To say that the ocean is a dynamic environment would be a gross understatement, especially when coastlines are involved. Waves crash, tides go in and out, and countless variables make even the usual conditions a guessing game. When [foobarbecue] goes surfing, he tries to take into account all of these things. The best waves at his local beach are directly over an ever-moving sand bar, and their dynamics are affected by depth, another constant variable. [foobarbecue]’s brilliant solution to understanding current conditions? Build a depth finder directly into his surf board!
At the heart of the “surfsonar” is the Ping Sonar Echosounder, a sonar transducer designed for AUV’s and ROV’s. [foobarbecue] embedded the transducer directly into the board. Data is fed to a Raspberry Pi 4b, which displays depth and confidence (a percentage of how sure it is of the measurement) on a 2.13 inch e-Paper Display Hat.
Power is provided by a PiSugar. Charging is done wirelessly, which we’d say is pretty important considering that the whole device is sealed inside a modified surfboard.
While it’s not a low budget build, and there’s yet room for improvement, early reports are positive. Once away from the breaking waves, the device confidently shows the depth. More testing will show if the surfsonar will help [foobarbecue] find that ever-moving sandbar!
Surf hacks are always welcome, we’ve featured the LED Strip Lit Surfboard as well as the Surf Window, which tells its owner if the surf is up. Be sure to let us know about any cool hacks you find when you’re out surfing the ‘net via our Tips Line!
You could argue that the project to add a round screen to a Raspberry Pi from [YamS1] isn’t strictly necessary. After all, you could use a square display with a mask around it, giving up some screen real estate for aesthetics. However, you’d still have a square shape around the screen and there’s something eye-catching about a small round screen for a watch, an indicator, or — as in this project — a talking head.
The inspiration for the project was a quote from a Google quote about teaching a monkey to recite Shakespeare. A 3D printed monkey with a video head would be hard to do well with a rectangular screen, you have to admit. Possible with a little artistry, we are sure, but the round head effect is hard to beat. Honestly, it looks more like an ape to us, but we aren’t primate experts and we think most people would get the idea.
The Raspberry Pi Foundation have been busy little bees for the last couple of years producing their own silicon, new boards and now in collaboration with the LEGO Education team a new HAT to connect to the LEGO SPIKE education platform. This new HAT board will work with every Raspberry Pi board with a 40-pin GPIO header.
Based on the RPI2040 microcontroller, it makes an interesting detour away from dumb slave boards, although it looks like the firmware is closed (for now) so you’ll have to make do with the pre-baked capabilities and talk to it with the supplied python library.
According to the documentation, the communication between the Pi and the RPI2040 nestled beneath the HAT PCB is plaintext-over-serial, freeing up the majority of the GPIO pins for other uses. The board uses a surface mount pass-through type header which allows pins from the Pi to protrude through the PCB, allowing stacking more HATs on top. Curiously they decided to mount the PCB with active parts facing down, giving a flat rear surface to park things on. We suspect that decision was made to improve access to the LPF2 connectors, especially if they were surface mount parts.
We always get excited when we buy a new tablet. But after a few months, it usually winds up at the bottom of a pile of papers on the credenza, a victim of not being as powerful as our desktop computers and not being as convenient as our phones. However, if you don’t mind a thick tablet, you can get the RasPad enclosure to fit around your own Raspberry Pi so it can be used as a tablet. Honestly, we weren’t that impressed until we saw [RTL-SDR] add an SDR dongle inside the case, making it a very portable Raspberry Pi SDR platform.
The box is a little interesting by itself, although be warned it costs over $200. For that price you get an LCD and driver board, a battery system, speakers, and an SD extension slot with some control buttons for volume and brightness. There’s a video of the whole setup (in German) below.
The Raspberry Pi 400 all-in-one computer is a neat little unit that is powerful enough to take on most humdrum computing tasks while doing an excellent job of freeing up valuable desktop space. But what about those moments when both the Pi and a PC are needed on the same desktop? How can the Pi and the bulky PC keyboard share the same space?
[Gadgetoid] may have the answer, with a clever bit of software that presents the Pi’s mouse and keyboard as peripherals on its USB-C power port. If your PC has a high-power USB socket that can run the Pi then it can use the small computer’s input devices just as well as the Pi itself can. It’s fair to say that the Pi 400’s keyboard is not it’s strongest point, but we can see some utility in the idea.
Running it is simply a case of running an executable from the Pi. Control can be wrested back to Raspberry Pi OS with a simple keystroke. Perhaps it’s not the ultimate desktop experience, but if you’re a die-hard Pi-head there’s plenty of appeal.
If we wanted to point to an epoch-making moment for our community, we’d take you back to February 29th, 2012. It was that day on which a small outfit in Cambridge put on the market the first batch of their new product. That outfit was what would become the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and the product was a run of 10,000 Chinese made versions of their very first single board computer, the Raspberry Pi Model B. With its BCM2835 SoC and 512 megabytes of memory it might not have been the first board that could run a Linux distribution from an SD card, but it was certainly the first that did so for pocket money prices. On that morning back in 2012 the unforseen demand for the new board brought down the websites of both the electronics distributors putting it on sale, and a now-legendary product was born. We’re now on version 4 of the Model B with specs upgraded in almost every sense, and something closer to the original can still be bought in the form of its svelte stablemate, the Pi Zero.
How Do You Evolve Without Casualties?
The problem with having spawned such a successful product line is this: with so many competitors and copies snapping at your heels, how do you improve upon it? It’s fair to say that sometimes its competitors have produced more capable hardware than the Pi of the moment, but they do so without the board from Cambridge’s ace in the hole: its uniquely well-supported Linux distribution, Raspberry Pi OS. It’s that combination of a powerful board and an operating system with the minimum of shocks and surprises that still makes the Pi the one to go for after all these years.
In 1980, France took a step into the future when the telecom companies introduced the Minitel system — a precursor to the Web where users could shop, buy train tickets, check stocks, and send and receive electronic mail through a small terminal. Minitel still had 10 million monthly connections in 2009, but the service was discontinued in 2012.
So, you can imagine how many Minitel terminals must be floating around at this point. [Gautchh] picked one up at a garage sale a while back and converted it into a battery-powered laptop for taking notes in class. Luckily for us, [Gautchh] recently open-sourced this project and has given us a wiring diagram, STLs, BOM, and a good look into the build process.
[Gautchh] started by gutting the Minitel, but saved the power button and the très chic power indicator that looks like a AA cell. The new 10.4″ LCD screen is held in place with four 3D-printed corner blocks and a bit of hot glue, and the original keyboard (which we’d love to clack on) is now wired up to an Arduino Pro Micro. The main brain — a Raspberry Pi 3B — is easily accessible through a handy little hatch in the back. Well, it looks like we’ve got a new ebay alert to set up.