Adafruit is a certified Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) … PDF. It’s now official!
Last week we released five new products to support one of our most popular machine vision sensors, the OpenMV H7 Camera!
The OpenMV H7 Camera is a small, low power microcontroller board that allows you to easily implement applications using machine vision in the real world. Out of the box, it comes loaded with the MicroPython interpreter, so you don't need to load anything to get it up and running!
To support the the OpenMV H7 Camera, we carry shields (one supporting WiFi capabilities and the other to give the sensor an LCD), a Global Shutter Module, a FLIR Lepton Module, and an Ultra Wide Angle Lens.
We've pulled everything together into a one-stop location for all the information, products, projects and videos we have for the OpenMV. This page also provides you with a diagram of the OpenMV H7 Camera, so you can see all of the key features of the sensor in a single glance. You can get to this new page by clicking the link above or the button below.
Over the next few weeks and months, expect more content from us to be added to this page, including an updated video for the OpenMV H7 Camera, more projects, and tutorials. If you would like to stay up to date on all the new products we release each week, make sure to sign up for our newsletter below!
Meet Callum Fawcett, who shares his journey from tinkering with the first Raspberry Pi while he was at school, to a Master’s degree in computer science and a real-life job in programming. We also get to see some of the awesome projects he’s made along the way.
I first decided to get a Raspberry Pi at the age of 14. I had already started programming a little bit before and found that I really enjoyed the language Python. At the time the first Raspberry Pi came out, my History teacher told us about them and how they would be a great device to use to learn programming. I decided to ask for one to help me learn more. I didn’t really know what I would use it for or how it would even work, but after a little bit of help at the start, I quickly began making small programs in Python. I remember some of my first programs being very simple dictionary-type programs in which I would match English words to German to help with my German homework.
Learning Linux, C++, and Python
Most of my learning was done through two sources. I learnt Linux and how the terminal worked using online resources such as Stack Overflow. I would have a problem that I needed to solve, look up solutions online, and try out commands that I found. This was perhaps the hardest part of learning how to use a Raspberry Pi, as it was something I had never done before, but it really helped me in later years when I would use Linux more than Windows. For learning programming, I preferred to use books. I had a book for C++ and a book for Python that I would work through. These were game-based books, so many of the fun projects that I did were simple text-based games where you typed in responses to questions.
A family robotics project
By far the coolest project I did with the Raspberry Pi was to build a small robot (shown above). This was a joint project between myself and my dad. He sorted out the electronics and I programmed the robot. It was a great opportunity to learn about robotics and refine my programming skills. By the end, the robot was capable of moving around by itself, driving into objects, and then reversing and trying a new direction. It was almost like an unintelligent Roomba that couldn’t hoover, but I spent many hours improving small bits and pieces to make it as easy to use as possible. My one wish that I never managed to achieve with my robot was allowing it to map out its surroundings. This was a very ambitious project at the time, since I was still quite inexperienced in programming. The biggest problem with this was calibrating the robot’s turning circle, which was never consistent so it was very hard to have the robot know where in the room it was.
Sense HAT maze game
Another fun project that I worked on used the Sense HAT developed for the Astro Pi computers for use on the International Space Station. Using this, I was able to make a memory maze game (shown below), in which a player is shown a maze for several seconds and then has to navigate that maze from memory by shaking the device. This was my first introduction to using more interactive types of input, and this eventually led to my final-year project, which used these interesting interactions to develop another way of teaching.
Learning programming without formal lessons
I have now just finished my Master’s degree in computer science at the University of Bristol. Before going to university, I had no experience of being taught programming in a formal environment. It was not a taught subject at my secondary school or sixth form. I wanted to get more people at my school interested in this area of study though, which I did by running a coding club for people. I would help others debug their code and discuss interesting problems with them. The reason that I chose to study computer science is largely because of my experiences with Raspberry Pi and other programming I did in my own time during my teenage years. I likely would have studied history if it weren’t for the programming I had done by myself making robots and other games.
