Tag Archives: kickstarter

PiJuice: portable power for your Pi projects

via Raspberry Pi

Helen: some Kickstarter campaigns just jump out at you. When I took a look at PiJuice it was obvious it was the real deal – they’ve only gone and sorted out portable power for the Raspberry Pi, with bells on. Their Kickstarter runs until Tuesday, so you’ve got the weekend to jump on board. Here’s Aaron Shaw to tell you more.

I started playing with the Raspberry Pi since the very beginning and after being involved in The MagPi and various other activities I am now fortunate enough to call Raspberry Pi tinkering my “work”. The thing that got me hooked back in 2012 was the hardware and physical computing capability – writing code to do things in real life (probably because of my background in Automotive Engineering) and I still spend a considerable amount of my time just learning new things and playing around with everything the Raspberry Pi has to offer. It has been a fantastic opportunity and I want to share it with as many people as possible.

PiJuice

Around a year ago I met Harry Gee from PiBot and we started by just throwing around our ideas for how we could help to make the Raspberry Pi even better. One of the things that we had both found difficult was creating portable or remote projects – it was of course possible, but it was just a lot harder than it needed to be. This ultimately led us to the idea of making a neat, safe, portable power solution for the Raspberry Pi to allow people to do even more exciting things with their Pi, whilst saving a lot of time and effort in the process.

PiJuice module

We’ve called this the PiJuice and it’s the ultimate product for portable and remote Raspberry Pi projects. The idea with PiJuice was to remove a barrier to entry from portable Pi projects so that beginners and professionals alike could focus on building, making and learning rather than worrying about the complexities of lithium battery charging and other electronics issues, whilst reducing the costs in the process.

 

Maker Kits – Made for Makers

PiJuice is more than just an add-on board. We are passionate about education and are keen to turn PiJuice into a modular project platform – a way to allow people to build their awesome ideas much more quickly and easily.

To kick things off and provide some inspiration we have developed a number of exciting tutorials and projects including a Raspberry Pi games console, a compact camera, a Pocket Pi and more.

Make cool stuff

We are calling these Maker Kits and they are already available to purchase in kit form from our Kickstarter page and are being uploaded as free guides on Instructables.

These guides will soon be turned into high quality step-by-step guides that you can either use with our Maker Kits or to build and make your own.

Free Off-Grid Power To the Pi

Off-grid power

When creating Raspberry Pi projects outdoors we’ve also been interested in using solar power as it is free and renewable. We’ve worked hard to create an efficient and low cost solution that will open up new off-grid and sustainable applications for the Raspberry Pi.

The PiJuice Solar has additional circuitry which adds functionality to enable truly autonomous, self-monitoring operation of the Raspberry Pi – perfect for weather stations, remote camera systems for nature watching and more.

Additionally, we are actively investigating possibilities for affordable wind and thermoelectric power generation with PiJuice Solar for added flexibility.

What would you do with yours?

What would you do with yours?

We are really interested in what you want to do with your own PiJuice. We want to create the projects that appeal to you the most, so please suggest us your ideas in the comments, or on Twitter (@ThePiJuice) using the hashtag #ProjectPiJuice to get our attention. We will turn the best of these into free projects for everyone to enjoy!

We really hope to help as many people as possible create awesome portable Raspberry Pi projects as well as continuing to create beautiful guides for cool projects! We’re currently coming to the closing stages of our Kickstarter and would appreciate any support to help make PiJuice even better – http://pijuice.com.

– Aaron & The PiJuice Team

What if kids could hack a ball? (Prototyped with Arduino!)

via Arduino Blog

hackball

Hackaball is a smart and responsive ball that children can program to invent and play games. It was recently backed by more than 1000 people and reached the goal!

