Tag Archives: Raspberry Pi

Banana Pi

Banana Pi , a Raspberry Pi clone

Banana Pi is a single-board computer (SBC) made in China. It can run Android 4.4, Ubuntu, Debian, Raspberry Pi and Cubieboard Image. Despite the name, Banana Pi is unrelated to the Raspberry Pi.

The Banana Pi is designed to be mechanically and electrically compatible with Raspberry Pi add-on modules with its 24-pin header layout. It comes with a dual-core, Cortex-A7-based Allwinner A20 SoC (system-on-chip) running at 1GHz. That’s much faster than the Raspberry Pi’s 700MHz, ARM11-based Broadcom BCM2835 processor. It also includes a more powerful Mali-400 GPU. The Banana Pi comes with 1GB of RAM and built-in Ethernet that can handle up to 1Gbps. That’s 10 times as fast as the Raspberry Pi. This brand-new SBC also includes a SATA port and a micro-USB port. It’s, at 92 x 60mm, a trifle larger than the 85 x 56mm Raspberry Pi.

banana pi

Have a look at some of the features of Banana Pi:

  • Allwinner A20 SoC (ARM Cortex-A7 Dual-Core CPU, with Mali-400MP2 GPU).
  • 1x SD slot, 1x SATA port.
  • HDMI 1080p/CVBS output
  • 10/100/1000 Ethernet connector
  • 2x USB Host, 1x USB OTG, 1x CSI camera connector,
  • 26 extended pins including I²C, SPI, UART, CAN
  • Onboard IR receiver
  • Micphone-in
  • 3.5mm audio jack
  • Suggest power by 5V/2A adaptor to microUSB connector
  • Dimensions: 9.2 cm × 6 cm

You can get all the details here. Creators have also provided a quick start guide so that users can start using it in just a few steps.

It should be pretty easy to use most Raspberry Pi-compatible hardware with a Banana Pi — but the Banana Pi offers more processing power and more memory. The official Banana Pi website has some non-working links so if you’re interested in picking one up, it’s available from several sellers at AliExpress for around $50 and up.

Source: Zdnet.com


raspberry pi

Meet Raspberry Pi compute

The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced  a new product ‘the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. It’s been more than two years since the first Raspberry Pi was shipped and considering this period orgnisation has done good job.

The new Raspberry Pi Compute Module is based on the SO-DIMM form factor that is popular with DDR2 and DDR3 RAM in many modern laptops, but do not confuse that as being compatible with the SO-DIMM port on your laptop because it is not. The Raspberry Pi foundation says that this new form factor is designed to help makers embed their Raspberry Pi projects into final products.

The compute module contains the guts of a Raspberry Pi (the BCM2835 processor and 512Mbyte of RAM) as well as a 4Gbyte eMMC (MultiMediaCaed) Flash device  (which is the equivalent of the SD card in the Pi). This is all integrated on to a small 67.6x30mm board which fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector (the same type of connector as used for laptop memory). The Flash memory is connected directly to the processor on the board, but the remaining processor interfaces are available to the user via the connector pins. You get the full flexibility of the BCM2835 SoC (which means that many more GPIOs and interfaces are available as compared to the Raspberry Pi), and designing the module into a custom system should be relatively straightforward as company have put all the tricky bits onto the module itself.

This board provides both a starting template for those who want to design with the Compute Module, and a quick way to start experimenting with the hardware and building and testing a system before going to the expense of fabricating a custom board.

The Compute Module IO Board is a simple, open-source breakout board that you can plug a Compute Module into. It provides the necessary power to the module, and gives you the ability to program the module’s Flash memory, access the processor interfaces in a slightly more friendly and provides the necessary HDMI and USB connectors so that you have an entire system that can boot Raspbian (or the OS of your choice).

The Compute Module is primarily designed for those who are going to create their own PCB. However, to help designers organisation also launching something called the Compute Module IO Board to help designers get started.

