Raspberry Pi Levels with You

It is easy to imagine how early man started using rocks and then eventually developed better and better tools until they created the hammer. Some simple tools took a little longer to invent. The spirit level, for example, didn’t exist until sometime in the last half of the 1600’s.

The idea is simple. A clear tube holds a liquid and a bubble. When the bubble is in the center of the tube, the device is level in the direction of the tube. [Mark Williams] has a slightly more involved approach. He took an internal measurement unit (IMU) and a Raspberry Pi to create a modern take on the spirit level.

The device shows virtual spirit bubbles on an LCD using some Python libraries. You can see a video below and find the code on GitHub.

We’ve certainly seen more exciting uses of IMUs. We’ve even looked at some tiny IMUs, if you want to go smaller. But this is a nice project, and well done. We thought you should see it.

26 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi Levels with You

    1. Yeah. You don’t even need to download an app. Just type ‘bubble level’ into Google. Usually works.
      I like the real bubble level. Don’t usually have calibration drift with an antique. And I usually use a golf ball to level outside furniture.

      1. Come on, that’s not a hack at all. You SHOULD be able to invent fire with just the ESP8266! Also insert grammar criticism here, grumble about the state of the Arduino ecosystem, and let’s make sure we fail to get the joke.

  1. As old as non running water. How do you thing they got the pyramids level? And how did they first calibrate that “first” level?
    If I can align a band saw to better than 30min of perpendicular with my heavy scrip glasses, would one of the phone apps be of any use to me? I doubt.
    Eye training should begin in grade school.

      1. Using fluid as a level is not limited to a tubular spirit level. Without doing any research I would very much expect that water was used (perhaps in open trenches) as a level long into BC. For instance the Mayans knew water manipulation so well that they were able to utilize a venturi like effect to get water to travel – literally – up hill by converting it’s momentum to kinetic energy. They had to do this to get water to where the lived because they chose places to live according to start constellations rather than available resources.

        So, yes, They did teach history in school and some of us also did history in later years – even before the internet was a thing.

        1. hosepipes (yes I’m from NC) are still commonly used as levels in modern construction where the points you wish to be level are too distant for using a spirit level. Or where laser levels are inconvenient. I’ve seen people using a water + pipe to install tiled ceilings.

  2. My favorite water level is the garden hose level- you can find level around buildings, out of site, over uneven terrain, with little more than a garden hose, a few feet of clear tubing, and some water

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