Raspberry Pi Roundup - a Eurovision crown, a solderless retro gaming machine and a vibrating backpack
Tanya, from Sheffield maker company Pimoroni, wanted to celebrate the Eurovision Song Contest in style and decided to create a wearable. What she came up with was a Crown based on a headband, some cardboard and plenty of bits of glittery Christmas decorations. She added a Raspberry Pi Zero, a Flotilla dock, some Flotilla blinky sticks and a Scroll pHAT HD and then adapted existing software (as well as writing some of her own with the help of Sandy Macdonald) to allow her to set a rating with a Flotilla dial board and also display Eurovision tweets on the pHAT. A really lovely project which you can read more about here.
Here’s a great Instructable for those who are a bit put-off by soldering. It’s a full RetroPie gaming machine, with button controls, that uses a Raspberry Pi Zero. However, no soldering, 3D printing or laser-cutting is required – just some skill with breadboarding and wiring. It has a 2.8″ LCD screen and is powered by 4 rechargeable AA batteries. The controls are tactile buttons with special labelled covers and it all seems to work remarkably well. I’m not too sure, however, that unsoldered pins on the Zero will be entirely reliable. Some Pimoroni hammer headers would be ideal, but, of course, they don’t come in the extended length required by this project. It’s a great project, however, and if you’d like to take a closer look, visit the Instructables page.
Shashank Sharma and his team have developed a backpack to aid visually-impaired users. The backpack, called BackMap, uses an app to input the location you’re trying to get to and then Raspberry Pi-powered motors attached to the straps vibrate to tell you which direction to turn. The project came out of TechCrunch Disrupt NY’s 2017 hackathon. It is expected that the same system can be used for internal spaces using beacons, allowing users to navigate huge spaces such as conference venues. You can read more, and see a video of the project presentation, over at TechCrunch.