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raspberry pi kids ideas

Raspberry Pi Projects to do With Your kids

Raspberry Pi Projects to do With Your Child

Eben Upton co-creator of the Raspberry pi, was thinking to himself that they would sell only about 1,000 and if things went too well, 10,000 pieces when they were creating the supercomputer. He could never have been so wrong. The community loved the idea. When the Raspberry pi model B was first launched, 100,000 units were sold in the very first day.

About two years later after the idea went big and into the market, over 2.5million pieces have been sold. This is great for a computer that has a 512Mb of Ram, 700MHz ARM11 chip and only needs an SD to act as storage. It may not sound as much but the computer with the size of a credit card has over the years been used in tablets, servers, smart phones and even smart glasses. This is however only the tip of the iceberg. The Raspberry pi can be used to make countless products. However, the question that most parents have is what their kids can do with the Raspberry pi. Well, read onto see some of the projects that your child with your help can work on.

The first project that you could work on is a door answering system. Most old people as well as disabled people do not have the ability to answer their own doors. When left alone in the house, this can prove to be a real challenge. However, with the Raspberry pi, this can be solved. A system that has a wireless keypad on the neck of the old or disabled person can be made which enables them to answer the door from any part of the house. With the key, they can as well as send a message to the guest and even unlock the door for them. You can also incorporate a system that will allow someone at the other end to key and code and gain access to the house.

Most schools tend to have competitions that most of the times include races. For such competitions however, the major challenge comes when you are timing the runners. Getting an accurate time is difficult especially for runners who cross the finish line neck to neck. You can work on a device that makes the process of obtaining this data easier. Build a device that requires a runner to tap the device with a tag which in turn logs their time and uploads it to a website where it is available to the public to view. This may even generate friendly competitions among the runners.

A pill dispenser is also another project that your child can work on. If you have at one point been put under medication for a particular illness, then you probably know how tasking it is to keep track of the tm end the number of pills that you are meant to take at a stipulated time. This can be especially problematic for the sick elderly citizens. An automated pill dispenser will make the management of medicine way easier. The Raspberry dispenser can be programmed to administer the drugs at the specified dosage and at the correct times of the day or night. You can even add a functionality that senses that the drugs have not been taken once dispensed by alerting another family member.

Children tend to be traumatized by events such as burglary or any other scary events that happen around them. To help protect your child against such an experience, you could work on a system that deters the burglars from coming into your home. The simplest way to do this is making the lights switch on and off throughout the night at intervals fooling the thieves. This can be made by a Raspberry pi.

You can even help your child make something more challenging. With the current industrialization that is going on all over the world, the weather and the climate have become less predictable than before. As a result, people can never be too sure when to carry an umbrella and when not to. Helping your child, you could build a Raspberry Pi device that records the air quality through several sensors and upload the information to the internet. Here it can be viewed via the smart phones, tablets or even Pc’s. The device should be able to measure humidity, smoke, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.

These projects will require you to help the child along the way and help him/her have fun along the way.

Raspberry Pi Resources

If you reside in the UK you can find the perfect basic Raspberry Pi starter kit cheap as chips at Amazon

A book (aimed at adults ,or extremely tech-savvy kids) to cover all your Raspberry Pi Project needs is …

 

For USA residents…

There are 9 interesting projects in this book, which makes coding for kids super cool and easy!

 

kanoreview.com Learn how the Kano (a DIY computer kit), using the Raspberry Pi can turn anyone into a computer maker!

www.kano.me The home of the Kano Computer kit

Adafruit.com  has pages of projects, guides and ideas for you to get stuck into.

www.raspberrypi.org had tonnes of free resources and the most incredible new projects

Smart Watches – The Future of Mobile

The era of hand-helds when it comes to mobile computing may be near its end thanks to the invention of smart watches. The trend, it seems, is leaning towards “wearables” or devices that you can actually wear and not only bring with you. The smart watch also signals a new era in the history of the wrist watch. Gone are the days when the wrist watch is just a device that can tell the time. It can now do many things. There are wrist watches that can tell the temperature and give an altitude and barometer reading. Then there are also watches that can monitor your heart rate. With the development of smart watches though, the wrist watch seems to have reached a whole new and exciting evolutionary stage, one that will surely change the way we view watches and mobile computing devices.

 

The origin of the smart watch

 

Many people do not know about it but the idea behind the smart watch has been brewing since the 1970s. During that era, the Hamilton Watch Company which was based in the United States was able to develop the “Pulsar” watch. Many experts consider this invention as the precursor of the smart watches of today. But if one is really going to be strict about it, the smart watch is nothing but an offshoot of the smart phone. Therefore, the real smart watches could not have been invented before the development of the first smart phone.

