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Raspberry Pi Roundup - a Pi-powered Polaroid, Ghost Chess and a pi-topOS update

Pi Zero pi-top Raspberry Pi Raspberry Pi Roundup Robotics

Polaroid

A crafty maker called Mitxela has taken an old Polaroid camera and converted it to use a Raspberry Pi Zero and a thermal printer. The build itself is interesting and involved replacing the innards with the necessary circuitry for the Pi and printer. Where the magic really lies, though, is in the software. Rather than using a stock Raspbian image, Mitxela crafted his own Linux distro using buildroot that shaves loads of time off the typical boot cycle, taking the boot down to around 2 seconds! For an embedded Pi project, that’s outstanding! You can see a complete build log with dozens of photos here. A video of the camera in operation is below:

Chess

Alex Angelov, Tim Ness and Alex Smith have teamed up as part of their Real Time Embedded Programming course to build this wonderful game of ‘Ghost Chess’. The system uses a Raspberry Pi to control a robotic arm mechanism with an electromagnet attached. By issuing commands to the Pi, the arm can move into position underneath a chess board and move the magnetised chess pieces to the correct position. The Pi runs an instance of the Stockfish chess engine to allow the computer to try and beat you. They’ve open-sourced everything you need to build your own and have documented it over on GitHub. You can see a video of it in action below (I recommend turning the audio off!):

pi-topOS

The folks over at pi-top have just released a new version of their OS, Polaris. The new version uses Raspbian Stretch as a base and is now compatible out-of-the-box with the recently launched Raspberry Pi 3B+. Other improvements include an update to pi-topCODER, their learning environment. Full details can be found on the pi-top blog and the new OS image can be downloaded here. You can see our range of pi-top products here.



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