Raspberry Pi Challenge Update

Eric

Previously on The Raspberry Pi Challenge

Just a quick update on the “Milwaukee Makerspace Traveling Mascot” project as I caught Eric doing a bit of Raspberry Pi + GPS hacking last night.

Raspberry PI + GPS

I’m excited to see how this project progresses. I’ve not had a chance to get hands-on with the Adafruit Ultimate GPS Breakout yet, but there’s a great tutorial on using it with a Raspberry Pi and one that covers Arduino usage as well.

Pegman Vacation Pics

Google Streetview’s “Pegman” travels the world posting pics of cities and their streets, but never of himself… these are the albums of his personal vacation pics.

Picture

I finally completed building the wood version of this little guy (~11″). The wood I used was just some scraps around the shop and, unfortunately, is out of some pretty soft stuff at that. Poor guy is already suffering from some dents and is only a week or two old. Since we added a Aluminum Casting Night at the space, the next build will be slightly smaller and much tougher. End goal is to make a tough portable version to pack away on trips to rival the overdone Amelie traveling Gnome.

Android Blue or iOS Purple? Update on the OOMA project

The Object Of My Affection Lamp   I thought I would jump in and blog on my current progress at the Makerspace with a lamp called OOMA, or The Object Of My Affection. It’s a lamp that is shaped like a GPS Navigation pin that rotates to always points toward the one you love… as long as they allow you access to their Google Latitude account :). I am finalizing hardware designs and now moving into writing the software and how it talks to the Internet.

Initially I would have waived it off as using WiFi, or Ethernet, but work on another project (Marco) has illuminated several obstacles over multiple use cases (configuring Wi-Fi, closed networks, IP addresses); instead I think the approach will be to opt over USB (via Arduino Leonardo). I figure, if people will load up a coffee cup heater or foam missile launcher to USB, than there is no issue with port scarcity.

It’s not a lamp without light, and at some point OOMA will light up in either Android Blue, or iPhone Purple. Lighting the lamp will, however, have to relegated to a v.2 build, due to some complexity in the diffusion of light in such a cramped space. Additionally, I’d like to investigate EL panels to light it up.

Finally, I am coming up on the decision to be a DIY offering, or to design it to be marketable - do I build as a one off and just offer the blueprints to others or build an end-to-end consumer solution complete with potentially an NFC tag to tap and pair a user and their lamp.

Adding NFC to a photo to share the experience

I ordered a bag of some NFC tags to play around with allowing objects to tell more of a story. I placed one behind a wedding gift from close friends on our wedding day in Copenhagen. I programmed the NFC tag to invoke Google Street view and thru the device the user is able to see exactly what we saw, in the exact location where the photo was taken. It definitely added a new layer of depth to the photo and allowed others to share in our experience.

Here is a quick video of this NFC tag works with an NFC enabled smart phone (Google Nexus S)

DIY Plug-In Hybrid Car

Two summers ago, I built my own electric car. It’s a conversion of a ’96 Geo Metro from gas to electric. While I experimented with several different voltages, in the end I went with a simple 72V battery pack. Overall, it’s great, other than a rather short range.

Recently, I started finding that I was doing a lot of travel JUST A LITTLE FARTHER then I could go on a charge. One of the friends at the Makerspace had a propane generator kicking around, and said I could have it if I could fix it.

Hmmm…. Plug-In Serial Hybrid anyone?

Click the “read more” below for the rest of the story, including videos

Essentially, I fixed up the generator and mounted it, a fuel tank, and the battery charger in the cargo area of the car.
The generator makes electricity, and the charger pushes it to the batteries. The charger can NOT put out as much power as the car uses on cruising, so it’s NOT and “infinate range extender” the way the Chevy Volt is. Instead, it simply extends the range of the electric car by having the batteries deplete more slowly.

Here’s an overview video.

I made several videos as I was working on the project, and I think they explain everything better than I could explain by text.

Here are a few of those videos in chronological order.

And if those videos aren’t enough for you, check out my DIY instructions over at http://www.instructables.com/id/DIY-Plug-In-Hybrid-Car/