Raspberry Pi Zero Projects: Xbox Controller, R2-D2, Beetbox And More


The year 2015 has been a great year for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, with a number of projects based on the group's low-cost designs receiving a considerable amount of attention from the public in the past months.

Last month, the foundation was able to sell 20,000 units of its latest creation, the Raspberry Pi Zero, in just less than 24 hours. It's not a bad deal for a mini programmable computer valued at only $5.

Stocks of the low-cost computer, however, quickly ran out, disappointing many fans and causing some to re-sell their units through eBay at jacked up prices.

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has asked fans of the Pi Zero to hold off their purchase of the computers on eBay as the group is already making plans to offer more units at the regular price of $5 each.

As the public waits for the next batch of Pi zeroes to be rolled out, here are some ingenious works of budding programmers using the Raspberry Pi computers.

Raspberry Pi Zero R2-D2

Self-confessed "Star Wars" fan Les Pounder created his own version of the popular droid R2-D2 using a store-bought toy, an Explorer pHAT board and a Raspberry Pi Zero computer.

Pounder gave his Pi Zero R2-D2 mobility by attaching two micro gear metal motors and two wheels to the Star Wars toy. He then connected the motors to the Explorer pHAT board to make them move and added Raspberry Pi Zero board to help control the droid.

To create the program for his R2-D2, Pounder also made use of the latest version of the Raspbian operating system.

The result is a functional "Star Wars" droid capable of moving around using Pounder's codes.

Xbox Zero

To show that the Pi Zero can also be used in developing video game programs, Terence Eden combined the low-cost computer board with the emulation software known as the RetroPie.

First, Eden had to convert his old Xbox controller into one that he can use for the Pi Zero emulator. He rewired the controller so that it could take in the new board, which was made easier because of the Pi Zero's relatively small size.

He also replaced the controller's original Xbox plug with a USB OTG cable to fit the Pi Zero emulator. The new game controller receives its power through an HDMI connected to the board.

For the video game, Eden added a microSD loaded with a pre-built image of Doom from RetroPie.

Raspberry Pi Multi-Room Music Player

If you're looking to have a multi-room music player at home without having to shell out hundreds of dollars, you can take inspiration from what one Instructables user was able to create using a Raspberry Pi board.

Jezsinglespeed built a DIY music player system for four rooms by combining a Raspberry Pi B+ desktop with a Creative Sound Blaster iTunes wireless music streamer and Creative Sound Blaster wireless transmitter

The BeetBox

BeetBox from Scott Garner on Vimeo.

Artist Scott Garner discovered an ingenious way to convert a wooden case filled with beets into an interactive drum kit. He attached a capacitive touch sensor to an amp inside the box through the help of a Raspberry Pi board.

Whenever someone taps a beet, the sensor sends a signal to the amp, which in turn produces a corresponding beat much like a real set of drums.

Pi in the Sky

While balloon enthusiast Dave Akerman is no rookie when it comes to sending high altitude balloons into near space for scientific research, his work using a Raspberry Pi board was the first time he was able to capture live Slow Scan Digital Video (SSDV) images on one of his endeavors.

Akerman fitted his weather balloon with the Pi computer attached to a webcam and sent it near space. It travelled for about 34 kilometers (21 miles) and went through temperatures of around -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) and 1 percent atmosphere.

By the time it descended, the balloon was able to collect valuable data and record good quality images for Akerman.

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