Audio HAT for the Raspberry Pi Zero

The Raspberry Pi Zero (RBPiZ) and its successor, the Raspberry Pi Zero Wireless (RBPiZW) are very small single board computers. The Pi Foundation wanted to keep their cost and size to the low side, so they did not include either a 3.5 mm audio jack or any other audio port. Although this may seem like a setback for many users, some of them were went ahead and figured out how to get audio out of the board with a little hacking. Another reason for not including an audio port is the Broadcom chipset Read more [...]

Talk to your Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has tied up with Google for a project called the Artificial Intelligence Yourself or AIY. This is a Hardware on Top or HAT project for the Raspberry Pi 3 (RBPi3) to transform the single board computer into a virtual assistant. This is the first time that Google is offering something exclusively for hobbyists, and the kit comes free with the printed issue 57 of the MagPi—the official magazine of the Raspberry Pi. The kit with the MagPi magazine consists of a Voice Read more [...]

Two Raspberry Pi HAT Controller Modules

Atomo Systems, from Hong Kong, will be producing the Atomo Modular Electronic System for building electronic projects with four parts—Control, IO, Power, and Connector. The system also includes two low-cost HAT modules with onboard ARM MCUs compatible to the Raspberry Pi (RBPi). The combined controller connector board uses a small and inexpensive MCU, similar to what an Arduino Uno uses. However, the ARM MCU is faster, has more IO, and is better compatible with the RBPi. The idea behind building Read more [...]

What happens when you turn a computer on?

Working on a computer is so easy nowadays that we find even children handling them expertly. However, several things start to happen when we turn on the power to a computer, before it can present the nice user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI) screen that we call the desktop. In a UNIX-like operating system, the computer goes through a process of booting, BIOS, Master Boot Record, Bootstrap Loading, grub, init, before reaching the operating level. Booting As soon as you switch on the Read more [...]

Graphene Cells Generate Energy for Prosthetic Hands

At the Glasgow University, Scotland, a team of scientists has discovered a new use for graphene cells —the honeycomb form of carbon. They are using it to develop prosthetic limbs or more specifically, robotic arms with a sense of touch built-in. The world over, several researchers and their teams are trying to make synthetic skin, which is flexible, and at the same time, has a sense of touch similar to the various types of sensory receptors the human skin possesses. At the Glasgow University, Read more [...]

Five New Advancements in Solar Cells

The earth receives a huge amount of sunlight every hour. Converted to electricity, this would amount to 52 PW/hr. This is more than ten times the entire amount of electricity produced per hour by China in 2013. In the same year, top countries of the world together produced only 16 PW/hr. of electricity. As this is much less than the actual potential of generation of electricity from the solar energy falling on the planet earth, several countries are actively engaged on research and development on Read more [...]

Bio-Inspired Robot Walks with a Rhythm

Walking robots are not new, as robotic engineers have been fascinated by human movements while walking and have tried to incorporate them into their robots. As a result, we have had several walking robots, starting with WABOT I, the first anthropomorphic robot demonstrated in 1973 by I. Kato and his team at the Waseda University, Japan. Almost everyone remembers ASIMO, a humanoid robot introduced in 2000, as an Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, designed to be a multi-functional mobile assistant. Where Read more [...]

VNC: Controlling a Raspberry Pi from Anywhere

Sometime you wish you could remotely control your Single Board Computer (SBC), the Raspberry Pi (RBPi). This could be because you have set up your RBPi as a home security system with a camera that you want to monitor remotely, or the RBPi is in control of some appliance that you would like to switch on/off from a remote location. Ordinarily, to access an RBPi from outside your home network, you would need to give it an IP address, and set up your home router accordingly. However, there is another Read more [...]

Raspberry Pi Zero Goes Wireless

The Raspberry Pi product line has added a new member, the Raspberry Pi Zero W (RBPiZW), an updated version of the RBPi Zero, with the added advantages on on-board Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability. Although the new RBPiZW lacks the Ethernet and full-sized USB-A ports, it is only a fraction of the size of its flagship brethren the RBPi, and less expensive as well. Almost identical to the RBPi Zero, the RBPiZW is twice as expensive, and boasts of a wireless chip supporting the 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi for Read more [...]

SALTO the Agile Jumping Robot

In the Biomimetic Millisystems Lab at UC Berkeley, Duncan Haldane is responsible for numerous bite-sized bio-inspired robots—robots with hairs, robots with tails, robots with wings, and running robots. Haldane and the other members of the lab look at the most talented and capable animals for inspiration for their robotic designs. The African Galago or Bushbaby is one such animal. It is a fluffy, cute, talented, and capable little jumping animal weighing only a few kilos. However, this little Read more [...]