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The All-Seeing Pi: a Raspberry Pi photo booth

via Raspberry Pi

Have you ever fancied building a Raspberry Pi photo booth? How about one with Snapchat-esque overlay filters? What if it tweeted your images to its own Twitter account for all to see?

The All-Seeing Pi on Twitter

The All Seeing Pi has seen you visiting @Raspberry_Pi Party @missphilbin #PiParty

Introducing The All-Seeing Pi

“Well, the thing I really want to say (if you haven’t already) is that this whole thing was a team build”, explains one of the resource creators, Laura Sach. “I think it would be a brilliant project to do as a team!”

The All-Seeing Pi Raspberry Pi Photo Booth

The resource originally came to life at Pycon, where the team demonstrated the use of filters alongside the Camera Module in their hands-on workshops. From there, the project grew into The All-Seeing Pi, which premiered at the Bett stand earlier this year.

The All-Seeing Pi on Twitter

The All Seeing Pi has seen you, @theallseeingpi #PiatBETT #BETT2017

Build your own photo booth

To build your own, you’ll need:

  • A Camera Module
  • A monitor (we used a touchscreen for ours)
  • Two tactile buttons (you can replace these later with bigger buttons if you wish)
  • A breadboard
  • Some male-female jumper leads

If you’re feeling artistic, you can also use a box to build a body for your All-Seeing Pi.

By following the worksheets within the resource, you’ll learn how to set up the Camera Module, connect buttons and a display, control GPIO pins and the camera with Python code, and how to tweet a photo.

The All-Seeing Pi Raspberry Pi Photo Booth

Raspberry Pi Foundation’s free resources

We publish our resources under a Creative Commons license, allowing you to use them for free at home, in clubs, and in schools. The All-Seeing Pi resource has been written to cover elements from the Raspberry Pi Digital Curriculum. You can find more information on the curriculum here.

Raspberry Pi Digital Curriculum

 

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Harry Potter and the Real-Life Wizard Duel

via Raspberry Pi

Walk around the commons of Cambridge and you’re bound to see one or more of the Cambridge University Quidditch Club players mounted upon sticks with a makeshift quaffle. But try as they might, their broomsticks will never send them soaring through the air.

The same faux-wizardry charge can’t be levelled at Allen Pan‘s Real-Life Wizard Duel. For when the wand-wielding witches or wizards cast one of four Harry Potter spells, their opponent is struck accordingly… as if by magic.

Real Life Wizard Duel with ELECTRICITY | Sufficiently Advanced

Body shocking wands with speech recognition…It’s indistinguishable from magic! Follow Sufficiently Advanced! https://twitter.com/AnyTechnology https://www.facebook.com/sufficientlyadvanced https://www.instagram.com/sufficientlyadvanced/ Check out redRomina: https://www.youtube.com/user/redRomina Watch our TENS unit challenge! https://youtu.be/Ntovn4N9HNs These peeps helped film, check them out too!

Real spells, real consequences

Harry Potter GIF

Allen uses Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) machines to deliver the mighty blows to both himself and his opponent, setting off various sticky pads across the body via voice recognition.

The Google Cloud Speech Recognition API recognises one of five spells – Expelliarmus, Stupefy, Tarantallegra, Petrificus Totalus, and Protego – via a microphone plugged into a Raspberry Pi.

Harry Potter GIF

When the spell is pronounced correctly and understood by the Pi, it tells an Arduino to ‘shoot’ the spell out of the wand via an infrared LED. If the infrared receiver attached to the opponent recognises the spell, it sets off the TENS machine to deliver an electric current to the appropriate body part. Expelliarmus, for example, sets off the TENS connected to the arm, while calling out a successful Petrificus Totalus renders the opponent near immobilised as every pad is activated. For a moment’s rest, calling out “Protego” toward your own infrared receiver offers a few moments of protection against all spells aimed in your direction. Phew.

“But people only die in proper duels, you know, with real wizards. The most you and Malfoy’ll be able to do is send sparks at each other. Neither of you knows enough magic to do any real damage. I bet he expected you to refuse, anyway.”
“And what if I wave my wand and nothing happens?”
“Throw it away and punch him on the nose,” Ron suggested.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Defence Against the Dark Arts

Harry Potter Wizard Duel Raspberry Pi

To prevent abuse of the spells, each one has its own recharge time, with available spells indicated via LEDs on the wand.

In the realm of Harry Potter fan builds, this has to be a favourite. And while visitors to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter may feel the magical effect of reimagined Butterbeer as they wander around Hogsmead, I’d definitely prefer to play Real Life Wizard Duel with Allen Pan.

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Pi Wars 2017 is just a few days away!

via Raspberry Pi

On 1-2  April, Cambridge Raspberry Jam will be hosting Pi Wars 2017, the latest iteration of their successful robotics challenge competition.

For those unfamiliar with the setup, Pi Wars contestants use home-brew Raspberry Pi-powered robots to compete across seven challenge courses. There’s also a host of other categories, including prizes for Artistic and Technical Merit, as well as an award for ‘Funniest Robot’!