[vimeo id=”91292623″ mode=”normal”]

Initially, the Compute Module and IO Board will be available to buy together as the Raspberry Pi Compute Module Development Kit.These kits will be available from RS and element14 some time in June. Shortly after that the Compute Module will be available to buy separately, with a unit cost of around $30 in batches of 100; you will also be able to buy them individually, but the price will be slightly higher.

It relies on a Broadcom ARM processor (the BCM2835) for its computing and this processor is not Open. But Broadcom recently publish an open source version of its graphics driver code and has provided more documentation of the system-on-a-chip’s internals for developers.

By bringing this module that is aimed at a whole new class of devices and applications  into market the organisation has clearly took a step ahead.

[epiclink link = ‘http://www.raspberrypi.org/raspberry-pi-compute-module-new-product/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=raspberry-pi-compute-module-new-product’ color = ‘btn btn-custom’ target = ‘_blank’ shorticon = ‘left’ itype = ‘ icon-share-alt’]Source: Raspberry Pi[/epiclink]

Quake III on a Raspberry Pi with Open Source driver

At the end of February, Broadcom announced the release of full documentation for the VideoCore IV graphics core, and a complete source release of the graphics stack for the BCM21553 cellphone chip. As a part of celebration Raspberry Pi announced $10K prize to the first person to port this codebase to the BCM2835 application processor that sits at the heart of the Raspberry Pi, and to get Quake 3 running on the newly open ARM driver. Quake III is a multiplayer-focused first-person shooter video game.

Quake was already able to run on the Raspberry Pi, but up until now you’ve needed to use a closed-source, proprietary graphics driver to play the game. About a month later, developer Simon Hall claimed that bounty. Simon Hall is a longtime Pi hacker, who also produced the first ARMv6-accelerated copies-and-fills library back in 2012 and wrote the DMA kernel module that was integrated in Raspbian releases.

Here are the minimum requirement by Simon, A Raspberry Pi, preferably a 512MB version, with the latest Raspbian, A network connection, A monitor capable of displaying 1080p, An SD card, at least 8GB (10GB is recommended). You can find all the details here.

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized single-board computer developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intention of promoting the teaching of basic computer science in schools. The Foundation provides Debian and Arch Linux ARM distributions for download.

Since launching 2 years ago, the Raspberry Pi has been popular with open source software enthusiasts, since the tiny, cheap and low power computer is designed to run Linux-based software. But unfortunately independent developers haven’t had access to all of the source code. Now Broadcom has released open source graphics drivers for the chip used in the Raspberry Pi, which should make it easier to enable hardware-accelerated graphics for Linux, Android, and other operating systems.

This release provides the mobile developer community with the chance to do their own tinkering and upgrade their existing 3G mobile devices with newer generations of the Android operating system.

Source: Raspberrypi.org


Raspberry Pi Foundation issues $10,000 bounty for successful Quake III deployment on Pi

The Raspberry Pi has been around for two years now, and has done a lot to change the perception of ‘computers’ while allowing many others to code, invent, and create automated devices of their own. To commemorate their two year anniversary, The Raspberry Pi Foundation has decided to throw down the gauntlet to any developer who is able to run Quake III on the Pi with an acceptable frame rate.

The invitation comes after Broadcom announced that it had released “the full source OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 driver stack for the Broadcom VideoCore® IV 3D graphics subsystem used in the BCM21553 3G integrated baseband SoC.” As you may well know, this can easily be ported to the  BCM2835 application processor, which aptly runs our beloved Raspberry Pi.

With Broadcom’s announcement in mind, and a general feeling of celebration in the air, the guys at Raspberry Pi foundation decided to really push the limits of what the pocket PC could do, and they threw in the $10,000 reward as added incentive. The rules of the competition are listed here and if you are a developer, it just might be the break you were looking for — provided that you have not had any major breakthroughs in the past. It’s available globally and is definitely worth the shot.