 

Operating system

 

Then you would have to ask, “What makes a smart phone smart?” We consider some people smart because of their minds. For gadgets such as phones, the equivalent of the mind is the operating system. Currently, there are two mobile operating systems that matter, Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. So if you will ask the opinion of some experts, only watches running on iOS or Android or at least a device that could integrate with either OS can be truly considered as smart watches. The first device that bear the name smart watch is the Sony Smart Watch.” Though it could integrate with Sony phones that run on Android, it has its own operating system. The first watch to have an Android operating system is the Samsung Gear. A limitation though of the Gear is the fact that, so far, it only works with Samsung Galaxy devices.

smart watches

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Small chips

 

Can you imagine wearing your 5 inch smart phone on your wrist? It would be awkward and cumbersome right? The development of the smart phone would not have been possible without developments in hardware technology that allowed the assembly of small computer chips. In fact, all wearable devices would not have been a reality if small computer chips were not invented. Google Glass, the wearable Internet-enabled camera from the world’s biggest tech company, also owes its existence to the development of small computer chips.

 

Next gen smart watch

 

Speaking of Google, the company’s affiliate Motorola is coming out with smart watch called the Moto 360. Unlike its predecessors, the Moto 360 will be an analogue watch with a digital twist. It promises to be more stylish than its predecessors with its elegant face and changeable leather bands. Looks is not the only thing going for the Moto 360. It also promises to be feature-packed. It can be operated with subtle hand movements and voice. And because it is from Google, you can expect it to have the latest Android flavor. The Moto 360 is expected to be released this summer.

smart watch

Moto 360 Smart Watch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Competition

Another company though is planning to release a stylish analogue smart watch. Box Clever is coming out with its own wearable device called ths Span. Released pictures of the Span shows a beautiful black watch with a round face. Across the face is a black band where the unobtrusive OLED screen is located. With the Span, you get all the things that you expect from a smart watch. But the major advantage of the Span though lies in its looks. Not only is it the most beautiful smart watch, it can even rival some of the most elegant watches in the market.

smart watches

Span Smart Watch

 

 

 

 

 

It is expected that in the coming months or years, more and more companies will be having their own versions of the smart watch. It seems that we are in for some exciting times ahead.

smart robotic automated sprinkler

The Smart Reliable Automatic Robotic Sprinkler

The New Droplet is the Most Reliable Automatic Robotic Sprinkler on the Market

We all have good intentions when it comes to planting our gardens in the springtime, it’s when we realize all the work that must be done to care for it properly where the trouble comes in. Now a new product called the Droplet hopes to take care of all your watering needs.

The Droplet combines robotics, cloud computing, and satellite connected services to access real-time data from a network of over 10,000 weather stations comprehensive biological plant information, and millions of square miles of United States soil samples. Using this load of information, the Droplet is able to determine when, where, and precisely how much water to disperse – and then deliver it at the appropriate angle, making it a very smart gadget. Not only will this product save your valuable time, but it will also save you a considerable amount of money on plants and by conserving water.

Setup:

Setting up the Droplet is a snap and the whole system can be ready to go in under five minutes. All you need to do is connect your garden hose to the Droplet, turn on the power, and then connect the system to your existing Wi-Fi network and Smartphone. Then all you so is add the pertinent information regarding the types of plant you have and where they are located and it’s ready to use! Of course you will need to input the types of plants you have and where they are located in your yard. The whole system is configured through your Smartphone, a tablet, or by visiting the Droplet company website.

Range:

The Droplet Company claims that the reliable automatic sprinkler can water any number of plants, and is only limited by the amount you choose to enter in to the system. It’s also worth mentioning that the Droplet can be used to water entire lawns as well. Water range is as follows:

For Normal Watering:

30 feet, or 2,700 square feet

For High-Pressure Watering:

50 feet, or 9,000 square feet

For Agricultural Watering:

Several hundred feet

So start conserving water and saving money today and let this incredibly smart device do the watering on your property while you concentrate on more important things.

Available for pre-order at Amazon

What is the Raspberry Pi and What Can I use it for?

What is the Raspberry Pi and What Can I use it for?

 

The Raspberry Pi is an exceptionally affordable computer which is around the size of a credit card. These innovative little machines were first introduced to the public in 2011 when the manufacturers auctioned the first batch of Beta models on Ebay.

 

Originally designed as an aid to help students in schools learn more about computer technology they’ve since gone mainstream and the company responsible for them is a registered charity…so they’re not only brilliant but altruistic! The computer is powerful for it’s size but if can be made more powerful by overclocking which is not something most computer manufacturers recommend but which the Raspberry Pi Foundation knows people will try anyway…that’s why their website actually offers advice on how best to achieve it!

