Send audio messages to your loved ones

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, so why not make this adorable voice message device for your beloved?

Love Birds : a Box to Send and Receive Telegram Audio Message

How to make it: http://bit.ly/2RsAAP4 and http://bit.ly/2C64gqD It’s a standalone device that receives send voice messages to your love, family or friend. Open the box, push the button while you are talking, release to send the audio message.

“Blah blah blah” means “I love you”

“OK, my phone can already do that, why should I bother?” project creator Olivier Ros asks himself in the introduction to his Instructables tutorial. And his response is simple. While you could use a phone, the magic of Love Birds is the intention behind the action. Mobile phones are where your life exists: your banking details, your work conversations, and more. It’s always on your person, probably in your hand right now. But with Love Birds, you have to make the effort to use the device to send that heartfelt message to the recipient.

Love Birds messaging device

He also says the device is easy to use even for those who are not technically inclined or have accessibility issues:

“Love Birds is easier to use than a phone: only one button. This cool for children, old people that don’t like smartphones, long-distance relationships, or just couples who want a private line of communication through a simple, dedicated object.”

Build a Love Bird (or two)

You’ll need one Raspberry Pi per Love Bird device; while Olivier’s version contains a Pi Zero W, a Raspberry Pi 2 or 3 will also do the trick.

You’ll also need a microphone and speakers. And, lucky for us, Raspiaudio offers a HAT that incorporates the two!

Raspiaudio HAT for Raspberry Pi

You can find similar boards from other Raspberry Pi accessory manufacturers, or use a standard USB microphone and speaker, readily available in stores and online.

Tweeting…so to speak

To make the notification birds dance, you also need a servo motor. The full code for the motors and everything else is available on GitHub. As an alternative to the motor, you could try flashing LEDs or playing a sound as a notification; we’re always interested in seeing how people add their own flair to open-source projects.

Telegram

You also need to sign up to Telegram in order to send your voice messages securely over the internet. Again, there are other services available, which you can use by editing the code accordingly.

Make your own

Find the full Instructables tutorial here, and visit the Raspiaudio website for more projects!

How will you be using a Raspberry Pi to celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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YouTube and Google Photos add-ons for your magic mirror

Bring YouTube videos, Google Photos, and more to your magic mirror, with third-party modules and the MagicMirror² open-source software platform.

NEW Raspberry Pi Magic Mirror Modules!

Today I walk you through two fun modules to add top your Raspberry Pi Magic Mirror! Music in this video was from Epidemic Sound! Green Screen Subscribe Button: Its Frida MAGIC MIRROR Magic Mirror Builder (Michael Teeuw): http://bit.ly/2bXg14v Magic Mirror Modules in this video: YouTube: http://bit.ly/2M9UDfd Google Photos: http://bit.ly/2suJvkk USB Audio: ROCCAT – Juke Virtual 7.1 USB Stereo Gaming Soundcard Music in this video was from Epidemic Sound.

Magic mirror

Mention Raspberry Pi to the uninitiated, and they’ll probably ask if it’s “that green thing people use for game emulation and smart mirrors?”. The popularity of magic mirrors has grown massively over the past few years, thanks to how easy it’s become to find cheap displays and great online tutorials.An image of a Raspberry Pi Magic Mirror

While big-brand smart mirrors cost upwards of a bajillion dollars, a homemade magic mirror costs pennies in comparison. The basic homemade model consists of a screen (usually an old computer monitor or flatscreen TV), a piece of two-way mirrored acrylic or glass, a frame, and a Raspberry Pi. Once it’s set up, you have yourself both a mirror and a notification board complete with calendar events, memos, and more.

Introducing MagicMirror²!

MagicMirror² is an open source platform for smart mirrors. It provides an extensive API for module development and is easy to setup and use. For more information and downloads visit http://bit.ly/2bZspQJ and the forum http://bit.ly/2fWBp0N 🙂

The software most people use for setting up their magic mirror is MagicMirror², a free, group-maintained open-source platform created by Michael Teeuw.

And you know what open-source means…

Third-party add-ons!

