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6 Best New Things To Do With Raspberry Pi (Part 4)

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Even more inspired Pi projects

If the Raspberry Pi projects we’ve described here have got you thinking about ones of your own, these innovative projects could be great inspiration.

LEGO supercomputing

The University of Southampton used 64 Raspberry Pi computers and LEGO bricks to create the most powerful Pi – the 1TB Pi (the cumulative amount of memory provided by its SD cards). Iridis-Pi, as the computer is known, is named after the university’s own supercomputer. Find out how to make your own (or simply how it was done) at www.snipca.com/9330. Unfortunately, there is no bulk order discount for buying 64 Pi computers at once.

LEGO supercomputing

LEGO supercomputing

First Pi in space

Dave Akerman has launched four Raspberry Pi computers high into the skies (www.snipca.com/9297). Fantastically, he uses a tiny Doctor Who Tardis to house the Pi and several hydrogen-filled weather balloons to transport the Pi into near space. The fourth launch, in March, sent the Pi 35km above Earth where a 3G link and onboard telemetry ensured plenty of stratospheric photos could be relayed back to ‘mission control’. Before the Pi travelled beyond 3G range, Pi fans were able to track the Pi Tardis via a live video stream. There’s a video of the mission on the RasPi.TV website (www.snipca.com/9270).

Turn your Pi into a Kindle

If you’re happy to ‘jailbreak’ your Kindle you can turn it into a mini computer. You’ll need a powered USB hub, a small keyboard (for setup) and a terminal emulator for the Kindle. Details on setting up USB networking and how to enable multi-user screen mode are given on this blog post titled KindleBerry Pi (www.snipca.com/9244).

Add Wi-Fi to a digital SLR camera

You can buy a camera lens to add directly to your Pi computer (www.snipca.com/9296), but some people prefer to hack their existing cameras and marry them with their Pi.

Linux developer David Hunt installed a Raspberry Pi in a camera grip and used its USB port to add a Wi-Fi dongle. This lets him back up his digital photos as he goes. He also suggests controlling the camera remotely over Wi-Fi. Instructions and a summary of what he did are available at www.snipca.com/9295.

Add Wi-Fi to a digital SLR camera

Add Wi-Fi to a digital SLR camera

Buying your first Pi

If you haven’t yet got a Raspberry Pi computer, head to Famell (http://uk.farnelI.com) or RS (http://uk.rs-onlina.com) to buy one. These official distributors are most likely to have the hard-to-find Model A. You need to spend at least $36.5 per order at Farnell to pay using a debit or credit card (rather than setting up a business account). You can also buy a Pi through Amazon. However, it costs $38.5 plus shipping, compared to the $36 with free delivery that Farnell charges.

There isn’t a big difference between the $36 256MB RAM Model A and the $51 512MB Model B. Both use a 700MHz Broadcom SoC (system on a chip) – the sort of processor that runs a smartphone and which includes a graphics chip as well as the main CPU. The Model A has a single USB port and doesn’t have an Ethernet port, so you’ll need to plug in a USB Wi-Fi dongle to get online.

Raspberry Pi's A Boards Arrive

Raspberry Pi's A Boards Arrive

We recommend you buy a powered USB hub for use with either model of Pi to use with your USB keyboard and mouse. You’ll probably want a case for your Raspberry Pi as well. Mod MyPi (www.modmypi.com) sells a range, though many people like to make their own custom cases. Connect a screen via DVI, composite video or HDMI.

You can buy Raspberry Pi kits at RS or Farnell containing many of these extras. Other items such as a webcam can be salvaged from your pile of unused PC kit or bought cheaply on eBay (www.ebay.com).

 

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