With only a few days to go until the big weekend, we’ve wrangled Pi Wars 2017 hosts, Mike and Tim, to give us the lowdown on everything you need to know before the main event.

Pi Wars 2015 obstacle course Pi Wars 2017

Crowds gather around the Obstacle Course from the 2015 competition

Pi Wars 2017

This is the third time the competition has been run, and this time we’re running the event over two days:

  • Saturday – School teams.
  • Sunday – Beginner, Intermediate and Pro/Veteran teams.

With teams coming all the way from the USA, Germany, Switzerland, Wales and Scotland as well as England, it truly is an international competition! There are more than 65 teams competing across the weekend. Judging by some of the tweets we’ve been seeing, there’s likely to be some fierce competition!

Special guest and head judge

Doctor Lucy Rogers Pi Wars 2017

Lucy rightly running from House Robot, Sir Killalot, on the set of BBC Robot Wars

We are very fortunate to welcome BBC Robot Wars judge Dr. Lucy Rogers as our special guest and head judge. Away from Robot Wars, Lucy is an independent designer and maker, and famously introduced Raspberry Pi-controlled animatronics to the Blackgang Chine theme park on the Isle of Wight.

Get tickets, come along and watch the action

If you’re in the Cambridge area, or even if you’re further afield, you can come along and watch. Pi Wars 2017 spectator tickets are available from Eventbrite. Children aged 16 and under go free, as do volunteers, and it’s just £5 per day (or £7 for the whole weekend) for everyone else.

What else is happening?

In addition to the competing teams, there will be plenty of show-and-tell tables featuring robotics projects, plus an extensive marketplace featuring your favourite vendors.

Where is it?

The event takes place at the Cambridge Computer Laboratory (William Gates Building). There is free parking a (very) short walk away, and there is catering on site (or bring a packed lunch!). It’s a nice family-friendly day out. You can chat to the stall holders and teams (when they’re not running between challenges!), and generally find out what is possible with the Raspberry Pi, some robotics components, a healthy dose of programming and a maker’s mindset!

The William Gates Building Pi Wars 2017

The William Gates Building

What have we been doing to prepare?

Tim has been hard at work designing and building courses for our seven challenges, which are:

  • Straight-line speed test (autonomous) – get down the course as fast as possible without touching the walls.
  • The minimal maze (autonomous) – get around the maze without touching the walls.
  • The line follower (autonomous) – follow the black line for as many circuits as possible.
  • Slightly deranged golf (remote-controlled) – a beautiful, mystery course that will have a special component added to it by Pi Borg!
  • The obstacle course (remote-controlled) – who knows what’s in store this year?
  • Skittles (remote-controlled) – knock the pins down, score points.
  • Pi Noon – the robot vs robot duel (remote-controlled) – pop the other robot’s balloon before the time runs out.
Pi Wars 2015 Pi Noon competition Pi Wars 2017

2015’s Pi Noon competition

Find out more about the courses and the rules on the Pi Wars 2017 website.

Mike has been fiercely sending out emails to competitors, exhibitors, volunteers, vendors and our wonderful Pi Wars 2017 sponsors, without whom we would be unable to run the event. He’s also busy constructing individual timetables for each team, so everyone knows exactly where they need to be for their challenge runs.

We’re really looking forward to the weekend – it’s all coming together, and with the help of our volunteers, you can be assured of a warm welcome to the venue. So, grab your tickets and prepare for an epic showdown between dozens of robots, all powered by your favourite single-board computer!

The future of Pi Wars

There is an upcoming Pi Wars-style competition in Pennsylvania, USA on 3 June (The MagPi Magazine published a blog about this today), and we’re expecting another USA competition at some point, as well as a possible Pi Wars Scotland. As for the future of the Cambridge-based event? Let’s get this one out of the way first!

Any questions? The best way to contact us is via the Pi Wars 2017 website. Alternatively, give us a shout on Twitter!

Mike and Tim

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Selectively silence a landline phone with Arduino

via Arduino Blog

Silencing a smartphone at night isn’t difficult, but if you have a landline, Arduino can help!

Before computer hacking/modding became accessible, the next best thing was to creatively explore the phone system via custom electronics. Though this pursuit, known as “phone phreaking,” has largely gone away, some people still have landlines. As “MolecularD” shows in this Instructables writeup, with a few components you can creatively trick your phone into not ringing on your end, while appearing to the caller to simply ring and ring as if no one is home.

In order to make it much more useful, MolecularD hooked up an Arduino Mega with a real-time clock module to turn the device on and off depending on the time of day. Now calls from phone solicitors, or “IRS agents” at 4 in the morning can be eliminated automatically. As noted, this may or may not be legal where you live, so attempt it at your own risk!

Get wordy with our free resources

via Raspberry Pi

Here at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, we take great pride in the wonderful free resources we produce for you to use in classes, at home and in coding clubs. We publish them under a Creative Commons licence, and they’re an excellent way to develop your digital-making skills.

With yesterday being World Poetry Day (I’m a day late to the party. Shhh), I thought I’d share some wordy-themed [wordy-themed? Are you sure? – Ed] resources for you all to have a play with.