Gaming is no longer comfined to consoles, PC’s and handhelds, but it is quickly moving on to other platforms; weird ones, like pocket PC’s that don’t have screens. With the momentum that Linux gaming has received over the past year or so (specifically steam machines), this is a very good move for the Pi. We’ve seen persons turn their Pi’s into desktops and even tablets before and maybe with this release from Broadcom, we’ll see the Pi turn up in the form of a console. For more details, hit the link after the break and also feel free to let us know of what you’ve created with your Pi.

Raspberry Pi

Mission control center

Mission Control: Fun with Raspberry Pi and Arduino

Came across this wonderful story this morning. A Father’s son recently started school and needed a desk for his school work. Rather than make or even buy a standard desk, Jeff Highsmith had something else in mind. Designing something fun and practical was a goal from the beginning for Jeff. Fresh off a summer trip to Kennedy Space Center, the family’s interests were red hot with visions of NASA and space exploration. What Jeff proceeded to do, was both above and beyond the duties of a father, but also of a hobbyist.

After researching NASA’s mission control center, as well as the Apollo Program, Jeff set out to design the perfect desk for the mind of a child. Rather than build a “non-functional” Mission Control with a few knobs and blinking lights, the ultimate goal was some interaction between the various parts, so that his son and his brother could play together. Jeff built the desk to sit under his son’s loft, which he also built.  Talk about a crafty father! Jeff even made a great video of the project which you can view below. The design of the desk was even more interesting, with several elements. At the core of “Mission Control,” is an Arduino working in tandem with a Raspberry Pi. The code, which is available on GitHub, enables the setup to work so well together. The Arduino uses four I/O expanders to read the state of the switches and buttons, which the Raspberry Pi receives that communication over a USB serial connection. Once the Pi receives those signals, it then plays a series of events, such as sounds, lights, or animations on the desk itself. Making such a grid of LED’s possible to function and light up was made possible by five LED matrix drivers on the Arduino board, allowing for 640 seperate LED’s.

Above and beyond the call of duty

The desk is highly interactive, with color changes, and button affirmation events. “Mission Control” includes panels that mimic actual Mission Control (NASA) function panels, such as EECOM, CAPCOM, C&WS, and more. C&WS, the Caution and Warning system, was an addition to the desk that was present in the Apollo spacecraft, but not the real life Mission Control board. Jeff designed several events for things like booster control, the simulated Apollo 12 lightening strike, and other fun situations. Jeff was especially proud of the covered safety switches that Apollo 12 would use to activate pyrotechnic systems that used explosives for things like blowing off a hatch to deploy the parachutes or detonating explosive bolts that had been holding separate modules of the spacecraft together.

The bells and whistles of the desk were made mostly possible though community submitted effects on freesound.org, a collaborative database of beeps, boops, and more. Jeff was crafty with his implementations though, changing the pitch the hydraulic sound. Combining the various bits of real NASA audio was no easy task either. Putting it all together and making it functional was another matter. Jeff designed the desk to slide in and out of the desk very easily, allowing his son to make use of a flat surface for “actual work.”

The project was a huge success for both Jeff and his two boys.  Within 10 minutes of using “Mission Control,” they learned which button produces the countdown for their imaginary rockets and space shuttle to take off. No doubt the experience has been a learning experience for both Jeff and his two sons.  I’m sure he will have to pry them off Mission Control every once and a while to do actual school work! Hands on education is always beneficial, whatever the task may be.

You can find more about Jeff Highsmith’s fun projects on his personal Makezine page.

Source: Makezine 


PiPad, a Raspberry Pi tablet

The Internet is overflowing with projects built using the popular Raspberry Pi mini PC. And if you were considering making your own tablet, this one looks like an awesome feat of DIY engineering involving the tiny computer.

DIYer Michael Castor set out to build an all-in-one system that is portable, usable and Linux based, and the result is a unique Raspberry Pi-powered tablet called the PiPad. Its 10,000mAh battery provides a usable six hours of run-time and uses a Raspberry Pi Model B mini PC, with a 10″ capacitive touch screen with LDVS adapter.

