Author Archives: lorez

RasPi with Touchscreen

I’ve wanted to use my RasPi with a touchscreen interface for awhile now, and have finally starting collecting the information I need.  Here’s the first haul:

First, you’ll need a screen to interface with the RasPi. For simplicity, you’ll want to find one with HDMI input and USB interface for the touch layer.  Here are some good examples:

Example 7″ Screen      Example 8″ Screen

Next, you’ll need to be able to interface with the touch drivers. Here‘s a great write-up (including Kernel building and XBMC patches).

Note: In lieu of buying one of the kit screens, you can use an old laptop screens with DVI/VGA with one of these, and then buy a matching size touch overlay.

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Posted by on March 6, 2013 in Drivers, Microcontrollers, Video


Android USB host mode + Arduino

Similar to the IOIO board covered a few posts ago, I’ve been seeing several projects lately utilizing USB host mode on Android to communicate with an Arduino.  This is a neat one which is able to send text messages to an LED matrix. It’s got a fail amount of detail and contains both the Android code and the Arduino sketch needed to get it up and running quickly. Here is a more general guide on using your Android device as a USB host, again with an Arduino.

As a bonus, the second link will get you to some how-to’s on USB communication with an Arduino. I’ll include the links here as well:

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Posted by on February 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


ZigBee Primer

I’ve always wanted to try out a ZigBee in a project, but wasn’t quite sure where to begin. For those in a similar situation who want to learn every tid-bit about the devices, take a gander here. It goes further in depth than needed for someone who just wants to put together a project prototype, but if you really want to see what they’re capable of it can’t be beat.

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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Microcontrollers, Peripherals


Parallel Port Communication with Peripheral

Use an old computer for a lab bench or just have one sitting around? Chances are good that if it’s more than a few years old, it’ll have a parallel port on it. If you also run Linux and want to play around with I/O you should take a look at this project. It’ll show you how to hook up a standard 16×2 LCD character screen to your parallel port, create drivers for it, and then control it using redirects to /dev/my_lcd.  Very cool!


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Posted by on February 24, 2012 in Drivers, LCD, PC, Software


Using IOIO and Android to Control LED Matrix

Here‘s a great example on how to use the IOIO board I covered in my previous post.  The user managed to stream video from his phone’s camera to a RGB LED matrix using some open source computer vision software for Android, very cool!  Check out the video of the display in action.

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Posted by on February 1, 2012 in Uncategorized


Android IOIO Board

This is a really neat little board available from SparkFun.  It allows you to interface an android phone to an array of microcontroller-like outputs and inputs (PWN, SPI, ADC, etc).  The project has many ready-made Android code examples to get you running and I’m thinking about trying this out!  The page linked shows some projects that others have done, and it’s easy to start thinking about all the cool things you could do with this (especially on a dual core Android like mine!)

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Uncategorized


Getting Started with Arduino

Lifehacker posted a great starter article on using an Arduino, with a specific focus on recreating cool projects you see out on the web. This is a great way to start teaching yourself some of the slightly more complex things you can do with a uC, as doing is the best way to learn.

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Posted by on January 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


Wavetable Synthesis

One of my favorite classes in college was a micro-controller course where we had to build an alarm-clock radio.  For extra credit, I wrote a very simple “music” module to allow students to write songs to use as alarms (instead of a boring tone or siren.)  At the time I wondered if there was a way to play real midis or multiple frequencies at once to make more advanced songs.  Sadly, I was a busy student and didn’t have time to look into it.

Now, far too late for class, I’ve come across a project using wavetable synthesis which would have been an excellent jump point for me to implement a more advanced music module.  I’ll have to play around with this concept and see if I can’t slip a new module to my old professor.



“Universal” RFID key

Here’s another project I’ve wanted to try out for a long time: An update-able RFID key card.  I always thought it would be fun to build one of these along with an RFID reader so you could try to reproduce the functionality of a RFID card you have on a new device.  It would also be an excellent learning tool on how RFID works and the vulnerabilities it possesses.

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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Uncategorized


Digital Picture Frame Hacking

This is a really cool project that I’ve always wanted to try myself.  Some folks hacked a cheap digital picture frame and got it to run Linux.  Add a touchscreen overlay and working bluetooth and you’ve got yourself a really amazing toy to play around with. I may just grab one myself and see if I can’t get this working!

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Posted by on January 14, 2012 in LCD, Repurposing, Software