Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Foundation merges with coding club network CoderDojo

The Raspberry Pi Foundation, the organization behind the micro-computer designed as an easy point of entry for tinkerers and budding programmers, is merging with not-for-profit coding club network CoderDojo.

For the uninitiated, the Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized device that serves as the building blocks for computers, with users able to construct fully working PCs or machines that control their connected home. It has come a long way since its original launch back in 2012, with a third generation model going on sale last February for $35. The Foundation went on to sell more than 10 million of its mini computers, introduced a $130 starter kit, and recently launched a new Wi-Fi-enabled entry-level Raspberry Pi that costs $10.

Founded out of Dublin in 2011, CoderDojo is one of a number of coding club networks designed to teach young people how to code and build apps, games, websites, and more.

Though it kicked off in Ireland, CoderDojo has since gone on…

Evezor Robotic Arm Engraves 400 Coasters

When you’re running a Kickstarter for a robotic arm, you had better be ready to prove how repeatable and accurate it is. [Andrew] has done just that by laser engraving 400 wooden coasters with Evezor, his SCARA arm that runs on a Raspberry Pi computer with stepper control handled by a Smoothieboard.

Evezor is quite an amazing project: a general purpose arm which can do everything from routing circuit boards to welding given the right end-effectors. If this sounds familiar, that’s because [Andrew] gave a talk…

Converting a Retro Portable TV into a Raspberry Pi Video Game Console the Easy Way

Many people see the incredible game systems built by people like Ben Heck, with custom formed plastics and complex electrical setups, and feel like they cannot build anything as awesome as that. I hope this project shows you that you can put together something cool with minimal skills and effort.

A Home for Pi

Like so many other people out there, I have got a Raspberry Pi fully loaded with retro gaming emulators. It sits in a drawer in our TV cabinet waiting for the rare opportunity that I, or one of my sons, feels the urge to play some old games. I do not have a case for it, so I have been casually keeping an eye out for something cool looking to cram it into. I was not very interested in the Raspberry Pi specific cases. I wanted an old piece of technology that I wouldn’t mind seeing sitting on a shelf or next to the TV.

While I initially only wanted to find housing for my Raspberry Pi, I ended up shifting my plans pretty drastically when I found a Sharp 3S-111W, a small and fully portable TV. The pedestal, which houses the AC adapter, is a separate piece, and you can pop out a handle from the TV to carry it around.

I saw this and instantly knew it would make a perfect retro gaming console. The size was ideal for being able to just store on a shelf somewhere and the idea of the whole unit, display and all, being fully enclosed was appealing. This way if anyone wanted to play some Metroid, they did not need to take over the television.

The Build

If you are hoping to see some kind of complex build, this is not it. I basically just ripped the TV open, gutted…

Google AIY: Artificial Intelligence Yourself

When Amazon released the API to their voice service Alexa, they basically forced any serious players in this domain to bring their offerings out into the hacker/maker market as well. Now Google and Raspberry Pi have come together to bring us ‘Artificial Intelligence Yourself’ or AIY.

A free hardware kit made by Google was distributed with Issue 57 of the MagPi Magazine which is targeted at makers and hobbyists which you can see in the video after the break. The kit contains a Raspberry Pi Voice Hat, a microphone board, a speaker and a number of small bits to mount the kit on a Raspberry Pi 3. Putting all of it together and following the instruction on the official site gets you a Google Voice Interaction Kit with a bunch of IOs just screaming to be put to good use.

The source code for the python app can be downloaded from GitHub…

SiFive Is Bringing Open Source to the Chip Level

uses the RISC-V chip, has the same form factor as an Arduino Uno. Photo by Gareth Halfacree. Feature and banner images courtesy of SiFive

The HiFive board

There has been an upswell of interest in custom, open hardware among makers, in which community-developed and shared designs abound. The availability of low-cost development boards such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi, together with open source software, has made it easier to get started with making innovative, new hardware designs.

Read articles from the magazine right here on

However, in terms of embracing open source to achieve greater innovation and productivity, the hardware industry is still far behind software. Up until now, the open source hardware movement has been limited by the use of off-the-shelf, commercial silicon chips. These chips often include blocks that are closed source. Their programming interfaces can only be accessed under non-disclosure agreements, or by using opaque precompiled software “binary blobs” that cannot be modified or reverse engineered.

Many advanced chips are not even available to purchase in small quantities, as the vendors are only interested in supporting high-volume customers. Without access to custom silicon technology, makers and small startups are currently constrained to using off-the-shelf microprocessors combined with field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), which can be reprogrammed to emulate a custom chip design.

FPGAs, although excellent for prototyping, are too expensive and power hungry to use in large production runs. This lack of open source chips led me, along with my computer architecture research group at UC Berkeley, to develop an open source instruction set architecture (ISA). The latest version, RISC-V, allows hardware developers open access and full power over their parts — down to the level of the chip.

The chip on SiFive’s HiFive board contains the RISC-V instruction set. The creators of RISC-V founded SiFive to commercialize RISC-V designs and to grow the RISC-V ecosystem. Photo by Gareth Halfacree

Back in early 2010 at UC Berkeley, our research group was pondering which ISA to choose for our upcoming research projects. An ISA defines the set of instructions that a microprocessor understands. For example, laptop and server chips from Intel and AMD only run software encoded in the Intel x86 ISA, whereas mobile chips from Apple, Samsung, and others only run software encoded in the ARM ISA. Ideally, for our research projects, we wanted to evaluate our new processor ideas running a wide range of software. Using x86 or ARM for our projects would have seemed the obvious choice, but three big problems forced us down an alternative path.

Photo by Hep Svadja

First, both these ISAs are large and complex. The Intel x86 has its roots in the 16-bit 8086 chip, one quickly designed in ten weeks back in the late 1970s after a different, more ambitious Intel ISA was late to market. In a momentous decision, IBM chose the cheaper Intel 8088 variant of this chip for its first PC prototype and brought in third-party operating software from Microsoft. It inadvertently left the platform open for clones and enabled Intel and Microsoft to grow into industry titans on the back of the IBM PC platform’s dominance.

Flush with revenue from the PC business, Intel rapidly grew the x86 ISA, expanding from 16- to 32-bit and now 64-bit registers — all while being conscious not to sacrifice backwards compatibility with the original hastily constructed foundation. Nearly 40 years later, not even an Intel architect will claim the x86 ISA is elegant, and high-performance implementations of this baroque ISA require huge engineering resources, far beyond the reach of a small university team.

The ARM ISA, in contrast, has it roots in the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) movement pioneered by groups at IBM, Stanford University, and UC Berkeley in the early 1980s, a movement that promoted simple ISAs for high-performance implementations. “RISC” was coined by my colleague Dave Patterson to name the world’s first RISC-I and RISC-II chips that were produced in the project he led at UC Berkeley, but RISC is now used to refer…

The Raspberry Pi Becomes a SCSI Device

SCSI devices were found in hundreds of different models of computers from the 80s, from SUN boxes to cute little Macs. These hard drives and CDROMs are slowly dying, and with that goes an entire generation of technology down the drain. Currently, the best method of preserving these computers with SCSI drives is the SCSI2SD device designed by [Michael McMaster]. While this device does exactly what it says it’ll do — turn an SD card into a drive on a SCSI chain — it’s fairly expensive at $70.

[Gokhan] has a better, cheaper solution. It’s a SCSI device emulator for the Raspberry Pi. It turns a Raspberry Pi into a SCSI hard drive, magneto-optical drive, CDROM, or an Ethernet adapter using only some glue logic and a bit of code.

As far…