The modular nature of MagicMirror² lets third-party developers easily bring their own ideas to the platform. As Brian Cotter explains in the video above, he used AgP42’s MMM-iFrame-Ping and eouia’s MMM-GooglePhotos to integrate YouTube videos and photographs into his magic mirror.

A screenshot from Brian Cotter's Magic Mirror add-on YouTube video.

And of course that’s not all! Other magic mirror add-ons let you implement 3D gesture detection or dispay international currency values, Google Fit totals, and more. Find a whole host of such third-party add-ons in this GitHub wiki.

Brian Cotter

Looking for more Raspberry Pi videos from Brian? Check out his Raspberry Pi playlist and be sure, as always, to subscribe to his channel.

Inside My Raspberry Pi Magic Mirror!

Checkout this inside look of my Rasberry Pi Magic Mirror build! Magic Mirror Builder (Michael Teeuw): http://bit.ly/2bXg14v Two-Way Mirror: http://bit.ly/2rdkfxe Monitor: https://amzn.to/2EusyhQ Raspberry Pi: http://bit.ly/2M9wrcW; Music Credit: Ikson – Paradise New Here? Follow Me Instagram: http://bit.ly/2spG4v6 Twitter: https://twitter.com/bfcotter Hi! My name is Brian Cotter and I live in New York City.

We’re forever grateful to all the content creators who make videos of their Raspberry Pi projects. If you have your own, be sure to let us know the link in the comments!

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We’re hosting the UK’s first-ever Scratch Conference Europe

We are excited to announce that we will host the first-ever Scratch Conference Europe in the UK this summer: from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 August at Churchill College, Cambridge!

A graphic highlighting the Scratch Conference Europe 2019 - taking place at Friday 23 to Sunday 25 August at Churchill College, Cambridge

Scratch Conference is a participatory event that gives hundreds of educators the chance to explore the creative ways in which people are programming and learning with Scratch. In even-numbered years, the conference is held at the MIT Media Lab, the birthplace of Scratch; in odd-numbered years, it takes place in other places around the globe.

Another graphic highlighting the Scratch Conference Europe 2019

Since 2019 is also the launch year of Scratch 3, we think it’s a fantastic opportunity for us to bring Scratch Conference Europe to the UK for the first time.

What you can look forward to

  • Hands-on, easy-to-follow workshops across a range of topics, including the new Scratch 3
  • Interactive projects to play with
  • Thought-provoking talks and keynotes
  • Plenty of informal chats, meetups, and opportunities for you to connect with other educators

Join us to become part of a growing community, discover how the Raspberry Pi Foundation can support you further, and develop your skills with Scratch as a creative tool for helping your students learn to code.

Contribute to Scratch Conference Europe

Would you like to contribute your own content at the event? We are looking for you in the community to share or host:

  • Project demos
  • Posters
  • Workshops
  • Discussion sessions
  • Presentations
  • Ignite talks

We warmly welcome young people under 18 as content contributors; they must be supported by an adult. All content contributors will be able to attend the whole event for free.

An over view of two people taking electronics pieces out of a box in order to try their hand at digital making using a Raspberry Pi and Scratch.

Find more details and apply to participate in this short online form.

Attend the conference

Tickets for Scratch Conference Europe will go on sale in April.

For updates, subscribe to Raspberry Pi LEARN, our monthly newsletter for educators, and keep an eye on @Raspberry_Pi on Twitter!

An update on Raspberry Fields

Since we’re hosting Scratch Conference Europe this year, our digital making festival Raspberry Fields will be back in 2020, even bigger and more packed with interactive family fun!

A young girl tries out a digital project at the Raspberry Pi event, Raspberry Fields 2018

Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab. It is available for free at scratch.mit.edu.

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Tinkernut’s Beginners’ Guide to SSH

We often mention SSH (Secure Shell) when we talk about headless Raspberry Pi projects — projects that involve accessing a Pi remotely. If you’re a coding creative who doesn’t know what SSH involves, we’ve got you covered.

