Tag Archives: Christmas

GSM Controlled Star Light: A xmas tutorial for Intel Galileo

via Arduino Blog

star-galileo

We recently posted on Intel Makers Community the first of a series of educational tutorial focused on Intel Galileo Gen 2. Our team worked on  a smart Christmas star able to receive sms and change pattern according to it. The bill of materials contains also an Arduino GSM Shield, a Proto Shield and some flexible  LED  strips:

To kick off a festive mood, we decided to adapt a typical Scandinavian tradition. In December, many people will decorate their homes by hanging large paper stars inside their windows. The stars usually have a single bulb inside that casts a warm, welcoming glow.

We thought we’d try to make this tradition a bit more merry by making it interactive. By sending text messages, we will change the blink pattern and color of the star.

This project is a fun and easy introduction on how to use the Intel Galileo Gen 2 board and the Arduino GSM shield. After making this tutorial, try modifying the code to change the patterns or taking the functions to insert GSM connectivity into your own projects.

Happy Holidays!

Follow the link and make it as well!

 

Christmas light sequencer

via Raspberry Pi

Over at Instructables, Osprey22 (what’s your real name, 22? Let us know and I’ll add it to this post) is driving audio and eight strands of lights (plus a jolly twinkly star) from the same Raspberry Pi, so the two can be sequenced using some custom Python he’s written. Play to the end for a bit of Let it Go, if you’ve not heard it too many times this year already.

Osprey22 has made full build instructions available, along with all the code you’ll need, and sequencer files for a few Christmas choons. We love it.

XmasPiLights from Reading College

via Raspberry Pi

Over in Reading, there’s a rather special Christmas tree.

Reading College holds a week called “Go Further” every year, where students are encouraged to go beyond their curriculum to create ambitious projects. This year’s students decided to make a Christmas techno-tree from steel they milled themselves, a 3D-printed star they designed themselves, and string after string of LEDs, all hooked up to social media so people around the world could activate the star at the top.

Here’s a time-lapse of the tree’s creation:

And here’s the tree being built and tested.

You can see a live stream of the tree at xmaspilights.com – and most importantly, you can make the 3D-printed star at the top twinkle by using the hashtag #XmasPiLights on Twitter, Instagram or Google+.

Thanks to our friends at Energenie for sponsoring this project. We’re off to Twitter to make some stars twinkle.

Christmas shopping guide

via Raspberry Pi

Christmas is coming, and we’re all panicking because we haven’t bought all the presents yet. (My Dad’s difficult.) Waking up at 3am in a cold sweat because you don’t know what to buy the Raspberry Pi fan in your life? Sweat no longer: we’re here to help!

Raspberry Pi kits

If you want a Raspberry Pi on its own, you can buy it from one of our manufacturing distributors, from our Swag Store, and from many other vendors.

There are also some great kits available if you want to get all the extra bits and bobs you’ll need in one box. We sell a starter kit containing a lot of goodies: it’s £75.

Starter_Kit_grande

If all the extras in there make things a bit rich for your blood, check out The Pi Hut’s kit, which doesn’t have the shiny PiBow case, the special bag, the stickers or the keyboard or the mouse, but has everything else you’ll need. It’s £42.

Specialist starter kits for people wanting to use their Pi as a media centre, or focusing on using the camera board, are available from CPC in the UK, or MCM in the United States.

Books

There is now a terrifying number of books available on the Raspberry Pi – check out the electronics or computing section of your local bookshop. Some of our favourites are:

The Raspberry Pi User Guide – this book’s written by our very own Eben Upton and by Gareth Halfacree; it’s the canonical guide to the Raspberry Pi, from the person who created it. This link goes to the latest edition, which covers things we’ve done this year like the Model B+.

userguide

Sticking with the “books wot we wrote” theme, here’s Carrie Anne’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi. Aimed at kids aged 11 and up (younger kids will still get a lot out of it, but we recommend Mum or Dad lends a hand), we think it’s the biggest seller of the Raspberry Pi books so far this year; and we highly recommend it.

adventures

If you’re an adult who doesn’t mind the branding, Raspberry Pi for Dummies is a superb guide to the device and what you can do with it. It’s good for beginners, but it’ll take you a long way – much further than you might guess from the title!

dummies

You can find many, many more Pi books at Amazon.

