Raspberry Pi Roundup - new software for high altitude ballooning, a whiskey-powered telephone box and a parking assistant

Raspberry Pi Roundup - new software for high altitude ballooning, a whiskey-powered telephone box and a parking assistant

Sky's the limit

Raspberry Pi has announced two software packages to help groups and individuals get into High Altitude Ballooning. Created in conjunction with HAB enthusiast Dave Akerman, one package is installed on the Pi going up into near-space and the other is used to track it when it comes back to Earth.

Pytrack goes on the Space-bound Pi and has the following features:

  • Learners can create their own tracker in a simpler programming language, rather than simply configuring the existing software
  • The core mechanics of the tracker are exposed for the learner to understand, but complex details are abstracted away
  • Learners can integrate the technology with standard Python libraries and existing projects
  • Pytrack is modular, allowing learners to experiment with underlying radio components

SkyGate is a complete tracking application that goes into a Pi with touchscreen and has the following features:

  • Live tunable LoRa reception and decoding
  • Live tunable RTTY reception and decoding (with compatible USB SDR)
  • Image reception and previewing
  • GPS tracking to report your location (when using compatible GPS USB dongle)
  • Data, images, and GPS upload functionality to HabHub tracking site
  • An Overview tab presenting a high-level summary and bearing to payload
  • Full customisation via the Settings tab

You can read more about the two pieces of software here and install them using the commands below.

sudo apt update
sudo apt install python3-pytrack
sudo apt install skygate


Grant Gibson from Glasgow-based Bright Signals was contracted by the Jura whisky distillery to build some phone boxes which would allow people in far-flung areas of the country to listen to voices from the Jura island, as well as hear from the brewery and sample some of their produce. This elaborate marketing scheme is powered by a Raspberry Pi which handles the ringing of the telephone, the IVR-style menus (you know the sort: press 1 for… press 2 for…) and the user interface which was displayed on a Pimoroni Display-o-tron LCD.

You can read about the build here and you can see a time-lapse of the build below:

Parking assistant

Maker Medinc has taken a Raspberry Pi, a couple of Tiny Lidar sensors and a 32×32 LED matrix and created a practical parking assistant. The two sensors are attached to the car at the back and side and then wired through the car to a Raspberry Pi. The Pi is then used to process distance readings and display the assistant’s user interface on the LED matrix.

The 32×32 LED display will assist you by showing arrows to move forward, left or right and a count down display with colored corners to indicate how far you still have to drive.

You can see a demo of the system below and read how he did it on Instructables:

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