 

Overclocking could be a great way to prepare your Raspberry Pi for use in your smart home…it’s such a versatile device that you can use it to do all kinds of nifty things in the home…synching your music and your Christmas lights for instance! There is advice on how to achieve this online.

 

Another handy trick which the Pi can help you with is that of telling you’re the exact temperature in your home at any one time. For homes without a thermostat this is brilliant and the equipment (a cheap sensor) is only a few pounds to purchase.

 

Perhaps one of the most useful tricks which the Raspberry Pi can perform is that of turning into a control panel for any device which you may have in your home that works on AC power such as your lighting system…this means that essentially you can pre-programme your lights to come on at certain times of the day! This would be very useful for those who are not physically mobile or for times when you may be away and want the house to appear occupied.

 

Not only is the Raspberry Pi a very powerful little device considering it’s size but it’s also alarmingly simple to increase the power simply by connecting it to another computer…you could create a super power if you were so inclined; as a computer it’s small in stature but not in capability…just take a look around the internet to learn more about those who have tried this.

 

Raspberry Pi is such a clever and versatile device and so new that it’s possible that more discoveries will be made regarding its capabilities…some people are already using it to construct simple robotic arms in their own homes and it can be converted into a basic tablet, a camera and even a digital photo frame with relative ease. For those who are not as computer literate as others but who have an interest in the subject, the Raspberry Pi is a great place to start to learn more…after all these devices were created for educations purposes and they’re definitely fulfilling their part in that plan!

 

The Raspberry Pi is a great buy, not only for hobbyists but also anyone interested in a smart house and organising things to work in just the way they want them to be!

You can buy the basic starter kit for $49.95 at Amazon

smart house devices raspberry pi

 

 

The Best Locator/Tracking Devices-Kids Safety

The Best Locator/Tracking Devices-Kids Safety

Here is a summary of the top three Children’s locator/ tracking devices available

First up is the well-known and well-rated…

Guardian Angel Child Tracker/Locator

Child tracking gps

A perfect device for days trips to the beach, zoo or even the mall. The cute design appeals to younger children and for a parent or carer of more than one child under 7 the Guardian Angel Tracker is a godsend.

Comes with up to 4 tags in the shape of different coloured ladybirds, and a master unit.

Both the master unit and ladybirds beep when the child wanders out of the parent set perimeter. The master unit also vibrates and plays a melody to ensure it gets your attention. The 4 LED lights indicate in which direction your child has strayed.

At around $72 this device is a steal! (click on the image to find stockists)

 

Next up is the PocketFinder Personal GPS Locator

personal gps locator tracker

 

The PocketFinder is a small, neat and unobtrusive little device that works worldwide.

You can manage multiple devices on a single account and is great for keeping track of children, elderly or luggage for example. This can be used in a car and keeps track of speeds too.

You can set a zone that when reached or crossed sends alerts to your PC or Mobile with a free mobile app.

 

Battery life is 1-5 days so is somewhat limited, but for the price of $93; and as with all GPS locators, a monthly service plan (£12.95 for the PocketFinder) this is great just for day trips, the daily commute to school, or a flight for example where you can charge it on its base at the end of the day.

The HereO tracking watch

HereO kids gps tracking watch

Soon to hit the market is the HereO. The world’s smallest connected- tracking device. This trendy and conmortable watch has been three years in the making and is sure to become very big news. It not only looks cool, but it IS cool!

This waterproof device has up to 50 hours between charges. One app works for the entire family enabling each member to share their location by simply using the app, or ‘checking-in’ to a specific location.

A virtual fence can be set around certain areas, home, school or work say with the parent notified when someone arrives or leaves that location.

Available for pre-order here: http://www.hereofamily.com/

 

child locator GPA tracker

Locator/Tracker Devices..Keeping Children Safe

Locator/Tracker Devices..Keeping Children Safe

Most of us are familiar with GPS navigation, and understand that our smart phones know where we are at all times (even if that knowledge makes us a little nervous sometimes). A lot of us don’t know exactly how that works, though.

Just looking to buy a child tracking device? Have a look at those that make the short list by clicking here—-> Child Locator/Tracking Devices

 

A GPS locator works essentially like a GPS navigator, it just displays the location data differently. The Global Positioning System is a network of satellites in orbit around the Earth. There are so many up there that there will be three or more ‘visible’ from any point on the ground at any time of day or night. It is important that there be at least three, because the computer in your navigation or locator device needs to hear three or more signals to triangulate its position.  A navigation device displays this data on a screen, and uses it to get you where you need to be. A locator sends the data to another device, or stores it in memory for later use.

