The Pi Top is an educational kit. It appears as though it is in the early stages of planning an upcoming crowdfunding campaign. the basic idea is that you assemble the entire laptop yourself and learn a few things along the way. There are a series of lessons packaged in software that come along with the raspberry pi powered laptop as well. To find out more about the entire Pi Top project, you can check out their website and sign up for updates as they get closer to opening their campaign.
What caught my eye on this project was the log they shared of trying to prototype their fully 3D printed laptop case.
Keyboard fit nicely, the printer managed to keep things pretty tidy on the corners even at 13 inches high.
You can see the slight extrusion lines, no sanding was done on this prototype.
The hinge is quite stable, a metal bar holds the hinge together - the back of the print is at an angle there so that we could put the bar inserts in easily. We used strong clear tape so we could dissemble the prototype if needed. Our final prototype is close to being printed and will be 1/3 thinner than this first 3D printed prototype.
The case is roughly 13 inches x 9 inches. This piece took 38 hours to print .2mm layers 30% infill printed in PLA. Printer used: Rostock Max V2 kit, with E3D all metal hotend upgrade.
We worked with a .5mm tolerance. The pieces fit nicely together. This prototype has taught over 400 people about hardware. It's starting to show some signs of wear.
Make: Contributing Editor Alasdair Allan visited Maker Faire Trondheim last weekend and caught up with Frode Halvorsen, the general manager of Trondheim Makers. As one of the organizers of the faire, he showed off their advertising campaign, a Raspberry Pi and MaKey MaKey-equipped bus stop ad that lets pedestrians play Pac-Man. The video above gives you a glimpse into the production of the interactive advert, which is part of a series of two; the other one being a photo booth.
This post is coming to you live from Maker Faire Trondheim being held in the town square here in Trondheim, Norway, all weekend.
The Raspberry Pi powered ROV
The ROV brought by Elektra which we covered yesterday wasn’t the only underwater vehicle at the Maker Faire in Trondheim today. As well as their Arduino-powered vehicle, Tim Jagenberg and his son brought along their Raspberry Pi powered ROV.
WildCircuit’s Pivena laser-cut case with 7-inch LCD lid and plenty of storage for extra hardware.
Sutajio Kosagi’s Novena open-hardware computing platform (AKA laptop) provided the inspiration for Timothy Giles (WildCircuits) to design his Pivena Raspberry Pi case, which looks similar but doesn’t feature the same hardware. Timothy designed the Pivena using a laser-cut wooden case that features a 7-inch HDMI LCD mounted onto the case’s lid. The Raspberry Pi (model B and B+) is mounted inside of the box, with cutouts for the GPIO pins, audio/video jacks and USB and Ethernet ports. A slide mechanism allows the LED lid to remain open locked in place at an optimized viewing angle, which also allows users to easily access their hardware components.
There’s also pre-cut holes in the case’s interior, providing extra mounting options for additional hardware. The case also sports some 3D printed case corners and stand-offs for the hardware, giving it a sleek modern look while retaining the natural element of wood. In other words, makes the Pivena cheaper to build than using straight metal or plastic. The open-source case instructions and files are available for download here- http://www.instructables.com/id/PIvena-Assembly-Instructions/. WildCircuits also provides a ready-made enclosure for $40.00 sans the electronics.
Time to update for the Raspberry Pi B+!
Pivena’s right side features the lid slide that holds the LCD upright. The hard twist on the HMDI cable could stand a little work. Right angle adapter?
As with BeagleBone capes, the spec includes the physical layout of the boards and on-board I2C EEPROM memory to hold information about the manufacturer, GPIO setup, and device tree fragment, which is a way for Linux to properly configure the pins to use the hardware on the HAT. According to a post by James Adams, Director of Hardware at Raspberry Pi, manufacturers aren’t required to follow the spec, but warns that manufacturers cannot call their add-on board a HAT if it doesn’t follow the spec.
“We want to ensure consistency and compatibility with future add-on boards, and to allow a much better end-user experience, especially for less technically aware users,” said James.
The full specification is available on Github and includes diagrams, a design guide, ciruits for backpowering the Pi, and the structure for the data stored on the EEPROM.
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New Raspberry Pi
The new Raspberry Pi B+
Two more USB ports, more pins, rounded corners, “proper mounting holes,” and a few other upgrades. Make:‘s Alasdair Allan (@aallan) shares his first impressions of the Raspberry Pi B+.
Intel’s Galileo Board Also Gets an Upgrade
Intel announced a 2nd generation of its Linux-powered, Arduino-compatible development board, coming this summer.