SSH in terminal

Or rather, YouTube favourite Tinkernut has got you covered, with a great beginners’ guide to SSH, what it is, why we use it, and how you can use it with your device:

Beginners Guide To SSH

Me: “I have a question about controlling another computer over the internet” You: “SSH” Me: “Don’t tell me to ‘shhh’, I’m asking you a question”. Ok, enough with the play on words. If you’ve ever wanted to securely control another computer over the internet, then you’ve probably heard of SSH.

SSHhhhhhhhhh

Honestly, Tinkernut’s video is so informative that I don’t think I need to add anything else on the subject.

So here, have this GIF, and have yourself a lovely weekend!

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Build your own South Park Buddha Box

Escape the distractions of the world around you and focus your attention on the thing you love the most in life: your smartphone! It’s easy with the all-new Buddha Box, brought to you by South Park and the 8 Bits and a Byte team!

Introducing The All New Buddha Box | South Park

A brand new invention is sweeping South Park. The Buddha Box will let you escape from anything in the world so that you can focus on the thing you love the most… your phone.

The Buddha Box

Introduced in a recent episode of the cult show South Park, the Buddha Box is an ingenious invention that allows its user to ignore the outside world and fully immerse themselves in their smartphone. With noise-cancelling headphones and a screen so close to your eyes you’ll be seeing light spots for weeks to come, the Buddha Box is the must-have accessory for 2019.

We jest, obviously. It’s a horrible idea. And here’s how to make your own!

Build your own Buddha Box

Using a Raspberry Pi, noise-cancelling headphones, a screen, and a cardboard box, the wonderful 8 Bits and a Byte team has created a real-life Buddha Box that you definitely shouldn’t make yourself. As we said — horrible idea.

But it would be a great way to try out screensharing software on your Pi!

To make it, you’ll need to secure the headphones and a screen inside a suitably sized cardboard box, and then set up your Raspberry Pi to run Screencast.

The inside of the Raspberry Pi-enabled South Park Buddha Box showing the headphones, screen and Pi secured inside

The Screencast software allows you to cast the screen of your smartphone to the screen within the box — hence its name.

Here’s the tutorial from 8 Bits and a Byte, and a working demonstration:

South Park’s Buddha Box

A real, working version of South Parks Buddha Box, made using a pair of headphones, an LCD screen, a powerbank and a Raspberry Pi.

If you have an Android phone that you want to use with your Raspberry Pi, check out this guide for enabling Screencast, written by Make Tech Easier. And if you want to share the screen of an iPhone with your Pi, this Instructables guide will walk you through setting up the RPlay software.

Building props

We love prop builds using Raspberry Pi — if you do too, check out the posts in our ‘props’ blog category. And if you’ve made a prop from TV or film using a Pi, be sure to share it with us!

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Adding the Pi to Picasso with wireless digital graffiti

It looks like the Nintendo Wii Remote (Wiimote) has become a staple in many maker toolkits! Case in point: with the help of a Raspberry Pi and the cwiid Python library, David Pride turned the popular piece of tech into a giant digital graffiti spraycan.

Raspberry Pi-powered Nintento Wiimote digital art

Using the Wiimote with a Raspberry Pi

While it’s no longer being updated and supported, the cwiid library is still a handy resource for creators who want to integrate the Wiimote with their Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry Pi-powered Nintento Wiimote digital art

Over the years, makers have used the Wiimote to control robots, musical instruments, and skateboards; the accessibility of the library plus the low cost and availability of the remote make using this tool a piece of cake…or pie, in this instance.

Digital graffiti

Using aWiimote, a Wii Sensor Bar, and a large display, David Pride hacked his way to digital artistry wonderment and enabled attendees of the Open University Knowledge Makers event to try their hand at wireless drawing. It’s kinda awesome.

OK, it’s all kinds of awesome. We really like it.