Michael Castor who is a tinkerer at heart explains: “Early in 2013 I started accumulating parts. The Raspberry Pi runs off of 5V so I knew it could be powered from a cell phone charger. Most touchscreens I could find were 12V though, making the electrical work more complex.”

“After a bit of searching I finally found what I was looking for: a touchscreen monitor with a 5V HDMI to LVDS converter from a site called Chalk-Elec.com. I plugged the screen in as soon as I received it and to my delight it worked perfectly with the Pi, even the capacitive touchscreen. Now I knew my dream of a Raspberry Pi tablet was possible,” he adds.

Michael particularly wanted a device to keep him company on flights, and wanted it to look smooth and professional. He recently arrived at Maker Faire having used his PiPad on the aeroplane on the way over to watch movies.

Want to build your own Raspberry Pi tablet? Head over to the MAKE website for details.


Half a dozen most exciting usage of Raspberry Pi

Most of us are familiar with the Raspberry Pi. It’s a computer that’s about the size of your credit card and it was developed by the Raspberry Pi Foundation of the UK to help teach computer science in schools. Two things stand out about the Raspberry Pi: It costs only $25 or $35 and, it runs on Open Source Software which, as you know, we’re crazy about. In the year 2013, there are thousands of documented stories of how people used this pocket PC to change their lives or the lives of others, and we’re going to cover six of the best.

Automated Decanter
First on the list is an offering from Logi.cals which has considerable experience with the Raspberry Pi, and they have designed an automated decanting machine which runs on the said PC. Decanting is usually needed in upscale restaurants where the wine has been aged and has to be poured carefully. The fact that persons associated with such upscale indulgences would consider using a simple device to accomplish this task is mind boggling and points to the marvels that can be wrought with the right software. Micro switches and sensors determine whether a bottle and glass are present and the position of the bottle as it pours its fine content. This marvelous creation is sure to turn heads no matter where it is set up and I’m sure that the well off customers won’t mind being served by this automated wonder or even care for that matter.

Raspberry All-in-One
“The goal of this project was to produce a computer system, based on the Raspberry Pi, with an absolute minimum of cable clutter. I think I have succeeded.”

There’s no doubt that some might have been turned off by the bare appearance of the Raspberry Pi. Many have created cases to host their prized possession, but one man took it a step further. Michael Davis, through his love for fine things decided to use his Pi to create his very own desktop computer, but with as little clutter as possible. “The goal of this project was to produce a computer system, based on the Raspberry Pi, with an absolute minimum of cable clutter. I think I have succeeded,” a confident Michael shared on his blog. Michael documents the step by step process and even provides a list of parts that he used to accomplish his build.

Michael attached his Pi to the back of his Dell Monitor, and via an HDMI to VGA adapter, was able to have his display up and running. A dongle connected to the monitor allowed him to make use of his wireless keyboard and mouse combination  and allowed him to feel right at home. The setup runs on the Raspbian download embedded on an 8GB SD card and a 1TB USB hard drive is also connected to the set up for more storage options. Such a set up is a modern marvel and cannot go unnoticed. Head over to Mike’s page for a full run down of his ingenuity.

Raspberry Home Automation
Home automation gained a lot of traction in 2013. Apps like tasker and InControl for Android made a lot of buzz and many took the opportunity to create futuristic homes and power them from their cellphones. A user by the name of ‘willq44′ on the instructables network goes into great detail of how he used his Pi to set up his home automation. Said ‘willq44′, “I had heard heard about GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) pins on the raspberry pi and decided to do something with it. And with the holidays coming, wouldn’t it be great to be able to turn on and off your light display from the web!” To answer his question, yes; it would be great to do that.