Matt Richardson (@mattrichardson) says the new board “touts a slew of much-desired features.”
A consortium of companies, including Google’s Nest and Samsung, are proposing a new wireless protocol for home automation: Thread. The backers claim it will be superior to wi-fi and Bluetooth, because it will use less power and is more mesh oriented. The consortium is promising the first Thread-compatible devices by mid 2015.
The Home Depot Will Sell MakerBot Printers
In a pilot program, MakerBot 3D printers will be available in 12 Home Depotstores — in California, Illinois, and New York — beginning July 14.
New 3D Printer Targets Kids
Many 3D printers are education-oriented, but Printeer has a tighter focus: young children. It just doubled its $50k campaign goal on Kickstarter.
A Brooklyn Debriefing on World Maker Faire New York and MakerCon New York
The NY3DP blog wrote up the recent Maker Faire “Town Hall” event, at Kickstarter’s Brooklyn HQ, that officially announced the return of World Maker Faire New York (September 20 and 21) and MakerCon New York 2014 (a few days before, on September 17, 18). Save those dates!
Fairphone Partners with 3D Hubs
Pick a smartphone case, and then pick it up from a nearby 3D printer.
3DHubs has been assembling an impressive network of 3D printers around the globe. Now they are starting to add some content: specifically smartphone cases from Fairphone.
Order a case you like and have it 3D printed by the nearest, or most convenient, 3D Hubs member.
In Cambridge, Massachusetts, I had the choice of picking up my smartphone case from 17 local printers within 15 miles. About half of them offered to print it out in less than an hour; the rest were between “under four hours” and “within a day.”
With thousands of 3D printers around the world connected to its network, 3D Hubs could start to sell all sorts of things.
Hatch, for Projects That Can be Personalized
Hatch is a NYC-based online store, with an emphasis on personalization. If you make something that can be personalized, you can probably sell it here.
Hatch specializes in gifts that can be personalized.
Here’s their makers page. And a gallery of makers who’ve been successful on the site.
Benzion’s guide is a broad, top-level overview. He pulls from many sources, like Haxlr8r’s Cyril Ebersweiler; he floats many, many questions that a first-time hardware entrepreneur should consider; he drops in a lot of quotable advice (“Build an experience, not a product”); he links to many resources.
Reading it is like looking over Benzion’s shoulder as he maps the planets around his Entirely network, which is still in beta.
A good intro to the new hardware ecosystem, for sure.
What’s Up in Wearables
Get an overview of what’s happening in wearables from Becky Stern (@bekathwia) who’s right in the middle of it.
Working on a product like Othermill will give you a new respect for quality control.
He knew tolerances, as an end-user, but Eric Weinhoffer (@eweinhoffer) discovered a whole other world when he started working with the team that’s building Othermill, a desktop-friendly, 16-pound CNC mill designed for precision work.
The difference shows up, he discovered, when you have to deliver resolutions of 1/1000th of an inch on a repeatable basis, every single time. Eric’s article in Make: is a vivid introduction to the world of quality control (QC) and the tools used to complete it effectively.
Why Lockitron Has Taken So Long to Ship
A cofounder of the crowdfunded success story (they raised $2.3 million), Cameron Robertson (@ccamrobertson), describes why it has taken so long for Lockitron to ship. Quality control has been a major issue. So has manufacturing a product that meshes electronic and mechanical worlds. Dealing with Chinese manufacturers, necessary to make their price points, has also added a level of complication.
Fortunately, Lockitron’s creators have built the units to allow continuous updates, via wi-fi, which gives Robertson hope that the device will “get better every day from the first time you install it” — once they deliver it to you.
Bridging the Gap Between Maker and Manufacturer
The inspiration for BETWINE, left, and three stages of the product.
Seeed Studio in China worked with ImLab, the Delaware startup behind BETWINE, a wearable social game, to try to counter some of the problems that bedevil naive manufacturers, including uncertain lead times and structural problems.
In Make:Violet Su describes how Seeed, and Innoconn, an initiative funded by the giant Chinese manufacturer Foxconn, have made ImLab confidant enough to float a Kickstarter campaign.
Tweets of the Week
MakerCon is coming to New York!
