Raspberry Pi Pod - a robot that can change its shape, an ocean race data gatherer, a simple GUI for stop-motion and a brand new Crowdfunding Campaign

Raspberry Pi Pod - a robot that can change its shape, an ocean race data gatherer, a simple GUI for stop-motion and a brand new Crowdfunding Campaign


Al Bencomo has created this wonderful 3D-printed robot that can overcome obstacles by changing the shape of its wheels. FRILLER (FRILL Explorer Robot) uses a Raspberry Pi 3 with Android Things OS to control motors connected via an Adafruit Motor HAT. As Al explains it:

The wheel deformation mechanism is composed of two DC geared motors, sliding racks, and an elastic cord. When the motors push out the racks, the wheel diameter becomes larger. The elastic cord around the wheels assists with the return of the spikes to the close position when the motors pull the racks back inside. The wheels remain round for faster travel on roads or indoors, but transform into spikes to overcome obstacles off-road.

You can read more and download the STL files for the 3D printer here and view his code on GitHub here. See it in action in the video below:

Ocean Race

The Volvo Ocean Race is held every three years and covers 45,000 nautical miles in 10 legs. Starting in Alicante, Spain and finishing in The Hague, Netherlands, it takes around nine months to complete with gaps in between legs – sailing teams can expect to spend over 100 days at sea, sometimes up to 21 days at a time.

Team AkzoNobel from Holland, competing for the first time, have a particular interest in how technology can assist the crew. They decided to go with a Garmin wearable to monitor the health of the crew, collecting data on sleep, heart rate and nutrition and a Raspberry Pi server running SAP Leonardo’s IoT platform to collate the data.

You can read more over on TechRadar.

Simple GUI

Martin O’Hanlon, who recently joined Raspberry Pi as a Content and Curriculum Manager, has been playing around with the PiCamera library in conjunction with guizero which helps you to create simple user interfaces. He has created an app that runs on the Raspberry Pi that helps you to create stop-motion animations. You can download the software from his blog where there are instructions and information about how the app was written.

Night Light - Crowdfunding campaign

Our friend, Alex Eames, over at RasPiO has just started a new campaign. This one is for a customisable, programmable Night Light.

The Night Light is controlled by an Arduino nano clone and is a kit which features:

  • a custom, beautifully-designed PCB (see the pictures below), with eight programmable APA102-compatible hyper-bright RGB LEDs on-board
  • a laser-cut, frosted perspex case with mounting holes
  • a PIR sensor to detect movement
  • a light-dependent resistor to detect light levels
  • a buzzer
  • other components to finish the assembly of the kit

I've written an extensive review of a pre-launch version of the product over on Raspberry Pi Pod. In short, I loved it - it's beautifully designed, does the job nicely and is a lovely project to build over a weekend. You can find out more and back it over on the campaign page.

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