Willq44 acquired his Pi, remote controlled outlets, ribbon cable and a solder, and got to work. “I chose the Web2Py framework for it’s ease of installation and use.  Installation is very simple,” he continued as he displayed pictures of what was acquired. A set up like this is sure to wow your friends when they come over for some hot tea, and the best part about it is that you won’t have to break the bank to accomplish it. Have a closer look at the original post for more details on how to do this yourself.


2013 reviewed – from a Linux user’s point of view

2013 was one of the most dramatic years of my life-time. The Edward Snowden revelations made this year the most remarkable year in the history. As a Gnu/Linux user (where privacy and control of data is prime objective) this year was quite promising as Gnu/Linux rose as the dominant player in the consumer space.

Here are some of the top stories from 2013, which affected me as a Free Software advocate.

Edward Snowden Leak
NSA’s out of the control surveillance of US (in conjunction with GCHQ) and global citizens has been the story of the year, or probably the decade as more information keeps coming in.

Edward Snowden was a NSA contractor who gathered a vast amount of secret NSA documents which exposed the agency’s ‘out-of-the-control’ spying program along with that of GCHQ, the spy agency of US’s 51st state UK.

According to his disclosure NSA collects phone records and reads emails or virtually everyone on this planet. NSA has broken encryption technologies to intercept communication, has injected backdoors in proprietary technologies and even worked with firms like RSA (what a coincidence…USA, NSA, RSA) and other US firms (allegedly Microsoft) to get backdoor access.

There are reports that NSA may have backdoors in hardware produced by the US companies. Microsoft is alleged to work with NSA and informs them about exploits before they are fixed so that the agency can use it to take control over user’s computers. According the the latest story NSA installs malware on hardware which is purchased online. The stories keep pouring in and 2014 will bring more stories.

So I can say that it’s not a good idea to trust any IT from the US – especially the proprietary ones.

Steam OS – Linux on Gaming
Valve Software has put all its weight behind Gnu/Linux as a gaming platform. After beta testing with Steam for Linux client (which showed Linux-based operating systems out-performing Windows) the company announced its own Debian powered gaming operating system Steam OS. The Steam OS uses the same model as Google’s Android and it trying to solve the same problem for gaming market that Android solved for mobile. Steam OS gives hardware vendors a platform to compete with Microsoft’s Xbox, Sony’s PlayStation and Nintendo Wii. The company also started shipping prototypes of Steam Machines to early birds in 2013. In 2014 Valve partners will start selling Steam Machines to mass market.

Rise of Firefox and Sailfish OS
While Canonical is still at very early stage of mobile OS development both Mozilla and Jolla succeeded in delivering mobile phones running their own mobile operating systems. Mozilla, in partnership with carriers and OEMs, started shipping it mobile phones to emerging markets in mid 2013. Jolla also started shipping its Sailfish OS powered mobile phones to Finnish market by the end of 2013. Interestingly Jolla’s phones run Wayland – which shows that the display manager is perfect for mobile platform.

Chrome OS
After conquering the mobile landscape with Android, Google is now enjoying success of its Chromebooks. More and more traditions Microsoft partners have joined the Chromebook bandwagon (including players like HP) and are now offering Chrome OS powered laptops.

According to a report Chromebooks beat Macbooks in 2013 and it looks like Chromebooks will only become more dominant in 2014.

This $35 device may not be as open as a Gnu/Linux user would expect, but it became the hottest product of the year. This tiny device turns an average TV into a smart TV (as long as there is HDMI port) and allows users to stream content to the TV from the web. By the end of the year Google succeeded in getting more partners for its Chromecast and with Plex, it’s almost possible to play local content on this device – which is otherwise restricted by Google.

Google Glass
Yet another Linux powered device by Google which starts a new era of wearable computing, giving Google an unprecedented lead over competitors like Apple and Microsoft (which seems to be stuck in past). While Google Glass was announced in 2012, this year it started to reach inn to the hands of average (not so average) users as the company started shipping Google Glass Explorer Edition prototypes in April 2013.