Shakespearean Insult Generator

Raspberry Pi Free Resources Shakespearean Insult Generator

Have you ever found yourself lost for words just when the moment calls for your best comeback? With the Shakespearean Insult Generator, your mumbled retorts to life’s awkward situations will have the lyrical flow of our nation’s most beloved bard.

Thou sodden-witted lord! Thou hast no more brain than I have in mine elbows!

Not only will the generator provide you with hours of potty-mouthed fun, it’ll also teach you how to read and write data in CSV format using Python, how to manipulate lists, and how to choose a random item from a list.

Talk like a Pirate

Raspberry Pi Free Resources Talk Like a Pirate

Ye’ll never be forced t’walk the plank once ye learn how to talk like a scurvy ol’ pirate… yaaaarrrgh!

The Talk like a Pirate speech generator teaches you how to use jQuery to cause live updates on a web page, how to write regular expressions to match patterns and words, and how to create a web page to input text and output results.

Once you’ve mastered those skills, you can use them to create other speech generators. How about a speech generator that turns certain words into their slang counterparts? Or one that changes words into txt speak – laugh into LOL, and see you into CU?

Secret Agent Chat

Raspberry Pi Free Resources Secret Agent Chat

So you’ve already mastered insults via list manipulation and random choice, and you’ve converted words into hilarious variations through matching word patterns and input/output. What’s next?

The Secret Agent Chat resource shows you how random numbers can be used to encrypt messages, how iteration can be used to encrypt individual characters, and, to make sure nobody cracks your codes, the importance of keeping your keys secret. And with these new skills under your belt, you can write and encrypt messages between you and your friends, ensuring that nobody will be able to read your secrets.

Unlocking your transferable skill set

One of the great things about building projects like these is the way it expands your transferable skill set. When you complete a project using one of our resources, you gain abilities that can be transferred to other projects and situations. You might never need to use a ‘Talk like a Pirate’ speech generator, but you might need to create a way to detect and alter certain word patterns in a document. And while you might be able to coin your own colourful insults, making the Shakespearean Insult Generator gives you the ability to select words from lists at random, allowing you to write a program that picks names to create sports or quiz teams without bias.

All of our resources are available for free on our website, and we continually update them to offer you more opportunities to work on your skills, whatever your age and experience.

Have you built anything from our resources? Let us know in the comments.

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Zelda-inspired ocarina-controlled home automation

via Raspberry Pi

Allen Pan has wired up his home automation system to be controlled by memorable tunes from the classic Zelda franchise.

Zelda Ocarina Controlled Home Automation – Zelda: Ocarina of Time | Sufficiently Advanced

With Zelda: Breath of the Wild out on the Nintendo Switch, I made a home automation system based off the Zelda series using the ocarina from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Help Me Make More Awesome Stuff! https://www.patreon.com/sufficientlyadvanced Subscribe! http://goo.gl/xZvS5s Follow Sufficiently Advanced!

Listen!

Released in 1998, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is the best game ever is still an iconic entry in the retro gaming history books.

Very few games have stuck with me in the same way Ocarina has, and I think it’s fair to say that, with the continued success of the Zelda franchise, I’m not the only one who has a special place in their heart for Link, particularly in this musical outing.

Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time screenshot

Thanks to Cynosure Gaming‘s Ocarina of Time review for the image.

Allen, or Sufficiently Advanced, as his YouTube subscribers know him, has used a Raspberry Pi to detect and recognise key tunes from the game, with each tune being linked (geddit?) to a specific task. By playing Zelda’s Lullaby (E, G, D, E, G, D), for instance, Allen can lock or unlock the door to his house. Other tunes have different functions: Epona’s Song unlocks the car (for Ocarina noobs, Epona is Link’s horse sidekick throughout most of the game), and Minuet of Forest waters the plants.

So how does it work?

It’s a fairly simple setup based around note recognition. When certain notes are played in a specific sequence, the Raspberry Pi detects the tune via a microphone within the Amazon Echo-inspired body of the build, and triggers the action related to the specific task. The small speaker you can see in the video plays a confirmation tune, again taken from the video game, to show that the task has been completed.

Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time Raspberry Pi Home Automation system setup image

As for the tasks themselves, Allen has built a small controller for each action, whether it be a piece of wood that presses down on his car key, a servomotor that adjusts the ambient temperature, or a water pump to hydrate his plants. Each controller has its own small ESP8266 wireless connectivity module that links back to the wireless-enabled Raspberry Pi, cutting down on the need for a ton of wires about the home.

And yes, before anybody says it, we’re sure that Allen is aware that using tone recognition is not the safest means of locking and unlocking your home. This is just for fun.

Do-it-yourself home automation

While we don’t necessarily expect everyone to brush up on their ocarina skills and build their own Zelda-inspired home automation system, the idea of using something other than voice or text commands to control home appliances is a fun one.

You could use facial recognition at the door to start the kettle boiling, or the detection of certain gasses to – ahem!– spray an air freshener.

We love to see what you all get up to with the Raspberry Pi. Have you built your own home automation system controlled by something other than your voice? Share it in the comments below.

 

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