Digital graffiti ingredients

To construct David’s digital graffiti setup, you’ll need:

  • A Raspberry Pi
  • A Nintendo Wii Remote and a Wii Sensor Bar
  • A power supply and DC/DC power converter
  • A large display, e.g. a TV or projector screen
  • A 30mm × 30mm mirror and this 3D-printed holder

Putting it all together

David provides the step-by-step instructions for setting up the Wiimote and Raspberry Pi on his website, including a link to the GitHub repository with the complete project code. The gist of the build process is as follows:

Raspberry Pi-powered Nintento Wiimote digital art

After installing the cwiid library on the Raspberry Pi, David connected the Pi to the Wiimote via Bluetooth. And after some digging into the onboard libraries of the remote itself, he was able to access the infrared technology that lets the remote talk to the Sensor Bar.

Raspberry Pi-powered Nintento Wiimote digital art

The 3D-printed holder with which David augmented the Wiimote lets the user hold the remote upright like a spray can, while the integrated mirror reflects the IR rays so the Sensor Bar can detect them.

Raspberry Pi-powered Nintento Wiimote digital art

The Sensor Bar perceives the movement of the Wiimote, and this data is used to turn the user’s physical actions into works of art on screen. Neat!

If you’ve used the Nintendo Wiimote for your Raspberry Pi projects, let us know. And, speaking of the Wii, has anyone hacked their Balance Board with a Pi?

On a completely unrelated note…

How cool is this?!

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Firefighter monitoring system at Coolest Projects

Parisa Khashayar is a high school freshman with a knack for coding. In September of 2018, Parisa had the chance to present her tech creation at Coolest Projects USA, and she made joint first place in the Hardware category.

Since the sixth grade, Parisa has been teaching herself how to code; she has even taken classes during school holidays to further develop her learning. She’s also become quite the mechanic,  fixing appliances around the house and steadily growing her tool collection. Besides coding and electronics, she also loves biology and hopes to study biomedical engineering in the future.

Let’s hear from Parisa about her creation for Coolest Projects directly.

A couple of years ago, there was a large wildfire near our house, and we happened to drive by a fire truck where an injured fireman was being treated. Firefighters risk their lives every day to keep us safe, but who makes sure they themselves are safe? I did some research and found that, despite all advances in technology, there are no real high-tech products out there that monitor firefighters’ condition while they are on mission.

Prototyping my project

That is how my science project was born: I designed and prototyped a small board with multiple sensors that can be worn by firefighters. The device monitors conditions in the environment surrounding the fire, as well as the health of the firefighter; it relays this measurements to the command center via cellular technology.

I submitted my project to the Broadcom MASTERS competition, and it was selected as one of the top 300 in the nation. Through Broadcom MASTERS I found out about Coolest Projects USA, and I entered this showcase in Santa Ana as well.

“I think that Coolest Projects is one of the best ways to encourage kids to get into STEM.”

Coolest Projects is different

I have attended many science fairs, but Coolest Projects was different: it had a fun and friendly atmosphere, and kids of all different ages attended. After I arrived, I set up my project and then had a chance to walk around and talk to other kids to find out about their projects. It was very interesting and encouraging to see kids as young as 7 or 8 showing their work.

Showcasing creativity at Coolest Projects North America

Coolest Projects is a world-leading showcase that enables and inspires the next generation of digital creators and innovators to present the projects that they created at their local CoderDojo, Code Club and Raspberry Jam. This year we brought Coolest Projects to the Discovery Cube Orange County for a spectacular regional event in California.

We got the chance to rant about the endless problems we encountered with our projects, and to exchange notes about our solutions. It felt more like a friendly collaboration than a stressful competition. The judges were very kind and encouraging, which made the day even more pleasant.

“It felt more like a friendly collaboration than a stressful competition.” Parisa speaks to judges at Coolest Projects 2018

I received the first-place award in the Hardware category at Coolest Projects USA. I would like to attend Coolest Projects USA in 2019 with another project, or volunteer my time with them, because I think that Coolest Projects is one of the best ways to encourage kids to get into STEM!

“I want all the kids to know that coding is not scary — it is actually fun!”

Iterating my prototype

Since Coolest Projects, I have been working on my project to make my design smaller so everything can fit in a small, watch-size board. It is hard, and the progress is slow as I am very busy with high school work as well. Last summer I had an opportunity to introduce my design to the UCI Innovation program for UCI college students, and they let me to use their lab. I hope to be able to do the same this summer.

