Quadcopters to Alzheimer’s solutions: readers’ best Raspberry Pi projects

Imaginative readers shared their home tech projects here are some of our favourites, from their visionary solutions to the delightfully pointless

Solutions for a relatives Alzheimers disease, a time lapse camera and a gingerbread robot which dances when it detects a human face these are just some of the projects youve been telling us about after we asked you to show off your inventiveness with Raspberry Pi and other electronics platforms such as Arduino.

If youre a regular reader this idea may be familiar to you we also asked you to show us the Raspberry Pi projects youd been working on towards the end of 2015. Many of you responded to that by telling us how youd adapted and incorporated Arduino into your hardware projects so we widened the scope.

As well as the highlights below, you can see all of the projects youve shared so far and tell us about yours at this GuardianWitness page, or, discuss the ideas in the comments.

First up, one of many musical ideas youve been sharing. This piece of kit, explained in some detail below, could provide the soundtrack to the rest of this roundup

The brain is a Raspberry Pi 3 which runs the step sequencer program, written in python. The monome is connected to the Pi via USB. An Arduino Uno is also connected to the Pi via USB. The Arduino controls 8 servos, each with a “mallet” attached. (These mallets are actually Lego bricks clumsily taped onto coffee sticks.)

The Arduino is programmed to receive serial commands* from the python program. A command is one byte or 8 bits, each bit representing ‘on’ (play the note) and ‘off’ (do nothing) states of each servo.

The monome is totally controlled by the python program. The program sends serial commands that, for example, tell the monome which buttons need to light up or turn off. It also receives serial data from the monome – like, which buttons are getting pressed and depressed.

We also liked Ernest Warzochas Musi, an experimental instrument he hooks up to an Ableton Push.

This reader has created and modified an impressive-looking drone

I called this drone “Gabian” in honor to the french mediterranean appelation of the seagull. It is a waterproof quadcopter fully built around a Raspberry Pi equipped with a Navio 2 board. It uses a RPi Cam V2 and a home made gimbal to provide full HD stabilized video stream in flight. It has a built-in drop system to transport fishing lines where the fishes are! Its lights even offer possibility to use at night time thanks to the powerful leds.

Simone Dassi told us about another type of camera made with a Raspberry Pi one she says can take a multispectral photo that monitors the health of plant life.

The next idea that caught our eyes was from a reader looking for solutions to make life easier for a relative with Alzheimers disease

Diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s disease my step mother has become disconnected from time, the identification of places and people. Constantly asking what day of the week it is, time can stretch with an hour seeming to last for days, waking in the night and wondering about the day, not wanting to bother anyone and it seemingly to last for days – all sounded like torture.

Timepiece says the day of the week and time of day, along with a reminder of where you are. “It’s nearly lunch”, “early evening” etc. First night with the clock she woke and the clock said “it’s the middle of the night” so she went back to sleep.

Built using a Raspberry Pi, and the Foundations touch display and about 1200 lines of Python code so that you can change the time, date, size of messages, when it goes dim at night and when it brightens in the morning etc

David also shared another of his projects here.

Now, time for a coffee break

This is a coffee roasting machine. The speed of the drum and temperature of the oven is controlled by the Raspberry via the Arduino.

It features a web interface via WiFi so it can be controlled by any web capable device.

The drum is driven by a stepping motor, controlled by the Arduino which gets the higher level commands from the Raspberry. Same goes for the Temperature, which the Raspberry reads from a thermocouple and controls via the Arduino and a solid state relay.

The software on the Pi is written in C#/Mono.

If coffees your drink, you might also want to check out Alexabot which uses Amazon Alexa software combined with a Raspberry Pi robot to fetch this reader a cup on command.

Next, a game of virtual chess brought to life. Again, explained below the video

I love playing chess online but the 2D view on the screen feels very unintuitive to me – I much prefer playing with a physical chess board.

Hence the Internet-Of-Things chess board was born. It connects to an online game so that the user can play chess with anyone in the world, with a real board.

It uses an Arduino to control the LEDs and detect the positions of the pieces, and it uses a Raspberry Pi to check for illegal moves and host the online game.

Gaming possibilities dont stop at chess, of course. Paul Bilan told us about his cute-looking mini arcade machine, and Claire Pollard shared the Formula Pi project, a racing series she commentates on.

Phew, time flies, eh were almost there

A clock with roots that occasionally hoots. The time it can tell without even a bell. Ask it nicely and it will tell you precisely, but if no ones around it wont make a sound. A dozen on their perch wont leave you in the lurch, the assembled dawn chorus will sing something forus. To make time a pleasure a real treasure not just something to measure.

Can you work it out? The time was 10:45 when I pushed the button

Cant figure out how to tell the time? Hint: count those birds As for whether its morning or afternoon, well, Kim Booth, who shared the project, says in a blogpost explaining the technicalities: You can look out of the window for that.

Finally (almost) could this retro-looking notification centre challenge the Amazon Echo?

This is a 1940s DeWald table radio that I’ve given new life using a Raspberry Pi Zero, a Blinkt! LED strip and a stripped-down set of PC Speakers, all tucked inside the case. It reads out notifications, text messages, emails and tweets using a Text-To-Speech engine, while the dial glows different colours depending on the text, e.g if it reads the word “Sunny” in a weather report it glows orange while speaking.

You can read more about Martins project and see a video at his instructables page, here. Another notification system we liked was from James Dawson, who told us how hes using Raspberry Pi to modify an Amazon Dash button to text him when someones at the door.

As ever, thank you for your contributions. Other highlights include an off-grid eco campsite control system, a robot that helps teach robotics to those on a tight budget and a colour-tracking model owl. You can read about these and more at the dedicated GuardianWitness page.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/dec/22/quadcopters-to-alzheimers-solutions-readers-best-raspberry-pi-projects