Review: the GrovePi+ Starter Kit

When it comes to hacking hardware there’s an easy way and there’s a hard way.

The hard way involves connecting peripherals direct to one of the standard buses supported by your Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Beaglebone or whatever. Buses like I²C, SPI, UART and 1-Wire. You’ll need to take care with your wiring: have you got the right pull-up or pull-down resistor? Is there too much capacitance in the line?

GrovePi+ Starter Kit

Dexter Industries and Seeed Studios’ GrovePi+ Starter Kit

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Review: Pimoroni/Cyntech Pibrella

There is no shortage of clip-on boards designed for the Raspberry Pi, almost all designed to make the tiny computer’s GPIO pins more accessible in order to ease the connection of devices to it, particularly ones that operate at voltages that are not Pi friendly.

Pibrella

Electronics kit: Pimoroni/Cyntech Pibtrella

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How to build your own Apple iBeacon… with a Raspberry Pi

US department store Macy’s recently said it is implementing iPhone-based tracking tech the better to encourage browsing punters to buy. Of course, Macy has chosen to pitch this as an Apple technology – figuring, presumably, iPhone owners are more receptive to inducements delivered through technology and have more cash to splash than Android fans.

But the fact is, the system Apple calls iBeacon simply makes use of features already part of the Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) spec.

This got me thinking: how difficult would it be to build a similar system of my own? Not very hard at all, it turns out. Choose the right kit and it can be quite cheap too. I created my beacon using a £30 Raspberry Pi and a £12 Bluetooth 4.0 USB dongle.

A Pi's UART pins, connected

Can this operate as an Apple iBeacon? Yes it can

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How to program the Pebble smartwatch: Part 3

Update Pebble has released version 2 of its OS and this invalidates much of what follows, which was written for an earlier version of the OS.

As it stands, the app I created in Part 2 appears in the Pebble’s menu simply as a name, Ball, which is entered into the boilerplate PBL_APP_INFO created by the SDK’s create_pebble_project.py script. This also sets the app’s unique UUID, which you’ll see at the top of the file. You can also modify this to set the app’s version number and to add your name as author. But what’s really needed is a menu icon, and you can add one by editing the resource_map.json created for you in the /resources/src folder within the project folder.

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How to program the Pebble smartwatch: Part 2

Update Pebble has released version 2 of its OS and this invalidates much of what follows, which was written for an earlier version of the OS.

In Part 1 we got our basic Pebble app up and running, but it doesn’t do very much. Let’s add some user interaction.

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How to program the Pebble smartwatch: Part 1

Update Pebble has released version 2 of its OS and this invalidates much of what follows, which was written for an earlier version of the OS.

Pebble didn’t invent the smartwatch, but it has done more than most to bring this new product category to the attention of the world, largely thanks to its hugely successful and well-reported Kickstarter funding campaign.

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