Raspberry Pi has continued to play a part in my degree and extra-curricular activities; I used them in two large projects during my time at university and used a similar device in my final project. My robot experience also helped me to enter my university’s ‘Robot Wars’ competition which, though we never won, was a lot of fun.
A tool for learning and a device for industry
Having a Raspberry Pi is always useful during a hackathon, because it’s such a versatile component. Tech like Raspberry Pi will always be useful for beginners to learn the basics of programming and electronics, but these computers are also becoming more and more useful for people with more experience to make fun and useful projects. I could see tech like Raspberry Pi being used in the future to help quickly prototype many types of electronic devices and, as they become more powerful, even being used as an affordable way of controlling many types of robots, which will become more common in the future.
Now I am going on to work on programming robot control systems at Ocado Technology. My experiences of robot building during my years before university played a large part in this decision. Already, robots are becoming a huge part of society, and I think they are only going to become more prominent in the future. Automation through robots and artificial intelligence will become one of the most important tools for humanity during the 21st century, and I look forward to being a part of that process. If it weren’t for learning through Raspberry Pi, I certainly wouldn’t be in this position.
Cheers for your story, Callum! Has tinkering with our tiny computer inspired your educational or professional choices? Let us know in the comments below.
The post Learning with Raspberry Pi — robotics, a Master’s degree, and beyond appeared first on Raspberry Pi.
What could be the world’s first interactive art experiment in space is powered by Raspberry Pi!
The experiment, named Pulse/Hydra 3, features a kaleidoscope (as seen in the video) that lights up and starts to rotate after it receives heartbeat data from its ground terminal. This artistic experiment is designed to inspire people back on Earth.
Look closely at the video and you should be able to see small beads floating around in microgravity.
During scheduled events at museum and galleries, participants use a specially designed terminal fitted with a pulse oximeter to measure their pulse rate and blood oxygenation level. These measurements are transmitted in real time to the Pulse/Hydra 3 payload on the ISS, which is activated by the transmission.
Inside the payload, there’s a specially designed ‘microgravity kaleidoscope’. The transmitted data activates the kaleidoscope, and the resulting live images are securely streamed back to the ground terminal. The images are then projected onto large video screens so the whole audience can watch what is happening in orbit. The artistic idea is that both pulse rate and blood oxygenation levels are highly transient physiological characteristics that respond rapidly to conscious and sub-conscious emotional states. Therefore, there is a complex interaction between the participant and the payload, as both react to each other during the experience.
We wouldn’t have been able to achieve things like that on dial-up internet.
Where does it live?
Pulse/Hydra 3 is currently installed aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in the ESA Columbus module. The Columbus laboratory is ESA’s biggest single contribution to the ISS. The 4.5 m diameter cylindrical module of 6.9 m in length is equipped with flexible research facilities and provides accommodation for experiments in the field of multidisciplinary research into material science, fluid physics, and life science.
This payload was launched on 29 June 2018 and it will be completing its two years in orbit soon.
More Raspberry Pi experiments in space
Pulse/Hydra 3 is, you guessed it, the third in a series of experiments run on board the Columbus module. The other two are:
- Hydra-1, a plant growth experiment.
- Hydra-2, a methanogenesis experiment exploring gravity’s effect on bacteria.
And Hydra-3 is the interactive art payload you’ve just read about. It lives in the same rack that used to house Hydra-1 and -2. All three run on Raspberry Pi!
These three payloads are of course great companions to our Astro Pi computers, which allow thousands of young people every year to run their code in space!
Place your bets on the year the first Raspberry Pi shop opens on the Moon…
The post Kaleidoscopic space art made with Raspberry Pi onboard the ISS appeared first on Raspberry Pi.
President Obama & Limor Fried “Ladyada”:
-Proposes patent reform 0:50
-Asks the President if his daughters are considering careers in science and engineering 3:35
-Proposes each high schooler learns a computer programming language 5:12
- Ladyada @adafruit & makers removed from @whitehouse website – FEBRUARY 23, 2017.
