Inside a Titan missile guidance computer

Ken Shirriff has written an excellent in-depth look at a Titan missile guidance computer:

I’ve been studying the guidance computer from a Titan II nuclear missile. This compact computer was used in the 1970s to guide a Titan II nuclear missile towards its target or send a Titan IIIC rocket into the proper orbit. The computer worked in conjunction with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), a system of gyroscopes and accelerometers that tracked the rocket’s position and velocity.

See the full post at righto.com.

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Don’t forget about Steam Link on Raspberry Pi

Connect your gaming PC to your TV with ease, thanks to Steam Link and Raspberry Pi.

A Steam Link to the past

Back in 2018, we asked Simon, our Asset Management Assistant Keeper of the Swag, Organiser of the Stuff, Lord Commander of the Things to give Steam Link on Raspberry Pi a try for us, as he likes that sort of thing and was probably going to do it anyway.

Valve’s Steam Link, in case you don’t know, allows users of the gaming distribution platform Steam to stream video games from their PC to a display of their choice via their home network, with no need for cumbersome wires and whatnot.

Originally produced as a stand-alone box in 2018, Valve released this tool as a free download to all Raspberry Pi users, making it accessible via a single line of code. Nice!

The result of Simon’s experiment was positive: he reported that setting up Steam Link was easy, and the final product was a simple and affordable means of playing PC games on his TV, away from his PC in another room.

And now…

Well, it’s 2020 and since many of us are staying home lately, so we figured it would be nice to remind you all that this streaming service is still available.

To set up Steam Link on your Raspberry Pi, simply enter the following into a terminal window:

sudo apt update
sudo apt install steamlink

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New initiatives from TED to share ideas, build community and stay hopeful

(Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

Now more than ever is the time for community. The extended team at TED is working hard to keep you connected, deliver thoughtful news and insights from world leaders, and offer opportunities to volunteer from the safety of your homes. Here’s a recap of the various resources we’re making immediately accessible while many of us are staying home to help support medical systems. 

Join us for TED Connects: Community and Hope

TED is committed to being a reliable source of information with regularly updated talks, interviews and TED-Ed lessons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The talks are vetted by TED’s curators — experienced journalists from fields including science, business, media and current affairs. 

We’re also announcing TED Connects: Community and Hopea live, daily conversation series with global leaders and experts, hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers. TED Connects kicks off Monday, March 23 and is free and open to anyone. To participate, bookmark this page and join us daily at 12pm ET and subscribe for reminders.

This week, we’re featuring experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work through this uncertain time with a sense of responsibility, compassion and wisdom. Here’s the lineup:

  • Monday, March 23, 12pm ET: How to be your best self in a time of crisisSusan David, Harvard Medical School psychologist studying emotional agility 
  • Tuesday, March 24, 12pm ET: The healthcare systems we must urgently fix Bill Gates, business leader and philanthropist 
  • Wednesday, March 25, 12pm ET: What we can learn from China’s response to the coronavirus Gary Liu, CEO of the South China Morning Post
  • Thursday, March 26, 12pm ET: The quest for the coronavirus vaccineSeth Berkley, epidemiologist and head of GAVI, the vaccine alliance
  • Friday, March 27, 12pm ET: How to create meaningful connection while apartPriya Parker, author, The Art of Gathering

New from TED-Ed: TED-Ed@Home

We know people are at home with a variety of needs, including homeschooling kids of all ages and grade levels, which is why TED-Ed is ramping up its nearly decade-long education initiative. TED-Ed’s library of interactive lessons has been built by a network of 250,000 educators and features remarkable TED-Ed Animations as well as other educational videos.

TED-Ed@Home is a new, free, daily online learning experience for students, teachers and parents. TED-Ed is working with expert educators and TED speakers around the world to create and share free high-quality, interactive, video-based lessons made available via TED-Ed@Home. To get daily lesson plans delivered to your inbox — organized by age group and spanning all subjects — sign up for the TED-Ed@Home newsletter.