Add-on boards and fun

One of my favourite add-ons of the year was a late entrant: it only came out last week. Pimoroni’s Skywriter is a motion and distance sensor HAT for your Pi – and you can do this sort of thing with it (click the button to turn the sound on). It’s £16.

Pimoroni’s other add-on boards are among our very favourites: Pibrella is only £10, and offers you lots of inputs and outputs; we use it a lot in our own teaching sessions. It’s a fantastic way to get started with electronics: it’ll allow you to make noises, flash lights, drive motors and much more.

Pibrella_1_of_2_grande

The Unicorn HAT is just magic. And it’s £18. That’s all we have to say about it.

Babbage the Bear is our mascot, and he’s had a very busy couple of years, going to near-space, having a camera stuck up his bum and becoming an Internet of Things device, and being cuddled by lots of small children. You can buy him at our Swag Store. He’s £9.

babbage

Today, we’re launching a NEW accessory for Babbage: the Babbage Backpack Game Kit. For £8.10 you can buy a cute little backpack for Babbage, filled with everything you’ll need to make an electronic memory game and instructions (no soldering required) – a perfect stocking-filler and a really great little project for electronics beginners. Plus, it makes Babbage look super-chic.

Backpack_1024x1024

Backpack_1_of_4_1024x1024

 

Ryan Walmsley set up his own business to make and sell electronics more than a year ago, and he’s still only 18. The RyanTeck Budget Robotics Kit is fantastic – it’s affordable at only £24.49, and contains everything you need to get started with robotics – all you need to add is a Raspberry Pi.

Pi&Bash is another new offering, this time from Piventor. THIS BOARD REQUIRES SOME SOLDERING, so it’s not ideal for first-timers. But it’s really good fun if you do fancy getting the soldering iron out, with traffic light LEDs, push buttons, a little backlit LCD screen, a thermometer, and digital and analogue inputs and outputs. It’s only £23.

piandbash

 

The CamJam EduKit is the perfect stocking filler at only £5. It’s available from The Pi Hut, and it’s my absolute favourite learning kit of the year, coming bundled with worksheets to get you building electronics projects from scratch – or at least it was until the CamJam EduKit 2: Sensors came out last week, for a simply ridiculous £7. The Sensors kit contains everything you need to make a bedroom burglar alarm, a tea-temperature-tester, a device to test whether the light in your fridge really goes off when you shut the door, and much more, with worksheets. It’s a wonderful, wonderful, versatile little kit, and we think that the CamJam team and The Pi Hut have done an amazing job in getting it out for such an affordable price.

sensors

Finally, for those not worried to get a soldering iron out (soldering is easy – it’s really worth having a go), you can get an entire Christmas tree for your Pi for only £6. I saw several of these in action at the Cambridge Raspberry Jam last weekend; great for a festive addition to your workbench. Here’s one on a Model A+.

treeMerry Christmas!

Arduino Gift Guides that fit anyone’s piggy bank

via Arduino Blog

Xmas Banners-18

Last week we published our gift guides presenting you a list of products  available on the Arduino Store and divided by topic for Kids and people interested in IoT, Home Lab and Fashion Tech.

Now we’d like to give you some suggestions for gift ideas fitting anyone’s piggy bank:

Gifts Under 15€

Arduino ISP

isp-arduino
It’s a tiny AVR-ISP (in-system programmer) based on David Mellis’ project FabISPand useful to anyone needing more space on the Arduino board

 


 

Flashing Card Set – Merry Resistivities by Bare Conductive

merry

The Merry Resistivities Set contains all the materials you need to make three flashing greeting cards using Electric Paint. This fun activity is great for makers of all ages.


 

Minipov by Adafruit

minipov

A simple POV toy for beginners who are looking to learn how to solder, how to program microcontrollers, or make LED blinky toys. Because the programmer is built into the kit, one does not need a special “microcontroller programmer”.


