Tag Archives: kickstarter

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

Moti on Kickstarter: spin the dials and the motors follow!

via Arduino Blog

moti on kickstarted

Moti is a smart motor you can control from an app . It allows to use your fingers directly on the screen to move the motor, adjust speed with sliders and even program motions with simple building blocks. You can attach it to any kind of objects and bring them to life with intuitive and easily understandable steps.

At the same time Moti is advanced enough to satisfy makers and developers who are looking to build complex robots. Each one is programmable with Arduino, has bunch of built-in sensors, daisy-chains, and even has a web-API so you can develop sites and games for your robot.

Nick wrote us:

Our aim with Moti is to make robotics accessible to everyone by providing a
tool that’s as intuitive to use as a hammer. Simply attach Moti smart motors to anything and then use the graphical app to bring your creation to life…spin the dials and the motors follow. Presto, instant robot!

Moti was born out of our frustrations in building robots.  We’ve just done a lot of the grunt work so you don’t have to.

At present, a lot of low level work is required to get a robot moving, and that prevents most people from exploring beyond the basics, if at all. Moti simplifies robotics so more people can apply it to interests such as amateur filmmaking, animatronics, window displays, art projects, 3D printed robots, DIY toys, RC vehicles, home automation and much more.

In the 80′s computing shifted from labs and industry into everyday life. We think robotics is ready for a similar shift, and Moti is here to help that happen.

They are on Kickstarter now! See how it works:

 

A fast and easy-to-use vision sensor

via Hack a Day» hardware

At Hackaday we don’t often feature kickstarter campaigns, but this one is worth noticing in our opinion. It is called Pixy, a small camera board about half the size of a business card that can detect objects that you “train” it to detect.

Training is accomplished by holding the object in front of Pixy’s lens and pressing a button. Pixy then finds objects with similar color signatures using a dedicated dual-core processor that can process images at 50 frames per second. Pixy can report its findings, which include the sizes and locations of all detected objects, through one of several interfaces: UART serial, SPI, I2C, digital or analog I/O.

The platform is open hardware, its firmware is open source and GPL licensed, making the project very interesting. It is based on a 204MHz dual core ARM cortex M4 & M0, uses a 1280×800 image sensor and can stream the processed camera output to your computer. You can get one Pixy in the kickstarter campaign for $59, which is not that expensive for what it is.


Filed under: hardware, kickstarter, robots hacks

Centimeter-level precision GPS for $900

via Hack a Day» hardware

back

[Colin] and [Fergus] have been working with GPS for years now, and like most builders of really cool things, they’re often limited by the precision of off-the-shelf GPS units. While a GPS receiver is usually good for meters of accuracy,  this just isn’t good enough for a lot of projects. What you need is centimeter-level accuracy, something the guys have managed to do with their Piksi GPS receiver.

Where most GPS receivers only look at the data coming from the GPS satellites orbiting overhead, the Piksi uses another technique, real-time kinematics (RTK), to determine the receiver’s location with exacting precision. The basic idea behind RTK is to look at the carrier frequency of the GPS signals at 1575.42 MHz. This frequency has a wavelength of 19 cm, compared to the alternating 1s and 0s of the that are transmitted at around 1 MHz, or about 300 meters between each bit. While centimeter-level precision isn’t possible with only one receiver, two of these Piksi boards – one base station and one on a vehicle, connected via radio link – can make for a very exacting high-accuracy GPS receiver.

Previously, commercial RTK GPS systems have cost thousands of dollars – making a quadcopter or other homebrew project that relies on this level of precision nonsensical. [Colin] and [Fergus] have built hardware that can bring the price of this setup to under $1000. As a bonus, the Piksi board can also receive from other constellations such as Galileo and GLONASS. A very impressive piece of hardware, and we can’t wait to see the applications.


Filed under: hardware, kickstarter

Laika: a hardware control platform for the Raspberry Pi

via Raspberry Pi

Laika is a modular add-on board for the Raspberry Pi that allows control of motors, switches, lamps, robots and more. There are plenty of great hardware control boards out there for the Raspberry Pi but we especially like this one because of the educational focus.There’s lots more information on what it can do and how you can use it on their Kickstarter page.

How a learning environment should look

In 2014 computing is coming back into the UK school curriculum. And whilst this makes many of us run outside at random intervals to do Snoopy’s Happy Dance we shouldn’t underestimate the challenges involved. Computing is effectively a brand new subject and there are currently few specialist teachers, so the easier we can make it to teach (and learn) computing in an accessible, engaging and creative way the better. This is especially true in primary school.

So anyone creating educational resources to go along with their hardware or software makes us happy and the Laika team are doing just that. Here they are running a robotics workshop at Highgate School in London.

You can read more about Laika here and if you’d like to get hold of one for yourself or for your school then their Kickstarter has just a few days left to run. We think that Laika has great educational potential but of course you don’t have to be in school to start learning.

A Laika-Pi powered rover wandering the icy wastes of Europa, the smallest of the Galilean moons.

From FishPi to LittleBox – a Kickstarter to turn your Pi into a desktop PC

via Raspberry Pi

Remember Greg Holloway, the mind behind FishPi? He did a guest post for us about a year ago (complete with kraken) about the difficulties of making an autonomous, solar powered, ocean-going robot.

He’s now launched Littlebox, a Kickstarter for a DIY kit to turn your Pi into a desktop PC.

There’s a resistive touchscreen! A USB hub! A lovely little GPIO panel that’s brought out in the front of the unit! Speakers and an amp! Greg has details of the development over at Instructibles if you want to learn more about the build.

We think it’s a great project, and we hope you’ll consider funding it. Littlebox’s Kickstarter only went live yesterday, so there are still some Earlybird packages left – go and check it out!