And another fun thing: feed your curiosity and stay engaged with the TED-Ed Daily Challenge. Join @tededucation on Instagram Live each weekday at 2pm ET, when TED speakers, educators and experts from around the world will share creative, interactive, family-oriented lessons and challenges you can do together at home.

TED Circles: A resource for community and connection

Meaningful conversations create personal connections that collectively strengthen communities. In September 2019, TED launched TED Circles: an open platform of small, volunteer-led groups that engage in conversations about ideas. In light of the physical limitations many communities currently face, TED Circles is a powerful way to continue connecting and engaging (virtually) face-to-face on a variety of topics. With TED Circles, hosts pick a TED Talk, invite people to join and facilitate a constructive conversation. Circles then share their takeaways online so that the group can gain one another’s perspectives and create global connections.

Learn more about joining a virtual Circle and join us for April’s program, which will launch on March 28. It’s themed “A changing world” and focuses on understanding pandemics and immediate actions we can take. 

Circles can be hosted by individuals, schools/universities, organizations/businesses, TEDx organizers and TED-Ed clubs. Sign up to become a host.

Virtual volunteerism: Become a TED Translator

Speak another — or many — languages? The TED Translators program is a global volunteer network that subtitles TED Talks and allows ideas to cross languages and borders. For those who are multilingual, being a TED Translator is a unique opportunity to have impact from the safety of your living room — while connecting and collaborating with a global community. Learn more about how to become a TED Translator. 

Gratitude

In this challenging moment, our global community inspires all of us at TED. We want to be here for you and hope these platforms offer connection, information and even inspiration as we work through this time. We must lean on one another for collective insights, learnings, kindness and compassion — as well as our physical health. We are eager to see you soon, and in the interim we hope these opportunities to connect offer meaningful moments of engagement.

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Announcing TED Connects: live, daily conversations from TED

On Monday, March 23, TED kicks off a free, live and daily conversation series, TED Connects: Community and Hope. As COVID-19 continues to sweep the globe, it’s hard to know where to turn or what to think. Hosted by head of TED Chris Anderson and current affairs curator Whitney Pennington Rodgers, this new program will feature experts whose ideas can help us reflect and work through this time with a sense of responsibility, compassion and wisdom. Watch our first livestream here on Monday at 12pm ET.

This week, we’ll be joined in conversation with a wide-ranging group of TED speakers. Here’s the lineup:


Monday, March 23, 12pm ET


Susan David
Psychologist studying emotional agility
How to be your best self in a time of crisis


Tuesday, March 24, 12pm ET


Bill Gates
Business leader and philanthropist
The healthcare systems we must urgently fix


Wednesday, March 25, 12pm ET


Gary Liu
CEO of the South China Morning Post
What we can learn from China’s response to the coronavirus


Thursday, March 26, 12pm ET


Seth Berkley
Epidemiologist and head of GAVI, the vaccine alliance
The quest for the coronavirus vaccine


Friday, March 27, 12pm ET


Priya Parker
Author, The Art of Gathering
How to create meaningful connections while apart

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¿Qué es Houseparty? ¿Para qué sirve? La app imprescindible en el confinamiento

Si hay una app que está arrasando durante el confinamiento por el Covid-19 (fuera de la categoría de apps de entrenamiento) es Houseparty.

Sí, la app de la manita. La reconocerás fácilmente por su imagen. Una app que ya lleva disponible bastante tiempo en el mercado pero que no ha tenido su momento de popularidad hasta estas últimas semanas. Facebook incluso la quiso adquirir en su momento pero fue finalmente la empresa de videojuegos Epic Games quien se hizo con ella. Y ahora damos gracias por ello.

¿Qué es Houseparty?

Terminemos el debate sobre si es una red social o una app, son las dos cosas. Que sea una app privada no quita que sea una red social. De hecho, ellos mismos se denominan: Face to face social network.