As many other projects on Kickstarter, Hackaball was initially prototyped with Arduino using sensors that detect motions like being dropped, bounced, kicked, shaken or being perfectly still.

hackball2
We got in touch with its team and asked them to tell us a bit more about the creation process:

Our early versions of the ball worked with the Arduino Uno board, progressing to a breadboard Arduino and then making our own SMD designs with the Uno. In the latests prototypes we used the Arduino Leonardo and our current version runs on the Arduino Mega. Our production version will run on an ARM chip.

We hope to offer Arduino Compatibility as one of our stretch goals in the Kickstarter, so that people can buy a board and put their own code on it using the Arduino software, effectively moving one step up from the app in terms of hacking the ball and making it do what you want it to do. We also believe many adults would love an interactive ball that they can control and design their own interactions – its packed full of features! Hopefully it will also allow kids who’ve outgrown our app to experiment with our technology in a more challenging way, bringing longevity to the product.

We’ve approached the kids who’ll play with Hackaball as the future Makers. The idea of hacking and getting close to technology starts with how the ball first arrives in your home. Kids open the packaging to find the ball is broken: Hackaball has crash-landed on earth and needs to be put back together again. After their first achievement, making the ball, kids are challenged to play games, change existing ones, fix broken games and create new ones from scratch.

We specifically designed the ball and packaging to be gender neutral – making it feel accessible to both boys and girls from the very beginning. We also expanded on the ability of the ball to include both hard and soft skills – from the tactile and linear computational thinking, to the storytelling and imagination-driven game creation, teaching a new generation of Makers to combine technology and creativity. We think that the kids who play with Hackaball would move on to Arduino in their teens!

 

You still have some days to back the project and help them reach the stretch goals, making Hackaball even more hackable!

Slice Media Player Starts Shipping!

via Raspberry Pi

Back in August 2014 we got very excited about one of the first Kickstarter projects to use the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. We’re pleased to announce that after much hard work, many late nights and far too much sugar and caffeine, the FiveNinjas team have started shipping actual real Slices to backers. Here’s a picture of Gordon and Jon working their ninja magic in a cold warehouse somewhere in deepest darkest Sheffield; the racking that can be seen in the picture contains parts for 1500 Kickstarter Slices.

IMAG1917

Slices are assembled at a secret location in Sheffield, UK

We believe Slice is the first Kickstarter project using the Compute Module to start shipping to backers, narrowly beating our other favourite project the OTTO Camera (which also seems to be very close to shipping!).

Slice comes in black, red and silver

Slice comes in black, red and silver

One of the things we wanted to see with the Compute Module was people using it to do just this type of thing – leverage the Raspberry Pi technology to create innovative and high-quality products with minimum resources, something that has historically been a difficult challenge.

The FiveNinjas team includes our very own James Adams and Gordon Hollingworth, who have been spending large amounts of their spare time working on the Slice hardware and software and, in doing so, discovering exactly what it’s like to build a product using the Compute Module and mass produce it. In the process a few wrinkles have been found, but mostly it has been a big success, and there’ll be another blog post soon from Gordon on the process used to test and program Slice in mass production (which is a very important and often overlooked part of creating a real product).

IMAG1925

Slices being automatically programmed before packing and shipping

We’ve been told that to get the cost of the Slice motherboard down to an affordable level the Ninjas had to make a minimum order of 3000 Slice PCBs, so there are 1500 more Slices that can be built relatively quickly once the Kickstarter units have all been shipped. If you missed the Kickstarter and want to grab one of these extra units, head over to the brand new FiveNinjas store!

The MagPi – Issue 30 out now, and a Kickstarter for Volume 3 in print!

via Raspberry Pi

Created by the community, for the community, The MagPi magazine is the world’s first and only free, regular magazine about Raspberry Pi. It has been published online almost every month since May 2012, and every issue is packed full of hardware and software projects and tutorials for all skill levels. Now there’s a Kickstarter campaign to bring Volume 3 of the magazine into print.

MagPi Vol 3 draft binder cover

Draft of the design for the Volume 3 binder cover

Volume 3 comprises all ten issues published in 2014 (issues 20-29): that’s 468 full colour pages! They’ll come in a lovely smart binder, with a spine designed to match the Volume 1 and 2 binders so that they look neat beside one another on your shelves (we care about this kind of thing at Pi Towers, and we’re quite sure that MagPi readers feel no less strongly).