Canonical in flux
The year 2013 was disappointing for Canonical as the company failed to get any partners to bring its products to the market – both Ubunty TV and Ubuntu for Android seemed to have been demoted from company’s PR list despite big promises. The company juggled between tablets and mobile phones as it struggled to find partners. It’s Ubuntu Edge campaigned failed, which seems to have shaken OEM’s interest in the platform. The company also locked horns with EFF by sending C&D letter to a staffer, and after strong criticism the company head was forced to apologize. The company leader also got quite a flack by calling the larger free software community as the ‘Tea Party of Open Source’. The company locked horns with Intel and larger free software community by announcing Mir instead of collaborating on Wayland. Intel later rejected to accept XMir patches showing how bad Canonical is at collaboration. I hope with 2014 the company will realize the value of collaboration and privacy and will chmod from hype and promises to deliveries.

Rise of openSUSE
Considering the controversial Dash Search feature of Ubuntu (which is like NSA/GCHQ’s wet dream), Canonical’s somewhat hostile attitude towards the larger free software community more and more people are moving away from Canonical controlled Ubuntu and are looking for alternatives.

openSUSE is fast emerging as a favorite of many Gnu/Linux users as it not only respects user’s privacy but also is developed by a community which leads the development of the Linux kernel, LibreOffice, Gnome, KDE and many other open source technologies. The distro did not disappoint and got better with each release. The OS got rave reviews from around the Interweb.

Raspberry’s growing Pi
Raspberry Pi continued to grow with support from Google as it is experiencing wide adoption in so many different field. There is now a very strong community around Raspberry Pi which is turning it into a magical device.

Rise of CyanogenMod
CyanogenMod announced that they are turning into a company and managed to bag around $30 million funding from partners. The company also struck a deal with Chinese OEM Oppo and launched the first CyanogenMod powered device in the market. Oppo N1 is also the first CyanogenMod phone which is certified by Google so the suite of Google services and apps are available to the users. It seems the year 2014 will be bright for CyanogenMod though it’s unclear what value they would bring to the market as they are build on top of Android Open Source Project. I think 2014 will give more answers to this question.

Arrival of ownCloud & Kolab
The surveillance state of America lead shutdown of two major secure email services Lavabit and Silent Circles (though they were both proprietary). NSA has created a need for services and technologies which are developed and hosted outside of the US (in some privacy respecting country) and that’s where the market created an opportunity for Switzerland based Kolab Systems which offers secure communication. The company is getting quite a lot of attention since NSA disclosure. The best thing is that Kolab has very strong roots in Gnu/Linux and is a major contributor to Free Software.

Same is the case with Germany based ownCloud which got better with time and now also offers a competitor to Google Docs and Microsoft Office 365 where you can run an online office suite from your own server without letting anyone else having access to your data. Once again ownCloud is also a strong supporter of Free Software.

Looking at 2014
I am quite positive about 2014 for Linux and Free Software. I think this year Linux Foundation head Jim Zemlin would be able to say, again, ‘This is the year of desktop Linux’. This time it won’t be a joke.

Google’s Chromebooks has capture a decent market and mind share. It’s getting Microsoft nervous (which is good news, as Microsoft doesn’t have a very good heart condition and their BP goes high very quickly). The momentum of Chromebooks will continue in 2014 as more players will offer their devices. I hope that these devices will come with more storage and better hardware so we Linux users can also use them to dual boot with openSUSE or the distro of our choice (shh..to keep data offline so Google (or Canonical) don’t know about it).

Getting back our privacy
US Companies (with Canonical as an exception) want us to believe that privacy is a myth. They want us to give up the notion of privacy all together so that they can sell us their products based on all that they know about it. They keep repeating the myth that there is no privacy so many times that we have eventually started to believe in it.

Whether it be Facebook, Microsoft, Google (which is actually does some good things for people), Apple (with its iCloud they want a copy of everything we have despite charging a premium for their hardware), Canonical – they all want our ‘meta’ data.

