Piduino Pan Cam

part eight: Piduino Lives!: August 13

This week was a blur of doing and undoing, thinking and rethinking as I attempted to connect a 320 x 240, 2.8″ TFT capacitive touchscreen to my Raspberry Pi/Arduino setup. The great thing about ordering components from a business like Adafruit is their robust how-to library.


Solid instructions aside, I still spent a considerable amount of time soldering this little beauty and getting everything to talk to each other.


I also spent some time connecting an analog sensor, creating a housing for the camera and proto boards. Because I want to try as many different implementations as I can, I decide to utilize some Lego bricks we have lying around to quickly create some variations.

One of the concepts that didn’t quite make the cut features a 5V motor which advances a conveyor belt. While I loved this idea, the belt could not support the camera weight.


You can see it in action: here

With the conveyor belt set aside (but not forgotten), I decided to go a different route – one which still allowed the camera to move. Reusing the 5V motor, I create a housing for the camera that allows it to sit on the motor’s pin and, when the motor runs, rotates in (an almost) full circle before returning to it’s starting location, capturing video as it goes:


See the Piduino Pan Cam in action: here

It’s really rewarding to see the camera spin around and gather its first live feed, but it’s clear the project still has a way to go.

part seven: Piduino: August 10

In an effort to learn more about the ways a Raspberry Pi can work with connected microprocessors, I followed this really easy-to-follow tutorial. My python code matches up exactly with this example as of now with the following exception: I increased a timer from 1 second to 5 seconds. This provides the DC motor enough time to run before notifying the Raspberry Pi. The Arduino code at this point is taking care of the motor and sensor. I also modified some code from Adafruit rather than use the built in Stepper.h Library.

Next week I’ll try to get the camera on the Pi hooked up to the motor and recording video once the flex sensor reaches a certain threshold.


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part six: Get your motor runnin’: August 2

Stepper motor has arrived! So to test it out, I followed along with the Adafruit tutorial for this exact motor.

I ran a quick test to make sure the motor worked, and yes, it did.
The other fun bit about this week was getting to play with a MakerBot Replicator 2 to create a Pi-camera case.

The more you know moment of my day:


part five: RC car breakdown: July 26

This week while i’m waiting on my new motor and driver bits and PI shield to show up I thought it might be fun to break apart an old RC car that one of my dogs is obsessed with.


This was pretty much the face that stared at me the entire time I worked on his car. I’m not sure if this is his mad or sad face. It’s still cute though.

Worried look

Beyond that, I did a little bit of software exploration on the Pi. Depending on your preferences I was thinking an option to save out video rather than just streaming might be useful with the camera.

Dropbox has a really easy to use API and lots of useful tools have been created to work with it. I liked it took only a few minutes to get this loaded on the PI. After a few more minutes of tweaking I was sending images from the PI directly to a Dropbox folder.


part four: exploring the raspberry pi: July 19

I have to say, I love the fact that I can just swap an OS out on the Raspberry Pi so easily, so today I did just that. I loaded up a different SD card with Raspbian and had it running right quick. I haven’t decided which OS I prefer as of yet, but the Raspbian is pretty easy to get along with. I added in the Pi Noir camera module and followed along with to create a little streaming video.

The quality on the stream is a little less than I was hoping for. When I have some more time I’ll play with the settings and see what can be done about that.

Waiting on a few parts like a reduction stepper motor, cobbler breakout, & a motor driver. I’ll update more when they arrive!

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part three: checking out raspberry pi: July 13

So, I’ve started playing around with Raspberry Pi for the first time. It is easy to see the allure of prototyping on the Arduino, after just a few hours of playing with the Raspberry Pi. The nice thing about the Pi is all the baked in goodies, and possibilities!

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I chose the Arch Linux platform partly because of its minimalist nature, and partly down to suggestions from other geeks! Besides, who doesn’t like the the idea of the Arch Way.

After picking the OS and getting installed on the SD card, I updated the firmware via pacman.. just in case!

I started out with a hard-wired internet connection, to make all this easier. Once I had a few things updated, I went to check out the datasheet on my WiFi dongle EW-7811Un and surfed around a bit for info on getting the drivers on to work. I came across and tried the suggested pacman -Sy dkms-8192cu to get the divers installed. Bingo-bango, WiFi is up and running!

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I also spent a little time this week playing around some more with my little Hall Effect Arduino project. I wanted to make it playful so i hooked everything up to a remote control jeep!

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I also did a bit of soldering practice this week, but my coffee addiction makes steady hands and good solders difficult.

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I’m not sure I could survive without coffee so I’ll just have to live with chunky connections!

part looking at other projects: July 10

Even when we fail at something, we still learn!

part two: pressure sensor with conductive thread: July 6

Version one of my neoprene pressure sensor constructed with stainless steel conductive thread, felt, and metal rivets.


Attaching the pieces so they don’t shift once I close up the sensor.


I might need to get some stronger glasses…


The hole in the middle felt piece allows the conductive thread to touch when pressed.

Checking to make sure the sensor works!

part two: Arduino Variations

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This little Arduino project tracks the steps taken via a magnetic sensor.

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Playing around with various outputs, this version has 8 LEDs that light up based on the tempo of the steps.

Next week I’ll try to iterate the pressure sensor and incorporate it into a different project.

part one: conductive thread.


Over the next few weeks, I will be working on a new wearable project.  The first part of my project will be incorporating  pressure sensitive fabrics with a micro-controller.   I will post more pictures and details here as the project moves forward.

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