Arduino Proto Shield

protoshield

The Arduino Prototyping Shield makes it easy for you to design custom circuits for your next Arduino project. You can solder parts to the prototyping area to create your project with extra connections for all of the Arduino I/O pins.


 

Make Robot Notebook Moleskine

aaff322f233cb07e8b2c5773aa2a38d6.image.447x354

Pocket Moleskine Notebook – Fresh from the Maker Faire comes our exclusive mini-Moleskine (5.5″x3.5″, 30 pages) notebook, available with Robot logos.


 

Gifts Under 30€

Getting Started with Arduino – 2nd Edition

gettingStarted

This classic book to start tinkering with Arduino gives you lots of ideas for projects and helps you work with them right away. From getting organized to putting the final touches on your prototype, all the information you need is here!


 

Arduino Case + Breadboard Wires Kit

arduinoCase

This lasercut (in Officine Arduino), wooden case is perfect to host your project and store electronic parts. It features two drawers, a confortable surface for a standard breadboard and the space for two Arduinos to be hooked up. It’s stackable, perfect for teaching material or group work.


Arduino UNO

ArduinoUno

If you want to make any beginner happy, this is the perfect gift. “Uno” means “One” in Italian and is named to mark the upcoming release of Arduino 1.0. The Uno and version 1.0 will be the reference versions of Arduino, moving forward. The Uno is the latest in a series of USB Arduino boards, and the reference model for the Arduino platform.


 

Lumi Red or Blu

LumiRed

Lumi is a new DIY alternative to screen printing.The process works on cotton, linen, silk, rayon, canvas, and any other natural & absorbent fiber. Once finished, your print is permanent and can be machine washed without fading.


 

Blend Micro by RedBearLab

blendmicro

Arduino At Heart Blend Micro is RedBearLab first integrated developement board, they have “blend”ed Arduino with Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (aka BLE or Bluetooth Smart) into a single board. It is targeted for makers to develop low power Internet-Of-Things (IoT) projects quickly and easily.


 

Gifts Under 60€

Arduino Esplora

esplora-retail

The Arduino Esplora is a ready-to-use, easy-to-hold controller that lets you explore the infinitive possibilities you have in the world of sensor and actuators, without having to deal with breadboards, soldering or cable. There is no limits to the sensors applications! Adding a LCD module you can make your personal videogame!


 

Bare Conductive Touch Board

bareconductive

Touch Board can turn almost any material or surface into a sensor by connecting it to one of its 12 electrodes, using conductive paint or anything conductive. It’s designed as an easy-to-use platform for a huge range of projects, whether it’s painting a lightswitch on your wall, making a paper piano or something nobody’s thought of yet.


 

Intel Edison

edison

The Intel Edison is an ultra small computing platform that will change the way you look at embedded electronics. This kit also includes a Arduino Breakout, which essentially gives your Edison the ability to interface with Arduino shields or any board with the Arduino footprint.

 

Arduino Yún

arduinoYun

Arduino with onboard Wi-Fi connectivity and a Linux computer. Great for IoT projects. The Arduino YÚN is the combination of a classic Arduino Leonardo (based on the Atmega32U4 processor) with a WiFi system-on-chip running OpenWrt-Yun.

 

Remember

FREE SHIPPING to European Union for all orders over €100 (below 3Kg overall weight). Should you need delivery by Dec 24th, we strongly advise you to place the order before Dec 15th. FREE SHIPPING is available from Dec. 2nd 2014 until Jan 6th 2015. Read more about the shipping policy.

Control your Christmas lights with sms and Arduino Yún

via Arduino Blog

arduinoLightsxmas

December is finally here and we can start thinking about indoor or outdoor decorations for the holiday. Christmas lights are an excellent way to light up any event and a user on instructables wanted to be able to control the lights remotely with text messages.

