Rui @ randomnerdtutorials.com tipped us with his latest tutorial. He writes:
In this project you’ll create a standalone web server with a Raspberry Pi that can toggle two LEDs from an ESP8266 using MQTT protocol. You can replace those LEDs with any output (like a relay that controls a lamp).
Raspberry Pi Publishing MQTT Messages to ESP8266 – [Link]
It seems evident that the Raspberry Pi and its clones have filled an enormous hidden need. The digital performance of such micro-computers is exceptional as long as they are used without any special dependence on power requirements, that is to say near an electrical outlet with power! Faced with the vagaries of the analog world, these tiny cards that fit in the palm of your hand are not as beefy as that. Their dependence on their power supply has highlighted a new need, well identified by the manufacturer JOY-iT. StromPi, their adaptable uninterruptible power supply (UPS) mini card lets you use a Raspberry Pi under conditions of unusual or unstable power, without taking up much space, and without risk of data loss in case of a power cut.
Two working modes are offered:
UPS (uninterruptible power supply), i.e. no break power
WIDE, which allows an extended range of input voltage
With the following characteristics
wide range of DC input voltage, from 6 V to 61 V in WIDE mode
5 V power input on microUSB connector
maximum USB output current of 3 A
very low standby current
(in UPS mode): 20 to 80 μA (that’s between 175 mAh and 700 mAh per year)
(in WIDE mode): 3 to 7 mA
In the case of loss of power, the StromPi backup power card not only starts the process of data backup before the Pi is switched off, but it can also guarantee startup once the power is restored (this function may be deactivated with a jumper strap).
When that happens, you can even select to be informed by an email sent by the Raspberry Pi program (which you can download).
The Robot Core, which is a robot control board for the Raspberry Pi and Arduino, brings many different elements into one awesome package. It allows you to efficiently control motors, servos, and read sensor data without needing 3-4 additional boards to hookup. Several Robot Core boards can be connected together in a linear series to add even more functionality.
Robot Core uses I²C (Inter-Integrated Circuit) to communicate with Raspberry Pi. I²C is a widely used serial computer bus invented by Philips Semiconductor. It is a very easy-to-use two-wire bus that your Pi has no difficulty talking with. A built-in level shifter ensures compatibility to both 3.3 volt and 5 volts I²C buses. The Robot Core supports all Raspberry Pi boards (the past and present versions) and some Arduino boards also.
Now, let’s talk about the technical details.
The board has software provided in the form of libraries and python example programs to get you started fast. Thanks to Second Robotics for making the software Open Source. All required resources will be available in July 2017. Currently, available links are – Drivers and Libraries, Support Documents.
This board provides up to two 5 Amp continuous load DC motor outputs that can be used as a pair to drive a single stepper motor. The Robot Core’s built in safety protection prevents overheating and detects the motor failure.
The Robot Core can set servos to exact position with the help of 16 bit PWM signal. It has eight ports for both analog and digital conventional servos. You can tune each servo using software-based GUI tuning method and also set their start-up positions individually.
Two ports are provided for connecting Dynamixel servos. Connecting multiple Dynamixel servos at the same time is supported. All functionalities are accessible by simple low-level commands. Many example python codes are available there to get started with Dynamixel servos.
You can connect up to 4 ultrasonic sensors (HC-SR04) with the board. Given libraries convert measured distance into millimeter. The Robot Core board can provide filtered outputs with higher accuracy or raw outputs with greater speed, the choice is yours.
Up to 8 12-bit analog inputs are supported for sensors or feedback. Each input has a range of 0-5V and the board also provides protection from exceeding the input limits. The additional analog reading for main power voltage lets you monitor supply voltage in real-time. The Robot Core has configurable warnings for low power.
The range of input voltage is 6.4v to 14v. An onboard DC-DC regulator is there for generating 5 volts, capable of providing 6 Amps current to the load. Optional separate power supply inputs for servos and for Dynamixel servos are also present.
Other Technical Information:
Clear on-board labeling. Each port and screw terminal has its pins labeled.
Prototyping space for adding more functionality. This space removable to make the board smaller.
Easy to access voltage rails.
Access to the Raspberry Pi I²C at 5V logic level.
Status LEDs are for main power voltage, DC motor status, and script controllable status.
Application Of The Robotcore Board:
The Robot Core is an all-in-one solution for many projects. One can do pretty much any autonomous and/or robotics projects with this board. The possibilities are endless. Below are just some example projects:
A smart plant monitoring system that reads ambient light, temperature, plant moisture, and even uses two water pumps to water two different plants.
Using a single board, you can build a 2 wheeled robot with a ring of 8 analog ultrasonic sensors and a strong Dynamixel smart servo arm.
With an IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) tied into the I²C bus, you can create a two-wheeled self-balancing robot.
Build a biped walker robot with sensors to navigate based around the board and a Pi using powerful servos or Dynamixel smart servos.
Make an automated greenhouse. Have analog sensors for light, temperature, carbon dioxide, moisture, water leaks, and also control two water pumps.