Se caracteriza por ser una app de videollamada con extras. Pensemos en todas esas apps en las que hacemos videollamadas: teams, hangouts, skype, whatsapp, etc. Nada nuevo, todas más o menos iguales, con pequeñas diferencias entre unas y otras.

Sin embargo, Houseparty, como su nombre indica, tiene otro propósito: divertirnos. No está destinada a ser la app que usemos para el teletrabajo en tiempos de confinamiento sino la app que usemos para las videollamadas con amigos. Bueno, y con desconocidos. Tú invitas a tus amigos, tus amigos invitan a otros amigos. Y cuando te quieres dar cuenta, tienes una sala llena de gente preparada para pasar un buen rato jugando a una serie de juegos como el Pictionari, el clásico del dibujo, el Trivial o el Quién es quién entre otros. Esa es la propuesta de valor de Houseparty. Y lo está petando.

En tiempos de crisis del tiempo libre, este tipo de apps o redes, son un must en nuestro catálogo.

¿Dónde descargar Houseparty?

La tienes en iOS y Android así como la versión para Chrome  y la versión para Mac

Prepárate a pasar un buen rato.

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DIY long lasting voltage regulator circuit for Raspberry Pi

Jithin @ rootsaid.com writes:

Raspberry Pi is simple, handy and cheap yet powerful single board computers of all time. It has USB ports to connect hardware such as pen drive, keyboard, mouse, HDMI port for display out, 3.5 mm port for audio and several GPIO pins to work with embedded projects, all of which can be powered using a mobile charger. You can even make it portable by simply connecting the mini USB port to a mobile phone power bank so that you can use your pi on the go. But if you connect more USB devices and use the GPIO pins, the power bank will drain off quickly. In this post, I will tell you how i made my own power supply unit using a Lithium Polymer battery and a voltage regulator.

Project info at rootsaid.com.

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Activities you can do at home this week!

At the Raspberry Pi Foundation, our mission is to put the power of computing and digital making into the hands of people all over the world. We know that a lot of families around the globe are navigating school closures and practicing social distancing right now to keep their communities healthy and safe.

So in today’s post, we put together a list for you with some of our free online projects and resources that digital makers of all ages and experience levels can explore at home.

A family of digital makers (illustration)

For most of these projects, you don’t need any new software or hardware. And many of our online resources are available in multiple languages, so young learners can use them even if their mother language isn’t English!

Free activities for you at home

Beginner level:

  • Rock band: This activity is a great introduction to Scratch, a block-based coding language. You’ll learn how to get started with Scratch and start your dream music group. Rock on!
  • Pixel art: This is a great activity for anyone just getting started with programming. Grab some crayons or colored pencils and create your masterpiece!
  • Web page stickers: In this activity, you’ll learn the basics of HTML and create some stickers. We can’t wait to see what you make!

pixel art (illustration)

Intermediate level

  • Storytime with Python (the language not the snake!): Let your imagination run wild with this activity! You will use Python to create a program that generates a random story, based on what the user types in.
  • Meme generator: In this activity you will make a meme generator with HTML, CSS, and Javascript! Using an image of your choice (bonus points if the image is of your pet), you can create your own memes.

example of a meme

Advanced level

  • Getting started with GUIs: In this activity, you will create two simple GUIs (graphical user interfaces) in Python. This is where you can get fancy with buttons, menus, and even a text box!
  • Pride and Prejudice for zombies: Learn how to use Python web requests and regular expressions while creating a version of Pride and Prejudice that’s more appealing to zombies.

Not just for young learners

  • Build a web server with Flask: This is a great how-to project if you’d like to learn how to set up a web server and create a simple website using Flask, Python, and HTML/CSS. Be aware though, the guide may not always work smoothly, because of external updates.
  • Sign up for one of our free online courses. From programming to physical computing and running coding clubs, we’ve got something that will inspire you.
  • Check out The MagPi magazine! Download the free PDF of this month’s MagPi and read about the #MonthOfMaking, getting started with electronics, fancy ways to wear your Raspberry Pi, and more.