And that’s not the end of this week’s MagPi goodness: Issue 30 is out now.

The MagPi Magazine, Issue 30

It features electronic ping pong using the Pi’s GPIO and LEDs, an account of using Raspberry Pi to enhance navigation data on marine voyages, an air hockey arcade game in Scratch, an introduction to C#, Raspberry Pi 2 (of course!) and plenty more. Download your pdf copy now!

Flotilla

via Raspberry Pi

Liz: Here’s a guest post from our friend Paul at Pimoroni, who has a really exciting Kickstarter to share. You know Paul’s work already: he designed the Raspberry Pi logo, and he’s the brain behind the ridiculously successful Pibow case. Over to Paul!

When I was in nursery school, our class had a BBC Micro. One day, it was my turn to play. I’d been ‘painting’, and being young and uneducated, didn’t wash my hands before using the computer, and got paint smears all over this shiny beige machine.

I got shouted at by the teacher a lot and didn’t get to play. Protecting the shiny new machine was more important than learning.

This is why I love Raspberry Pi. It’s a computer you can be rough and experimental with. If it breaks, it’s replaceable, unlike an expensive iPad or laptop.

Learning is more important than the thing you’re learning on. But this attitude of fear and reticence still prevails. We still see a lot of doubt, and a “that’s not for me” feeling when it comes to tinkering and plugging things into circuit boards. As much as we love playing with breakout boards, and the geekery involved, the friction that goes with it can easily turn a 10 minute job into an hour. Digging out wires, reading datasheets, and finding three blog posts with different libraries in various states of undress; we think these are unnecessary distractions.

So, being Pimoroni, we had a lightbulb moment and decided to fix a bunch of issues at the same time. A year later, Flotilla was born; making all these frustrations a thing of the past.

Flotilla is a system of smart, affordable breakout boards backed by great software that lets you easily use them on the Raspberry Pi. The idea is that you can just break out a Pi, pop in a Raspbian SD card with the Flotilla software installed, plug in the Dock then start playing and learning without knowing much of anything beforehand.

widgets

The first level is Cookbook. You plug widgets into the Dock. Cookbook suggests recipes that involve those pieces. So plug in a Light-sensor, a Barometer, and Cookbook might suggest you build a weather station or a Digi-pet.

cookbook

The next step is Rockpool. A simple app-like interface for defining rules. So you can say “If the temperature is high, turn a motor with a fan on”. It’s impossible to get wrong, and can be used without typing. You can build surprisingly complex projects; such as line-following robots, musical devices and games.

rockpool

The Pi can also act as a WiFi Access point and web server. This lets you connect to Flotilla from your tablet, phone or laptop, and control Cookbook and Rockpool from a web-browser. Great if you’re running your Pi from a battery. On a robot, say. :-)

After that, you’re into the world of Scratch and Python. We’ll be providing lovely Flotilla libraries to get you started.

The whole idea is top-down learning. People start by having fun, and doing and discovering what interests them. If they like it, they can delve further into how things work. Clive says it best in the video. It’s “learning by stealth”.

We’re pretty sure Flotilla is the first fully-fledged plug-and-play digital tinkering kit. We’re also sure that the Raspberry Pi is the right place for it. The easier it is for everyone to start learning, and being comfortable with computers and electronics, the more time scientists and engineers have to make spaceships, instead of a better coffee-maker, or pet-feeder.

We’re on Kickstarter now, and would love you to support Flotilla so we can turn it into something everyone can use, in schools, at home, in the lab, and contribute too :D

http://flotil.la

- Paul & Jon & the Pirate Crew.

UNICEF Pi Project to Educate Syrian Children in Lebanon

via Raspberry Pi

Ben: here’s a guest post from one of our great community members, Alex Eames, who’s providing his Kickstarter-funded HDMIPi screens to a UNICEF education project in Lebanon.