In this video, Circuit Basics walks us through the steps to change the screen rotation on an LCD touchscreen for the Raspberry Pi. Since there are separate drivers for the display and the touchscreen sensors, we need to change the orientation of both. It’s pretty simple to do, but a couple packages need to be installed first.
ExaGear is a virtual machine that implements virtual x86 Linux container on ARM and allows you to run Intel x86 applications directly on ARM. With this software by Eltechs you can run Intel x86 application on your ARM-based Mini PC simultaneously with common native applications. It is like QEMU but 5 times faster! You can even run Windows applications on your ARM Mini PC if you install Wine.
ExaGear is user friendly software with transparent operation so you don’t notice a difference between running x86 applications on x86-based or ARM-based platform. Use your favorite applications on ARM-based devices and overcome platform compatibility.
In 2014 ExaGear Desktop was launched to allow running PC games on ARM-based devices (Raspberry Pi, Odroid etc.). ExaGear Desktop is an emulator too but dramatically differs from other emulators with its performance. ExaGear Desktop provides very low slowdown – 1.3 times instead of 50-100 times for other kind of emulators! It enabled to run such games as Arcanum, Disciples II, Fallout , Might And Magic VI,Pharaoh and Cleopatra, Stronghold Crusader, Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri, Caesar 3 and many others on Raspberry Pi! You can learn how to set up these games from this article
However, there was one important issue. ExaGear Desktop didn’t support hardware graphics acceleration. That mean that games which actively use 3D were terrible laggy.
But amazing things happened! A new version of ExaGear Desktop – ExaGear Desktop 2.0 is fully supporting 3D graphics acceleration on Raspberry Pi 2 and Raspberry Pi 3!
Check this video that run Counter Strike and Diablo II on Raspberry Pi:
More games are going to be added gradually and you can also suggest on the team your favorites. The team solved this problem after the OpenGL library was adapted into Raspberry Pi architecture, so they could develop some OpenGL calls to the hardware in order to solve the problem of 3D graphics.
This option is only available at Raspberry Pi since it is the only development board that uses OpenGL. You can learn more about this new era of gaming from this article and get ExaGear from here.
Two French engineers who are passionate about innovative use cases made out of new technologies and building accessible and collaborative robot, are now mixing last technology progresses in mechanics, electronics and computer science to deliver a new product: Niryo One!
Niryo One is an accessible 6 axis robotic arm, made for makers, education, and small companies, and powered by Arduino, Raspberry Pi and ROS. The 3D printed robot will be customizable since you can print out your pieces and customize them the way you like. STL files will be open source soon.
In a mission to democratize robotics, Niryo One team is working on making it affordable and user friendly. Endless number of applications are possible by using Niryo One, like drilling, pick and place operations, and many other options thanks to the 6-axis available.
Niryo One can be controlled in many ways, whether using a web and mobile application, a joystick, or just your hands in its learning mode. Also you can control it using G-code if you want to use Niryo as a CNC.
Connected with the cloud, each update and project you do with Niryo will be synced there, with the ability to share it with the online community. More gadgets and tools will be added to the cloud and you will also get free app updates.
As makers ourself, we love 3D printing, Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Those are great to learn robotics, with the help of the online community. We want to go a step further, by embed those technologies and electronics platforms in Niryo One, to show to the world that, yes, we can make a real useful product with 3D printing, Arduino and Raspberry Pi. We hope that more people will be interested in learning these technologies when seeing what our robot can do, so it will reinforce the community around robotics projects.
Niryo One is now live on Kickstarter and still has 35 days to go. You can pre-order a mini Niryo One kit for $119 and the early bird Niryo One maker kit for $549. More details can be found at the official website.
pisound is an ultra-low latency high-quality soundcard and MIDI interface specially designed for Raspberry Pi pocket computers. Equipped with 192kHz 24-bit Stereo Input and Output driven by the legendary Burr-Brown chips, DIN-5 MIDI Input and Output ports, user-customizable button and bundled software tools, this little board will bring your audio projects to a whole new level!
In this video, Circuit Basics will show us how to configure a WiFi dongle and establish a wireless connection for your Raspberry Pi. This is useful if you don’t wish to connect your Raspberry Pi to your network with an Ethernet cable.
In this way, Eltechs, a high-tech startup company, had produced a new binary translator called “ExaGear Desktop”. It runs applications for the conventional desktop and server x86 processors on energy-efficient ARM CPU without recompilation.
ExaGear Desktop creates a second system known as the ‘guest’ system. Once installed, you can switch between the guest and your regular (‘host’) system using the ExaGear and exit commands. Inside the guest system, apt-get and dpkg are used to install Intel x86 software. The guest system is a transparent operation so there is no difference between running x86 applications on x86-based or ARM-based platform. It also gives you the ability to run Windows applications by installing Wine.
Compared with QEMU, another open-source virtualization software, ExaGear is 5 time faster and has much better performance with CPU and memory as the benchmark results shown when running on Raspberry Pi 2. You can see the benchmarking details and results here.
ExaGear is available for ordering through the official website with a price range between $16.45 and $56.45 according to the hardware used. You can find more information at the product page. And it may be useful to take a look at this review.