RasPi In The Sky!

The Raspberry Pi continues to successfully storm onwards and upwards! There’s by now well over a million of ’em and they are getting to far flung and unlikely places. Recently, there’s one newly (em)powering The Kingdom of Bhutan. There’s also a recent twin adventure of RasPi and Ava in the sky, including some fun stories and first pictures from the new RasPi Cam:

The Pi balloon: a Swiss mystery

PIE5: Watching A Big Cheese Over Switzerland

Ava: European Tour – Success!

From the Raspberry Pi team:

PIE went up with one of our prototype camera boards, which Dave had switched to the auto setting. It performed brilliantly right up until it got into the stratosphere, when it started having trouble with the very pronounced contrast between the darkness of space and the brightness of the sun. This is something we can address in tuning for later flights, but it did produce a rather wonderful artefact which looked for all the world like a giant Raspberry Pi logo in space. (Sheer serendipity: this wasn’t planned.)


(Note that these pictures are very heavily jpg compressed and ‘low-res’ versions as compared to the native 5 MPixels of the RasPi Camera Board.)


Even The Register adds to the story:

Raspberry Pi space jaunt ends in dramatic mountain rescue

Blighty’s two-pronged High Altitude Ballooning (HAB) assault on Europe over the weekend ended dramatically with the rescue of one payload from the slopes of a snow-capped Austrian mountain, while the other is officially AWOL somewhere in France.

Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN) team members Dave Akerman and Anthony Stirk launched two mighty orbs – PIE and AVA – on Saturday from Cambridgeshire…


Great fun! 🙂


5 comments to RasPi In The Sky!

  • Martin L

    For lots of pseudo-cloudy RasPi fun, here’s an interesting upstart storming ahead:

    Raspberry Pi colocation

    … In late February we began giving people the opportunity to colocate their Raspberry Pi in our data center – for free. Now, almost two months later, we have over 400 people making use of the initiative…

    … where else can you get a 100 Mbit uplink, 500 GB bandwidth, power and the ability to boast about it to your friends for free?…

    … should make it possible to place close to 500 Raspberry Pi’s in a rack…

    Hot stuff!

    Just to keep things even more interesting, there’s a few more new Pi-like devices hot on the trail:

    BeagleBone Black aims to compete with Raspberry Pi

    The new BeagleBone Black from Texas Instruments is equipped with a 1GHz Sitara ARM335 (Cortex-A8), providing it with greater processing power than the Raspberry Pi. The $45 price includes a power supply and USB cable. The board has a PowerVR SGX graphics unit, which supports OpenGL (2.0, ES 2.0 and ES 1.1), and its video output is provided through Micro HDMI…

    The Register also adds a few comments:

    Black-eyed Pies reel from BeagleBoard’s $45 Linux micro blow

    Open-source hardware outfit BeagleBoard has formally announced a major revision of its BeagleBone board computer that ups the spec and downs the price. …

    … The Black will be made available through seven distributors, including Pi supplier Farnell Element 14, which says it’ll have stock in the UK early next month (May). It’s asking for £33.44 including VAT.

    Spreading out a little further, there is:


    A small, high-performance arm box

    1G ARM cortex-A8 processor, NEON, VFPv3, 256KB L2 cache
    Mali400, OpenGL ES GPU
    512M/1GB DDR3 @480MHz
    HDMI 1080p Output
    10/100M Ethernet
    4Gb Nand Flash…

    And a little something next to blow our socks off:

    Adapteva Shows Off $99 Supercomputer Boards

    … The credit card sized parallel computer consists of a dual-core ARM A9 processor, 1GB RAM, and either a 16-core or 64-core Epiphany Accelerator Chip. It’s outfitted with two USB 2.0 ports, Gigabit Ethernet, an SD Connector and a Micro HDMI connector. The Epiphany development toolkit is included at no extra charge.

    Developed by Adapteva over the last four years, the Epiphany chips employ a scalable array of RISC processors that are programmable in C/C++. They are connected together with a fast on chip network within a single shared memory architecture.

  • Martin L

    Getting back down to something more like Earthly business, TechRadar have done a good review of a handful of distros that are available for the RasPi:

    Raspberry Pi operating systems: 5 reviewed and rated

    By David Hayward from Linux Format Issue 169 May 9th 2013

    The Raspberry Pi phenomenon appears to go from strength to strength…

    … hardly surprising – the hardware alone is developed perfectly for the goals of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the pricing is pitched perfectly, and having the unique versatility of Linux as the operating system seals the deal nicely.

    Most buyers, once they get their hands on their new RPi, make a move towards the official Raspberry Pi site and follow the getting started instructions therein; the end result is the user running Raspbian “Wheezy”, the Foundation’s recommended operating system…

    … What many RPi users don’t realise, though, is that there’s a wealth of other operating systems available…

    Our selection

    • Raspbian
    • Risc OS
    • Plan 9
    • Android
    • Arch


  • Martin L

    Here’s a cool way to cool your RasPi:

    Don’t bake your Raspberry Pi – now you can WATER COOL it

    … Does a Pi need water cooling? The device can certainly be overclocked, and its designers, the Raspberry Pi Foundation, last year added a “turbo mode”. A blog post announcing [the] go-faster stripes said: “We are happy that the combination of only applying turbo when busy, and limiting turbo when the BCM2835′s internal temperature reaches 85°C, means there will be no measurable reduction in the lifetime of your Raspberry Pi.”

    Water cooling could therefore come in handy to keep the CPU temperature lower for longer, enabling more use of turbo mode.

    The maker concerned, one “Phame”, seems not to care about those niceties. His motivation seems instead to be a competition and the challenge…

    Completely OTT but certainly custom cool looking! 🙂

  • Martin L

    Here’s a rather beautifully colourful cluster of RasPi to outdo a PC!

    US boffin builds 32-way Raspberry Pi cluster

    Beowulf cluster built for the price of a single PC

    … at $45 per Pi, including an 8GB SD card, he could acquire the raw materials for a 32-way cluster for $1500, or the same price as one Xeon-powered PC…

    … And even better, all the details are laid bare (PDF) in true FLOSS style 🙂

    (Technical note: If you can make use of the RasPi Broadcom chip GPU processing or you can benefit from the RasPi ecosystem, then a RasPi cluster is good fun. Also worth considering for a little more CPU grunt would be similarly clustering such as the BeagleBone…)

  • Martin L

    Not to be outdone…

    Google are experimenting with their own stratospheric balloons near space:

    Google tests balloons to beam internet from near space

    Google is launching balloons into near space to provide internet access to buildings below on the ground.

    About 30 of the superpressure balloons are being launched from New Zealand from where they will drift around the world on a controlled path.

    Attached equipment will offer 3G-like speeds to 50 testers in the country. Access will be intermittent, but in time the firm hopes to build a big enough fleet to offer reliable links to people living in remote areas. …

    … Google calls the effort Project Loon and acknowledges it is “highly experimental” at this stage. Each balloon is 15m (49.2ft) in diameter – the length of a small plane – and filled with lifting gases. Electronic equipment hangs underneath including radio antennas, a flight computer, an altitude control system and solar panels to power the gear. … each should stay aloft for about 100 days and provide connectivity to an area stretching 40km in diameter below as they travel in a west-to-east direction.

    The firm says the concept could offer a way to connect the two-thirds of the world’s population which does not have affordable net connections. …

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