This project features several of our favourite things. Astronauts! Machine learning! High-altitude danger! Graphs! (It could only get slightly better with the addition of tap-dancing centaurs.) Read on to have your nerdliest pleasure centres tickled.
Michael Foale is a former astronaut with dual British/American citizenship; and thanks to that dual citizenship was revered by British kids like me as some kind of Superman when he spent time on the Russian Mir space station back in the 1990s. It’s always great to see one of our heroes using the Raspberry Pi, but it’s doubly great when the use it’s being put to is so very, very cool.
Foale’s daughter Jenna is a PhD candidate in computational fluid dynamics, and together they have engineered a machine-learning system called Solar Pilot Guard to help prevent aircraft crashes, using the Wolfram Language on a Raspberry Pi. A solar-powered probe (that fin in the image above) detects changes in acceleration and air pressure to spot potential loss-of-control (LOC) events in flight, calculating the probability of each pressure/acceleration event representing a possible LOC event.
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Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.