Raspberry Pi roundup: Dangerous guided missiles, electric skateboards and the Internet of Licks

rasberry pi roundup
Credit: RasberryPi/Thinkstock

The Raspberry Pi is a happy-go-lucky little gizmo, isn’t it? I always associate it with education, cheap ways to get kids into programming, innocent little hobbyist projects and general “the world is a nice place” activity. And not unreasonably.

Surely nobody would turn such an innocuous gadget into something malicious or dangerous, ri-oh, wait I forgot what sort of world we were living in for just a moment:

Yeah, it’s some sort of missile guidance system, according to the string of Russian-language LiveJournal pages credited by Popular Mechanics, whose original report can be found here. Popular Mechanics says there’s hints in there that the weapon is guided by sound, which would be highly unusual for a weapon that isn’t designed to attack, say, submarines.

+ MORE PI: Ultimate guide to Raspberry Pi operating systems, Part 3 +

Anyway, you can’t exactly blame a Raspberry Pi for the uses to which it is put, and this looks like some kind of prototype anyway, but it’s still a little depressing to see the engine of marriage proposals, Mario games and educational satellites turned into still another weapon system. Would it have been so hard to make a Raspberry Pi-guided Nerf rocket instead? Come on, makers.

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Who hasn’t wanted to get back to cottage-industry methods of doing things, particularly in these dark, post-election days? Who knows, knowing how to weave things on a loom might be a useful survival skill when the survivors of the great purges are living out in the countryside, like at the end of 28 Days Later.

And if you’ve got some electricity lying around, you could even make the process easier by applying a Raspberry Pi for automation, like the inventive Fred Hoefler has done here.

Hoefler, according to the Raspberry Pi blog, created the system to help his wife, who’s been weaving for 30 years and is starting to have trouble physically working the loom. Assistive looms can cost around $10,000, while Hoefler’s rig costs just $150. Pretty impressive.

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We’re still confused why they were ever called hoverboards, but name them what you want, there really was a brief renaissance for teeny little battery-powered personal scooters. Those have mostly left the market, having been rocked by a Galaxy Note 7-esque rash of battery fires, but this Raspberry Pi-powered model from the self-titled Raspberry Pi Guy uses a Wiimote and a regular skateboard to zip you around at nearly 20mph.

Frankly, we never learned to skateboard, and that one time we tried one of our idiot friends shot us with a BB gun and we almost killed ourselves falling off of it into the side of a panel van, but this looks much less terrifying. We’d try this, though, as long as we’re given guarantees that Jared isn’t lurking around the corner this time.

(H/T: Lifehacker)

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Putting your tongue on a computer is rarely the right way to interact with it, with the possible exception of certain kinds of accessibility devices for paralysis sufferers. Hands, yes; feet, sure, if you like serious driving or flight sim games; hips, yeah, if you’re nudging your laptop back onto the table while carrying something else.

But lickable computing, is, well, sort of uncommon. What with the whole conductivity issue, along with basic standards of sanitation – want to get scared? Turn any desktop keyboard you’ve been using for a while upside down and shake it for an object lesson in how disgusting our computers typically are – we rarely apply tongue to computer.

That is, of course, until now. Step forward, Nicole He and the Pi-Powered Wonder Pop Controller, which sounds like the name of a particularly zany kid’s book from the 1990s. This is, I am not kidding, a touch controller that uses copper tape, four outsized lollipops, a Raspberry Pi, and an Adafruit HAT switch to create a system that lets you interact with your computer by licking one of said lollipops.

The story, with plenty of the art that you desperately must see, is here at the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s blog. Seriously, go look at it right now.

This story, "Raspberry Pi roundup: Dangerous guided missiles, electric skateboards and the Internet of Licks" was originally published by Network World.

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