As for now, I am currently volunteering at my local CoderDojo to help teach younger kids how to code. I want all the kids to know that coding is not scary  — it is actually fun!

Coolest Projects USA is taking place on Saturday, March 23 2019, in Santa Ana, California, and project registration is now open.

We’re also hosting events in Manchester, UK, on 2 March, and in Dublin, Ireland, on 5 May! Learn more about Coolest Projects events near you by visiting the Coolest Projects website.

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Scratch 3, and upgrading our free resources

On 2 January, MIT released the latest version of their incredible visual programming language: Scratch 3!

Screenshot of Scratch 3 interface

Scratch 3 is here

We love Scratch — it’s the perfect starting point for young people who want to try coding, and we’re offering a huge variety of free Scratch project guides for all interests and coding abilities.

Scratch 3 introduces a brand-new look and feel. The most obvious change is that the stage is now on the right-hand side; there are new paint and sound editing tools; new types of code blocks; and the blocks are now larger and easier to read.

To help you and your young learners navigate the new Scratch 3 interface, we’ve created a free, printable Scratch 3 poster:

Scratch 3 interface with annotations

Perhaps the biggest news is that Scratch 3 also works on tablets, opening up coding to many children who don’t have access to a computer.

We’ve upgraded!

We want to make this a smooth transition for all of you who rely on our free project resources, whether that be at a Code Club, CoderDojo, Raspberry Jam, or at home, so we’ve been busy upgrading our resources to work with Scratch 3.

Scratch 3 versions of all projects in the Code Club Scratch Modules 1–3 and the CoderDojo Scratch Sushi Cards are already live!

Screenshot of Scratch 3 project on Raspberry Pi projects site

The upgrading process also was a chance for us to review our resources to make sure they are the best they can be; as part of this, we’ve introduced a number of improvements, such as simplified layouts, better hints, and better print-outs.

And we know that for many people, starting to use Scratch 3 is not simple, or not even possible yet, so we are committed to providing support for both Scratch 2 and 3 for the next 12 months.

We are really pleased with how our newly polished Scratch projects turned out, and we hope you are too!

What’s to come

Over the coming months, we’ll update the rest of our Scratch projects. Meanwhile, our amazing volunteer translators will begin the process of translating the upgraded projects.

Raspberry Pi projects site

Brand-new projects that take advantage of some of Scratch 3’s new features are also in the pipeline!

Scratch 3 on Pi

Another reason for ensuring we support both Scratch 2 and 3 is that, at the moment, there is no offline, installable version of Scratch 3 for Raspberry Pi. Rest assured that this is something we are working on!

The creation of Scratch 3 for Raspberry Pi will be a two-step process: first we’ll support MIT with their optimisation of Scratch 3 to make sure it delivers the best performance possible on a range of devices; once that work is complete, we’ll create an offline build of Scratch 3 for Raspberry Pi, including new extensions for the GPIO pins and the Sense HAT.

Make sure you’re following us on Twitter and Facebook, as we’ll be announcing more information on this in the coming months!

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A media player for Scott

Projects don’t have to be hugely complicated to make a huge difference. In Luxembourg, Alain Wall has used a Raspberry Pi to make a very simple media player for his autistic son, Scott. It’s very easy to use, very robust, and easy to clean; and it offers Scott a limited (so not overwhelming) but meaningful degree of choice. Here’s Scott using his player. Watch to the end for the best smile in the world.

Dem Scott sain neien TV. Scott’s new TV

Hei ass den Scott deen sain neien Mediaplayer test. En kann sech seng Filmer selwer starten an stoppen. A media player nearly indestructible an controllable with 6 Buttons to choose a movie Deutsch: http://ift.tt/1VW1Sae English: http://ift.tt/1QbGh6H or http://ift.tt/1oYtoaa

Alain hooked up six big piezo buttons and some speakers to a 20-in monitor and a Raspberry Pi – this isn’t the most complicated build you’ll see around these parts. (You can see a how-to guide over at Instructables.) But it is one of the most effective: as Alain says, “Scott loves it.”