- Making the Maker Movement – JULY 25, 2016.
- Watch the live stream White House Champions of Change for Makers recognizing Limor Fried – JUNE 17, 2016.
- House Champions of Change for Makers recognizing Limor Fried! – JUNE 17, 2016.
HBO Max is incredible. Not because it is good, but because of how many problems with the media landscape it epitomizes. If you ever had trouble seeing where monopoly, net neutrality, and technology intertwine, well then thanks, I guess, to AT&T for its achievement in HBO Max. No one knows what it’s supposed to do, but everyone can see what’s wrong with it.
For the record, HBO Max is a streaming service from AT&T, which owns Warner Bros. and, of course, HBO. HBO Go, by contrast, is the app for people who subscribe to HBO through a cable or satellite provider. And HBO Now is a digital-only subscription version of HBO. HBO Max is, somehow, not HBO. It’s a new streaming service, like Disney+, offering both the back catalogs of HBO and Warner Bros. and new exclusives. The name, which emphasizes HBO and doesn’t alert people that this is a service where they can watch Friends, has been a marketing problem.
But the marketing problem, while hilarious, is not where the biggest concerns lie. The real problem is with AT&T offering HBO Max for free to customers with certain plans, not counting it against data caps for its mobile customers, and launching without support for certain TV devices.
Let’s go through what’s happening here piece by torturous piece. First: HBO Max is free if you are a subscriber to certain AT&T plans—high-speed home Internet, unlimited wireless plans, and premier DirectTV plans, to name a few. But Americans pay more for worse Internet than their peers in Europe and South Korea. With high-speed home Internet, most Americans have two or fewer choices. The most meaningful choice an AT&T home Internet subscriber in the U.S. makes is between expensive low-speed service or very expensive "high-speed" service.
This lack of choice means that there is no reason for AT&T or any of the other large ISPs to have a better quality product or better customer service. They know we will pay because in 2020, nearly all of us need Internet access at home. Any Internet service will sell just fine, and it's more lucrative, in the short term, for ISPs to offer slow, expensive Internet than fast, good Internet.
Given these high prices, HBO Max isn’t “free.” AT&T is already making money hand over fist on you, and now it gets to report AT&T premium customers as subscribers to its new streaming service to its investors, inflating growth.
Second: AT&T isn’t counting HBO Max against the data caps on its mobile plans. Data caps are artificial: they exist so that there can be more expensive plans, not to manage capacity. Not counting the data used by an app against a data cap is a practice known as a “zero-rating.” When an ISP zero-rates its own content and applications, or that of its favored partners, that violates the principle of net neutrality.
Net neutrality is the principle that all data online is treated equally by Internet providers, so that they can’t manipulate what you see online by blocking it, slowing it down, or prioritizing the data of privileged apps and services. In the case of AT&T and HBO Max, AT&T has a “sponsored data” program that allows companies to pay it to zero-rate their data. But when HBO Max does that, AT&T is just paying itself though a meaningless accounting convention that costs it nothing (unlike competitors who give it money for equivalent zero-rating treatment). AT&T does this all the time.
So if Disney+ or Netflix—or, more importantly, a smaller company trying to compete with the big guys—wants their content to be on a level playing field, they will have to pay a fee that HBO Max does not.
This does not mean HBO Max is a better deal on an AT&T phone. You are paying too much for data already and, again, this trick helps drive AT&T’s subscriber numbers while not costing the company anything. It’s manipulative, too. It funnels AT&T customers who want entertainment but have artificially low data caps into AT&T’s own content. And according to Pew Research Center, those who rely on smartphones for Internet access are more likely to be young, Black, Hispanic, low-income, and rural.
