The one-time pad, familiar from a thousand spy novels, is still among the most secure possible ways to encode a message to keep it safe from prying eyes. A cipher based on truly random numbers, with the keys held only by the sending and receiving parties, is theoretically unbreakable.
And thanks to the Raspberry Pi, your messages to the Glorious Motherland can be proof against western imperialist snooping – the Pi, according to an article by Nate Drake for Techradar, is a pretty good source of randomness, and can generate its own sequences of gibberish numbers, which you can print out using an Adafruit Printer and use.
Or, if you’re feeling particularly advanced, there’s also the OneTime app from the Debian jessie repository that lets you create digital one-time pads to share among your comrades, which can be used and deleted just like physical copies. You can even send small files this way, beyond simple text messages.
Definitely something to keep in mind in case you’re worried about your messages getting read, for whatever reason. Not that you have one. Just saying. Quit looking at me like that.
And if you just want some important messages to cipher and decipher, because you don’t have enough to do? Here’s a way to get your washing machine to talk to you, again with an assist from the Raspberry Pi.
A GitHub user going by Shmoopty – who is so close to being a Seinfeld reference – has a clever way to combine a Raspberry Pi Zero with a vibration sensor to detect when the washing machine has turned off, and send you an SMS or even a tweet when the washer or the dryer start or stop. And you thought the Internet of Things was all hype.
Electronic eyes, you’ve probably heard of. Even electronic ears, OK, it’s a funny way of saying “microphone,” but it’s something that you can conceptually deal with. What about an electronic nose?
This project, backed by Atlanta-based food charity Concrete Jungle, is designed to automatically detect when fruit is ripe or spoiled. That’s useful, particularly for knowing whether trees in large, sprawling gardens are ready to be harvested, or when food stocks are no longer safe to eat. It’s less useful if you’re trying to create an android with all the senses and abilities of a human, though.
(H/T: Raspberry Pi Foundation blog)
Finally, Francesco Georg has taught a Raspberry Pi to solve Rubik’s Cubes, with assists from the Lego Mindstorms programmable robotics system and a BrickPi interface between the two devices:
Before you think “oh no! The computers can do everything we can do!” a couple things – first, computers have been able to programmatically solve Rubik’s Cubes for years, and second, you couldn’t solve a Rubik’s Cube in the first place. Give Francesco and his machine their due.