Here’s another video from Alain demonstrating the setup.

Scott TV Simple MediaPlayer For My Autistic Son Scott

This is a simple media player for my autistic son. It had to be easy to use, nearly indestructible and easy to clean http://ift.tt/1QbGh6H Deutsch: http://ift.tt/1VW1Sae

Thanks very much for sharing the project, Alain; all the very best from us at Pi Towers to you and the rest of the family, especially Scott!

 

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Raspberry Pi telehealth kit piloted in NHS

I had to spend a couple of nights in hospital last year – the first time I’d been on a hospital ward in about fifteen years. Things have moved on since my last visit: being me, the difference I really noticed was the huge number of computers, often on wheely trolley devices so they could be pushed around the ward, and often only used for one task. There was one at A&E when I came in, used to check NHS numbers and notes; another for paramedics to do a temperature check (this was at the height of the Ebola scare). When my blood was taken for some tests, another mobile computer was hooked up to the vials of blood and the testing hardware right next to my bed, feeding back results to a database; one controlled my drip, another monitored my oxygen levels, breathing, heart rate and so on on the ward. PCs for logging and checking were everywhere. I’m sure the operating room was full of the things too, but I was a bit unconscious at that point, so had stopped counting. (I’m fine now, by the way. Thanks for worrying.)

intensivecare

The huge variety of specialised and generic compute in the hospital gave me something to think about other than myself (which was very, very welcome under the circumstances). Namely, how much all this was costing; and how you could use Raspberry Pis to take some of that cost out. Here’s a study from 2009 about some of the devices used on a ward. That’s a heck of a lot of machines. We know from long experience at Raspberry Pi that specialised embedded hardware is often very, very expensive; manufacturers can put a premium on devices used in specialised environments, and increasingly, people using those devices are swapping them out for something based on Raspberry Pi (about a third of our sales go into embedded compute in industry, for factory automation and similar purposes). And we know that the NHS is financially pressed.

This is a long-winded way of saying that we’re really, really pleased to see a Raspberry Pi being trialled in the NHS.

This is the MediPi. It’s a device for heart patients to use at home to measure health statistics, which means they don’t need daily visits from a medical professional. Telehealth devices like this are usually built on iPads using 3G and Bluetooth with specially commissioned custom software and custom peripherals, which is a really expensive way to do a few simple things.

medipi

MediPi is being trialled this year with heart failure patients in an NHS trust in the south of England. Richard Robinson, the developer, is a a technical integration specialist at the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) who has a particular interest in Raspberry Pi. He was shocked to find studies suggesting that devices like this were costing the NHS at least £2,000 a year per patient, making telehealth devices just too expensive for many NHS trusts to be able to use in any numbers. MediPi is much cheaper. The whole kit – that is, the Pi the touchscreen, a blood pressure cuff, a finger oximeter and some diagnostic scales – comes in at £250 (the hope is that building devices like this in bulk will bring prices even lower). And it’s all built on open-source software.

MediPi issues on-screen instructions showing patients how to take and record their measurements. When they hit the “transmit” button MediPi compresses and encrypts the data, and sends it to their clinician. Doctors have asked to be able to send messages to patients using the device, and patients can reply to them. MediPi also includes a heart questionnaire which patients respond to daily using the touch screen.

Richard Robinson says:

We created a secure platform which can message using Spine messaging and also message using any securely enabled network. We have designed it to be patient-friendly, so it has a simple touch-tiled dashboard interface and various help screens, and it’s low cost.

Clinicians don’t want to be overwhelmed with enormous amounts of data so we have developed a concentrator that will take the data and allow clinicians certain views, such as alerts for ‘out of threshold’ values.

My aim for this is that we demonstrate that telehealth is affordable at scale.

We’re really excited about this trial, and we’ll be keeping an eye on how things pan out. We’d love to see more of this sort of cost-reducing innovation in the heath sector; the Raspberry Pi is stable enough and cheap enough to provide it.

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