to fit the eight LDRs that would guard her favourite books, and separated them with corner brackets to prevent confusion.

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

Corner brackets keep the books in place without confusion between their respective light sensors

Due to the limitations of the MCP3008 Adafruit microchip, the smart shelf can only keep track of eight of your favourite books. But this limitation won’t stop you from cataloguing your entire home library; it simply means you get to pick your ultimate favourites that will occupy the prime real estate on your wall.

Obviously, the light sensors sense light. So when you remove or insert a book, light floods or is blocked from that book’s sensor. The sensor sends this information to the Raspberry Pi. In response, an Arduino controls the NeoPixel strip along the ‘favourites’ shelf to indicate the book’s status.

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

The book you are looking for is temporarily unavailable

Code your own library

While keeping a close eye on your favourite books, the system also allows creation of a complete library catalogue system with the help of a MySQL database. Users of the library can log into the system with a barcode scanner, and take out or return books recorded in the database guided by an LCD screen attached to the Pi.

Shelfchecker smart shelf annelynn Raspberry Pi

Beep!

I won’t go into an extensive how-to on creating MySQL databases here on the blog, because my glamourous assistant Janina has pulled up these MySQL tutorials to help you get started. Annelynn’s Github scripts are also packed with useful comments to keep you on track.

Raspberry Pi and books

We love books and libraries. And considering the growing number of Code Clubs and makespaces into libraries across the world, and the host of book-based Pi builds we’ve come across, the love seems to be mutual.

We’ve seen the Raspberry Pi introduced into the Wordery bookseller warehouse, a Pi-powered page-by-page book scanner by Jonathon Duerig, and these brilliant text-to-speech and page turner projects that use our Pis!

Did I say we love books? In fact we love them so much that members of our team have even written a few.*

If you’ve set up any sort of digital making event in a library, have in some way incorporated Raspberry Pi into your own personal book collection, or even managed to recreate the events of your favourite story using digital making, make sure to let us know in the comments below.

* Shameless plug**

Fancy adding some Pi to your home library? Check out these publications from the Raspberry Pi staff:

A Beginner’s Guide to Coding by Marc Scott

Adventures in Raspberry Pi by Carrie Anne Philbin

Getting Started with Raspberry Pi by Matt Richardson

Raspberry Pi User Guide by Eben Upton

The MagPi Magazine, Essentials Guides and Project Books

Make Your Own Game and Build Your Own Website by CoderDojo

** Shameless Pug

 

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The Official Projects Book Volume 2 – out now!

via Raspberry Pi

The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book Volume 2 is on sale now.

The Projects Book is packed with 200 pages of the finest coding and creating tutorials.

It comes from the same team that brings you The MagPi every month, which is the official community magazine, so you can be sure these are the highest-quality tutorials and projects around.

Pick up a copy of The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book from the following places:

It’s an amazing-looking magazine with a superbly shiny jet-black cover. Embossed on the cover is a metal reflective red and green Raspberry Pi logo. You can’t miss it!

Inside The Official Raspberry Pi Projects Book

“The Raspberry Pi is the best-selling British computer of all time,” says  Managing Editor Russell Barnes. “It’s known the world over for making incredible things, from robots to mirrors and even art. It’s also helping to revolutionise computing.”

You can learn all about the world’s favourite credit card-sized computer in this one book:

  • 200 pages of Raspberry Pi
  • Learn how easy it is to use your Raspberry Pi
  • Find out about amazing community creations
  • Follow expert guides to make your first project
  • Read definitive reviews of add-ons and accessories

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Essential reading: The MagPi’s new coding books are out now

via Raspberry Pi

We did a bit of a count recently and it turns out that The MagPi magazine has produced more than 3,200 pages of Raspberry Pi-related reading. That’s a lot of quality content (even if I do say so myself).

While we’re rather proud of this achievement, we’re also very aware of the fact that these lovingly crafted collections of words and pictures can very easily get lost in the mists of time (or in the recycling bin).