At the end of December 2013 James Cranwell-Ward (@jcranwellward) a Technologist working for UNICEF Lebanon emailed us about HDMIPi. In case you don’t know, HDMIPi is a 9″ low cost, High Definition (1280×800) HDMI screen for the Raspberry Pi, which was crowdfunded on KickStarter in November 2013.

James was only going to be in the UK for another couple of days and wanted to talk to us about our screen. It looked like exactly what he needed for a large Raspberry Pi based project to help educate displaced Syrian children in Lebanon.

The idea is to have a low-cost computer, containing educational materials, such as Khan Academy Lite, to help get these Syrian children, whose lives have been so drastically disrupted, back into learning.

James is a technologist in the Innovation section of UNICEF, where they use private sector knowledge to assist UNICEF with their projects. He had a couple of Raspberry Pis on his desk and one day his boss walked by and asked about them. James gave a demo and a plan was hatched. But they needed an inexpensive screen. That’s where HDMIPi came in, freshly out of crowd-funding.

At the time, we had our two KickStarter prototypes and just one other working screen, which we gave him (uncased) when Dave Mellor (@Cyntech1) went to meet him in London. He took it back off to Beiruit and made an initial prototype, which he blogged about in February.

Fast forward a couple of months and James is getting ready for a large Raspberry Jam to kick off the Raspberry Pi for Learning (Pi4L) project. He needed 50 units, but we’re not quite into production yet because we’re implementing several new Pi-specific features on the driver board. So our supplier found us a similar but different (more expensive 10″) option that could meet the interim need. But could we handle the case too? Eek!

Dave scooted off up the M1 to the Pirates of Pimoroni in Sheffield and spent a day with Paul, Jon and Rory cooking up this lovely design, with integral stand and the Pi hangs on the back…

HDMIPi-UNICEF-front-1500-1024x765

HDMIPi UNICEF edition prototype 2

Jon then worked double-time at the weekend to get these laser cut (big thanks and much kudos). Paul took a couple with him to the San Francisco Maker Faire last week. He said they generated a lot of interest.

HDMIPi-UNICEF-3-front-1500-1024x298

Nice colours

Over the summer, the plan is that the Pi4L project will go into refugee camps for a pilot test. I’ll let James describe it…

What I am most excited about going forward is a new project which will see the launch of an e-learning initiative in refugee camps, which will be piloted for 3 months this summer. It’s untapped ground and it will be really interesting to see what e-learning can do in a context where schools are drastically overrun and there are just not enough school places for children.

The e-learning programme consists of 3-4 courses delivered on a new cheap computer called a Raspberry Pi. There will be basic literacy, numeracy and science, content based on Khan Academy produced by the Foundation for Learning Equality. We are also going to run a programme called ‘learning to code and coding to learn’. Children will be able to explore how to make games whilst also learning about their rights as a child. It’s a learning activity and it is also fun. There will be another course for teachers, so they can support the children as they start using these tools.

In every location the summer school is running – from schools to refugee camps, we are going to leave the lab in place once the summer school is over so it will be a permanent installation. This will mean that beyond the summer programme children can continue to learn and develop using these tools.

HDMIPi-UNICEF-3-1500-300x132

Integral stand

We are very excited and delighted to be able to be involved in a project that could actually “make a difference” for large numbers of children. Who would have thought, when we started the HDMIPi project a year ago (I’ve just renewed the domain) that a small, portable, inexpensive screen for the Raspberry Pi might find its way into a UNICEF project like this? But now I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see lots of ‘developing country’ projects involving the Raspberry Pi in the next couple of years. It’s a very good fit.

HDMIPi-UNICEF-back-1500-300x189

Round the back

The 9″ HDMIPi should be in production soon. We hope to ship KickStarter rewards towards the end of June. We’d like to emphasise, to those who backed HDMIPi on KickStarter, that this UNICEF project has not and will not delay fulfilment of their rewards. To pre-empt the question, as I will be away on holiday when this article goes live, the case shown here in the UNICEF prototypes is different from the standard HDMIPi case. But, no doubt, if there is demand, alternative case(s) will spring up in due course.

