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Astro Pi: Raspberry Pi computers to voyage into space

by Mark Tyson on 11 December 2014, 11:05

Tags: Raspberry Pi Foundation

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The humble Raspberry Pi computer has been used in what already seems to be an amazingly broad range of gadgets. Developers keep on surprising us with the devices and applications they can cook up with the mini computing marvel. Today you can add two more interesting and diverse RasPi projects to that list; the Astro Pi and the Pitendo.

Pis in space

Primary and secondary school children have been invited to design apps for the Raspberry Pi, to be run in space. British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake will take Two Raspberry Pi computers to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of his 6 month mission. The Raspberry Pi blog says that both Pis will be connected to a new 'Astro Pi' board, loaded with a host of sensors and gadgets. The Pis will run the winning apps code, collect the programmed data readings and then the data will be downloaded to Earth for the winning teams.

The competition opened yesterday and the winning code will be loaded into the Raspberry Pis in orbit early next year. The school students will "devise and describe an original idea for an experiment or application which can be conducted on the Astro Pi". The two best submissions will be implemented by RasPi programmers and a class-set of these mini computers given as a prize to both winners. The top 50 entrants in each KS3, 4 and 5 category will also win their own Raspberry Pi computer and an Astro Pi sensor board (as seen in the picture below).

The Astro Pi will include the following:

  • Gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer sensor
  • Temperature sensor
  • Barometric pressure sensor
  • Humidity sensor
  • Real time clock with backup battery
  • 8×8 RGB LED display
  • Several push buttons
  • Camera module/ IR camera module

Pitendo console

This is a pocket sized version of the classic NES games console. Compared to the ambitious project above this might seem a little trivial, but it will definitely appeal to some retro gaming fans. The core of the system is, of course, a Raspberry Pi (B+) and it is available as a complete kit.

The Pitendo Ultimate kit costs $119 including the Raspberry Pi Model B+, a Pitendo case, an SD card pre-loaded with RetroPie (but no ROMS included of course), a SNES layout controller, wall wart power supply and an HDMI cable. That's everything you need except for the games. However if you already have a RasPi in your drawer, and perhaps several other of the bits above like a gamepad, power adaptor and HDMI cable, the Pitendo case is available on its own for $49.

Geek magazine suggests a free chassis alternative, for those with (access to) a 3D printer, could be the BabyNES case or the NinTastic case (below), both available as 3D print job files from the Thingiverse.



HEXUS Forums :: 1 Comment

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Nice NinTastic case , and its good to see stuff like this made with the lower quality 3d printers.