Unleash The Raspberry Pi Through Physical Computing

By ·Software Engineer + Hardware Enthusiast

Class Project

Create a Simple Home Monitoring Device

This class is for beginners interested in unlocking the hardware potential of their Raspberry Pi so that it can interact with the physical world.

This is the first class on Skillshare to cover the Raspberry Pi and contains just over 3 hours of video instruction.

During the course we'll take this pile of stuff:

And turn it into this:

The class will start with the very basics of setting up a Raspberry Pi straight out of the box. It will then cover 3 main capabilities provided by the Raspberry Pi for physical computing:

  • General Purpose Input/Output
  • I2C Protocol
  • SPI Protocol

Students will become very familiar with each of these via the class project which will be to create a very simple home monitoring device.

At the end of the class, students will have the basic knowledge and skills required to start creating their own Pi-based hardware projects.

The Class Will Cover the Following:

  • Setup: Unboxing and setting up the Raspberry Pi
  • PI GPIO Header: What it is and the functionality it provides
  • General I/O: How to configure and use a pin as an input and output
  • SPI Protocol: What it is and how to use it on the Pi
  • Sensors: How to hook them up and read them
  • I2C Protocol: What is is and how to use it on the Pi
  • To the Cloud: How to connect your creation to the web without writing a website
  • ...and much more

As needed, the class will discuss basic electronics principles but is not meant to provide deep coverage of that topic. I'll walk you through everything you need to know to stay safe and have fun. The class will use the Python programming language. Programming experience is not required but will definitely help.

The following is a shopping list of items for the class project if you wish to follow along:

  • Raspberry Pi (power supply, SD card, keyboard, monitor, internet connection via ethernet cable or wifi adapter)

  • Pi Case (optional but recommended) - Make sure you can still access the header pins.

  • Breadboard (large)

  • Soldering Iron and Solder (very little soldering, maybe borrow)

  • Several Feet of Hookup Wire

  • Pi Cobbler from AdaFruit (optional)

  • 330 resistor (1)

  • 1K resistor (3)

  • 10K resistor (2)

  • LED (any color)

  • Breadboard-Mountable Switch

  • Breadboard-Mountable Push Button

  • Break Away Male Header Pins (optional for solding to breakout boards)

  • Seven Segment Serial Display

  • TMP102 Breakout Board

  • PIR Motion Sensor from Parallax

To help with your shopping I've created a shopping list at Sparkfun which contains almost everything you will need. While the temp sensor and display are only sold by Sparkfun you can get the rest of the parts from any distributor like Mouser, Newark or Digikey. I love Sparkfun but recommend NOT buying breadboards from them as they are very difficult to break in.

Sparkfun Shopping List

I recommend getting the motion sensor either directly from Parallax or from Mouser.

If you're in Europe you can find a lot of this stuff at proto-pic which should save you some money on shipping.

If you have any questions about the list of the materials before making a purchase feel free to contact me at sidwarkd at hardlysoftware dot com.

Prerequisites

  • Raspberry Pi (model A or B) with power supply and minimum 4GB SD card
  • Internet connection to your Pi
  • Basic programming knowledge will help but is not required

Level: Beginner

Kevin Sidwar

Software Engineer + Hardware Enthusiast

I'm an electrical engineer by degree and a software developer by profession. I have always had a passion for combining hardware and software and have spent over a decade hacking on personal projects that bridge the gap between the physical and digital world. Everything from a christmas light controller to a USB prank device.

I love helping beginners explore the possibilities of combining hardware and software in their own projects and look forward to sharing that passion with you.

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  • At a Glance

  • 25 Video Lessons
  • 354 Students
  • Lifetime Access
  • Self-Paced Online Class
  • How does an online class work?

    Classes revolve around completing a project and collaborating with fellow students to give and get feedback on your work. Use Video Lessons and the Project Guide designed by your teacher to complete your class project.

  • Do teachers give project feedback?

    Teachers design and present all class content, but Skillshare is community based around student-to-student interaction. You'll be surprised at what you learn from your classmates!

  • When does a class end?

    Never! Once enrolled, you have lifetime access to class materials. That means you can learn when and where you want. Learn at your own pace.

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