Picture frame that scrapes train times from the web

rpi-train-times-fixture

Whenever [Gareth James] needs to catch a train he has only to push a button on this frame and the next three departure times will be displayed. As you can see from the post-processing in the photo, this is accomplished by a Raspberry Pi board using a few familiar tools.

Let’s take a look at the hardware first. He acquired a 7″ LCD display which he removed from its plastic case. The bare screen will easily fit inside of the rather deep wood frame and its composite video input makes it quite simple to interface with the RPi board. There was a little work to be done for power. The LCD needs 12V so he’s using a 12V wall wart to feed the frame, and including a USB car charger to power the RPi. The last thing he added is a button connected to the GPIO header to tell the system to fetch a new set of times.

A Python script monitors the button and uses Beautiful Soup to scrape the train info off of a website. To get the look he wanted [Gareth] wrote a GUI using tkinter. Don’t miss the demo after the jump.

If you need a bit of a primer on scraping web data take a look at this guide.

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pyMCU test project looks like a Minecraft mob

pymcu-controlled-blockhead

Hackaday’s own [Jeremy Cook] has been testing out the pyMCU board and managed to put together an animated block head that looks like it could be a foe in Minecraft. That’s thanks mostly to the block of foam he’s using as a diffuser. The face of the project is a set of LEDs. These, along with the servo motors that move the neck are controlled using Python code which you can glance at after the break (there’s a video demo there too).

We first saw pyMCU early in the year. The PIC 16F1939 offers plenty of IO and acts as a USB connected bridge between your hardware and your Python scripts. Speaking of hardware, the test platform used to be an RC helicopter. [Jeremy] scrapped most of it, but kept the servo motors responsible for the pitch of the rotors. The board makes these connections easy, and the concept makes controlling them even easier. In fact, there’s only about 17 lines of code for the functions that control the servos. The rest is a simple UI built with Tkinter.

[Read more...]

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