OTTO: A hackable camera powered by Raspberry Pi

via Raspberry Pi

One of our goals in launching the Raspberry Pi Compute Module was to provide people with a way to take products they’ve prototyped with the Raspberry Pi and bring them to market quickly and easily. We know that historically there have been a lot of people out there with great ideas for electronic products that they can’t afford to produce economically, even with the help of crowdfunding, so we were very pleased to hear from Dave Rauchwerk and friends about their Kickstarter campaign for a hackable point-and-shoot camera based on the Compute Module.

OTTO and compute module

OTTO and compute module

We can’t wait to see how this one turns out, and hope it’s the first of many appearances of the Compute Module on Kickstarter.

See what your Arduino is thinking with MicroView

via Arduino Blog

Microview

As some of you have already noticed on our social channels, we are thrilled to announce a new partner in the Arduino at Heart Program: MicroView, the first chip-sized Arduino compatible that lets you see what your Arduino is thinking using an OLED display.

Microview, by Geek Ammo, is versatile as it meets the needs of beginners and experts alike.

For beginners the MicroView is the first Arduino to ship with built in tutorials. Beyond the tutorials, the MicroView’s OLED display helps to visualize what the microcontroller is doing. You can print print debug messages straight to the OLED display without needing to connect to the Arduino IDE. The immediacy of being able to see live sensor values makes the whole experience so much easier.

microview_anim

A rich library saves experts time by allowing them to quickly display Strings, Counters, Gauges, Sliders, and Bitmaps with only a couple of lines of Arduino code.

Marcus Schappi, Geek Ammo CEO, told us:

“We’re proud that MicroView has been accepted to be part of the Arduino at Heart Program. By basing the MicroView on the architecture of the Arduino Uno, we’re standing on the shoulders of giants. We can’t wait to see what people make with the MicroView.”

Arduino At Heart

Their Kickstarter campaign is really going well, but the campaign only has a few days left, so get in quick and back the MicroView now so you don’t miss out!

 

Growing your veggies with a smart greenhouse called MEG

via Arduino Blog

MEG presented at PopupMakers

MEG is the world’s first social and automated greenhouse, part machine and part community, now on Kickstarter. Carlo D’Alesio and Piero Santoro, the designer duo based in Milan presented the prototype  at Maker Faire Rome and also at a PopupMakers event last year.

MEG means Micro Experimental Growing system, runs on an Arduino MEGA 2560 which controls an automated “light engine,” water and nutrient tank, fans and sensors monitoring humidity, temperature, and pH. It’s smart because if you are not really good with growing plants, you can crowdsource parameters from other gardeners: your neighbour’s tomatoes won’t be more red than yours!

 


Last saturday they celebrated Arduino Day in Milan and launched the campaign right there with us, where I took a couple of pictures of the prototype!

MEGPrototype

MEGprototype2

The MagPi – Kickstart the Volume 2 Binder for 432 pages of Pi goodness!

via Raspberry Pi

The MagPi magazine is the single thing to have come out of the Raspberry Pi community that I’m proudest of, in a sort of godmotherly way – we at the Raspberry Pi Foundation do not have any association with The MagPi besides thinking it’s the best thing since sliced maltloaf.

They’ve got a new Kickstarter running.

The MagPi is a monthly free download, full of projects, tutorials, reviews and interviews about the Raspberry Pi. The magazine is staffed entirely by volunteers, and it’s just entering its third year of publication. Last year, the MagPi team served up a Kickstarter to bring the magazine to print, which proved really successful: print copies go down especially well if you’re using the magazine for reference or working through the tutorials. That Kickstarter meant that you could get hold of all of the first year’s magazine in a print version, with a handsome binder to put everything in. We have a couple of the first year’s binders filled with magazines in the office: the Pi Towers team finds the MagPi a really useful resource.

