It's a Big World

Welcome to this issue of Raspberry Pi Geek!

Welcome to this issue of Raspberry Pi Geek, where we connect small-board computers (SBCs) to the world outside with sensors, Android GUIs, servers, and even a Scratch chat program.

The ever-useful I2C port figures in a couple of articles that keep you abreast of what is going on around you. A lightning detector is not only interesting to deploy, but it could help keep your electronics safe. In another article, the Raspberry Pi teams up with a temperature sensor chip to monitor temperature and turn a fan on and off. Outside the I2C port, XBee modules create a distributed wireless sensor network that reports back to a Raspberry Pi.

If you want to interact with your Rasp Pi through your Android cellphone or tablet, we have two articles that can help. In one article, the WebSocket protocol, which lets you set up communications over TCP, is used to create a Raspberry Pi server and an Android client. If you want to bypass the coding, on the other hand, you can drag-and-drop to create a mobile interface that communicates with your SBC using the Blynk platform.

Kids can look forward to creating a chat program with a "secret feature" called Mesh, and a Scratch-based programming language called Enchanting simplifies the control of Lego NXT robots and Lego guitars. If you're a budding Olympic sprinter, get out your littleBits and create a sprint timer you can use to chart the improvements in your running speed.

We also review some recent hardware releases. The BPi-R1 is a Banana Pi-based router-server with WiFi and an external hard drive SATA port, whereas the WiFi-enabled VoCore SBC is one square inch of computer that could have a number of wearable or embedded applications. One piece of hardware that might come in handy on those complex projects is an oscilloscope. We look at ways to use this equipment to debug your creations when they aren't working quite right.

Other projects demonstrate how to use the CherryPy Python module to create an interactive Poker game, and closer to home, an intelligent Rasp Pi alarm wakes you up gently with a tune of your choice and soft lighting simulating a sunrise.

When you're working with your small-board computer, don't forget to reach out to that great big world outside by monitoring your environment, collecting data, and communicating.

Rita L Sooby Managing Editor

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