 

Broadly speaking, GPS locators or tracking devices come in three flavours: Data Pullers, Data Pushers, and Data Loggers.

 

A GPS data logger records the position of the device (and, one assumes, the subject being tracked) every so many minutes and stores the data for later access. The location data can be downloaded and displayed elsewhere, either wirelessly, via memory card, or a USB connection. Many cameras have this capability, and add the location data as a ‘geotag’ to the pictures as you take them.

 

These devices are not useful for finding a lost child, for example, as they cannot communicate their location to a user remotely. They merely tell you where the device has been.

 

 

 

Most GPS tracking units are data pushers, or GPS beacons. These devices send their location data to a specific device or IP address regularly, where it can be stored for later use or displayed in real time. If you have a smart phone, it has this capability, though you may have it turned off. Smart phones can also operate as data loggers with the right apps.

 

These devices are used to find missing people (via police or access to their GPS data), to track and analyse the locations of commercial vehicles, and even to locate stolen cars. The auto insurance industry calls this technology ‘telematics 2.0’.

Personal tracking

Data pusher tracking devices are often used to allow parents or other care givers to locate children, vulnerable elderly people, or some others. While superficially similar to police-mandated GPS tracking of house arrest subjects, this kind of tracking is almost always voluntary, and is dependent on the subject willingly carrying the tracking device. They are usually accurate to 5 or 10 meters, which is quite good enough for finding a lost child or adult.

Many of these devices can do more than just report the subject’s location. Commonly the wearer of such a device can use it to signal for help, or to make a telephone call or send a standard text message to a specific individual or to any phone, depending on the device and how it is set up.

 

Many of the latest generations of ‘smart watches’ have tracking, navigation, and location apps, and several have been designed specifically to allow parents to locate children wearing the devices, and to allow those children to call or text for help if needed.

 

 

 

Lastly, some GPS locators are data pullers, or GPS transponders. A data puller does not regularly report or record its location, but can be queried by another device, and will respond by sending its current location. These devices are uncommon, but have seen some use in computers and smart phones running GPSD anti-theft programs or apps.

 

The near future

Experts predict that the ‘enhanced people locator’ industry will see 70 million users across Europe and North America combined by 2016. Another 50 million people have already downloaded just one of the most popular smart phone locator apps, and numbers are expected to increase.

 

Advanced features already on the market but not yet ubiquitous include the ability to set pre-programmed boundaries for a device, and have it notify the user or perform some other action of the line is crossed.

 

So, are we going completely ‘big brother’ with this? It’s hard to say. We are moving into a time where anything of great value will be locatable by one or more people in authority, and hackers besides. This is both eerie and comforting, depending on whether you are imagining being tracked, or losing an important item. Many proponents say that if you can track a stolen car or a lost cell phone, aren’t your kids even more important? Opponents say this is taking ‘helicopter mom’ syndrome to a new extreme. The market seems to have spoken, though, and these devices are available to all and sundry. Just try to be ethical about how you use them.

Check out the best locator/tracking devices for children

 

The Dark Side of Smart Technology

 

The Dark Side of Smart Technology

the dark side of smart technology

 

As we begin to rely more and more on smart technology in our day to day lives, many people are posing the question “How smart is too smart?”. There are of course multiple reasons to believe that our ability to control everything from our finances to our exam results with the click of a button is a good thing…but is it always the best thing?

 

Are there some things which would be better being dealt with in the old fashioned way? George Orwell first predicted a society rather similar to that in which we’re currently living in his dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty Four. Written in 1949, the story predicted a frightening future in which mind control and an ever-present elite government (Big Brother) were able to spy on even the most secret thoughts of individuals and in which crime was impossible.

George Orwell 1984

 

Today this novel might seem extreme but are we that far from the realities of a “Big Brother”? Certainly our every move outside our own homes is recorded and viewed via security cameras and many people are easily tracked via their mobile phones or other devices…our shopping habits, our incomes and even our class are tracked by our online movements and purchases and this information is stored by supermarkets and then used to ensure that they’re targeting the right people with the right products in advertisements.

 

In some retail establishments it is already possible to pay for goods via our mobile phones…swiping bar codes with them in the supermarket is becoming the norm and cash is fast becoming obsolete. Is this a bad thing? Can it ever be good for any currency to be controlled via computer systems entirely?

