Raspberry Pi Roundup - a mechanical display, new MagPi and HackSpace and controllable Christmas decorations

Electro-Mechanical

Gavan Fantom decided that new-fangled electronic LEDs weren’t enough for his office Christmas festivities. So, he came up with this beautiful 8×8 electro-mecahnical display. Each pixel is controlled by a 3D-printed mechanism that is screwed back and forth to change it from “solid” to “empty”. This mechanism is turned by a servo and there are 64 of them, requiring Gavan to use three Pololu Mini Maestro servo controllers. The entire system uses 448 3D-printed parts and 128 nails to hold it all together and the Python code to drive the servos is written in Python. The results, which you can see in the video below are astounding. You can read more and see the code on his blog

Thanks to Hackaday for spotting this one.

Magazines

Raspberry Pi have just announced the publication of issue 65 of The MagPi and issue 2 of HackSpace Magazine. The MagPi focuses on providing a Pi newcomers guide and, amongst other highlights, they review the new pi-top version 2 (although I actually think they give it’s trackpad a bit of a rough ride – you just get used to it). HackSpace Magazine brings us a 3D printer special as well as a collection of exciting maker projects. The MagPi can be downloaded here and HackSpace from here. Both are also available to buy in print or from good newsagents.

Internet-of-Christmas

German electrical engineering student Tobias Lauxtermann has taken a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino MEGA and several other boards and bits and pieces and created a set of Christmas decorations that are controllable over the Internet. The Pi runs a Node.JS server which receives the commands and then sends them to the Arduino. There is feedback from the Arduino to the Pi to tell the Pi when it’s ready to receive data. There’s even a Telegram text service which you can use to send text to a dot matrix display. The video of the decorations is live-streamed onto YouTube. You can have a go at controlling a train, a Christmas tree full of LEDs and also, of course, a dancing Christmas tree. Visit the UI to the project here and read more about how the project was accomplished here.