People creating a robot (illustration)

We are here to support you!

Our team is working hard to bring you more online learning experiences to support you, your children, and everyone in the community at this time. You can read our CEO Philip Colligan’s message about how we are responding to the novel coronavirus.

We want to make sure digital makers of all ages have the resources they need to explore and create with code. What do you think of these activities, and what else would you like to see? Tell us in the comments below!

The post Activities you can do at home this week! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

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Building my own 50Ah LiFePO4 lithium battery pack

Kenneth Finnegan posted his DIY 50Ah LiFePO4 lithium battery pack build:

Several years ago, I had purchased a 20Ah 12V Lithium Iron battery pack from Bioenno for my various 12VDC projects. To help protect it, I ultimately built it up into a 50cal ammo can with a dual panel-mount PowerPole connector on the outside, which has proven really nice as far as battery boxes go:
*20Ah is a decent battery capacity for a small load
*The packaged Bioenno pack left some space inside the box to also store the charger it came with, some PowerPole accessories, etc
*The fact that you’re able to close up the box and use the power connectors on the outside once you’re using it is real nice

More details on The life of Kenneth blog.

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What to watch from TED while you’re home during the coronavirus outbreak

(Photo: Ryan Lash / TED)

As people across the world face the novel coronavirus outbreak, TED is committed to being a resource for information, inspiration and hope. We’ve curated talks, interviews, TED-Ed lessons and more to help provide some perspective during the pandemic. Here’s where to start:

  • TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh shares why COVID-19 is hitting us now — and what we’ll learn from it.
  • TED-Ed’s round-up of animations to help you understand the outbreak of a virus.
  • Infectious disease expert Adam Kucharski discusses how we can control the pandemic. (Listen to his full episode on The TED Interview.)
  • Public health expert David Heymann answers 11 questions about the novel coronavirus.
  • This playlist draws from our archive of talks on infectious diseases, vaccines and pandemics.
  • Kids at home? Keep busy with hundreds of free animated lessons from TED-Ed (which you can filter by education level). If you’re an educator, learn more about how to create your own TED-Ed lessons.
  • Watch Bill Gates (kind of) predict this whole thing at TED2015.
  • Finally, these talks on self-care offer simple ways to stay healthy, both physically and emotionally.

And keep your eye on the homepage — we’ll continue to share new TED Talks every weekday on TED.com.

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Build a physical game controller for Infinite Bunner

In HackSpace magazine issue 28 we had a look at how to create an ultrasonic controller for a version of Pong called Boing!. This month, we’re going to take a step further forward through video game history and look at the game Frogger. In this classic game, you control a frog as it makes its way across logs, roads, and train tracks, avoiding falling in the water or getting hit.

Infinite Bunner

The tribute to Frogger in the new Code the Classics Volume 1 book is called Infinite Bunner, and works in much the same way, except you control a bunny.

Jump along the logs, dodge the traffic, avoid the trains, and keep your bunny alive for as long as possible

All this hopping got us thinking about a controller. Our initial idea was that since the animals jump, so should the controller. An accelerometer can detect freefall, so it shouldn’t be too hard to convert that into button presses. However, it turns out that computer-controlled frogs and rabbits can jump much, much faster than humans can, and we really struggled to get a working game mechanic, so we compromised a little and worked with ‘flicks’.

The flick controller

The basic idea is that you tilt the controller left or right to move left or right, but you have to flick it up to register a jump (simply holding it upright won’t work).

We’ve used a Circuit Playground Bluefruit as our hardware, but it would work equally well with a Circuit Playground Express. There are two key parts to the software. The first is reading in accelerometer values and use these to know what orientation the board is in, and the second is the board mimicing a USB keyboard and sending keystrokes to any software running on it.

Playing Infinite Bunner

The first step is to get Infinite Bunner working on your machine.