I don’t think privacy is a myth. Yes NSA and US companies have made it harder to stay private but it can be achieved. One thing that we can do in 2014 is to make it harder for these companies, make it more expensive for NSA, to gain access to our privacy. Thanks to Gnu/Linux (excluding Ubuntu) and open source technologies you can maintain privacy.

I think Linux will become a dominant player in the gaming field – thanks to Steam OS. It will continue its dominance in the mobile space with Android and increase presence in the desktop space with Chrome OS. Only areas that will left for a player to explore would be audio, video production where Linux doesn’t have the commercial grade tools. In general the Linux and Free Software communities will continue the development of their projects – offering people alternatives as and when needed. Both KDE and Gnome will get more polished and mature with new releases in 2014 and we may see rise of a community based desktop OS which will ensure our privacy and give free software community the respect it deserves.

I think 2014 will be the beginning of ‘era of Linux’.  Good bye 2013. Welcome 2014.

Happy New Linux Year!


Pi powered, 3D printed robot eases multiple DVD ripping

Making life easier to those of us who are into ripping DVDs, Andy Ayre has developed a robot which can automatically replace DVDs into the optical drive. The robot, called Jack the Ripper Bot, was developed using 3D printing technology and runs on Raspberry Pi.

To work with the discs, the robot uses an ‘in tray’, an ‘out tray’ and an arm for handling the discs. All the DVDs which need to be ripped are placed on the ‘in tray’. The ‘in tray’ can hold up to 24 discs but can be modified to hold more. The robotic arm then picks up the top disc and places it into the open drive tray. Once the process of ripping is completed, the robotic arm picks up this disc and places it into the ‘out tray’. Since, it is fully automated, you can focus your energy on other tasks and let the robot take over this  mundane task of feeding discs into the optical drive.


The inspiration to build the robot came from Andy’s own life. He initially began ripping his wife’s huge collection of DVDs, which he says spans 15 years, to his media server. However, manually feeding discs into the drive made the task inefficient. Andy says that while building the robot his aims were –

  1. Modular software and hardware design
  2. Open source
  3. Reliable
  4. Low cost
  5. Using off-the-shelf electronics

If you are interested, files can be downloaded from github.

Yet another example of the versatility of the Pi and the power of 3D printing.


Create your own Bullet time camera rig with Raspberry Pi

Matrix was the movie that showcased what can be achieved by putting dozens of cameras together. Back then it was an extremely expensive technology and it still is. However people have found a lot of cheap and ‘can-be-done-at-home’ ways of doing it – including strapping a camera to a phone. None as elegant as the actual bullet time set-up.

Enters Raspberry in the picture.

This tiny, inexpensive device has been doing wonders around – just a few days ago we saw howRichard Garsthagen was using it as a full body 3D scanner. Now, a team of extremely creative people have created a really inexpensive bullet time set-up using Raspberry Pis – and the whole set-up costs less than a professional DSLR camera.

Folks at PiFace have created an inexpensive rig which looks more like the LHC at CERN using nearly half a kilometre of network cables, 48 Raspberry Pis fitted with cameras and PiFace Control.

The rig worked perfectly – in terms of doing what a bullet time set-up should do. Raspberry Pis achieved the Hollywood’s ‘frozen time’ affect at a much lesser cost.

Check out this video.

Here is a quick list of hardware used to create this set-up.

  • 48 Raspberry Pi Model Bs
  • 48 Raspberry Pi Cameras
  • 48 PiFace Control and Display
  • 48 NOOBS SD cards
  • 48 5V PSU
  • About half a kilometre of network cable
  • 2 x 24 port switches
  • 1 wireless router
  • Custom laser cut frame
  • Enough extension cables plugged into a single socket to scare most caretakers
  • Python script listening to receive command to take picture (included in snap-camera package) https://github.com/piface/snap-camera
  • Python script to collect images over network and assemble frames in order.

The set-up opens new possibilities for film-makers with tigh budgets to get ‘Hollywood’ effects using Pis.