From time to time we all have to travel on the road, via rail or in the air. Here is a list of gadgets that you can use if you like traveling. However, they are also very handy for if you do not like traveling. Sometimes even people who love the road will need a break from the monotony of driving, and sometimes people who enjoy visiting new places will need gadgets to hide their credit cards. Here are ten great gadgets you should seriously consider taking the next time you go traveling.
1. The iPad
The iPad can be loaded with apps so that if you are not the car driver then you can use the iPad as merrily as you like until the battery goes flat. It is also a nice distraction if the in-flight movie is not very good.
2. The Kindle
If you are on the road, train or in the air, you can read as much as you like. You do not need to carry around a library full of books when you can store as many as you like (within reason) on your kindle.
These are old fashioned and still sadly underused when people travel. Sure, you can use them when you get to your destination, but why not try them whilst you are traveling. You may miss many things when you are on the road or on a train. You can catch a few of those things if you take your binoculars. You may even find them a lot of fun to use on a plane, especially if you can see another aircraft.
4. A camera
Many people take their camera, but few think to keep it near them when they are traveling. The number of sights you see on the road or on a train may be few and far between, but every now and then you will see a car crash or a something funny in a field and wish you had your camera with you. Keep it with you at all time to make sure you get a snap of some of the interesting things you may otherwise miss.
5. A Smartphone and travel app
Your smartphone can be used for entertainment purposes, but why not use it as a satellite navigation system. There are also apps that will tell you where the nearest gas station is, where the nearest restaurant is, and when you next train or plane will arrive. Do not overlook the potential of your cute little phone.
6. The travel pillow
This is a time tested accessory of all travelers, be it plane or car, you need your travel pillow if you wish to have a cat nap on route. It is best not used on a train, since the people who fall asleep are the ones who end up being robbed.
7. A snuggie
This is really only useful if you are in a car or camper van, but is still good to have. It is warm and covers most of your body, which helps you sleep in the back seat. It is also good if the room heaters in your hotel are not efficient enough (you know, when they only heat the part of the room near the window).
8. A Nintendo DS
Little games consoles are a godsend if you are a passenger on a load road trip, and the Nintendo DS is the one you should take with you. The battery life is very good, the game play mechanics are often easy to use, the screen is bright and the item is so small that it can fit in almost anybody’s pocket. It is a great little boredom breaker.
9. Digital luggage scales
This is good for if you have to go on a plane and need to take a lot of luggage. It is even better for when you are coming home and wish to divide all of your purchases between your luggage, as most people come back with more items than they leave with.
10. Stealth undercover sleeve
This is a handy little device for traveling light, since you can put your phone and credit cards into it, so that you need not carry any items in a bag or in your pockets. It is a good place to put things that you are not going to use too often, such as your room key.
Raspberry Pi Servo Motor Connection
It is easier to be a robotics hobbyist more than ever, thanks to affordable electronics and electric motors. Raspberry Pi is one of those robotics hobbyists starter pack items since it can also provide programming despite its size and price.
With a servo motor connected to a Raspberry Pi, motion control for your small project is easy to achieve. Before assembling your little project, you must learn the limits of a servo motor first.
What are the limits of running a servo motor with Raspberry Pi?
Most servo motors don’t rotate continuously like a typical motor, you don’t just power it and have it spin endlessly. It needs control signals from your Raspberry Pi, which tell the angle its driveshaft should rotate. Tell it to turn to 180 degrees, it will; command it to turn to 20 degrees, and it’ll go 160 degrees back the other way. Also, remember that servo motors are not particularly strong and won’t be able to lift large loads. A simple servo motor and Raspberry Pi connection use codes set to its minimum, median, and maximum values.
Raspberry Pi pins overview
Your Raspberry Pi uses general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins, with Broadcom (BCM) numbering by default. Of the 40 pins, there are multiple power, signal, and ground pins that your servo motors can be connected to. There are two 5v pins (2 and 4), eight ground pins (6, 9, 14, 20, 25, 30, 34, 39), two advanced use pins (27, 28) for clock and data, and the remaining 26 are GPIO pins. Early versions of Raspberry Pi have a shorter header with 26 pins. The GPIO pins can be programmed to connect to low power digital or analog signal connections, including your servo motor.
Raspberry Pi wiring for servo motor
To connect your servo motor to your Raspberry Pi, find the three jumper wires extending from it. Wire colors can be different, but you can assume that the red wire is the power wire, and connect that to pin one. The black or something brown wire should be the ground wire and can be connected to a GND pin. The remaining wire will be your signal wire, which you can attach to a GPIO pin of your choice.
Testing your Raspberry Pi-powered servo motor
Just remember which pin you are using for your code since Raspberry Pi pins have different functions. Once you have wired your servo to the Raspberry Pi, you can test that it is working using Python Editor scripts. There are scripts available online, which can be copied and pasted to your Raspberry Pi. You can play with the values to tweak the parameters and see your servo move differently.
Do more projects with Raspberry Pi
As mentioned, Raspberry Pi can be programmed to connect digital and analog stuff aside from servo motors. For example, you can connect DC motors if your project includes power motion. You can download documentation here for more details about using Raspberry Pi and other controllers for your chosen motor. Hopefully, this helps you learn about using Raspberry Pi for your robotics projects.
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