Finally: HBO Max was launched without support on certain TV devices. Managing all these streaming services and subscriptions is a pain, and a lot of people do it with devices like Roku or Amazon Fire TV. Sometimes these are separate devices, and sometimes your so-called “smart” TV just came with one built-in. And guess what? If you have one, you weren’t watching HBO Max when it was launched. AT&T hadn’t made deals with those companies, so HBO Max won’t play on those devices. Remember how cable and satellite companies fight with TV networks over fees, sometimes leading to programming blackouts? Well, the same thing is now happening between streaming services like HBO Max and the makers of hardware and software for viewing them. So even if you have a “free” HBO Max subscription, you might not get to watch it on your Roku TV.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Cable and satellite TV services have almost always required subscribers to rent special hardware—that ugly, power-guzzling set-top box that you pay monthly rent for. In 2016, TV hardware and software makers asked the Federal Communications Commission to “Unlock the Box” by passing rules that would require cable and satellite services to make their channels available through whatever hardware and software the customer chose, using a set of industry standards for connecting those devices. TV studios and networks fought vehemently against that proposal. They argued that new rules were not necessary, because services delivered “over the top” through the Internet, like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and now HBO Max, would automatically run on all the consumer’s devices.
The outcome was easy to predict: Unlock the Box rules never came to be, and “over the top” apps like HBO Max don’t run on all devices—only the ones whose makers made deals with AT&T.
In the cord-cutting era, Roku and Amazon Fire TV have 70% of the market share for these kinds of devices. Users are stuck in the middle of a fight between giants just to watch content they supposedly get for “free” or have already paid for.
We need more choices for our ISPs, so they can’t keep charging us more for bad service. We need more choices so they can’t leverage their captive audiences for their new video services. We need net neutrality so these giant companies can’t create fiefdoms where they manipulate how we spend our time online. And we need our technology to be freed from corporate deals so we get what we paid for.
“In my vision, the child programs the computer and, in doing so, both acquires a sense of mastery over a piece of the most modern and powerful technology and establishes an intimate contact with some of the deepest ideas from science, from mathematics, and from the art of intellectual model building.” – Seymour Papert, Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas, 1980
We owe much of what we have learned about children learning to program to Seymour Papert (1928–2016), who not only was a great mathematician and computer scientist, but also an inspirational educationalist. He developed the theoretical approach to learning we now know as constructionism, which purports that learning takes place through building artefacts that have meaning and can be shared with others. Papert, together with others, developed the Logo programming language in 1967 to help children develop concepts in both mathematics and in programming. He believed that programming could give children tangible and concrete experiences to support their acquisition of mathematical concepts. Educational programming languages such as Logo were widely used in both primary and secondary education settings during the 1980s and 90s. Thus for many years the links between mathematics and programming have been evident, and we were very fortunate to be able to explore this topic with our research seminar guest speaker, Professor Dame Celia Hoyles of University College London.
Dame Celia Hoyles is a huge celebrity in the world of mathematical education and programming. As well as authoring literally hundreds of academic papers on mathematics education, including on Logo programming, she has received a number of prestigious awards and honours, and has served as the Chief Advisor to the UK government on mathematics in school. For all these reasons, we were delighted to hear her present at a Raspberry Pi Foundation computing education research seminar.
Mathematics is a subject we all need to understand the basics of — it underpins much of our other learning and empowers us in daily life. Yet some mathematical concepts can seem abstract and teachers have struggled over the years to help children to understand them. Since programming includes the design, building, and debugging of artefacts, it is a great approach for make such abstract concepts come to life. It also enables the development of both computational and mathematical thinking, as Celia described in her talk.
Learning mathematics through Scratch programming
Celia and a team* at University College London developed a curriculum initiative called ScratchMaths to teach carefully selected mathematical concepts through programming (funded by the Education Endowment Foundation in 2014–2018). ScratchMaths is for use in upper primary school (age 9–11) over a two-year period.
In the first year, pupils take three computational thinking modules, and in the second year, they move to three more mathematical thinking modules. All the ScratchMaths materials were designed around a pedagogical framework called the 5Es: explore, envisage, explain, exchange, and bridge. This enables teachers to understand the structure and sequencing of the materials as they use them in the classroom:
- Explore: Investigate, try things out yourself, debug in reaction to feedback
- Envisage: Have a goal in mind, predict outcome of program before trying
- Explain: Explain what you have done, articulate reasons behind your approach to others
- Exchange: Collaborate & share, try to see a problem from another’s perspective as well as defend your own approach and compare with others
- bridgE: Make explicit links to the mathematics curriculum
Teachers in the ScratchMaths project participated in professional development (two days per module) to enable them to understand the materials and the pedagogical approach.