Many people have asked for another binder for the second year’s print copies, having accumulated a heap of them at home. So Team MagPi are running a short-duration Kickstarter to fund manufacture of a binder for Vol 2 (i.e. every edition of The MagPi that came out in 2013). They’re keeping it to a two-week funding run because financing a binder costs them much less than last year’s bid to pay for printing what had been a virtual magazine. You can pledge at different levels, so you can fund anything from a sticker, an empty Vol 2 binder for yourself, a Vol 2 binder with all of last year’s magazines inside, or both volumes – complete, of course, with binders.

The MagPi team don’t make a penny for themselves out of this: the project has always been run on a strictly voluntary basis, and it amazes us to see how the magazine continues to evolve, given that it’s run on a shoestring. They say:

Any extra funding will be used to fund the ongoing costs of producing The MagPi, plus it will allow us to explore other ways of expanding the availability of the magazine, introduce other types of content, and translations to other languages. Any profits after that will be invested into future print runs and the Raspberry Pi community.

You can back this project by clicking here, or on any of the images in this post. Good luck, MagPi people – it goes without saying, but we think you’re brilliant!

 

Teach programming logic to kids with Primo – Now on Kickstarter!

via Arduino Blog

Primo

Primo is a play-set that uses shapes, colours and spacial awareness to teach programming logic through a tactile, warm and magical learning experience.

We are proud to announce that Primo is on Kickstarter now and it’s an Arduino At Heart product!

I recently met Matteo Loglio, one of the creators of  Primo,  and  I took the chance to know more about this great game for kids:

Tell us a bit more how Primo was born?

It all started as a student project, when I was doing my master at MAInD in Lugano. There was this course called “Designing Advanced Artifacts” with Massimo Banzi and HABITS studio where each student had to choose a field for his project. My choice was “How can we teach science and technology to children in a playful way?”.

The first thing I did was to visit  a kindergarten, in Chiasso. There I spent a couple days talking with teachers and watching children playing. I was able to gather useful insights that are still very important for the development of Primo. Later I did some desktop research on how the same topic was approached in the past, I discovered “Mindstorms” from Seymour Papert, I think one of the most significant books in this field. That’s how I also discovered Jean Piaget’s early work in the field of cognitive psychology, where Papert took inspiration for his researches.

Any other significant inspirations?

Papert translated his studies in Logo, a graphic computer software that was so innovative that it’s still used in elementary and middle schools. It’s like the father of Scratch, much simpler, but very powerful; the aim of Logo was in fact to enhance the way children face problems and assimilate knowledge. Most of Logo applications are purely on-screen, with some exceptions though, that are called “physical turtles”. I wanted to start from there, with a different target and with the help of new prototyping tools like Arduino. A big challenge was to hide all the technology, screens and any “tech” element from the product. Everything is hidden, to create a “magic” and engaging experience, with no distractions. Children know that everything can happen on a screen, but wooden robots are still a pleasant surprise for them. The rest of the project was quite simple actually, I simplified the Logo concept into three main instructions: forward, left and right, then I also added a “function”, for more advanced levels; the idea is in fact to create levels, with increasing difficulty and challenges. This is a key aspect of Primo, LOGO didn’t have any challenge it’s a pure expressing tools.

How does Primo it work?

There’s this small smiling robot, that we call “cubetto”, that got lost and it has to come back home. The only way to move it, is by giving it the right instructions. The set of instructions are very limited: forward and left or right turn, 90 degrees. They have to be placed in the right order into a board, with an empty “queue” of holes. In this way the children are composing basic algorithms to solve a problem, using just colored wooden blocks, no need for literacy or previous knowledge in computing, keyboards or screens. Basically the teacher (or the parent), places the cubetto and his house on the floor and the child has to figure out one way to bring cubetto home, using just a limited set of elements.

How did Primo became a product?

