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Pi-powered Mansfield Holiday Zoom Movie Camera

via Raspberry Pi

When John Sichi discovered a Mansfield Holiday Zoom movie camera on Yerdle, he was instantly transported back to a childhood of making home movies with his family.

The camera was fully operational, but sadly the lens was damaged. 

With the cost of parts, film, and development an unreasonable expense, John decided to digitise the camera using a Raspberry Pi Zero and Pi camera module.

Pi-powered Mansfield Holiday Zoom Movie Camera

To fit the Pi in place, John was forced to pull out the inner workings; unfortunately this meant he had to lose the nostalgic whirring noise of the inner springs which would originally have spun as the movie was recorded.

Using a scrap piece of metal, he was able to create a stop/start button from the existing trigger: hold it down to record, and release to stop.

A USB battery pack provides power to the Pi while bits of LEGO and Sugru hold it in place. 

Pi-powered Mansfield Holiday Zoom Movie Camera

John decided to mount the camera module externally, as he did not want to risk damaging the body of the Mansfield. A further upgrade would aim to use a camera with functional lens, thereby fully incorporating the new tech with the old functionality. 

Code for the camera is available via GitHub while sample footage from the camera can be found below. As you can see, the build works beautifully, and that retro image quality is incredibly evocative. Great work, John! 

Holiday Pi retrocamera

Uploaded by jsichi on 2016-09-14.

 

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Open Source Hardware Certification Launching at the Summit

via Open Source Hardware Association

Come for the great speakers and community, stay to find out about the brand new open source hardware certification program (tickets are still available).

After lots of work by lots of people stretching back . . . lots of time, OSHWA is finally ready to unveil our open source hardware certification program.  The certification will be a way for the open source hardware community to know that when a project or product calls itself “open source hardware” they mean the version of “open source hardware” that complies with the community definition of open source hardware.

At the summit we’ll explain how you can get your stuff certified, how you can use the certification to learn more about stuff you get from other people, and other things that you might want to know about the certification.  There’s no substitute for getting that information in person (trust me), so if you don’t already have tickets click here!

Pi Cart: RetroPie in a NES Cartridge

via Raspberry Pi

RetroPie builds take up approximately 40% of my daily project searching. Whether it’s across social media, within the depths of YouTube, littering my inbox, or shared across office messaging, I see RetroPie everywhere.

I see… RetroPie

I can look across my desk right this moment and spot two different USB controllers and two RetroPie-imaged SD cards from where I sit. True story.

The mess of Alex's desk

The ‘organised’ clutter-mess of my desk…

Because of this, my attention tends to be drawn away from the inner workings of a gaming build and more toward the aesthetics. After all, if I’ve managed to set up RetroPie, anyone can do it.

When it comes to RetroPie builds, it tends to be the physical casing that really catches my attention. So many makers go the extra mile to build stunning gaming units that really please the eye.

Taking that into consideration, can you really be surprised that I’m writing about the Pi Cart? I mean, c’mon: it’s awesome-looking!

Pi Cart: a Raspberry Pi Retro Gaming Rig in an NES Cartridge

I put a Raspberry Pi Zero (and 2,400 vintage games) into an NES cartridge and it’s awesome. Powered by RetroPie. I also wrote a step-by-step guide on howchoo and a list of all the materials you’ll need to build your own: https://howchoo.com/g/mti0oge5nzk/pi-cart-a-raspberry-pi-retro-gaming-rig-in-an-nes-cartridge

Pi Cart originator Zach offers up a complete how-to for the project, giving all budding gamers and tinkerers the instructions they need to fit a RetroPie-enabled Raspberry Pi Zero into an old NES cartridge.

Using a Raspberry Pi Zero, a four-port USB mini hub (to allow for the use of more than one USB controller), an old NES cartridge, and all the usual gubbins, it’s fairly easy to create your own Pi Cart at minimal cost. 

RetroPie Pi Cart

There are many online guides and videos which give you all the information you need to install RetroPie on the Raspberry Pi, so if you’ve never tried it before and feel a little bit out of your depth, I can assure you that you’ll be fine.

Then all you need is a glue gun (this is possibly the most expensive component of the build!) and an hour or so to go from Zero to retro-gaming Hero!

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An Arduino VU meter for classrooms

via Arduino Blog

With his beautifully-colored classroom “noise-o-meter,” Mr. Jones knows when things are getting out of hand.

When you were in school (or if you are in school) the teacher likely told the class to be quiet, perhaps repeating him or herself over an over during the day. The teacher, however, likely never really defined what is good and bad. Mr. Jones has finally solved this issue by creating a classroom “noise-o-meter” using an Arduino, an electret microphone, and a programmable LED strip. In order (apparently) too keep the class in line, noise is simply marked as green for “expected,” amber for “louder,” and “red” for too loud which corresponds nicely with more “traditional” VU meters.

