Category: IoT

Timelapse video from a remote source

Infrared Sky Camera

This is yet another take on how-to create a time-lapse video.  In my case, a website updates a photo of the sky on a regular basis. I wanted to turn that into a time-lapse video and deploy to another, or possibly the same, website. I decided to use a Raspberry Pi 4 that was “sitting around.”

My project evolved as I tried different techniques and apps. I ended up creating a couple of bash scripts to do the job. I used the “ffmpeg” audio/video framework as it was bash command line friendly. I have tested my scripts on my Raspberry Pi 4 with Raspbian OS as well as on different Linux boxes running Ubuntu and Debian.

For how-to scripts with instructions, click on “more

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PyPortal Blackjack game: uses sprites, touch, audio

PyPortal Blackjack Game

I recently visited relatives that frequent casinos at Niagara Falls. I decided to brush-up my Blackjack skills (or lack thereof). I was also looking to enhance my Python (CircuitPython, that is) skills by developing projects, such as this Blackjack game 😉

The Adafruit PyPortal IoT Device with display has everything you need to connect to the internet, build rich GUIs, connect various sensors AND is easy to program in CircuitPython using Adafruit libraries. The “Explore & Learn” area on the Adafruit website is filled with great sample code, nifty apps and lots of inspiration.

When not working on a personal project, I install various projects from Adafruit on my PyPortal.  A few of my favorites are the PyPortal Weather Station, the PyPortal ISS Tracker, and the PyPortal NASA Image of the Day Viewer.  I also examine and learn techniques from other projects such as the PyPortal Alarm Clock.

After examining the code for these projects and reading documentation for the PyPortal and CircuitPython Libraries, I started developing my Blackjack game. Code examples were great but I had a harder time finding the libraries I needed in order to understand how graphics were displayed. A short guide, “CircuitPython Display Support Using displayio” really helped me understand the use of sprites, graphics as bitmaps, groups, etc. Definitely worth checking out.

Card Element Sprites in a TileGrid
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PyPortal – access the micro-SD Card

PyPortal IoT Device

The Adafruit PyPortal is a great little IoT device with lots of projects available. It’s an awesome H/W and S/W platform that inspires many creative ideas. The PyPortal uses an ATMEL (Microchip) ATSAMD51J20, and an Espressif ESP32 Wi-Fi coprocessor. PyPortal has a 3.2″ 320 x 240 color TFT resistive touch screen and has several built-in sensors. It also has support for a micro-SD Card. The device itself shows up as a USB drive when plugged into a computer — but not the micro-SD Card 🙁

Software support for PyPortal is via CircuitPython. There is a great Integrated Development Environment (IDE) available in the form of Mu. Mu is a simple Python editor that also has a built-in serial-port terminal. It allows command-line input of CircuitPython for instant programming, testing, and debugging. This feature is referred to as the REPL (Read-Evaluate-Print-Loop). Deployment of code to a PyPortal is immediate with Mu’s “Save” function.

As I was experimenting with my PyPortal, I wanted to put code and resources (images, fonts, code) on a removable micro-SD Card. Easy to do on my computer but not obvious how to do on PyPortal 🙁 I looked at several PyPortal sample apps and perused CircuitPython docs available on the Explore and Learn Area on the Adafruit websitet

I’m sharing what I learned in a hopefully concise manner to save others time and frustration 😉

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