At the end of the project, external evaluators measured the childrens’ learning and found a statistically significant increase in computational thinking skills after the first year, but no difference between an intervention group and a control group in the mathematical thinking outcomes in the second year (as measured by the national mathematics tests at that age).
Celia discussed a number of reasons for these findings. She also drew out the positive perspective that children in the trial learned two subjects at the same time without any detriment to their learning of mathematics. Covering two subjects and drawing the links between them without detriment to the core learning is potentially a benefit to schools who need to fit many subjects into their teaching day.
Much more information about the programme and the materials, which are freely available for use, can be found on the ScratchMaths project’s website, and you can also read a research paper describing the project.
As at all our research seminars, participants had many questions for our speaker. Although the project was designed for primary education, where it’s more common to learn subjects together across the curriculum, several questions revolved around the project’s suitability for secondary school. It’s interesting to reflect on how a programme like ScratchMaths might work at secondary level.
Should computing be taught in conjunction or separately?
Teaching programming through mathematics, or vice versa, is established practice in some countries. One example comes from Sweden, where computing and programming is taught across different subject areas, including mathematics: “through teaching pupils should be given opportunities to develop knowledge in using digital tools and programming to explore problems and mathematical concepts, make calculations and to present and interpret data”. In England, conversely, we have a discrete computing curriculum, and an educational system that separates subjects out so that it is often difficult for children to see overlap and contiguity. However, having the focus on computing as a discrete subject gives enormous benefits too, as Celia outlined at the beginning of her talk, and it opens up the potential to give children an in-depth understanding of the whole subject area over their school careers. In an ideal world, perhaps we would teach programming in conjunction with a range of subjects, thus providing the concrete realisation of abstract concepts, while also having discrete computing and computer science in the curriculum.
In our current context of a global pandemic, we are continually seeing the importance of computing applications, for example computer modelling and simulation used in the analysis of data. This talk highlighted the importance of learning computing per se, as well as the mathematics one can learn through integrating these two subjects.
Celia is a member of the National Centre of Computing Education (NCCE) Academic Board, made up of academics and experts who support the teaching and learning elements of the NCCE, and we enjoy our continued work with her in this capacity. Through the NCCE, the Raspberry Pi Foundation is reaching thousands of children and educators with free computing resources, online courses, and advanced-level computer science materials. Our networks of Code Clubs and CoderDojos also give children the space and freedom to experiment and play with programming and digital making in a way that is concordant with a constructionist approach.
Next up in our seminar series
If you missed the seminar, you can find Celia’s presentation slides and a recording of her talk on our research seminars page.
In our next seminar on Tuesday 16 June at 17:00–18:00 BST / 12:00–13:00 EDT / 9:00–10:00 PDT / 18:00–19:00 CEST, we’ll welcome Jane Waite, Teaching Fellow at Queen Mary University of London. Jane will be sharing insights about Semantic Waves and unplugged computing. To join the seminar, simply sign up with your name and email address and we’ll email you the link and instructions. If you attended Celia’s seminar, the link remains the same.
*The ScratchMaths team are :
- Professor Dame Celia Hoyles (Mathematics) & Professor Richard Noss (Mathematics) UCL Knowledge Lab
- Professor Ivan Kalas, (Computing) Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia
- Dr Laura Benton (Computing) & Piers Saunders, (Mathematics) UCL Knowledge Lab
- Professor Dave Pratt (Mathematics) UCL Institute of Education
We’re a sentimental bunch and were bowled over by this intricate, musical wedding gift. It’s powered by a Raspberry Pi and has various other bits of geeky goodness under the hood. Honestly, the extra features just keep coming — you’ll see.
