Harry Potter-related Raspberry Pi creations have made it into the august pages of this notionally weekly roundup in the past, but this, I’m pleased to say, is easily the coolest such entry.
A delightfully insane man named Allen, who does a lot of this kind of thing, has rigged together a Raspberry Pi, an Arduino, IR blasters and – gulp – electronic muscle-clenching nerve stimulator gizmos called tens units to create a sort of Harry Potter laser tag setup for magical dueling. You really do have to see this.
I mean – is that crazy or what? Google speech recognition processes you saying “expelliarmus,” it sends a signal to an IR blaster, and the rig at the other end reads the IR signals and makes your opponent’s hand cramp up like they’d been hit with the spell.
It doesn’t seem like it’s bug-free or anything – nor that it’s going to be a commercial product any time soon – but the WANDS look like a ton of fun.
The Matrix Voice is an add-on board for the Raspberry Pi 3 that looks kind of like a pack of birth control pills and adds Alexa functionality to everybody’s favorite hobbyist computer. Basically, it’s your own DIY Alexa, except that you can create all sorts of custom commands and tie it into a lot of different systems.
It’ll set you back about $55 and doesn’t ship until May, but if you’re a home automation enthusiast, this is one you won’t want to miss out on.
The first thing to note about the Zero Terminal, created by a clever person who goes by N O D E, is that it’s definitely not a smartphone, even if it kind of looks like one. It’s a fully functional Linux terminal, mating a Raspberry Pi Zero W to an iPhone 5 sliding keyboard case and a 480x320 PiTFT screen. It’s got a standard USB port, a micro USB port for charging, Wi-Fi, and mini HDMI.
Sure, most of us have considerably more powerful computers in our pockets these days, but smartphones come with a lot of restrictions on what they can do thanks to their operating systems. The Zero Terminal is a regular, all-in-one Linux computer in a form factor the size of an iPhone, which offers a lot more flexibility than even rooted phones.
Android support has been something Raspberry Pi enthusiasts have been interested in for a while, and there are plenty of examples of Google’s open-source mobile OS working on various Pi-based devices.
So it’ll likely be disappointing for some that Android Things – Google’s IoT-centered set of support libraries – won’t work on Raspberry Pi, since the ARMv6-based chipsets that power the Pi aren’t supported by Android Things.
It’s not a huge issue, Raspberry Pi creator Eben Upton told IDG News Service, but it’s one that he’d like to see changed in the near future.
“We’re hopeful that in time Google will resuscitate the ARMv6 support in Android to allow Things to run on Zero W,” he said.