Tag Archives: Raspberry Pi Resources

Laser-engraved Raspberry Pi hologram

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Inspired by an old episode of Pimoroni’s Bilge Tank, and with easy access to the laser cutter at the Raspberry Pi Foundation office, I thought it would be fun to create a light-up multi-layered hologram using a Raspberry Pi and the Pimoroni Unicorn pHAT.

Raspberry Pi layered light

Read more –

Break it to make it

First, I broke down the Raspberry Pi logo into three separate images — the black outline, the green leaves, and the red berry.

RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM

Fun fact: did you know that Pimoroni’s Paul Beech designed this logo as part of the ‘design us a logo’ contest we ran all the way back in August 2011?

Once I had the three separate files, I laser-engraved them onto 4cm-wide pieces of 3mm-thick clear acrylic. As there are four lines of LEDs on the Unicorn pHAT, I cut the fourth piece to illuminate the background.

RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM

To keep the engraved acrylic pieces together, I cut out a pair of acrylic brackets (see above) with four 3mm indentations. Then, after a bit of fiddling with the Unicorn pHAT library, I was able to light the pHAT’s rows of LEDs in white, red, green, and white.

RASPBERRY PI HOLOGRAM

The final result looks pretty spectacular, especially in the dark, and you can build on this basic idea to create fun animations — especially if you use a HAT with more rows of LEDs.

Iterations

This is just a prototype. I plan on building a sturdier frame for the pieces that securely fits a Raspberry Pi Zero W and lets users replace layers easily. As with many projects, I’m sure this will grow and grow as each interaction inspires a new add-on.

How would you build upon this basic principle?

Oh…

…we also laser-engraved this Cadbury’s Creme Egg.

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Make our light-up Raspberry Pi box for #MonthOfMaking

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On Tuesday, Rob at The MagPi magazine tweeted this:

The MagPi magazine on Twitter

Hey @Raspberry_Pi, wanna join us in making some stuff for #MonthOfMaking? Rob has some cosplay to do this week and other plans for the rest of the month…

And we said YES!

At this point in time, Alex was hiding in the Raspberry Pi Foundation makerspace, creating thingamabobs and whatsit with the laser cutter, and an idea came into her mind.

(Is it weird that I’m referring to myself in the third person? It is. I’ll stop.)

The idea started with this:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

Oddly satisfying, right?

And ended like this:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

Raspberry Crepe Cake?

With a little bit of this in between:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

For hiding treasures

And thanks to some cheap battery-powered lights and magnets from Poundland…

#MonthOfMaking

Whosits and whatsits galore

…it lights up too!

Raspberry Pi laser cut box #MonthOfMaking

Photograph taken inside my rucksack for ambience

Make your own

So, do you want to make your own? Of course you do.

Ideally, you need access to a laser cutter, but if you don’t have one, you can just cut out the layers from some thick cardboard using a craft knife.

You’ll need these four files:

Raspberry Pi laser cut box Raspberry Pi laser cut box Raspberry Pi laser cut box Raspberry Pi laser cut box

These are slightly different to the ones I used, so the acrylic should press-fit without the need for the backing frame you see in the image above.

Feel free to resize the files and change the box design to better fit whatever you want to put inside, but remember: making these boxes to sell, or diverging from our brand guidelines when using the Raspberry Pi logo, is against our trademark rules.

#MonthOfMaking

Join Raspberry Pi and The MagPi magazine in the #MonthOfMaking by using the hashtag in your social posts sharing your makes online. And, just as you can see from my light-up box, your make doesn’t have to use any digital technology. Bake a cake, stitch loop art, restore a car — whatever you plan on making this month, make sure we see your creation! Have fun!

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The age of the Twitter bot

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Despite changes to the process, setting up a Raspberry Pi as a Twitter bot is a fairly easy process. And while many such bots simply share time-lapse snapshots, or change the colour of LEDs across the globe, we know some that fill our timelines with fun, random joyfulness of a daily basis. Here are a few of them:

@DaphneFlap

Celebrated by cat worshippers the world over, Daphne’s Catflap documents the comings and goings of Daphne, the fluffy feline housemate of Kate Bevan. While my own cat is now too big to fit through his catflap, Daphne uses her catflap several times a day, and thanks to the Raspberry Pi connected to it, the catflap does a marvellous job of celebrating Daphne every time she graces us with her presence.

Daphne’s Catflap on Twitter

Adored Daphne, graceful empress of floof, floofybum. No adoring catflap could possibly be more blessed than me.