Check his 12-step tutorial  and take a look at the bill of materials:

  • An Arduino Yún – You could use another Arduino with a Wifi Shield though.
  • A Protoshield with (or without) a tiny breadboard
  • A regular breadboard will work as well, but will be less compact.
    If you want to solder more, you can just use a small circuit board instead.
  • A 5V relay
  • A piezo buzzer
  • Wires
  • A battery operated Christmas decoration (It’s not even Thanksgiving, so I’m using a Halloween decoration)
  • A Temboo account
  • A Twilio account

 

  • ArduinoYun-lights

Digital signal processing with teeny-tiny tap-dancers.

via Raspberry Pi

When we wrote about accelerating Fast Fourier Transforms (FFTs) on the Pi back in January, several people asked what sort of real-world application FFTs can have. We talked about numerical analysis, cryptography, spectrograms and software-defined radio, among other things, in the comments on that post. All the same, FFTs are something that those who don’t get excited by maths can find a bit dry, and it can be hard to find a good demonstration of FFTs that works for those of you who like to think about things visually. So I was really pleased to find a link to this project from Pavan Tumati, which makes digital signal processing…decorative. Not to mention festive.

Here, FFTs are performed on music samples on the Raspberry Pi fast enough to detect a beat, and the Pi relays that information to some teeny-tiny tap-dancers, who produce an automated routine that’s synced to the music.

These little tap-dancing guys are from a post-Christmas sales bin. They’re called Happy Tappers, and are made by Hallmark, who, for reasons known only to them, include a port which enables them to interface with their tippy-tapping brothers and sisters – which makes for exciting DIY project possibilities once you add something that’s able to feed them an input. I’ve never seen them on sale in the UK, but if you’re dead set on making your own tap-dancing Pi project, they seem to be available online at eBay, Amazon US, and at some Christmas shops.

(I know: it’s a bit odd posting about Christmas decorations in mid-March. But if the family across the road from me, who still have multicoloured lights flashing away merrily on the tree in their front garden every evening, are anything to go by, Christmas decorations aren’t just for Christmas any more.)

Kids: we’re giving away 2000 Pi kits for your class, or for your home projects!

via Raspberry Pi

You met Lance Howarth, the CEO of the Raspberry Pi Foundation (this means he heads up our charitable giving), when he joined us earlier in the autumn. Today Lance has some news for you – and a very silly hat.

Lance says:

Ho Ho Ho!

He’s leaving presents under the tree, not stealing them. Honest.

Here at Pi Towers we are getting into the festive spirit, and we’ve been thinking how best to pay back the goodwill our community has shown us over the last year. So, in support of “Hour of Code”  as part of Computer Science Education week, we got together with our friends from Google and we are going to give away Pis for Christmas. That’s right: we’re giving away up to 2000 Google Raspberry Pis to anyone under the age of 18 in the United Kingdom. To qualify for a free Pi you need to do one of two things. Either:

  • Get your school to do an “Hour of Code” between now and the end of term and we’ll send a Pi for every participant to your school (up to a maximum of 20), or
  • Design a “My Pi Project” poster and send it to us here at Pi Towers, and we’ll send you your own Raspberry Pi.
How do I take part?

You can get more information on Hour of Code week from our friends at Code.org. They have lots of great ideas of what you can do for the Hour Of Code. If you are a member of Code Club, how about getting your class to have a go at their festive project Christmas Capers? To qualify for your Google Pi, just ask your teacher to register here. At the end of next week we’ll take the first thousand Raspberry Pis and start shipping them out on a first come, first served basis, so the Pis should be waiting for you when you come back to school in January.

Not everyone is going to get the opportunity participate in the Hour of Code week, but don’t worry, you can still get a free Google Pi. All you need to do is design a poster showing us what you think would be a cool Raspberry Pi project. This might be something to do with your pet, like an automatic cat flap or feeder; something to do with photography, like looking at the thermal image of your house; or something festive like controlling the Christmas lights so they flash along to music. If fact, anything will do, we are just looking to see how imaginative you can be and to learn what you think would be a cool project. Once you have designed your poster you need to get your parent to print this form out, fill it in, and then send it with your poster to us by post at:

Poster Competition
Raspberry Pi Foundation
Mount Pleasant House
Huntingdon Road
Cambridge
CB3 0RN

You can also send us a scan of your poster and completed form by email at postercompetition@raspberrypi.org.

