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04 September 2012, 15:00

Hardware Hacks: Learning the Pi, DSLR hacking and the Cubieboard

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Zoom An Irish photographer combined a broken battery grip with a Raspberry Pi to add new capabilities to his DSLR camera
Source: David Hunt
Hardware Hacks is the section on The H that collects stories about the wide range of uses of open source in the rapidly expanding area of open hardware. Find out about interesting projects, re-purposing of devices and the creation of a new generation of deeply open systems. In this edition, learning to write an OS for the Raspberry Pi, adding new capabilities to a digital SLR camera, a FreeBSD port for Raspberry Pi takes shape and a powerful new development board.

  • Baking Pi - The University of Cambridge Computer Lab has published a new online guide that walks users through building a simple operating system for the Raspberry Pi mini-computer. Created by Alex Chadwick, the free tutorial is composed of twelve lessons that first introduce users to assembly language and what an operating system is. "Beginner" and "Advanced" lessons cover topics from how to manipulate the board's LEDs and using functions in assembly, to basic theory about graphics and building a command line interface. The course is available on the University's Baking Pi page.

  • DSLR hacking with a Raspberry Pi - Irish photographer David Hunt has built a Raspberry Pi into a battery grip for his Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR camera that can quickly transfer images to another device. The photographer installed the small Linux-using computer to an old broken battery grip, cutting out holes for various ports including USB, Ethernet and Video out, and used a Perl script to query the camera for images. When a new image is found, it automatically sends them over Ethernet or Wi-Fi to another device over the internet. Hunt has published a YouTube video demonstrating his creation pulling images from the camera and sending them to an iPad.

  • FreeBSD port for Raspberry Pi - A group of developers is working to port FreeBSD to the Raspberry Pi and provided details on how to get it to boot on the system. The developers began the project in May of this year and have managed to port the U-Boot boot loader required to get FreeBSD running on the device. The team are currently using the serial console for output as some features are not yet operational, including USB, network, keyboard and HDMI output.

  • Cubieboard - Yet another tiny open ARM board has been launched: the Cubieboard. Aimed at developers, the new mini-computer has a 1GHz Allwinner A10 ARM-CortexA8 processor with Mali 400 graphics, making it faster than the Raspberry Pi, and 1GB of RAM, compared to just 256MB on the Raspberry Pi. The palm-sized device features a memory card slot, an HDMI output, Ethernet port, SATA connection and two USB 2.0 ports. While still listed as "coming soon", the Cubieboard is being priced at $49.


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