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Game Boy Advance ‘hacked’ to run PlayStation games using a Raspberry Pi

The Game Boy Advance is useful in the modern era for more than watching Christopher Nolan blockbusters. Gizmodo notes that tinkerer Rodrigo Alfonso has Nintendo’s 20-year-old handheld running PlayStation (and Genesis, and SNES) games without special modifications. The trick, as you might imagine revolves around a custom cartridge — you’re technically running the game on a separate system.

The cartridge houses a Raspberry Pi 3 mini-computer running the RetroPie emulator and streaming both video and input through the GBA’s multiplayer-oriented Link Port. Yes, that’s constraining as you think it is — you can’t transfer more than 1.6Mbps bi-directionally, and the Pi has to routinely give the “poor” GBA’s processor a break for a few microseconds. Alfonso suggests lowering the stream resolution from the console’s native 240 x 160 if a high frame rate is important.

Still, the results are mostly impressive. The special cart can handle classics like the Crash Bandicoot series and Spyro the Dragon at smooth frame rates, albeit with some video artifacts that reflect the limited bandwidth. You can overclock the GBA’s processor to improve the frame rate and quality.

You’ll have to build the cartridge and load code yourself, although Alfonso has helpfully provided both on GitHub. This probably won’t replace a PSP if you want the most authentic PlayStation handheld experience you can get. It might, however, give you a reason to dig your GBA out of the closet.

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Tech News

Want to code and build robots and other cool gadgets? This Raspberry training can help

TLDR: The 2021 Raspberry Pi and Arduino Bootcamp Bundle melds the worlds of coding, electronics, and robotics for the first time creators with this five-course training package.

There are probably loads of you out there who really wish they understood the finer points of programming, electronics, robotics, the Internet of Things, and all that…but just don’t know where to start.

We don’t blame you. There aren’t a lot of simple proven entry points into the grass roots subculture of tinkerers and tech innovators that don’t feel overwhelming quickly. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few accessible ways in.

The 2021 Raspberry Pi and Arduino Bootcamp ($19.99, over 90 percent off, from TNW Deals) is one of those access points. It’s a five-course distillation that can help even first time creators understand the basics of modern programming, the fundamentals of crafting small electronics, and linking those two together through the popular Raspberry Pi microcomputer and Arduino electronics platform to help lift a learner’s technical training to the next level.

Even if you’ve never coded before or don’t understand how a circuit works, no need to fear. The Raspberry Pi For Beginners and Arduino for Beginners courses can ease learners in gently. 

The Raspberry Pi course examines all the possibilities with this versatile single-board computer, ranging from basic introductions and capabilities up to learning the Python coding language from scratch to start creating some cool starter projects like a complete surveillance and alarm system to a web server run completely through the Pi.

Meanwhile, the Arduino training also includes some soothing handholding for novice creators. As users get comfortable working with Arduino circuits, boards, controllers and other components, these practical hands-on lessons will bring it all to life with 20 knowledge-building activities all leading to a final Arduino project.

Other courses plunge ever deeper into understanding both the Pi and Arduino environments, as well as how the two coordinate together. Arduino OOP (Object Oriented Programming) examines how to write a complete Arduino project, step by step.

Finally, robotics take center stage with ROS2 for Beginners, which gets into creating in the Robot Operating System (ROS) a collection of software frameworks used in robot development. After learning how to create reusable code for any robot powered by ROS, Learn ROS2 as a ROS1 Developer and Migrate Your ROS Projects advances that training, covering the relationship between ROS and ROS2 as well as how to take projects from one to the other.

The 2021 Raspberry Pi and Arduino Bootcamp Bundle includes coursework that would usually cost almost $1,000, but right now, all five courses in this package are available for only $19.99.

Prices are subject to change.

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Tech News

Raspberry Pi and OpenScan make a better 3D scanner than your phone

I have a question about 3D scanning devices: Why aren’t they easier to access? Today a project by Thomas Megel made the rest of the handheld smart device universe look silly by comparison. With OpenScan project software, Raspberry Pi, and the Pi camera v2.1, Megel created a budget-friendly 3D-scanning system that’s able to capture highly accurate 10-micron 3D scans with relative ease.

Megel is the founder of OpenScan, a system with which users can create 3D scanning hardware and process with software without breaking the bank. OpenScan started based on an Arduino-powered control unit and pre-built cameras. Here in 2021, the project works with an even simpler set of items: Raspberry Pi and a Raspberry Pi Camera Module.

Per Megel, the system Megel’s used can capture sub-50-micron accuracy with the basic Raspberry Pi Camera Module v2.1. The 10-micron accuracy comes with a slightly better Raspberry Pi HQ Camera Module. Megel explains the basic process in a Reddit thread and points users toward the OpenScan subReddit. The OpenScan Sketchfab page shows a variety of items that’ve been 3D scanned and processed with OpenScan software.

Experimental cloud software “OpenScanCloud” processing can be found in the OpenScan Github (for the cloud) and the entire OpenScan directory has “all you need to build your 3D scanner.” This was all done by a 3d-party, not-for-profit set of individuals – and it’s shockingly simple and effective.

With LiDAR and other 3D sensor systems on smartphones that cost over $1k in user hands right now, I can’t help but wonder why a 3D scanning camera system isn’t more readily available. This should be the most basic and easily-usable part of a smart device with a 3D sensor, right out the gate. Cross your fingers this project will push big brands in smartphones to include similar software in the near future by default.

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