EssentialsPi

The first four MagPi Essentials books taught us how to use the command line, make games, experiment with the Sense HAT, and even code music with Sonic Pi

So, in 2015, we set out to make sure all the essential reading from the magazine wasn’t consigned to a dusty and dog-eared pile under the coffee table. Enter the MagPi Essentials range! They’re bite-sized books that build on the best articles in the magazine and mould them into a cohesive, easily digested form.

We’ve recently been hard at work putting the finishing touches on the latest batch, and I’m excited to report that the fifth to eighth books are out in hard copy now! We’ll spare you the minute details on each title in the series here, but I’ve hijacked the ‘You might also like’ doohickey on the right so you can read up on each book individually.

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Shiny new books! Well, the cover’s actually a matt laminate… Learn to code with Scratch, hack and make with Minecraft, do electronics using GPIO Zero, and program with C in our latest range.

Want them? Point your mouse fingers towards The Pi Hut or Amazon. You can even grab them directly from The MagPi’s own little lemonade stand if you want. Like everything else Raspberry Pi, they’re also super-affordable: £2.99 on our Apple and Android apps, or £3.99 in print. Not sure you can afford them all? You can also download each book as a free PDF too: just click on the appropriate link in our catalogue.

All eight Essentials books, but we're already hard at work on the next ones…

All of these books are available now. Have a read while we crack on with making the next ones…

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Call me Ishmael

via Raspberry Pi

“I write this sitting in the kitchen sink”. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. “When Gregor Samsa woke one morning from troubled dreams, he found himself transformed right there in his bed into some sort of monstrous insect”. “It was the day my grandmother exploded”. The opening line of a novel can catch our attention powerfully, and can stay with us long after the book itself is finished. A memorable first line is endlessly quotable, and lends itself to parody (“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains”). Sometimes, a really cracking first line can even inspire a group of talented people to create a unique and beautiful art object, with a certain tiny computer at its heart. 

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Stephanie Kent demonstrates the Call Me Ishmael Phone at ALA 2016

If you read the roundup of our trip to ALA 2016, you will already have caught a glimpse of this unusual Pi-powered project: the Call Me Ishmael Phone. The idea originated back in 2014 when founders Logan Smalley and Stephanie Kent were discussing their favourite opening lines of books: they were both struck by Herman Melville’s laconic phrase in Moby Dick, and began wondering, “What if Ishmael had a phone number? What if you actually could call him?” Their Call Me Ishmael project began with a phone number (people outside the US can Skype Ishmael instead), an answering machine, and an invitation to readers to tell Ishmael a story about a book they love, and how it has shaped their life. The most interesting, funny, and poignant stories are transcribed by Stephanie on a manual typewriter and shared on social media. Here’s a playlist of some of the team’s favourites: 

Having created Ishmael’s virtual world, Stephanie and Logan collaborated with artist and maker Ayodamola Okunseinde to build the physical Call Me Ishmael Phone. Ayo took a commercially available retro-style telephone and turned it into an interactive book-recommendation device. For the prototype, he used a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, but the production model of the phone uses the latest Pi 3. He explains, “we have a USB stick drive connected to the Pi that holds audio files, configuration, and identification data for each unit. We also have a small USB-powered speaker that amplifies the audio output from the Pi”. The Pis are controlled by a Python script written by programmer Andy Cavatorta.

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Stephanie, Andy, and Ayo in the workshop. 

The phone can be installed in a library, bookshop, or another public space. The phone is loaded with a number of book reviews, some mapped to individual buttons on the phone, and some which can be selected at random. When a person presses the dial buttons on the phone, the GPIO pins detect the input. This subsequently triggers an audio file to play. If, during play, another button is pressed, the Pi switches audio output to the associated button. Hanging up the phone causes the termination of the playing audio file. The system consists of several units in different locations that have audio and data files pushed to them daily from a control server. The system also has an app that allows users to push and pull content from individual Pis as well as triggering a particular phone to ring.

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The finished unit installed in a bookshop.