Get your copy of Code the Classics today

You can download the code for all the Code the Classics Volume 1 games here. Click on Clone or Download > Download ZIP. Unzip the download somewhere.

You’ll need Python 3 with Pygame Zero installed. The process for this differs a little between different computers, but there’s a good overview of all the different options on page 186 of Code the Classics.

Subscribe to HackSpace magazine for twelve months and you get a Circuit Playground Express for free! Then you can make your very own Infinite Bunner controller

Once everything’s set up, open a terminal and navigate to the directory you unzipped the code in. Then, inside that, you should find a folder called bunner-master and move into that. You can then run:

python3 bunner.py

Have a few goes playing the game, and you’ll find that you need the left, right, and up arrow keys to play (there is also the down arrow, but we’ve ignored this since we’ve never actually used it in gameplay – if you’re a Frogger/Bunner aficionado, you may wish to implement this as well).

Reading the accelerometer is as easy as importing the appropriate module and running one line:

from adafruit_circuitplayground import cp
x, y, z = cp.acceleration

Sending key presses is similarly easy. You can set up a keyboard with the following:

from adafruit_hid.keyboard import Keyboard

from adafruit_hid.keyboard_layout_us import KeyboardLayoutUS

from adafruit_hid.keycode import Keycode



keyboard = Keyboard(usb_hid.devices)

Then send key presses with code such as this:

time.keyboard.press(Keycode.LEFT_ARROW)
 time.sleep(0.1)

keyboard.release_all()

The only thing left is to slot in our mechanics. The X-axis on the accelerometer can determine if the controller is tilted left or right. The output is between 10 (all the way left) and -10 (all the way right). We chose to threshold it at 7 and -7 to require the user to tilt it most of the way. There’s a little bit of fuzz in the readings, especially as the user flicks the controller up, so having a high threshold helps avoid erroneous readings.

The Y-axis is for jumping. In this case, we require 
a ‘flap’ where the user first lifts it up (over a threshold of 5), then back down again.

The full code for our controller is:

import time

from adafruit_circuitplayground import cp

import usb_hid

from adafruit_hid.keyboard import Keyboard

from adafruit_hid.keyboard_layout_us import KeyboardLayoutUS

from adafruit_hid.keycode import Keycode



keyboard = Keyboard(usb_hid.devices)



jumping = 0

up=False

while True:

    x, y, z = cp.acceleration

    if abs(y) > 5:

        up=True
    if y < 5 and up:

        keyboard.press(Keycode.UP_ARROW)
        time.sleep(0.3)

        keyboard.release_all()

        up=False

    if x < -7 :

        keyboard.press(Keycode.LEFT_ARROW)

        time.sleep(0.1)

        keyboard.release_all()

    if x < 7 :
 keyboard.press(Keycode.RIGHT_ARROW)

        time.sleep(0.1)

        keyboard.release_all()

        time.sleep(0.1)

    if jumping > 0:
        jumping=jumping-1

It doesn’t take much CircuitPython to convert a microcontroller into a games controller

The final challenge we had was that there’s a bit of wobble when moving the controller around – especially when trying to jump repeatedly and quickly. After fiddling with thresholds for a while, we found that there’s a much simpler solution: increase the weight of the controller. The easiest way to do this is to place it inside a book. If you’ve ever held a copy of Code the Classics, you’ll know that it’s a fairly weighty tome. Just place the board inside and close the book around it, and all the jitter disappears.

That’s all there is to the controller. You can use it to play the game, just as you would any joypad. Start the game as usual, then start flapping the book around to get hopping.

HackSpace magazine is out now

The latest issue of HackSpace magazine is out today and can be purchased from the Raspberry Pi Press online store. You can also download a copy if you want to see what all the fuss is about.


Code the Classics is available from Raspberry Pi Press as well, and comes with free UK shipping. And here’s a lovely video about Code the Classics artist Dan Malone and the gorgeous artwork he created for the book:

Code the Classics: Artist Dan Malone

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