Sony uses Raspberry Pi to speed up its own factories
Kevin Edwards has installed around 60 Raspberry Pi's around Sony's factory (Image credit: Sony)
The Raspberry Pi computer is more powerful and versatile than its tiny shell makes it look. Over the years, it moved out of the world of homebrewing to helping massive companies. Last year, Kevin Edwards, who heads engineering at Sony's main manufacturing facility in Pencoed, Wales, took advantage of the Raspberry Pi's cheap price point and started installing them around the factory. Edwards installed 60 of the tiny computers around the factory, which manufactures hair-removal devices and $50,000 broadcast cameras for Sony, as well as the Raspberry Pi itself.
The Raspberry Pi is used to monitor the robots and automated equipment, making sure it doesn't falter. Once it records the information, it's then sent to a database using a secure protocol that Edwards' team developed. Some of the Pi's are equipped with cameras that record a video feed of the machines which, then gets processed by vision-recognition software to look for irregularities.
"It allows us to avoid having to have a person painstakingly watch over a machine," Edwards says. "This is how we stop people walking around with clipboards."
After a three-year trial, Edwards found it made the factory more efficient by 30%. Now, Sony aims to replicate the experiment in three other factories in Asia, including two in Japan and one in Malaysia, which will also install between 50 and 60 Raspberry Pi's to monitor equipment there.
Researchers use Raspberry PI modules to capture microbiology samples
A laboratory is using Raspberry Pi modules to help capture microbiology samples (Image credit: University of Reading)
A team from the Edwards Lab at the University of Reading recently developed a low-cost, open-sourced lab robot that captures an image of microbiology samples with a Raspberry Pi camera module. The Raspberry Pi Open-source Laboratory Imaging Robot (POLIR) is currently being used in the lab to measure antimicrobial resistance in bacteria.
The robot was built by adapting existing open-source 3D printer designs. Researchers used v-slot aluminum extrusion with custom 3D-printed joints to create the frame. In place of the printer extrusion head, a Raspberry Pi and camera module are used instead. The stepper motors that adjust the position of the camera and computer are controlled by open-source Repetier software.
Researchers are conducting these tests by looking for a color change in a dye called resazurin. The dye will change from blue to pink if there are metabolically active cells present. If bacteria incubated with antibiotics grow, their metabolic activity will turn the dye pink. But, if the antibiotics stop or slow down the growth of the bacteria, their lower levels of metabolic activity won't change the dye as much or at all.
In the end, the team found POLIR to not only be cost-effective, the price tag is 600, it's also flexible. It has the ability to image various sample formats, such as agar plates, mircotitre plates, and microfluidic "lab-on-a-comb" devices. To learn more about POLIR, visit its GitLab page here.
(via Raspberry Pi)
Engineer creates 3D scanner with infrared camera, SLAM, and Raspberry Pi
This DIY 3D scanner is backed by a Raspberry Pi 4 (Image credit: Frank Zhao)
In an effort to find out if infrared cameras could offer more than traditional photogrammetry techniques, Playstation R&D engineer Frank Zhao recently created his own 3D scanner using a 3D printed case, a Raspberry Pi 4, and an Intel RealSense D415 camera. Since the Intel camera is depth sensing, it uses infrared cameras and an onboard processor to create depth map data for feature extraction. It also has a normal RBG camera.
The Raspberry Pi is used to run a program called Real-time Appearance-based Mapping (RTAB-MAP), which has the ability to perform simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) using a similar approach as widely available SLAM scanners. Typically, depth sensors have difficulty reading flat, shiny objects due to the lack of texture. To address this, the RealSense camera uses a dot projector to overlay a pattern onto the surface. Now the dots are the missing texture.
Zhao's results weren't exactly perfect but still promising. "Due to the amount of noise in the depth map and the lower resolution of the cameras, the resulting surface quality is poor," commented Zhao, "However, this technique could succeed where photogrammetry fails.
Oracle's new supercomputer is made entirely out of Raspberry Pis
This supercomputer houses 1,060 Raspberry Pis (Image credit: ServeTheHome)
It's pretty common to see one Raspberry Pi used as a server. But last year, Oracle went beyond that and showed off their new supercomputer featuring 1,060 Raspberry Pis, turning it into one powerful cluster. First showed off at the company's OpenWorld Convention, the supercomputer houses row of racks each with 21 Raspberry Pi 3 B+ boards each. To keep thing running smoothly, the system runs on Oracle Autonomous Linux.
The Raspberry Pis are connected to a series of switches (Ubiquiti UniFi Switch 48s) that are then uplinked with SFP+ 10GbE transceivers. The Raspberry Pis receive their power from a series of USB power supplies. Each unit connects to a single rebranded Supermicro 1U Xeon server, which acts as a central storage server for the entire thing. The Oracle team even went as far as creating custom, 3D printed brackets to help support all the Pis and connecting components.
While having Raspberry Pis clustered in one big hunk like this isn't really practical, it shows what can be done with a $35 computer.
HealthyPi v4 is the wireless solution to monitor your vital signs
The HealthyPi v4 is open source has mobile, wireless, and wearable capabilities (Image credit: HealthyPi)
Usually, your vital signs have to be recorded with clunky, heavy equipment only found in hospitals, HealthyPi offers a wireless solution. Launched last year, the HealthyPi v4 is an open-source wireless wearable that's designed to monitor your vital signs using continuous real-time monitoring. The device measures body temperature, pulse oximetry, electrocardiogram data, heart rate, and respiration with high accuracy. It uses the ESP32 module as the main controller for a higher level of integration and power management.
It features a wearable mode that sends the information to the android app via BLE. You can check your vital signs in real-time along with the device's battery life all from the Android app. It also lets you watch live streaming of ECG. There's also a Raspberry Pi "HAT" mode that turns the tiny computer into a vital sign monitoring system. This mode streams your vital signs through the Raspberry Pi display or computer monitor. You can also record the data for further analysis and research.
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balenaSense is the air quality monitor powered by Raspberry Pi
balenaSense V measures CO2, temperature, humidity and air pressure (Image credit: balenaSense)
Air quality is a rising concern as issues regarding climate change and pollution continue to grow. If you've ever been curious about the air quality in your own home, balenaSense introduces a new air quality monitor built from a Raspberry Pi.
The device uses a Raspberry Pi Zero W and the Bosch BME680 sensor to provide air quality readings. For determining air quality, the Bosch BME680 sensor is used. The device provides temperature, pressure, and humidity readings. It can also sense the presence of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which can be harmful to your health. Though it's not required, the device also supports the use of the Sense HAT, which provides the same readings on an LED interface.
In terms of software, the data goes through the balena cloud service. Sensor readings are stored in an InfluxDB instance, with Grafana displaying the results with graphs and monitoring stats. The cloud service is used to push the software directly onto the Raspberry Pi and on other devices.