I built this a short while ago as an idea to use in a primary classroom setting. Poster displays are often used by primary teachers wanting to control the noise levels in their classrooms but I wanted to add technology to make it dynamic and responsive. The motivation for this came after seeing the Adafruit Digital NeoPixel LED Strip online and realizing its potential as part of a VU meter.

Are you a teacher and want to build one for yourself? You can check out Mr. Jones’ Instructables page or his own website in a different format.

Circadia Sunrise Lamp Alarm

via Raspberry Pi

Florian loves sleeping and, like many of us, he doesn’t enjoy waking up. Alarm clocks irritate him, and radio alarms can be a musical disappointment, depending on the station.

For many, the lack of sunlight during winter months makes waking up even more of a struggle, with no bright glare through the curtains helping to prise our eyelids apart.

Iiiii… don’t knooooow-aaaaa… what the words reaaaaally aaaaaare…

Picking up on the concept of sunrise alarm clocks, and wanting to incorporate music into the idea, Florian decided to build the Circadia Sunrise Lamp. 

Circadia – sunrise medley

Circadia – sunrise lamp project https://sites.google.com/site/fpgaandco/sunrise Theme summary

Standing just under two metres tall, the lamp consists of three parts: the top section, housing a 3D-printed omnidirectional speaker system and orbiting text display; the midsection, home to 288 independently controlled RGB NeoPixel LEDs; and the bottom section, snugly fitting a midwoofer, Raspberry Pi, audio amp, and power supplies.

SUNRISE LAMP

Florian spent two years, on and off, working on the lamp and it’s fair to say that once he started getting to grips with the Python code, and was able to see the visual results, he became hooked on adding more and more themes. From Manila Sunrise to Sumatra Rain, each theme boasts its own colour cycle and soundtrack, all lasting approximately 40 minutes from start to refreshingly wonderful complete awakening. Florian writes:

[The lamp] makes it quite a bit easier for me to get out of bed every morning (with a silly grin on my face). It’s really surprisingly effective and hard to describe. Rather than being resentful that it is already time to get up, I am now more inclined to be eager to get going. If someone had told me how well this actually works I would have put a sunrise lamp in my bedroom years ago. 

But he didn’t stop there.

As the lamp’s main purpose is to wake Florian up in the morning, it was inevitably spending the majority of the day idle. To tackle this, Florian incorporated a music-reactive light show, plus an interactive version of Tetris because, to quote from makers the world over, “Why not?”

Circadia – Tetris

Circadia – sunrise lamp project https://sites.google.com/site/fpgaandco/sunrise

Florian, in all his brilliant maker glory, has provided an in-depth blog of the Circadia Sunrise Lamp, documenting the processes, the successes, and failures of the build, as well as his continued development of new themes.

We’ve seen a few different sunrise lamps, alarm clocks, and light shows over the years, all using a Raspberry Pi. But this one, combining elegant physical style with well-coded functionality, is certainly one of our favourites.

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Raspberry Pi Air Drum Kit

via Raspberry Pi

While perusing a local car boot sale, David Pride came across a Silverlit Air Drum Kit for the grand total of one whole shiny pound. And just like any digital maker, he bought it, realising the potential of this wondrous discovery.

David Pride Air Drum Kit

The original Silverlit Air Drum Kit

David had been recently fiddling with the Python CWiid library, a resource that allows you to use Wii controllers (Wiimotes) with a Raspberry Pi via Bluetooth. However, it was the setup of two controllers to a single Pi that was causing issues:

I’d only ever managed to get one controller working with a single Pi before, so the first challenge was to get a pair of controllers working as the ‘sticks’. That took a lot of mucking about, until I found the excellent post by WiiGate that detailed how to set up two controllers properly, using the MAC addresses. You can find it here.

Once this hurdle had been overcome, David collected a variety of open-source drum sample .wav files from the abundance of sound clips available on the web.

Did you honestly believe we’d get through this entire blog without a single cowbell reference?

David used Tkinter, writing a small app that would allow him to understand the positioning of the controllers, and as a result the data produced. Due to the nature of the controllers, movement wasn’t the only factor to consider. Speed and the way in which the controller was moved were also important. Move the controller quickly, and a different set of data is produced from that generated by a slower motion.

However, David isn’t one to give up and after a (relatively long) while, he had managed to plot positions for four distinct drum sounds:

I initially wanted to get three sounds on each controller, but the movement scale was a bit too tight to do it successfully every time, and two sounds often overlapped. So, I’m using the trigger button on each controller, combined with the movement for one of the sounds. This gives six different drum sounds, three per controller, that can be played without the sounds overlapping.

The final result of David’s tinkering is this wonderful air drum kit that provides a clean, impressive response with every movement. And because he’s such a lovely chap, all the code you need can be found at his GitHub page.

Raspberry Pi Air Drum Kit

Easy Python project using 2 Wii controllers and a Raspberry Pi to create an ‘air drum’ kit

So David, all we need now is the air guitar, air bass and air keyboard, and we’ve got the start of this year’s Christmas Number One.

Band name suggestions welcome…

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