After the prototyping phase, along with Filippo Yacob of Brain Cube Corp., we decided to turn Primo into a real product, so we funded a company together, primo.io, with the intention of producing Primo industrially and hopefully distribute it to schools world-wide. We soon assembled a team with Josh Valman from MiProto, Lucia Rabago and Beatrice Finauro. Each member bringing his unique set of skills necessary to transform Primo into a real product produced in series. Production represented an entire new set of constraints, from financial to logistical. As a team we had to redesign for the real world. This changes your perception of the product. It was however a benefit that Primo was originally designed in a university setting, with no other focus other than the end user, we wouldn’t have been as happy with the result had we began designing for commercial reasons.

Primo_Inside

And then you decided to take part to the Arduino At Heart Program, why?

We chose to take part in the initiative for a number of reasons. As a maker-centric company we concentrate on ideating and developing products. Marketing and publicity is a completely different type of activity, and an aspect of business that takes time to develop and execute effectively. Outsourcing this element of business, is normally prohibitively expensive for a small business, or virtually impossible to achieve. Arduino at Heart solves this problem by making their resources available in this field.

Wanting to be “Arduino approved” gave us the desire to improve our processes and products to a quality level that would match the Arduino brand. As a consequence, this makes our product more accessible and user friendly to a community that is already familiar with the technology

Arduino At Heart

From the point of view of interaction design, what are the cool things  about Primo, why is innovative?

I think that from the beginning we tried to develop a tool to learn technology, without showing the complexity behind it. Normally, we say that kids these days grow up with touch screens and computers, so we have to develop on these platforms. This is a safe road to follow, but we took the other one, we wanted to validate our theories, we knew that we could synthesize these concepts in a purely tangible form, without relying on any previously known cognitive interface. We created our own model, specifically crafted for our target. PCs, laptops and tablets were designed for other purposes, we started from scratch. Primo has been tested a lot, around 150 children used it so far, they liked it but we can’t really say how much it can be innovative, until we see children using this extensively and improve their problem solving skills. For this reason we built a company around primo, now we are six people with very different backgrounds. We will be Kickstarter at the beginning of November, to see if other people will support the project, to spread it around schools, houses and keep improving it.

Primo Components

In the last couple of years, a series of initiative focused on kids making things with technology, coding and electronics have been launched all over the world. Why you chose to create something for kids, isn’t it harder and more difficult to start form the young ones?

Maybe it’s a bit more difficult because you can’t interview or study their behavior directly. Of course they are very different from adults, they keep changing and learning new things very fast, so their conceptions and values can change over time. Everything has to be tested, but during tests it’s also easier to see if they don’t like something.

As you say lots of projects are simplifying code access to non technical people, that is great, it’s like in the 80s with computers. We are bringing technology that just a few years ago was unaccessible to the people, with the consequence that more and more users have access to these technologies, musicians, artists, designers and why not, educators.

Kano – Kickstart a Pi kit for beginners

via Raspberry Pi

We first met Alex Klein shortly after we’d launched the Raspberry Pi, when he was working for Newsweek and came to visit to write a story about us. Next we’d heard, he’d left Newsweek to start a company with Raspberry Pi at its heart. Today, he and his team have launched their project on Kickstarter.

Kano is one of the nicest Pi kits we’ve seen to date, and is aimed squarely at users who aren’t confident of their technical skills right out of the gate. It’s easy to put together, all the bits and pieces you’ll need are right there in the box, the software environment is designed to be accessible and intuitive, and the Kano team think it’s a great way into Raspberry Pi (and into computing) for young people, for people who don’t have computing experience and for other beginners.

In the box you’ll find:

1 – Kano Books
2 – Kano OS and Levels on 8GB SD card
3 – DIY Speaker
4 – Raspberry Pi Model B
5 – Kano Keyboard Combo
6 – Custom case
7 – Card mods and stencils
8 – Stickers!
9 – Cables: HDMI, Mini-USB
10 – Smart power plug (all region pins available)
11 – WiFi powerup

These primary school pupils below were among the first 200 testers to get their hands on a kit.