This beautifully crafted ‘record player’ plays one pair of newlyweds’ Spotify accounts, and there’s a special visual twist when their ‘first dance’ wedding song plays.
First, a little background: the newlyweds, Holly and Dougie, have been sweethearts since early highschool days. Their wedding took place on a farm near the village they grew up in, Fintry in rural Scotland.
Throughout the wedding day, the phrase “Music is a huge deal” was repeated often, which gave the bride’s older brother Ben Howell the idea for a homemade, Raspberry Pi–powered gift.
He built the couple a neatly finished music box, known as HD-001 (HD for ‘Holly Dougie’ of course) and home to a ‘smart turntable’. It can connect to a wireless network and has a touch screen where the record label would normally sit. When you lift the lid and switch it on, it asks “Hello. Who’s listening?”
Once you tap on the picture of either the bride or groom, it accesses their Spotify account and fetches the album artwork of whatever song it plays.
The audio side is a powered by a 50W Bluetooth amplifier, which is entirely independent from the Raspberry Pi computer.
The build details
The enclosure is all custom-designed and built using scrap wood wrapped in green faux leather material. Ben sourced most of the other materials — rubber feet, hinges, switches, metal grille — on Amazon.
The HD-001 also features a hand-built 4-way speaker system and a custom-made speaker grille with that famous phrase “Music is a huge deal” on the front.
The lettering on the grille was laser-cut by a company in Glasgow to order, and Ben spray-painted it metallic grey. The LCD panel and driver board are also from Amazon.
To play and pause music, Ben sourced a tone-arm online and routed cabling from the Raspberry Pi GPIO pins through to a micro-switch where the original needle should sit. That’s how lifting the arm pauses playback, and replacing it resumes the music.
Ben explains: “Essentially, it’s a fancy Bluetooth speaker system disguised as an old-fashioned turntable and designed to behave and work like an old-fashioned turntable (skeuomorphism gone mad!).”
Oh, and our favourite adorable bonus feature? If the first dance song from Holly’s and Dougie’s wedding is played, the album artwork on the LCD panel fades away, to be replaced by a slideshow of photos from their wedding.
And for extra, extra big brother points, Ben even took the time to create a manual to make sure the newlyweds got the most out of their musical gift.
We have it on good authority that Ben will entertain anyone who would like to place a pre-order for the HD-002.
The post Raspberry Pi-powered wedding memories record player appeared first on Raspberry Pi.
The tenth annual Open Hardware Summit will be
in New York held online on March 13. I’ll be participating in a panel looking back at the past ten years of open source hardware and looking forward to the next decade as well. The schedule is filled with great speakers and I’m looking forward to seeing so many friends, old and new.
Note: the session has been turned into a podcast so you can listen at your leisure!
Edited March 11 to reflect the change to online.
Edited March 18 to add podcast link.
Heather Seeba wrote in to let us know about a gathering she has hosted around the EggBot.
The EggBot brunches have been big hits with my friends. Seeing the fascination and excitement showing new people my EggBot has to be my favorite part of playing with it. The inspiration came when I took the ‘bot to my (engineering) office so colleagues could make eggs for their kids: people were skeptical then couldn’t stay away. Thus for an EggBot brunch, invite awesome nerdy people over, feed them, and gather round the EggBot.
Heather told us about her events earlier this year, before the advent of physical distancing. Many of her suggestions can be adapted for family groups living together and we’ve added some suggestions for remote attendees as well.
Some recommendations for an EggBot brunch include:
- Print outs of suggested (speedy) designs will engage interest quickly.
- For in-person attendees, buffet and easy lap food works better than a sit-down meal so the focus can be on the drawing.
- For remote attendees, have a camera set up pointing at the EggBot so they can see their design being drawn.
- Print some outline designs in advance and let folks color eggs if they like.
- Make a photo shoot station for guests’ creations. Flower pots with herbs and blossoms are a great example.
The photo booths can be used even for eggs decorated without the EggBot!