After the successful launch of the 2 day conference by and for the leaders of the maker movement in the Bay Area, Maker Media will host MakerCon on September 17 & 18 at the New York Hall of Science. Sponsored by Cornell University School of Engineering and Autodesk, MakerCon connects individuals at the forefront of the maker movement, from experts in digital manufacturing, to technology and tools providers, to accelerators that facilitate taking a prototype to market, and a broad swath of makers. These leaders come together to exchange their views and visions about the impact of the maker movement, and its sweeping measure beyond only new business and new technologies. The stellar speaker lineup includes:
Brian Krzanich, CEO of Intel Massimo Banzi, co-founder Arduino Yancey Strickler, CEO of Kickstarter Tim McNulty, VP of Government Affairs at Carnegie Mello University Jose Gomez-Marquez, principal medical device designer, Little Devices lab at MIT Carla Diana, founder Smart Interaction Lab Aaron Horowitz, co-founder Sproutel Peter Hirshberg, CEO The Re:imagine Group
Maker Pros working on a new product or project that could be the next cutting edge device with huge commercial upside for consumers or business applications should submit their ideas for inclusion in the Innovation Showcase. The Wednesday evening event is a unique opportunity to casually engage MakerCon attendees while demonstrating your innovative product or device. Secure one of the 24 slots available at this popular two-hour event today, space is limited.
Earlier today the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced a new board. Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly however, it’s not a board to replace the current model B, but a B+ board, and it’s what the model B should have been all along.
In the two years since the launch of the original Pi there have been a lot of complaints about how the board was put together, although none of these problems have ever seemed to have any impact on the massive success of the board itself. However the new model is aimed at putting all of these problems to rest, once and for all.
James Adams and Eben Upton talking about the Raspberry Pi model B+
The new model B+ uses the same Broadcom BCM2835 processor as the Model B, and still has 512MB RAM—while 1GB package-on-package (PoP) memory is feasible it’s not yet commercially available—making the most obvious difference between the two boards the addition of two extra USB ports.
More USB ports
There are a lot of other changes behind the scenes to support this new addition. The routing on the board has been much improved making more power available to the USB sockets—at least providing your power supply is capable, and because the board now comes with a low voltage indicator which will turn the power LED off if the supply voltage dips below the required 4.7V this is now something you’ll be able to tell immediately.
The USB sockets have been blocked from “back-powering” the rest of the Pi—which will prevent some of the issues with powered external hubs we’ve been seeing—and should have a lot better hotplug behaviour. The ports should also now have enough current available to run some of the more power-hungry USB devices like portable hard drives.
However that isn’t the only power optimisation made to the new board, the linear regulators of the original model B have been swapped out for switching ones—reducing the power consumption of the board by somewhere between 0.5W and 1W.
More GPIO pins
The other obvious difference to the board, beyond the two additional USB ports, is the GPIO headers. The new board now comes with 40 GPIO pins, although it maintains backwards compatibility with the original model B as the first 26 pins have the same pin out as the original board—most existing GPIO boards will fit right on top of the new board, abet with some wiggling. What this does mean is that you can (probably) use an IDE cable to connect to new boards GPIO headers without any modification, which is pretty nice.
The B+ GPIO header now has 40 pins.
Overall the board has just been tidied up and looks a lot more professional than the original model B. The original friction-fit SD card socket has been replaced with a push-push micro SD version—much like the one found on the Beaglebone Black—while the audio circuit now incorporates a dedicated low-noise power supply. The USB connectors have been aligned with the edge of the board and the composite video has been moved onto the 3.5mm jack. The board itself now has rounded corners and proper mounting holes.
Overall the new board is a big improvement on the original model B, addressing many of the concerns of the community while maintaining both hardware and software backwards compatibility with the original board. Along with the recently released Compute Module the new board certainly strengthens the Foundation’s line up against growing competition in an increasingly crowded single-board computer market.
David Finch from Element14 talking about the Raspberry Pi Model B+
Despite that, there are still some issues with the new board. For instance—since the new board uses the same Broadcom SoC as the model B—Ethernet traffic is still carried over the USB bus just like the original board. This has been a significant problem for some people with the Pi, and does make me wonder whether the Pi 2.0 board might make use of then Broadcom BCM11130—the same processor used in the Roku 3—which has both Ethernet and USB on-board. This would allow them to drop the LAN 9152 LAN9154—which actually acts both as a USB hub and as the Ethernet Controller for the Pi—and move from an ARMv6 to v7 architecture
For those that need it—and to support industrial customers—the Foundation has said that the original board will stay in production “as long as there’s demand for it.” Considering the improvements I think most people in the community will move to the new board as soon as they can, and that demand will drop off fairly quickly.
