The tiny Raspberry Pi computer can power many cool DIY projects. Photo: Lucasbosch/Wikimedia CC
The credit-card-size Raspberry Pi has taken the tech world by storm. Thousands of geeky kids and adults use the tiny, low-cost computer boards to learn about coding and create fun projects like motion detectors, birdhouses that tweet when birds are present, and mini weather stations.
You, too, can use this sweet little nerdy device to reproduce some of the cool things your Mac can do, without dedicating your entire computer to the project. Let’s take a look at what kinds of things might be interesting to an Apple fan with a new $35 Raspberry Pi 2.
The Millennium Falcon makes a great DJ turntable. Photo: Marco at Picotek
You may may never be able to listen to Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes live in the Star Wars cantina for yourself, but here’s the next best thing: a turntable modeled after Han Solo’s famous parsec-shattering ship, the Millennium Falcon.
This glow-in-the-dark sword can vanquish any unsecured Wi-Fi access point. Photo: Cult of Mac
Never able to find an open Wi-Fi signal when you need one? Maybe you should carry around this sword. Modeled after Frodo’s weapon in The Lord of the Rings, it glows when it’s within range of open Wi-Fi.
This M&M’s-sorting machine is powered with an iPhone. Photo: Cult of Mac
Let’s face it. Deep in our hearts, we all know some colored M&M’s taste better than others. For me, it’s the red and green ones; for my wife, it’s the brown and orange ones. And Van Halen famously stipulated in all its contracts that the band should never be served any brown M&M’s, requiring some lowly stagehand to pick them all out by hand from a bowl before every show.
These days, things would be easier. Case in point: This simple machine, which was custom-rigged out of just an iPhone and an Arduino to individually sort M&M’s by color, no human intervention required.
Mat Brown mixed glow-in-the-dark pigment with resin to fill in the cracks on this shelf. Photo: Mat Brown
Jewelry maker Mat Brown is getting married, and the romantic in him is hard at work creating wedding rings out of an alloy of silver and gold called electrum.
But on the practical side of sharing a life, Brown recently created space in his kitchen with shelves as unique as his jewelry: Brown used a glow-in-the-dark resin to fill in cracks in the wooden shelves, and happily shared the luminescent process and result on his blog.
Have you switched over to an iPhone full-time for your photography, and yet you desperately miss your Lensbaby or other tilt-shift lens setup? Then take a look at this great DIY project from Maciej Pietuszynski that turns an old CCTV lens into a grungifying lens for any smartphone.
Messy but effective. Photo credit Michael Amos/Flickr
Ever used your iPhone to take a photo through the viewfinder of your camera? Or tried to line up the iPhone’s lens with one half of a pair of binoculars? Then you’ll know how hard it is to get a good result. But if you’re willing to sacrifice an old iPhone case and pony up a few dollars for an SLR eyepiece, then you can make an adapter that’ll get you great Instagrammatical pictures every time.
There’s one great feature of the Lightning cable that I didn’t notice until just now: Its thinness compared to the old 30-pin plug means that it’s a lot easier to squeeze through small holes. And that in turn makes custom docks a simple, Dremel-free experience.
Take a look around you and see if there’s anything that could be improved by running a little cable through a hole in the top. That’s just what the folks at Photojojo did, and — almost inevitably — their eyes rested on a vintage film camera.