Home Automation Terminal Has Great Post-Apocalyptic Look

If you use home automation these days, you’re probably used to using smart speakers, your smartphone, or those tabletop touchscreen devices. If you wanted something cooler and more personal, you could try building something like [Rick] did.

A Raspberry Pi 400 is the basis for the machine, and it still uses the original keyboard. It’s paired with a 3D-printed shell with a 7″ Waveshare HDMI touch display in it. The LCD is placed behind a Fresnel lens which provides some magnification. It displays a glowing blue command line which accepts text commands. It’s hooked up to the OpenAI API, so it’s a little smarter than just any old regular terminal. It’s hooked up to [Rick’s] home automation system, so he can use natural language queries to control lighting, music, and all the rest. Think Alexa or Siri, but in text form.

The design of the case, with its rounded edges, vents, and thick bezels gives it a strong retro-futuristic look, reminiscent of something out of Fallout. [Rick’s] neat application of weathering techniques helped a lot, too.

It reminds us of some of the cooler Pip Boy builds we’ve seen. Meanwhile, if you’ve got your own creative terminal build in the works, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!

Pi Pico Helps Restring Badminton Rackets

Stringing a badminton racquet is a somewhat complicated job. It needs to be done well if the racquet is to perform well and the player is to succeed. To that end, [kuokuo] built a machine of their own to do that very task. Even better, they’ve made it open source so other hobbyists can benefit from their work.

The build is named PicoBETH, which stands for Pico Badminton Electronic Tension Head. It’s based around the Raspberry Pi Pico, as you might imagine. The Pico is charged with controlling the stringing procedure via a stepper motor and lead screw, while using a load cell to measure string tension during the process. A small two-line character LCD serves as the user interface, along with some buttons, LEDs and a buzzer for feedback. The electronic stringing gear is mounted on to a traditional manual drop-weight stringing machine to execute the process faster and more accurately, at least in theory.

Files are on Github for those that wish to explore the build further. It’s not the first stringing machine we’ve featured here, either! Video after the break.
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Raspberry Pi Files Paperwork With The London Stock Exchange

If you’re a regular visitor to the Raspberry Pi website and you have a sharp eye, you may have noticed during the last few days a new link has appeared in their footer. Labelled “Investor relations“, it holds links to the documents filed with the London Stock Exchange of their intention to float. In other words, it’s confirmation of their upcoming share offering.

It has been interesting to watch the growth of Raspberry Pi over the last twelve years, from cottage industry producing a thousand boards in China, to dominating the SBC market and launching their own successful silicon. Without either a crystal ball or a window into Eben Upton’s mind, we’re as unreliable as anyone else when it comes to divining their future path. But since we’re guessing that it will involve ever more complex silicon with a raspberry logo, it’s obvious that the float will give them the investment springboard they need.

For those of us who have been around for a long time this isn’t the first company in our corner of the technology world we’ve seen burn brightly. It’s not even the first from Cambridge. Appointing ourselves as pundits though, we’d say that Raspberry Pi’s path to this point has been surprisingly understated, based upon the strength of its products rather than hype, and while Eben is undoubtedly a well-known figure, not based upon a cult of personality. There is already a significant ecosystem around Raspberry Pi, we’d like to think that this move will only strengthen it. We may not be looking at the British Microsoft, but we don’t think we’re looking at another Sinclair either.

BreadboardOS, A Command Line Interface For The Pico

Operating systems! They’re everywhere these days, from your smart TV to your smartphone. And even in your microcontrollers! Enter BreadboardOS for the Raspberry Pi Pico.

BreadboardOS is built on top of FreeRTOS. It’s aim is to enable quick prototyping with the Pi Pico. Don’t confuse operating system with a graphical environment — BreadboardOS is command-line based. You’d typically interface with it via a serial terminal emulator, but joy of joys, it does support color!