@raspberrypi_otd

Ben made a thing.

The Raspberry Pi OTD Twitter bot shares past posts from this very blog you are reading RIGHT NOW, and thus traces the evolution of Raspberry Pi through its tweets. One day, probably in twelve months, this very blog post will resurface on the Raspberry Pi OTD timeline, and then we shall all meet back here and say hi.

Raspberry Pi OTD on Twitter

On this day in 2015: Raspberry Pi Zero: the $5 computer https://t.co/1GRhq0TYuz

@randspberrypi

Sharing posts generated by Rand’s Raspberry Pi, this twitter bot posts random GIF-packed tweets, usually with a retro 1980s vibe and the hashtags #80s, #MusicVideo, #GIF, and #raspberrypi

Rand’s RaspberryPi on Twitter

Random #80s #MusicVideo #GIF #raspberrypi https://t.co/ieraOHGFjr

@falalala_la

Though it seems to be taking a hiatus right now, the Deck the Halls bot searches Twitter for tweets that fit perfectly to the tune of Deck the Halls, and retweets these with the classic “Falalalala, la la, la la!” as a comment. Be warned, a few of the tweets it recovers may be NSFW, but on the whole, it’s a joyful, joyful experience.

Deck the Halls on Twitter

Falalalala, la la, la la! https://t.co/r2dkE8wMFm

@bert_the_plant

I promise we haven’t killed him.

Bert is a ficus tree that lives in one of the meeting rooms here at Pi Towers. When connected to the internet, his Raspberry Pi and moisture monitor update followers about whether he needs watering, alongside a photo of his current state. And while his last tweet, dated 10 June 2017, claims he’s “so thirsty”, accompanied by a photo of pure darkness, I assure you this is simply because the light was off…and the Pi has since been unplugged…and Bert’s alive, I swear it, I swear!

Hold on, I just need to go for a walk to Meeting Room 5. No reason. *runs*

Bert Plant on Twitter

I’m so thirsty!

Connecting your Raspberry Pi to Twitter

The process of setting up a Developer Account so you can build your own Twitter bot has changed recently. But once you follow their new steps, you can still use our free resources for connecting your Raspberry Pi to Twitter.

In our Tweeting Babbage resource, you will learn how to write code that sends images from your Pi to the Twittersphere.

And if you’re a more experienced coder, you could try your hand at our Naughty and nice resource, which will walk you through creating a program that checks whether a Twitter user is in Santa’s good or bad books. After all, Christmas is just under a month away!

Santa angrily staring at a Twitter account

And from there, the world (the Twitter world at least) is your oyster.

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The last 10%: revamping the Raspberry Pi desktop

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Simon Long is a Senior Principal Software Engineer here at Raspberry Pi. He’s responsible for the Raspberry Pi Desktop on both Raspbian and Debian, and his article from The MagPi issue 73 explores the experience of revamping our desktop. Get your copy of The MagPi in stores now, or download it as a free PDF here.

The PIXEL desktop on Raspberry Pi

It was almost exactly four years ago when I was offered the chance to work at Raspberry Pi. I knew all the team very well, but I’d had hardly any involvement with the Pi itself, and wasn’t all that sure what they would want me to do; at that time, I was working as the manager of a software team, with no experience of hardware design. Fortunately, this was when software had started to move up the list of priorities at Raspberry Pi.

The 2014 updated desktop

Eben and I sat down on my first day and played with the vanilla LXDE desktop environment in Raspbian for 15 minutes or so, and he then asked me the fateful question: “So — do you think you can make it better?” With rather more confidence than I felt, I replied: “Of course!” I then spent the next week wondering just how long it was going to take before I was found out to be an impostor and shown the door.

Simon Long Raspberry Pi

Simon Long, Senior Principal Software Impostor

UI experience

To be fair, user interface design was something of which I had a lot of experience — I spent the first ten years of my career designing and implementing the user interfaces for a wide range of products, from mobile phones to medical equipment, so I knew what a good user interface was like. I could even see what changes needed to be made to transform the LXDE environment into one. But I didn’t have a clue how to do it — I’d barely used Linux, never mind programmed for it… As I said above, that was four years ago, and I’ve been hacking the Pi desktop from that day on.

Raspberry Pi desktop circa 2015

Not all the changes I’ve made have been popular with everyone, but I think most people who use the desktop feel it has improved over that time. My one overriding aim has been to try to make the Pi desktop into a product that I actually want to use myself; one that takes the good user interface design principles that we are used to in environments like macOS and Windows — ideas like consistency, attractive fonts and icons, intuitive operation, everything behaving the way you expect without having to read the instructions — and sculpting the interface around them.

