Two Harry Potter projects and a bomb disposal robot in today's Raspberry Pi Roundup
The Daily Prophet
Piet Rullens Jr visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and brought back loads of video footage. He wanted to do something special with the footage so he designed a copy of the Wizarding World’s Daily Prophet to be framed. Behind the frame, he mounted a Raspberry Pi official screen and cut a hole in the printed newspaper the exact size of the screen. A bit of scripting and the use of a PIR sensor to detect movement triggers the playing of the video footage. Rather neatly, the frame backs onto a cupboard into which he placed the power supply and drilled a hole to connect up the Raspberry Pi and screen. No untidy wires! Frankly, the whole thing looks completely seamless and totally cool. I want one! See it in action below and visit YouTube to give him a thumbs up!
A team from Villanova University, Philadelphia, comprised of four faculty and more than twenty-five students, has developed a ‘bomb squad’ robot. The robot is intended to be used in developing countries to deal with explosive devices and uses a Raspberry Pi and an Arduino. The boards, together with plenty of other hardware, drive four wheels, a robot arm and a water cannon that can be used to detach a fuse from the explosives on a device. The whole robot is expected to come in around $10,000, which is a fraction of the cost of commercial products, generally costing between $50k-$100k.
It’s taken them just over three years to get to this point, and that has included a field test in Cambodia. When starting out, they had four primary objectives (which have been satisfied):
- The model is made from low cost computer hardware
- It can be assembled in-country and repaired locally
- It fits into a suitcase so that it can be taken on a plane and deployed to different locations
- The robot control interface has been designed for intuitive operation to enable users with limited training
They’re now seeking donors to bring the product to market.
You can see a video about the robot below. There’s more information on the Villanova website and also on Robotics Business Review. There is also a National Geographic interview with members of the team available.
Sean O’Brien from Make has taken a Raspberry Pi and a Particle Internet Button and embedded them inside a lamp base. Also used is a NoIR camera module and an infra-red LED which detect the movement of a ‘point of reflectiveness’ – in this case the end of a Harry Potter interactive wand. You don’t even have to have the ‘official’ wand (although it’s a lot more fun if you do, obviously) – anything with a flat sequin on the end will do. Neopixels on the Particle button are used for illumination and some fancy frosting effects for the lamp glass complete the device. You can read all about the build, called Raspberry Potter, over at Make and there’s even a Raspberry Potter website! All the code is available on GitHub.