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Raytracing Display running on a RasPi Model A+ #piday #raspberrypi @Raspberry_Pi

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Craig Lindley shared a project he has been making with one of a series of “minion” housings that he had originally created for a canceled project. Here’s what he had to say:

The simple hardware consists of a Model A Raspberry Pi, a USB cable and power module, an SD memory card, an optional USB WiFi adapter and an Adafruit 2.2″ SPI LCD display. Anyone with some RPi knowledge and some soldering experience can put one of these together in an hour or two (without the packaging, of course).

And from the project page:

…This minion has been repurposed to be a desktop raytracing device that designs and renders raytraced images in real time (albeit slowly). Inside this minion is a Model A Raspberry Pi (RPi) single board Linux based computer that is running custom software I wrote (in Objective C) called ArtRays. The RPi drives an Adafruit 320×240 2.2″ SPI LCD display and is (optionally) wirelessly connected via a USB WiFi adapter. The RPi and display are powered externally with a USB power module capable of 5 volts @ 1 amp. The RPi is a great little computer but it doesn’t have the power to render large raytraced images. Its does an OK job with 320×240 images however, especially when over clocked to 1GHz.

ArtRays has two modes of operation: first, it programmatically generates pov-ray (see scene files using probabilities that can be directed to some extent by the user via a properties file (shown below) and second, it randomly picks existing scene files (of your design or downloaded from the Internet) stored on the RPi’s SD memory card. Either way, ArtRays then execs pov-ray version 3.7 to render the scene files and then uses SDL (Simple Media Layer) software to display the images on the LCD display. It starts producing raytraced image on power up and does this continually until power is removed. I have this minion setting next to my workspace and enjoy glancing over at it periodically to see what it has produced. Not all of the programmatically generated images are great or even good but some of them are truly spectacular. Example images are shown below….

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