Your poster needs to be with us by the 8th of January, so you’ll have plenty of time to get this done over the Christmas break. So get thinking!

Who ate all the Pis? Santa, of course!

A couple of notes: this promotion is only open to schools and kids in the UK (this requirement is placed on us by our partners at Google UK). You’ll receive Google Pi kits, which include a cased Model B Raspberry Pi, an SD card, a power supply, a copy of The MagPi, some projects recipe cards and a Getting Started guide. If you are a teacher and you send us a successful application, we will be getting in touch later in 2014 to talk about what you’re doing with the Raspberry Pis.

Twelve Pis of Christmas: Pete Lomas

via Raspberry Pi

Merry Christmas everybody! I hope you all found what you were hoping for in your stockings.

Today’s charity auction of a Model A Raspberry Pi and accessories has been set up to benefit Claire House Children’s Hospice, which aims to enhance the quality of life for children and young people with a life-limiting or life-threatening condition. Pete Lomas a Founding Trustee of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and MD of hardware design and manufacture company Norcott Technologies, selected Claire House as his charity. All money raised in this auction will be donated directly to Claire House. Click here, or on Pete’s Christmas visage, to bid! 


 

Twelve Pis of Christmas: Adafruit

via Raspberry Pi

Today’s festive piece of Model A Pi comes to eBay courtesy of our friends at Adafruit. By now, you know what this is about: we’re auctioning off the first 12 pre-production Model A Raspberry Pis with some other goodies to raise money for other charities over Christmas. Engineers without Borders (EWB) USA were chosen as the beneficiaries of today’s auction by LadyAda and PT over at Adafruit. (EWB USA aren’t listed with Missionfish in the UK, so again, this auction looks a little different from the others – although Raspberry Pi are listed as the beneficiary charity, 100% of the money raised will go to EWB.)

LadyAda, in LEGO form. Click to bid on the Adafruit Pi bundle.

Engineers without Borders works in developing environments on sustainable engineering projects, while involving and training internationally responsible engineers and engineering students. You can learn more about them here.

The third Pi of Christmas: Rob Mullins

via Raspberry Pi

Today we’re auctioning one of the first Raspberry Pi Model A production samples on behalf of a charity chosen by Dr Rob Mullins. Rob is one of the founding trustees of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and is a lecturer in Computer Science at the University of Cambridge.

Rob has chosen to donate the money raised from the auction of this Raspberry Pi (which will come bundled with some other goodies – see the listing for more details) to Practical Action, an international charity that uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries.

Dr Rob Mullins

Rob says: “Practical Action aims to reduce poverty. They work with communities around the world, using simple innovative ideas to help make things better. They aim to make long-term improvements and encourage collaboration within the community and beyond. I’ve always been particularly impressed by their approach”.

As with all the auctions in our Twelve Pis of Christmas listings, 100% of the money raised will go to the chosen charity. Get bidding!

Twelve Pis of Christmas: We’re auctioning off the first model As!

via Raspberry Pi

Last year, we auctioned the very first Raspberry Pi Model Bs to come off the line to raise money for the Raspberry Pi Foundation. We’re doing the same this year, but instead of raising money for Raspberry Pi, we have selected (and asked some of our closest partner organisations to select) twelve other charities to benefit from the funds raised. Each of the trustees has also chosen a charity – you’ll get to find out what those were as the auctions progress.

The Pis we are selling on eBay are the first production sample Raspberry Pi Model As to come off the line. They’ll have a tantalisingly low serial number, and you will be one of the first people in the world to own one. We’ll also be bundling some other goodies too, including a Pi Plate from Adafruit, a signed copy of the Raspberry Pi User Guide by Eben Upton and Gareth Halfacree, a lovely Raspberry Pi t-shirt, and a signed certificate from the Foundation stating that you are the owner of one of the very first Model As ever to be made.

