Raspberry Pi Grants Remote Access Via PCIe (Sort Of)

[Jeff] found a Raspberry Pi — well, the compute module version, anyway — in an odd place: on a PCI Express card. Why would you plug a Raspberry Pi into a PC? Well, you aren’t exactly. The card uses the PCI Express connector as a way to mount in the computer and connect to the PC’s ground. The Pi exposes its own network cable and is powered by PoE or a USB C cable. So what does it do? It offers remote keyboard, video, and mouse (KVM) services. The trick is you can then get to the PC remotely even if you need to access, say, the BIOS setup screen or troubleshoot an OS that won’t boot.

This isn’t a new idea. In fact, we’ve seen the underlying Pi-KVM software before, so if you don’t mind figuring out your mounting options for a Raspberry Pi, you probably don’t need this board. Good thing too. Judging by the comments, they are hard to actually buy — perhaps, due to the chip shortage.

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A Raspberry Pi Handheld Computer You Might Want To Use

Amid the many wonderful form factors being explored by the makers of cyberdecks, there’s one that’s emerged which harks back to an earlier generation of portable computers: the handheld pad with a keyboard. These units are typically around the size of a hardback book, with the upper half being a screen and the lower a keyboard. The latest to come our way is from [Richard Sutherland], and it’s a very tidy pad computer indeed.

Inside the well-designed layered 3D printed case is the frequently-chosen Raspberry Pi 4, along with a PiSugar power supply board and 5,000 mAH battery and a 4.3″ touchscreen display. The keyboard has seen a lot of care and attention, featuring high-quality tactile switches that follow the Miryoku keyboard layout. He says it’s a thumb-typing keyboard, but anyone looking for more can either adapt the design to their liking or simply plug in an external board when faster typing is needed.

We like the pad computer trend as it offers useful computing power in a far more convenient format than a laptop, and we think this is a particularly nice one. It would be nice to see where people take this design, and who knows, we might give one a try for writing some Hackaday articles. If you’d like to see more pad computer goodness, we recently showed you one built in the shell of a classic Amstrad.

Bit-Banged Ethernet On The Raspberry Pi Pico

Whilst the Raspberry Pi RP2040 is quite a capable little chip, on the whole it’s nothing really special compared to the big brand offerings. But, the PIO peripheral is a bit special, and its inclusion was clearly a masterstroke of foresight, because it has bestowed the platform all kinds of capabilities that would be really hard to do any other way, especially for the price.

Our focus this time is on Ethernet, utilizing the PIO as a simple serialiser to push out a pre-formatted bitstream. [kingyo] so far has managed to implement the Pico-10BASE-T providing the bare minimum of UDP transmission (GitHub project) using only a handful of resistors as a proof of concept. For a safer implementation it is more usual to couple such a thing magnetically, and [kingyo] does show construction of a rudimentary pulse transformer, although off the shelf parts are obviously available for this. For the sake of completeness, it is also possible to capacitively couple Ethernet hardware (checkout this Micrel app note for starters) but it isn’t done all that much in practice.

Inside the expedient pulse transformer.

UDP is a simple Ethernet protocol for transferring application data. Being connection-less, payload data are simply formatted into a packet buffer up front. This is all fine, until you realize that the packets are pretty long and the bitrate can be quite high for a low-cost uC, which is why devices with dedicated Ethernet MAC functionality have a specific hardware serialiser-deserialiser (SERDES) block just for this function.

Like many small uC devices, the RP2040 does not have a MAC function built in, but it does have the PIO, and that can easily be programmed to perform the SERDES function in only a handful of lines of code, albeit only currently operating at 10 MBit/sec. This will cause some connectivity problems for modern switch hardware, as they will likely no longer support this low speed, but that’s easily solved by snagging some older switch hardware off eBay.

As for the UDP receive, that is promised for the future, but for getting data out of a remote device over a wired network, Pico-10BASE-T is a pretty good starting point. We’ve seen a few projects before that utilize the PIO to generate high speed signals, such as DVI, albeit with a heavy dose of overclocking needed. If you want a bit more of an intro to all things Pico, you could do worse than check out this video series we highlighted a while back.

Multispectral Imaging System Built With Raspberry Pi

Multispectral imaging can be a useful tool, revealing all manner of secrets hidden to the human eye. [elad orbach] built a rig to perform such imaging using the humble Raspberry Pi.