Final polish

In my experience, the main difference between the Linux desktop environment and those of its commercial competitors is the last 10%: the polishing you do once everything works. It’s not easy making something that works, and a lot of people, once they have created something and got it working, leave it and move onto creating something else. I’m really not great at creating things from scratch — and have nothing but admiration for those who are — but what I do enjoy doing is adding that last 10%: going from something that works to something that works well and is a pleasure to use. Being at Raspberry Pi means I get to do that every day when I come to work. Every time I see a photo of a Pi running at a Jam, or in a classroom, anywhere in the world, and it’s using my desktop — the thrill from that never goes away.

If you’d like to read more about the evolution of the Raspberry Pi desktop, and Simon’s adventures at Raspberry Pi, you can access the entire back catalogue of his blog posts here.

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Getting started with your Raspberry Pi

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Here on the Raspberry Pi blog, we often share impressive builds made by community members who have advanced making and coding skills. But what about those of you who are just getting started?

Getting started with Raspberry Pi

For you, we’ve been working hard to update and polish our Getting started resources, including a brand-new video to help you get to grips with your new Pi.

Getting started with Raspberry Pi

Whether you’re new to electronics and the Raspberry Pi, or a seasoned pro looking to share your knowledge and skills with others, sit back and watch us walk you through the basics of setting up our powerful little computer.

How to set up your Raspberry Pi || Getting started with #RaspberryPi

Learn how to set up your Raspberry Pi for the first time, from plugging in peripherals to loading Raspbian.

We’ve tried to make this video as easy to follow as possible, with only the essential explanations and steps.

getting started with raspberry pi

As with everything we produce, we want this video to be accessible to the entire world, so if you can translate its text into another language, please follow this link to submit your translation directly through YouTube. You can also add translations to our other YouTube videos here! As a thank you, we’ll display your username in the video descriptions to acknowledge your contributions.

New setup guides and resources

Alongside our shiny new homepage, we’ve also updated our Help section to reflect our newest tech and demonstrate the easiest way for beginners to start their Raspberry Pi journey. We’re now providing a first-time setup guide, and also a walk-through for using your Raspberry Pi that shows you all sort of things you can do with it. And with guides to our official add-on devices and a troubleshooting section, our updated Help page is your one-stop shop for getting the most out of your Pi.

getting started with raspberry pi

For parents and teachers, we offer guides on introducing Raspberry Pi and digital making to your children and students. And for those of you who are visual learners, we’ve curated a collection of our videos to help you get making.

As with our videos, we’re looking for people whose first language isn’t English to help us translate our resources. If you’re able to donate some of your time to support this cause, please sign up here.

The forums

We’re very proud of our forum community. Since the birth of the Raspberry Pi, our forums have been the place to go for additional support, conversation, and project bragging.

Raspberry Pi forums

If your question isn’t answered on our Help page, there’s no better place to go than the forums. Nine times out of ten, your question will already have been asked and answered there! And if not, then our friendly forum community will be happy to share their wealth of knowledge and help you out.

Events and clubs

Raspberry Pi and digital making enthusiasts come together across the world at various events and clubs, including Raspberry Jams, Code Club and CoderDojo, and Coolest Projects. These events are perfect for learning more about how people use Raspberry Pi and other technologies for digital making — as a hobby and as a tool for education.

getting started with raspberry pi

Keep up to date

To keep track of all the goings-on of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and sign up to our Raspberry Pi Weekly newsletter and the monthly Raspberry Pi LEARN education newsletter.

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A list of Raspberry Pi books for #BookLoversDay

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While yesterday’s blog post covered YouTubers who create video tutorials about using the Raspberry Pi, today we want to focus on a more traditional medium in honour of #BookLoversDay.

Raspberry Pi books

Since we launched the Raspberry Pi back in 2012, staff and community members alike have been writing guides and projects books about our little green board, with some releasing them as free PDFs and others donating a portions of the revenue to the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Here are a few of our favourite books, written by our colleagues and you, our glorious community.

Getting started

For beginners just entering the world of Raspberry Pi, there is no end of ‘Getting started’ resources available online. For those of you who want a physical reference work, or who plan on giving a Raspberry Pi as a gift, here are some of the best beginners’ guides available:

Raspberry Pi for Dummies - Raspberry Pi booksAlmost all of us will have at least one for Dummies book lying around at home. Easy to read and full of information, the series is a go-to for many. The third edition of the Raspberry Pi for Dummies book came out in late 2017, and you can read the first two chapters on co-author Sean McManus’s website.

