Welcome

It is rumored that Thomas Edison tested thousands of filaments for an incandescent lamp before he produced the first commercially viable electric light bulb, and I imagine his is not a unique experience. Building mock-ups and working models exposes the weaknesses and strengths of a design, which prepares you to make a better version, then a better version, until you have found the right combination of materials, components, configuration, and cost.

It is rumored that Thomas Edison tested thousands of filaments for an incandescent lamp before he produced the first commercially viable electric light bulb, and I imagine his is not a unique experience. Building mock-ups and working models exposes the weaknesses and strengths of a design, which prepares you to make a better version, then a better version, until you have found the right combination of materials, components, configuration, and cost.

You'll see several projects in Raspberry Pi Geek, sleek and beautiful, rough and cobbled together, finished, and in progress. However, you can bet those elegant 3D-printed projects made with robust materials didn't look that way in the first few attempts. A project with any amount of complexity moves from mock-up to proof of concept to prototype to final product.

Speaking of prototypes, check out SwitchDoc Labs, where John Shovic talks about the Grove system, a collection of standardized connectors and devices that allow you to create no-solder, rapid-prototype projects. A different project tasks a group of students to collect and analyze bike data using various sensors, and yet another project, which takes place on water instead of land, combines GPS, OpenCPN navigation software, and free digital maritime maps to produce a Raspberry Pi boat navigation system.

Our authors look at some useful products, such as the BlinkStick boards of RGB LEDs, the Arduino 101 with on-board gyroscope, the Weaved service, which provides external access over the Internet to a Raspberry Pi running on a home network, and the Q4OS slim Debian derivative that delivers a fast desktop system with low hardware requirements.

Our Kid Stop section shows you how to apply graphical effects to an image in Scratch, how to combine an Arduino and FM receiver chip to play your favorite radio stations, and how to build an automatic pet feeder.

If you have a tiny touchscreen to go with your Rasp Pi, we tell you how to use it with the Processing language. Also in this issue, a solar-powered rover gets a Raspberry Pi camera and some diagnostic code for the I2C system. Finally, if you're approaching the final stages of your project, you can find out how to set it up to send to a 3D printing service.

Don't be intimidated. Go ahead a make that ugly duckling project with whatever you have on hand. It might not look pretty when you first design and test it, but you're just at the first step in building something that you hope will be useful, whether for yourself or for others who have a need for the same solution. That ugly duckling might just turn into a beautiful swan.

Rita L Sooby Managing Editor

 

Just before we went to press, the Raspberry Pi 3 was released. It comes with a 1.2GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU – about 10 times the performance of the Raspberry Pi 1 – along with integrated 802.11n wireless and Bluetooth 4.1. Based on the new BCM2837 system on a chip (SoC), this new small-board computer is nevertheless backward compatible with Raspberry Pi 1 and 2. See the News section for more information; I'm sure you'll be hearing more about it in Raspberry Pi Geek.

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