Project Suggestions and Guides


The final assignment is a project of your own choosing. The goal of the project is to consolidate your knowledge of the key concepts in CS107e, and to do something creative with your Raspberry Pi.

You have two weeks to complete the project. There are a few important deliverables:

  1. Project team formation: due end of day Sunday, May 28

    Form a team of 1 to 3 people. In our experience, 2 is best. Add the Github usernames of your team members to this Google form so that we can create a repository for your team.

  2. Project description: due end of day Thursday, June 1

    We will email you after making a repository for your team; that repository will be empty at first. Follow the GitHub instructions on its page to ‘create a new repository on the command line’ and push to there.

    Now add a markdown file PROPOSAL.md in that repo. This file is for your project proposal. Edit that file and push it to github.

    The project proposal should include:

    • Name of the project
    • Team members and their responsibilities
    • Goal of the project
    • Milestone for T-1 week
    • Resources needed

    We have a small budget for hardware, so we can reimburse you for parts (within reason). If you want to buy stuff, please send us email. Be aware that if you need to mail order parts, it can take time, so figure out what you need ASAP and place the order. You should first check the list of sensors we already have on hand (see below).

    Each team member should be responsible for a clearly identifiable part of the project.

  3. Project labs

    We will still have labs the two weeks leading up to the project demonstration. These labs will be a good time to check-in with the course staff; they are eager to help you create a great project. In the second lab, we will check whether you have made your milestone. Please don’t wait until the last minute to get started on your project.

  4. Project demonstration: Wed, June 14, 9 AM-11:30 AM, Gates B21

    We will have a class demo day for all projects. The demos are scheduled during the final exam period. Each group should prepare a short demonstration of the project.

  5. Project code and writeup: due Wed, June 14 at 11:59 PM

    You should be using the github repository for coordinating the work amongst your team. As such, you should be regularly checking in and out code. Do the final check-in by 11:59 pm on Wed June 14.

    Create a short writeup about your project and place it in README.md. If you have used code or ideas from other people, please attribute their work. It’s fine to use code from online, but you must reference where you got the code, and what changes you made. It should be clear what you did, and what others did.

    The writeup should also include a short description of what work was performed by each member of the team.

Extra materials

Beyond what you’ve seen in the course, we have some additional materials which you can use in the final project.

Sensors

We have a number of different hardware sensors which you could use for your project; they’re available for you to check out in lab. Let us know if you’d like to use one of them.

Support code

The Raspberry Pi has on-board SPI and I2C controllers, which you can use to communicate with many kinds of sensors and devices that speak those protocols. For example, if you want to have analog input, we have an analog-to-digital converter, the MCP3008, which would communicate over a SPI interface with your Pi. You are welcome to write your own SPI or I2C driver for your device as part of your project. However, if you would like to use an existing implementation, there are versions in libpi that you are free to use (make sure to cite that you used these implementations).

libpi also contains an experimental filesystem interface which you can use to interact with the files on the SD card. This enables you to do operating-system-like things, like maybe run programs off the card, or store large data files without having to copy them over the bootloader every time, or save documents.

Past projects

Here are some projects from past years:

Talk to the course staff if you want more information or you think you could use code from one of these projects.

Project suggestions

The best projects are ones that you think of yourself. Feel free to browse the internet in search of cool things to do. Some good sources are hackaday.com and adafruit.com/blog.

Game

You have the start of a graphics and input library. Extend your graphics library to draw additional types of objects, and your input library to handle a game controller.

Some examples of input devices that you could use to control your game:

Once you have better input, you are all set to build a game. Build a simple game such as Pong or Tetris, or even better a game of your own design.

Another cool thing you can do is communicate with old game cartridges, since you can connect the pins on the cartridge to the GPIO pins on the Pi.

Music

We described how to generate notes on the Raspberry Pi. With that knowledge, you can

System components

Your project should be about building a working system that does something cool.

However, if you build some support infrastructure, then you can build a more impressive system. A good sub-project for a team member is to build a component of the system.

Analog input

Up to now, we have only read digital values using GPIO. The Raspberry Pi, unlike a microcontroller like an Arduino, cannot read analog values.

Many sensors are analog:

In order to read analog values, you will need to interface an analog to digitial convertor (ADC) to the Raspberry Pi. An example of an ADC is the MCP3008, which can be controlled from the PI using the Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) protocol.

Write a program that uses some analog inputs to produce an interesting result, such as a screen visualization or sound.

Network (Ambitious)

Build a simple network that allows multiple raspberry pis to communicate over a shared medium (only one Pi can transmit at a time). One way to do this is to connect TX and RX pins to a shared line.

It is also possible to communicate by other means. For example, you could use sound, light, or radio waves.

Finally, you’ve seen in class how “digital” lines aren’t purely digital. You could design your circuit to make bits as sharp as possible to see how fast you can transmit and receive. You might find that sending bits faster means you’ll have to send smaller packets, so optimize for overall data transfer, not just the bit rate.

GPU (Ambitous)

The raspberry pi has a very powerful GPU. In fact, the GPU is much faster than the CPU. The GPU assembly language is similar to, but different, than the CPU assembly language. It is possible to download code to the GPU using a mailbox, and then call that code. Learn about the GPU and build a library for programming the GPU.

Can you think of a computationally intensive task that could be off-loaded to the GPU? At the very least, you can clear your screen buffer faster!