However despite the Foundation’s reassurances, it seems that Farnell at least has already removed the original model B from their website and have stated that “they are not going to stock them any more.” So if you want an old-style model B, you should probably pick one up while you still can.
The new model B+ is available immediately, and is the same cost at the original board.
Update: The original model B is now marked as “out of stock” by RS. This, combined with Farnell’s statement that they will no longer stock the model B, unfortunately does throw some doubt onto the Foundation’s reassurances of continued supply of the original model, and you have to wonder whether there is any product still in the production pipeline at this point?
Update: A tweet from Rachel Rayns—Creative Producer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation—was reassuring about the continued supply of the original model B. Stating that,
This “Gamegirl” 3D printed Gameboy replica by Adafruit features some seriously upgraded hardware to mark the original’s 25th anniversary. The Raspberry Pi processor allows it to run Gameboy, or even MAME ROMs, and the color touchscreen allows for much better graphics than the original’s grayscale display. Adding to these significant upgrades, the built-in rechargeable battery is a welcome addition. Those that had these devices likely remember buying battery after battery to keep playing Tetris or SolarStriker.
The case is 3D printed, and aside from the varied colors, it could be mistaken for an original Gameboy; at least it appears that way from the video. Aside from the printed parts, the gamepad buttons are recycled from a Super Nintendo controller, so there is some disassembly and cutting involved. Quite a few more components are also needed from Adafruit, but the instructions seem to lay everything out nicely.
If “merely” playing ROMs isn’t good enough for you, this very hackable set of hardware could function as a platform for many other unique programming projects. It will be interesting to see if any interesting modications come out of this build. I’d personally like to see the other two top SNES buttons used for a more versatile control scheme. On the other hand, that would lower the “replica factor,” so maybe that’s missing the point!
Raspberry Pi clearly has a lot of momentum. The last major sales milestone, 2 million units, was achieved at the end of October 2013. Since the board’s initial release, it has received many software updates, a few hardware improvements, and additional peripherals such as the camera module. Last April, the foundation announced the Compute Module, a new version of the Raspberry Pi which squeezes the core components of the Raspberry Pi into a board the size of a small stick of RAM.
The UK-based Raspberry Pi Foundation’s momentum hasn’t gone unnoticed by the British Monarchy. From an article in the Guardian about the event at Buckingham Palace:
I’ve lost count of the number of people I’ve met in the tech industry who started out on a BBC,” says the Duke of York, who’s in a lively mood, getting hands-on with the tech demonstrations. He appears fully versed with the Raspberry Pi already. “What people are applying the Raspberry Pi to outstrips any of the things you intended it for, doesn’t it?” he says, surveying a table showing the mini-computers running a game of Minecraft and Space Bear – a computer-equipped teddy bear that relived Felix Baumgartner’s near-space jump in August 2013.
“Obviously we’re still blown away by the level of interest in the Pi,” said Eben Upton to Make:. “As children of the 1980s this is a fun milestone for us because we’ve exceeded the sales total for the Amstrad CPC, the second-best-selling of the UK-designed 8-bit computers. That only leaves the mighty ZX Spectrum (the Timex to you), with 5 million units, to beat. (Pay no attention to the C64, with north of 12 million units globally – now that’s a challenge).”
Dave Sharples and David Glanzman had a pretty lofty idea. They wanted to create an entirely new instrument. Not just another keyboard based synthesizer or grid of buttons. They wanted to make an interface that felt entirely different. The two pulled it off pretty well with the Joytone. At very first glance, it may just seem like a honeycomb shaped grid of buttons, but if you look a little bit closer you’ll see that there is a joystick within each of those hexagonal compartments.
Unfortunately the RGB function was put on hold.
The Joytone has 57 “keys”, each with its own RGB LED inside. Unfortunately, at the time of the first showing, there was an issue getting the RGB part of it all to work correctly so the videos only show the default blue color that the joysticks use when powered. As you can see in the picture above, the added effect of the RGB is quite pleasing, so Dave plans on implementing that a little further down the road.
All of those keys are run through a Raspberry Pi which handles the audio libraries. Even that part of it wasn’t without issue:
We also hadn’t finished writing the code to make it polyphonic, so we were playing in monophonic mode (one note at a time) during the demo. It’s actually a miracle this worked at all, considering we’d been awake for about 48 hours.
Despite these setbacks, the admittedly limited version visible in the video is still very impressive. Hopefully Dave will share his future updates with us as he unlocks these added capabilities. If you’d like to see more pictures of the build, or follow along with the rest of the Joytone updates, you can find that on his blog.