 

There are other worrying trends coming to the fore at the moment and perhaps one of the biggest is that of security drones. Already in use within the military, drones are soon to be in regular use by private companies for a variety of purposes. Amazon recently hinted that they’d be using drones to deliver items in the future to much derision… but Japanese company Secom is already rolling out drones for hire; they look like bugs and are essentially flying robots; what they’re capable of at the moment seems to be mainly identifying and following individuals who are in areas they shouldn’t be; what they will be capable of in the future remains anyone’s guess.

 

Hackers have spoken out against drones and also demonstrated how easily they can be hacked and controlled remotely with very little equipment indeed. So for the moment although technology moves alarmingly speedily and some of it might not be welcomed by everyone, it’s good to remember that there will always be the young, bright computer whizz kids who are one step ahead of the designers working for major corporations. We don’t need to panic yet…technology isn’t about to change so drastically that we’re not safe.

 

As with all inventions and all discoveries, there is a positive and a negative…some people will always seek to focus on the negative; the positives of smart technology far outweigh the negatives at the moment and let’s hope it stays that way for many years to come!

 

A Perfect Day in Your Smart Home

Smart house devices

 

Morning has come to your Smart Home, the home of the future today. As your personalised wake-up playlist slowly comes up on the speakers hidden around your room, the home computer, programmed weeks before on your iPhone, opens your curtains to let in the light of a sunny day. If it had been cloudy, you know the house would have brought up the lights as well.

Automatic Curtain Opener

 

A low hum comes from the kitchen, accompanied by the smell of coffee wafting through moments later as your coffee maker grinds and brews you the perfect cup of coffee. You had ordered espresso with two sugars for today, if you remember correctly. As you stroll into the common area, you catch sight of the Roomba just tucking itself away under your couch, finished hovering your floors.

Programmable Coffee Maker

Programmable coffee maker

 

Roomba

robot hoover

 

The telly turns itself on at your presence, finding the news program you tivoed. Imagine waking up at 6 just to see the program you wanted! The way we used to live… As you sip your coffee (macchiato, you forgot it was Tuesday) and watch the news, you hear your shower warming up for you. Best get in and get going, time for work soon. Before you head to the bathroom, you instruct the house to play something more up-tempo. It’s time to get going.

home music theater

Networking Home Theater

 

As you step out of your shower – always just the right temperature – the red heat-lamps come on as if by magic, keeping you warm as you dry off. You hear the gentle click of your cat-door opening, having sensed Jasper by the chip the vet implanted, and opening only after 7am. As jasper glides up to his feeding station, he is rewarded with the perfect measure of food and fresh water. Jasper is no more surprised than you – he expects his every whim to be satisfied automatically. Of course, he did in the old house too.

Automatic Cat/Dog Flap

automatic cat flap

 

You stroll into the bedroom again, and the music follows you, muting in the hallway and coming up gently around you. The lights come on again as well just as the wardrobe doors open so you can select today’s outfit. Another tap: the weather is going to turn cold just before lunch. Best wear a cardigan today. As you leave the bedroom you hear a car horn outside you tap your iPhone and see the security camera feed. It’s Larry, your car-pool buddy. It really is time to go. As you step out the door, you see your lights and AV system powering down, and your curtains closing again. The security system app beeps comfortingly to you as you step into the car.

 

After a long day at work, your home knows just what you need. The heating has come on via your NEST thermostat which has learned just how you like it– it did get cold over the afternoon, and soft Nest Google thermostatmusic greets you as you open your door. No keys for you, it recognised you by your phone and unlocked for you. As you sit on the couch, Jasper finally comes to demand attention and the TV comes on, the music muting automatically. What to have for dinner?

 

“show me my favourite restaurants for delivery.” You tell your phone. A list comes up on the Telly, and you select the Chinese down the street. You tap your selections from their website and click ‘order’. Let them take it from there. “Netflix, please.” You call out. You don’t actually have to say please, but it sounds so much more polite.

As your Netflix queue comes up on screen you select a movie. The lighting dims and you settle in. A few minutes later your food arrives, and you have to get up. As you do the movie pauses itself and the lights come back up. If only there was someone to answer the door… “Search, Google ‘robots’.” You say. “Please.”

 

smart house devices

The central nervous system for all your smart home devices $299.00

  • Works with product gateways and bridges to connect all your devices including Philips Hue lights, Yale locks, Sonos Hi-Fi speakers, and Insteon sensors and switches.
  • Easily create home automations based on triggers from sensors, time, GPS location, or on-demand presets.
  • Start with 2-3 devices, and expand with more around your specific home and lifestyle needs.
  • 60-second setup of Smartphone App and Wi-Fi Hub (Ethernet not required).
  • Lifetime Service Included: No monthly service or subscription fees.
  • Smartphone App and Hub capable of automating virtually all your smart home devices regardless of brand

Everything you need to smarten your home