The first two auctions went live this morning. RS Components have chosen CLIC Sargent, the children’s cancer charity, to benefit from the funds raised from their Pi, and the manufacturing team at Sony in Pencoed (the people who build your Pis) have chosen NSPCC Cymru, the Welsh arm of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. Each auction will start at £20 ($32.49).

We’ll be releasing another Pi every day until all twelve are gone: get bidding!

Manuel, the talking moose

via Raspberry Pi

I notice a certain silliness – not to say outright frivolity – surrounding some of your Christmas projects. I’d like to introduce Manuel. He’s a talking moose with a Raspberry Pi for brains, who will repeat your tweets in a Scottish accent, live on video. Manuel is a Christmas installation in the office at Torchbox – head over and make him intone your festive messages.

Manuel undergoes mandibular surgery

Manuel (who, if the above photographs are anything to go by, may well be an antlered donkey rather than a moose) has been hacked about, has had new brains (including a profanity filter) inserted, and has been elegantly mounted on the office wall, the better to intone your tweets. I hope he doesn’t end up in a cupboard after Christmas.

Some Christmas lights projects

via Raspberry Pi

I haven’t even put my tree up yet, but lots of you have been very busy with the Christmas decorations and your Raspberry Pis. Here are some projects you’ve still got time to emulate before Santa comes.

ConsiderIT.co.uk take the whole Internet of Things idea seriously, and have wired up their office with a positive welter of fairy lights and a networked Raspberry Pi. They invite you to come and turn the lights on and off, watching the torment of their employees over a live feed. I took this screengrab from the feed from their office yesterday, and I don’t know whether to feel deep pride or terrible, terrible shame over the fact that these poor people are being subjected to this visual horror in their office courtesy of a Raspberry Pi. Nice job with the hats, guys.

A quiet moment. You should visit the site (click the image) – pretty much everything in that room has something you can make flash attached to it.

If you aren’t a sadist wanting to inflict misery and migraines on the working day of three people in a tiny room, but still want to turn some lights on and off, there’s a similar setup in a UK living room, where tree lights can be turned on and off, which was highlighted in this month’s MagPi. (The tree is turn-on-and-offable in the daytime too, but it’s much more fun at night.)

A screen grab from the live feed. This is a gentler, less guilt-inducing scene than making someone’s office flash: but you can still make these lights blink on and off like the dickens. Click the image to visit the site.

If you’re looking to do something a little less flashy, but still useful, here’s an easy one, which I found linked to from our forums. This timer turns your outdoor lights on and off according to the local sunset and sunrise times. Outside the holiday season, there are plenty of other applications you could use this setup for. You can find software and a shopping list for the hardware you’ll need, alongside helpful diagrams and photos to get you set up, at Savage Home Automation.

A very easy piece of GPIO wiring! Click the image to read more.

Finally, I found this lovely little decoration on Flickr. And assumed it was the sort of thing you buy for vast sums in expensive home interiors shops. But no! It’s a Raspberry Pi hack – just one with fewer protruding wires than we’re used to seeing. This gorgeous little object from Rumtopf  (who has some other amazing projects in his Flickr stream - the candy cane and cookie windmill that powers LEDs is my current favourite) incorporates Cheerlights, which are synchronised with other Cheerlights all over the world according to social networking trends. There’s an Arduino and an XBee radio in the box, talking wirelessly to a Raspberry Pi in another room.

Rumtopf: you should sell these. You’d make a mint. (And I want one!)

Rumtopf has made code for making your own available at Github. Let us know if you make something similar yourselves!

 

Pre-Christmas T-shirt sale! Get 20% off.

via Raspberry Pi

If you or someone you love is looking for one of our lovely T-shirts, and you live outside the UK, Monday Dec 10 is the last day you’ll be able to order for Christmas delivery. With that in mind, and to make your Christmas pennies go a little further, we’re running a 20% off sale on shirts until Monday evening. It’s a great deal, and as always, all profits go to the Raspberry Pi Foundation, which is a charity, to fund worldwide outreach, education and development work.

Rob Bishop, resplendent in a t-shirt. Photo credit Charlotte Spencer.