The project is built inside a dark box which keeps outside light from polluting the results. A camera is mounted at the top to image specimens installed below, which the Pi uses to take photos under various lighting conditions. The build relies on a wide variety of colored LEDs for clean, accurate light output for accurate imaging purposes. The LEDs are all installed on a large aluminium heatsink, and can be turned on and off via the Raspberry Pi to capture images with various different illumination settings. A sheath is placed around the camera to ensure only light reflected from the specimen reaches the camera, cutting out bleed from the LEDs themselves.

Multispectral imaging is particularly useful when imaging botanical material. Taking photos under different lights can reveal diseases, nutrient deficiencies, and other abnormalities affecting plants. We’ve even seen it used to investigate paintings, too. Video after the break.

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Get Your Raspberry Pi Jamming With MuPiBox

Over the years we’ve seen a lot of Raspberry Pi boards pushed into service as media players. In fact, second to emulating old game consoles, that’s probably the Pi’s most common vocation when it comes to DIY builds. But despite the popularity of this particular use case, it seems like each one has had to reinvent the wheel.

Perhaps there’s where MuPiBox fits in. Developed by [Eric Gerhardt] and [Olaf Split] with the assistance of [Andreas Lippmann] and [Andrew Frericks], this project aims to turn everyone’s favorite Linux single-board computer into everyone’s favorite music player. MuPiBox provides not only the software to run your new high-tech boom box, but it even standardizes the hardware design and provides a 3D printable enclosure — though naturally there’s still room for interpretation if you don’t want yours to look exactly like all the others.

Your MuPiBox can look like whatever you want.

At the very minimum you’ll need a Raspberry Pi, a HifiBerry MiniAmp, and a speaker, though the instructions also recommend you invest in a Pimoroni OnOff SHIM (or wire up something comparable) to facilitate more graceful shutdowns. For the best experience you’ll also want a five inch Waveshare touch screen display and a USB power bank so your beats can go mobile.

The video below shows off the polished stock GUI, which is simple enough that even children should be able to navigate around and find their favorite tracks. Which is good, especially since it’s in German. The video also shows off some advanced setup features so you don’t have to pull the SD card out of the Pi just to change the WiFi network it’s attached to. There’s also a web interface that you can access from other devices on the network.

It’s a slick project, and we really like the aesthetics of the 3D printable enclosure. But even if you don’t want to replicate the project exactly, there’s certainly components here which could be utilized in your own Pi media center build.

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Custom Raspberry Pi Case Shows The Whole Workflow

If you are a process junkie and love seeing the end-to-end of how a thing is made and with what tools, then watch [Michael Klements] show off his Raspberry Pi case design. His case has quite a few cool-looking elements to it, and incorporates 3D printing as well as laser-cut and clear bent acrylic for a gorgeous three-quarter view.

[Michael]’s write-up (and accompanying video, embedded below) are partly a review of his Creality 3D printer, and partly a showcase of his Raspberry Pi case design (for which he sells the design files for a small fee on his Etsy store.) But the great part is seeing the creation of every piece that goes into the end product. Not everyone is familiar with the way these tools work, or what they can create, so it’s nice to see attention paid to that side of things.

Both the blog post and the video nicely show off what goes into every part. The video opens with unpacking and setting up the 3D printer (skip ahead to 4:58 if you aren’t interested), followed by printing the parts, laser-cutting the acrylic on a K40 laser cutter, bending the acrylic using a small hand tool, and finally, assembling everything. For the curious, there are also links to the exact parts and equipment he uses.

Like we said, it’s part 3D printer review and part showcase of a design he sells, but it’s great to see each of the parts get created, watch the tools get used, and see the results come together in the final product. And should you wish to go in the opposite direction? A one-piece minimalist case for your Raspberry Pi is only a 3D printer away.

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A Mostly Fair Deal For All With A Raspberry Pi

To be a professional card dealer takes considerable skill, something that not everybody might even have the dexterity to acquire. Fortunately even for the most ham-fisted of dealers there’s a solution, in the form of the Dave-O-matic, [David Stern]’s automated card dealer using a Raspberry Pi 4 with a camera and pattern recognition.

It takes the form of a servo-controlled arm with a sucker on the end, which is able to pick up the cards and present them to the camera. They can then be recognized by value, and pre-determined hands can be dealt or alternatively a random hand. It seems that the predetermined hands aren’t an aid in poker cheating, but a part of the bridge player’s art. You can see it in action in the video below the break.

We like the project, but sadly at this point we must take [Dave] to task, because while tantalizing us with enough detail to get us interested he’s slammed the door in our faces by failing to show us the code. it would be nice to think that the clamor from disaffected Hackaday readers might spur him into throwing us a crumb or two.

It probably won’t surprise you to find that this isn’t the first Raspberry Pi to find itself dealing cards.

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