The Call Me Ishmael Phone is a thoughtful project which uses the Raspberry Pi in a very unusual way: it’s not often that programming and literature intersect like this. We’re delighted to see it, and we can’t wait to see what ways the makers might come up with to use the Raspberry Pi in future. And if you have a book which has changed your life, why not call Ishmael and share your story?

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A Raspberry Pi-controlled book scanner

via Raspberry Pi

Today we’ve an excellent project from our forums to share with you: Jonathon Duerig, known as duerig on the forums, posts about the standalone book scanner he has built, controlled by a Raspberry Pi 2 and using the Raspberry Pi Touch Display as an interface. It’s a large and fairly imposing object, based on The Archivist DIY book scanner and using Tenrec Builders‘ open source book-scanning software, Pi Scan.

Pi Scan book scanner

Books rest on a V-shaped cradle that the scanner’s operator lifts up towards a similarly shaped 3mm glass platen by pulling down on a handlebar, thus pressing flat the pages, which are evenly lit from above. The Raspberry Pi controls two Canon PowerShot ELPH 160 cameras, each angled perfectly to capture one of the visible pages of the book. The Pi allows the user to set the zoom level for each camera, automatically sets and locks focus, and captures the images, saving them to an external SD card. The scanner’s touchscreen interface is made with Kivy, a Python GUI development system for touchscreen devices.

Looking at this build and the projects it draws on, I was pretty astonished by something that regularly bowls me over when I’m looking at open source projects, and by which I hope I never stop feeling awed. The level of duerig and others’ commitment to the overall open book scanning project and its quality and integrity is remarkable. We are proud that Raspberry Pi is a useful tool to communities like yours and projects like this.

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Learn to love the command line with The MagPi

via Raspberry Pi

Conquer the Command Line, written by resident Bash expert Richard Smedley for The MagPi, offers ten chapters of essential tips and tricks to help you master the command line…

When we first turned The MagPi into the official Raspberry Pi magazine, we made two very distinct commitments. One was to ensure the magazine represents the needs and celebrates the achievements of the Raspberry Pi community. The other was to ensure all the content we produce should be available free, now and forever.

Last week The MagPi released the first offering in a new series of e-books called The MagPi Essentials. The first release is designed to help you learn to love the command line, and, like everything else we produce, it’s available as a free Creative Commons-licensed PDF.

Learn to love the command line

Learn to love the command line by trying our Essentials e-book

Here’s an excerpt from the introduction to get you in the mood:

Sometimes only words will do.
Graphic user interfaces (GUIs) were a great advance,
creating an easy route into computer use
for many non-technical users. For complex tasks,
though, the interface can become a limitation:
blocking off choices, and leaving a circuitous route
even for only moderately complicated jobs.

(Re-)Enter the command line: the blinking cursor
that many thought had faded away some time in
the 1990s. For getting instructions from user to
computer – in a clear, quick and unambiguous form
– the command line is often the best way. It never
disappeared on Unix systems, and now, thanks to
Raspbian on the Raspberry Pi, a new generation
are discovering the power of the command line
to simplify complex tasks, or instantly carry
out simple ones.

In short: if you’re one of the many Raspberry Pi users not comfortable when faced with the command prompt, don’t panic! Conquer the Command Line is designed to help you feel at home, and equip you with the skills you need to find your way around the Raspberry Pi terminal (or any other GNU/Linux computer for that matter).

Here’s a quick breakdown of what you can expect to learn:

  • Read and write text files
  • Find and install software
  • Manage removable storage
  • Use Secure Shell for remote access
  • Create Raspberry Pi SD cards
  • Customise the command line
  • and much, much more.
Click the tablet to download your PDF copy

Click the tablet to download your PDF copy (2.3MB)

We’ll be following up Conquer the Command Line with a new book in The MagPi Essentials range soon. Assuming enough of you want them, we might even be tempted into releasing a printed A5 box set of the series too.

If you’d like to support the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s charitable aims you can also buy Conquer the Command Line on your favourite Apple or Android device for £2.99 / $3.99. The MagPi app itself is entirely free to download and comes complete with the first 30 issues of the magazine entirely free!
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