Another Element 14 Project submission Time!
Around the various Holidays I enjoy creating little projects that match the theme of that specific Holiday, Spooky around Halloween, Spring/Life around Easter, Hearts/Candy/Love around Valentines, Star Wars around May 4th, Winter/Christmas around Christmas, etc... For this project I tried to imagine something that wasn't limited to a season or a specific Holiday but more along the lines of Giving with the potential to continue giving throughout the year and into the future.
With the last Project 14 I was sent a Raspberry Pi 4 to build my OldTablet to NewPiMonitor! (OT2NPM) (thank you again tariq.ahmad) , this led me to reflect on the idea of passing on the Raspberry PI 4 to my middle school age daughter Makenna who has expressed a great interest in STEM. But just giving her the board and basics (keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc...) wasn't enough for a Holiday Project, it needed more Spark, more Force! Maybe even, more Baby Yoda!?!?
Makenna has been by my side for every episode of the Mandalorian Series presented by Disney and of course has fallen in love with the little character formerly known as The Child, AKA Baby Yoda, now Grogu. In fact her biggest desire for a Christmas present was a Baby Yoda, not an ugly one, but a cute one!
So of course now I am intrigued in regards of how to tie this together into a Gift for my Daughter and a Project for E14.
In S2E6 AKA Chapter 14: The Tragedy, Grogu is introduced to The Seeing Stone and meditates upon it, going into a force trance and sending out a signal. Of course many other things happened as well as this was a key pivot in the story. But the specific part about the Stone being used by Jedi intrigued me and made me consider how to apply that to this project.
Enter The Learning Stone:
I took a smallish black cylinder/plastic canister with a twist off top and filled it's insides with the Raspberry Pi 4, connections for the USB Keyboard and mouse, power with a switch (you can see the red light next to the button), HDMI and an audio/speaker out cable.
I cut out a hole on the top to allow Baby Yoda a secure place to sit while using The Learning Stone as well as two access ports in the back for all of the cabling.
I purposely went with a minimal approach so as to encourage Makenna to make it her own. I have provided various color led lights for her to drill into the canister and place and then be able to custom control them as part of the learning and programming of the RPi. The canister itself is easy to cut into and we can add items such as a SenseHat or possibly a Google AIY Voice kit. The driving force will be her desires and interest.
Here we can see The Learning Stone in front of a picture of The Seeing Stone and Grogu.
I documented the setup and configuration of the Raspberry Pi 4 in the last Project 14 Recycle and Retrofit. I really wanted to stay with the basics of that project since the VNC connection capabilities will allow Makenna to connect via her laptop as well as a different recycled tablet we set up to allow her to use technology in her dollhouse. The tablet is running the same steps and applications as in the OT2NPM project.
I did make some additions/changes to better match her needs as a student and potential explorer of programming and technology with the Raspberry Pi 4.
The old tiled Raspberry Pi logo was swapped out with a color background showing Grogu on The Seeing Stone. Got to keep the motivation flowing! This is The Way!
First we went into Preferences > Recommended Software to allow her to add some applications that she thought would be helpful.
Code The Classics, Python versions of arcade games included in the book Code The Classics Volume 1. I have a feeling this book will soon be in her library.
LibreOffice, a complete office suite.
Mathematica, anything to possibly help with mathematical computations!
Minecraft, have to have this!
Python Games, more games written in Python to get her curiosity started and some code base to play with.
Scratch 3, we have played with this in the past and added it so she can go over any of our older Scratch books if she wants.
Thonny, a Python IDE for beginners. We will research some more what might be best for her but added this to start.
So one thing she wanted was the capability to be able to go to DisneyPlus or Netflix and similar streaming sites and actually stream videos. By default the Chromium Web Browser will allow you to connect but will not allow the playing of videos due to DRM issues.
The issue seemed to point to the Widevine Component which ARM has problems with. Reading that Firefox might have a work around I installed that and still no go since you have to install the Firefox ESR version for ARM. So more research was called upon...
Enter Mr. Veselin Petkov and his blog at blog.vpetkov.net. He has a Media version of Chromium that fixes the issues!
By entering curl -fsSl https://pi.vpetkov.net -o ventz-media-pi and then following up with sh ventz-media-pi you should get the following:
Following the Reboot command you should then see Chromium (Media Edition) under your Internet options! This does work!
Here you can see Scooby Doo on Netflix being tested.
Be sure to view the video at the end of this project to see a bit of The Mandalorian Season 2 Trailer from DisneyPlus running with audio and no lag/glitching.
Here we have one of the first bookmarked sites in her Programming area: raspberrypi.org/hour-of-code/
We will be expanding this as we find things that catch her eye and keep her interest. Feel free to offer suggestions in the comments and we will check them out!
Remember I mentioned the OT2NPM project being implemented with her old tablet to bring technology into her dollhouse?
Here she is setting up the GIANT dollhouse wallscreen that is currently VNC'ed into The Learning Stone and showing part of the ever popular Mandalorian series.
Here we have "most' of her Calico Critters and Baby Yoda watching the show. You can see the baby Calico Critter perched upon the top of the Pram for Grogu.
Here we have everyone all set to watch and Makenna having to restrain her Calico Cat Caramel from joining in with the Calico Critters and Grogu.
Here we have Makenna giving the thumbs up on The Learning Stone project. She is super excited to delve into learning more about STEM and Raspberry Pi!
And finally I have included the video showing the successful streaming of part of The Mandalorian Season 2 Trailer from DisneyPlus. This should include audio although you may have to turn yours up a bit since I was using a low power speaker during the video filming.
Overall I am very happy with The Learning Stone project and my daughter is loving it. It is a Gift that will expand and grow with her as she learns more and decides to work on more projects herself.
Nurture the younglings so that the Universe can grow with them. This Is The Way!