The Raspberry Pi User GuideRaspberry Pi User Guide - Raspberry Pi books was co-written by Eben Upton, creator of the Raspberry Pi and co-founder of the Raspberry Pi Foundation. So it’s fair to say that the information in this guide comes directly from the horse’s mouth…so to speak. You can read an excerpt of the book on the publisher’s website.

Adventures in Raspberry Pi - Raspberry Pi booksFor younger users, Carrie Anne Philbin’s Adventures in Raspberry Pi is both an introduction guide and project book, taking young beginners from the basics of setting up and using their Raspberry Pi through to trying out coding and digital making projects. Now in its third edition, the book is available in both paperback and e-book format.

 

You may also like:

Projects

If you’re looking for some projects to try out, whether they be Scratch or Python, screen-based or physical, the following books will help you get making:

Simon Monk Raspberry Pi Cookbook - Raspberry Pi booksSimon Monk has been writing tutorials and producing Raspberry Pi kits for both beginners and advanced makers. With his Raspberry Pi Cookbook, Simon has written over 200 ‘practical recipes’ for you to try with your Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi Electronics Projects for the Evil Genius - Raspberry Pi booksForget James Bond. If you’d rather be working for the dark side, try Donald Norris’ Raspberry Pi Electronics Projects for the Evil Genius* and build everything you need to take over the world.

*Swivel chair and fluffy white cat not included.

Creative Projects with Raspberry Pi - Raspberry Pi booksMore inspirational rather than instructive, Creative Projects with Raspberry Pi by Kirsten Kearney and Will Freeman is a gorgeous coffee table book of Raspberry Pi projects from across the globe. From small gadgets to art installations and robots to weather stations, if this book doesn’t get your creative juices flowing, nothing will.

 

 

You may also like:

Computer science

Computer science is more than just writing code and lighting LEDs. If you’d like to learn more about the history and science behind STEM, these books are marvelous resources for the inquisitive mind:

The Pragmatic Programmer - Raspberry Pi booksThose wishing to go deeper into learning programming should check out The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master by Andy Hunt and Dave Thomas. Some consider it the classic go-to for novice programmers, with many veterans returning to it when they need a reminder of best practices in the field.

Jacquard's Web - Raspberry Pi booksHistory buffs may want to look into Jacquard’s Web: How a Hand-Loom Led to the Birth of the Information Age by James Essinger. This book explores the development of technology, from the invention of the handloom by Joseph-Marie Jacquard in Napoleonic France to technological advancements of the digital age.

 

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage - Raspberry Pi booksWith its lighthearted fun mixed with historical events, the Eisner Award–nominated The Thrilling Adventures Of Lovelace And Babbage by Sydney Padua is a Pi Towers favourite, and should be the staple of every STEM enthusiast’s book collection. In fact, we’re sure that even those with no interest in the field will find this collection of stories entertaining. So there’s really no reason not to try it.

 

 

You may also like:

Magazines

If you’re looking for a periodical or two, may we suggest:

 - Raspberry Pi booksThe MagPi, the official Raspberry Pi magazine. Available in both hardcopy and free digital PDF every month, The MagPi covers community projects and tutorials as well as Raspberry Pi–related add-on tech. You may also be interested in the MagPi Essentials Guides, written by community members to help you advance in various areas of Raspberry Pi creativity.

The front cover of Hello World Issue 3 - Raspberry Pi booksHello World, the magazine for educators, is released termly and includes articles and advice from STEM educators across the globe. UK-based educators can get Hello World delivered free to their door, and everyone can download the free PDFs from the Hello World website.

 - Raspberry Pi booksHackSpace magazine covers more than just the Raspberry Pi. Consider it the maker magazine, covering a wide variety of different topics, skills, and techniques. An interesting monthly read that your eager hobbyist mind will love…but your wallet and free space/time, not so much. It’s out in both hardcopy and as a free PDF each month.

 

You may also like:

  • AQUILA — while not specifically STEM-related, AQUILA will keep young minds engaged and inquisitive
  • WIRED — WIRED offers a broad taste of emerging technologies and more
  • The Beano — OK, so it’s not STEM, but c’mon, the Beano is awesome!

Add to the list

If you have a favourite book that we’ve left out, let us know so we can add it. Maybe you have a childhood classic that first got you into coding, or a reference guide you go back to again and again. So tell us in the comments which books we have missed!

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