Check out the Kickstarter – we’ll be watching with interest!

HDMIPi – a Kickstarter from RasPi.TV

via Raspberry Pi

Alex Eames runs RasPi.TV, which we think is probably the best of all the Pi YouTube tutorial channels out there; if you haven’t subscribed already, you should. He dropped by the office last week (it was deeply, deeply weird hearing his voice coming out of an actual human being) to say hi, and to show us this nice little display unit in its homemade case. My first reaction, as with everything, was to tweet a picture of it:

What you see above is the rough prototype of an affordable, mobile HDMI display (complete with homemade case) that Alex is creating with help from Cyntech and Paul Beech from Pimoroni. (Paul designed the Raspberry Pi logo, and wonderful stuff like the Pibow: his job is to make sure that nobody has to suffer through one of Alex’s homemade cases.) Here’s their Kickstarter video:

We think this is a brilliant little project: a portable, affordable HDMI screen for the Pi just isn’t available at the moment, and we know the demand is out there from what you’ve been saying on our forums. Head over to Kickstarter to let Alex and the team know you’re interested. We wish them the very best of luck with getting things rolling!

 

Touch Board brings Interactivity Everywhere

via Arduino Blog

Touch Board

 

We’re proud to announce that the Touch Board by BareConductive is one of the first projects to be selected for our new Arduino At Heart program and it’s launching today on Kickstarter!

The Touch Board is a way to turn almost any surface into an interface. As many of you know, the last two years of Electric Paint have shown us that there is a real interest in developing unexpected interactions.

That’s why BareConductive team decided to develop a board able to do a ton of cool stuff but focused on 3 main points. Here’s how Becky, one of the founders, described it to us:

 

  • Radical Interfaces – The Touch Board uses capacitive sensing to turn any conductive material into an interface. Imagine light switches painted on the wall with  Electric Paint, interactive books or hidden sensors that can detect a whole person. The Touch board can also be used to create distance sensors which work from up to 20cm away – which is as cool as it sounds.
  • No Programming Required – We’ll be shipping the Touch Boards pre-programmed to turn touch into sound so all you’ll need to do is plug in a micro USB cable or LiPo (we’ve built in onboard charging) and a speaker and you’re ready to go. Touch any one of the electrodes and the MP3/MIDI player will play the associated track from the supplied microSD card. Changing the sounds is as simple as changing the card.
  • Arduino-compatible - We wanted to make sure that this board was easy to use and had as wide an audience as possible so we based it off an Arduino Leonardo (and recognised as an Arduino Leonardo in IDE). It can be programmed in the Arduino IDE, it works with most shields and it can act as an HID. We’re proud to say that we’re part of the new Arduino at Heart program. Working with Arduino has been great and they’re fully behind the Touch Board.

Take a look at the video and support them now:

And don’t forget to take a look at the Arduino at Heart products and program, designed for makers and companies wanting to make their products easily recognizable as based on the Arduino technology!

An Open Source GPU

via Hack a Day» hardware

FPGA

Unless you’re bit-banging a CRT interface or using a bunch of resistors to connect a VGA monitor to your project, odds are you’re using proprietary hardware as a graphics engine. The GPU on the Raspberry Pi is locked up under an NDA, and the dream of an open source graphics processor has yet to be realized. [Frank Bruno] at Silicon Spectrum thinks he has the solution to that: a completely open source GPU implemented on an FPGA.

Right now, [Frank] has a very lightweight 2D and 3D engine well-suited for everything from servers to embedded devices. If their Kickstarter meets its goal, they’ll release their project to the world, giving every developer and hardware hacker out there a complete, fully functional, open source GPU.

Given the difficulties [Bunnie] had finding a GPU that doesn’t require an NDA to develop for, we’re thinking this is an awesome project that gets away from the closed-source binary blobs found on the Raspberry Pi and other ARM dev boards.


Filed under: Crowd Funding, hardware