UPDATE 23:11 13 February 2015:

 

Alas, for many reasons some of which I have already stated in these blogs (but including the fact two weeks ago I suffered a painful leg injury in a road accident), I have run out of time!  Provided they are not locked down, I will complete these blogs and worksheets because I fully intend to use them myself, but I'm afraid they probably won't make the deadline tonight.  I have done the product review however and I hope that it is found to be useful by the RoadTest organisers.

 

Well, here we are on the evening before the final deadline and I'm struggling to get these blog posts finished.  I'd had lots of ideas for what to do for the final project but all of them have been abandoned for various reasons.  The weather has been the main element in abandoning some of my ideas - it's been freezing cold here in the North West of England for most of the last two weeks and the cloud cover has been incessant - a thick murky layer of grey completely obscuring the sky and quashing any hope of using the PiNoIR for tracking planets, stars or even the moon.  Working outside has been very difficult due to the intense cold, and as perhaps the main point of a PiNoIR is that it can 'see in the dark' (with the help of infrared illumination) and that means working outside at night.

 

Apart from limited time frame available in which to investigate the kit provided and the weather, the main problem with the hardware for was the unreliability of running the Pi's Wi-Pi dongle off a rechargeable battery pack and the distance over which it would work. These meant that my hopes of going out looking for owls in my local woods with a portable PiNoIR system and infrared light whilst using an iPad Mini for a screen couldn't easily be tested in the time frame available. This was my favourite project idea and one that I haven't yet given up on, but I'm afraid it won't come to fruition in this blog.

 

So I've decided my make my project a set of worksheets for the pupils in my Computer.lab after school club to use to investigate the PiNoIR and it's capabilities and applications.  As a complete newcomer to the Raspberry Pi Camera I needed to go through all these stages myself to make these worksheets and that was basically part of the whole learning curve of this project. The final worksheets will appear here as downloadable PDF attachment files tomorrow, but I'll be working until the last minute of the deadline to get them finished. There is currently a test document attached to this post, but watch out for 'Catch the Thief' worksheet coming later.

 

In Summary

  • Blog Post 1 - Setting up and testing the PiNoIR camera system and generating project ideas
  • Blog Post 2 - Selecting the software to be used for a nightime garden wildlife recording application
  • Blog Post 3 - Creating a set of worksheets for pupils to investigate using the PiNoIR in our Computer.lab school computer club

 

Future Developments

  • Developing a humane mousetrap (with video evidence)
  • Developing a wearable PiNoIR HeadCam with IR illumination for searching for Owls
  • Adding a Pan and Tilt mechanism which can be controlled from the RPi Cam Control Web Interface
  • Building a Bird NestBox monitoring system

 

I hope you've found my ramblings in these three blog posts interesting and perhaps even useful. I know I've complained a lot about the problems and the constraints I've faced but I really have enjoyed learning about the PiNoIR and all its foibles and I fully intend to progress some of the other project ideas further when I'm not working under any limited time considerations.

 

Martyn Jones

TheGeekTeacher

 

UPDATE 23:11 13 February 2015:

 

Alas, for many reasons some of which I have already stated in these blogs (but including the fact two weeks ago I suffered a painful leg injury in a road accident), I have run out of time!  I will complete these blogs and worksheets because I intend to use them myself, but I'm afraid it probably won't make the deadline tonight.  I have done the product review however and I hope that is found to be useful by the RoadTest organisers.