Using BreadboardOS is a little different than typical microcontroller development. Creating an application involves adding a “service” which is basically a task in FreeRTOS parlance. The OS handles running your service for you. Via the text interface, you can query running services, and start or kill them at will.

Meanwhile, running df will happily give you stats on the flash usage of the Pi Pico, and free will tell you how full the memory is doing. If you really want to get raw, you can make calls to control GPIO pins, the SPI hardware, or other peripherals, and do it right on the command line.

BreadboardOS isn’t for everyone, but it could prove a useful tool if you like that way of doing things. It’s not the only OS out there for the Pi Pico, either!

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Raspberry Pi Narrates (And Tattles On) Your Cat, Nature Documentary Style

Detecting a cat with a raspberry pi and camera is one thing, but [Yoko Li]’s AI Raspberry Pi Cat Detection brings things entirely to another level by narrating your feline’s activities, nature documentary style.

The project is ostensibly aimed at tattling on the housecats by detecting forbidden behavior such as trespassing on the kitchen counter. But we daresay that’s overshadowed by the verbose image analysis, which describes the scene in its best David Attenborough impression.

This feline exemplifies both the beauty and the peaceful nature of its kind. No email will be sent as the cat is not on the kitchen counter.

Hard to believe that just a few years ago this cat detector tool was the bee’s knees in cat detection technology. Things have certainly come a long way. Interested? The GitHub repository has everything needed to roll your own and we highly recommend watching it in action in the video, embedded below.

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Your Pi, From Anywhere

The Raspberry Pi finds a use in a huge variety of applications, and in almost any location you could imagine. Sadly those who use those machines might not be in the same place as the machines themselves, and thus there’s the question of providing a remote connection between the two. This may not be a huge challenge to those skilled with Linux and firewalls, but to many Pi users it’s a closed book. So the Pi folks have come up with a painless way to connect to your Pi wherever it is, and it’s called Raspberry Pi Connect.

To use the service all you need is a Pi running the latest 64-bit version of Raspberry Pi OS, so sadly that excludes base model Zeros and older models. Sign in to the Raspberry Pi Connect server, follow the instructions, and you’re on your way. Under the hood it’s the well-known VNC protocol at work, with the connection setup being managed via WebRTC. The Pi servers are intended to act simply as connection facilitators for peer-to-peer traffic, though they are capable of handling through traffic themselves. It’s a beta service with a single server in the UK at the time of writing, though we’d expect both the number of servers and the offering to evolve over time.

We think this is a useful addition to the Pi offering, and we expect to see it used in all manner of inventive ways. Meanwhile it’s a while since we had a look at connecting to a headless Pi, but much of the information is still relevant.

RISC OS Gets An Update

There should be rejoicing among fans of the original ARM operating system this week, as the venerable RISC OS received its version 5.30 update. It contains up-to-date versions of the bundled software as well as for the first time, out-of-the-box WiFi support, and best of all, it can run on all Raspberry Pi models except the Pi 5. If you’ve not encountered RISC OS before, it’s the continuing development of the OS supplied with the first ARM product, the Acorn Archimedes. As such it’s a up-to-date OS but with an interface that feels like those of the early 1990s.

We like RISC OS here, indeed we reviewed the previous version this year, so naturally out came the Hackaday Pi 3 and an SD card to run it on. It’s as smooth and quick as it ever was, but sadly try as we might, we couldn’t get the Pi’s wireless interface to appear in the list of available network cards. This almost certainly has more to do with us than it does the OS, but it would have been nice to break free from the tether of the network cable. The included Netsurf 3.11 browser is nippy but a little limited, and just as it was during our review, sadly not capable of editing a Hackaday piece or we’d be using it to write this.

It’s great to see this operating system still under active development, and we can see that it so nearly fulfills our requirement here for a lightweight OS on the road. For those of us who used the original version, then called Arthur, it’s a glimpse of how desktop computing could, or perhaps even should, have been.