journey through web development

Tag: personal-development

Raspberry Pi scroll bot- soldering, building, coding

Although I am a frontend developer with all my heart, I was always fascinated by how to build robots or wearable technology.

I haven’t done anything about it until I’ve seen a post on Twitter about some guy who has built a little display unit to show his family whether he has a meeting or is free to bother (anyone WFH and with kids out of school will understand the need for stuff like this :D) Anyway, the display looked really cool, I retweeted, and my good friend sent me a link to a Raspberry Pi shop (PiHut) and encouraged me to buy something and start building.

I needed something relatively simple for my first project, so products from Kits/Bundles tab seemed perfect.
I decided on this little scroll bot:

The package came super-quick, within 24 hrs.

Beware, this is a soldering project (😱 ), but you can also buy no-solder hammer headers to complete it.
My friend Jack has a soldering iron, which he kindly agreed to lend me. (Thank you!)
I have never soldered before, and it’s been nerve-racking activity, but after a quick youtube tutorial, I managed to solder both raspberry pi zero and scroll phat hd boards. (spoiler-alert! I have not messed up this step and everything works perfectly! So if I could do that, there is a high chance that you can do it too!)

The next step was to build the orange robot frame, and here I have followed the original assembly instructions, which you can access via this link.

My robot was complete, but with the end of instructions, ended my knowledge on what to do next πŸ˜‚
Do not worry though, as every programmer’s best friend aka Google helped me out. I plugged in HDMI cable into a mini-HDMI connector (included in the bundle) and onto my Raspberry Pi Zero board. I plugged in a USB for the wireless keyboard and mouse ( there is only one USB port, thankfully my keyboard and mouse set use the same USB, but if you have separate ones, you will need a USB hub to connect both to the Pi). Lastly, I inserted a micro SD card and plugged the whole thing to power.

The result…..nothing happened! 😱

I googled some more and realised I slotted an empty SD card, so of course, nothing could have happened. I tried adding a raspbian image downloaded from the internet straight onto the card, but it didn’t work for me. Raspberry Imager came to the rescue. This utility downloads the right file for you, and it’s really straightforward. I recommend this way if you are not entirely sure what you’re doing.

I tried again, the LED light on Pi Zero went on, and I saw a lovely Raspberry logo on the monitor. Victory! πŸ†

The first step was to install the scroll phat hd python library. For this step and few of my first coding tests, I followed this tutorial from Pimoroni website (CLICK HERE for tutorial)

At that point, I still had no idea whether my scroll phat hd board works, so when I tried one of the examples (downloaded with the library) and my robot came alive, I was really proud of myself and my soldering skills (haha).
The first little projects I did were a simple clock and displaying different strings, both static and scrolled ones.

For example, to code the clock you can see in the picture above, simple type:

As this post turned out quite lengthy, I will go in-depth about the final project for my little scroll bot later this month.
Let me know if you have ever done anything with Raspberry Pi, or maybe if you would like to in the future!

*Featured Photo by Harrison Broadbent on Unsplash

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Strengths finder

Have you ever heard of the Gallup’s Strengths Finder test? No? Me neither… until this morning.

I was browsing the internet looking for something, going from site to site and I got across it. I was intrigued, so started to look into it. The real Gallup’s Test is paid for, but I found a good free alternative to take online. High5 test helps you understand your strengths, and although there are 100 questions to answer, all you have to do is use the slider to say if you strongly agree or strongly disagree with the statement describing a certain behavior.

It took me around 10 minutes to complete the test. The results? Well..they didn’t surprise me at all! It was 100% me. To show you how cool it is to discover your “powers”, I will share my results:

Curious to explore them one by one in a bit more depth? Ok…

    1. Time keeper-
      “Your objective is to set timelines and deadlines. Because of your dislike of surprises, you love to plan. You don’t necessarily need to control everything and everyone, but there must be order and predictability in the world around you. You unconsciously impose the structure onto everything by setting up routines, timelines, and deadlines. If you set up plans, you make sure you follow them through thoroughly. Your need for structure becomes very useful in a team or a project since you can bring order and discipline to maintain progress and productivity “


      My mild OCD made me a little control-freak (nothing serious, I just LOVE to make lists and plan stuff out. πŸ€ͺ) Thanks to my great timekeeping abilities I always submit assignments well ahead of time and I never arrive late. I like to plan out so I’m prepared for everything.


    1. Deliverer-
      “Your objective is to take responsibility. If there is a person who is emotionally bound to follow through on all promises – then it’s you. Your strong ethical principles do not let you to simply write missteps off on excuses and rationalizations. It holds true no matter how small or large is the issue you are dealing with. Your name and reputation depend on you being responsible for your commitments. That’s why people love to have you in their team. When assigning new responsibilities, they look at you first. They are 100% sure that what’ll get on your desk – will get done no matter what.”


    1. Commander-
      “Your objective is to take charge and direct people. In any situation, you enjoy bringing yourself forward to lead the team. Moreover, you don’t come empty handed – by that time your opinion and views are formed and you can’t wait to align others with you. Contrary to others, in this process, you are not afraid of confrontation when presenting your views. At the contrary, you feel that the confrontation and the open discussion is the first step towards an agreement. People who have a clear vision and can take a stand for it always draw followers, so will you. If you also master listening to others, this strength will help you to be a good leader without fear of confrontation.”


      Ok, so leading skills must’ve developed recently because most of my youth I would think of myself as one of the group- never a leader. But that just shows how much we can change over time and nothing is set for good.


    1. Strategist-
      “Your objective is to see the big picture. Have you heard about ‘taking the helicopter view’? In your case, you are constantly on this helicopter! That’s not even a skill, it’s a special way of seeing things – a special perspective on the world at large, where everything is interconnected. While others could be confused by your short-terms steps, in your mind you have a clear multi-step strategy on how to arrive at the desired outcome and to avoid paths leading nowhere. Such a strategist is an essential asset for any team determined to find a clear direction in a complex situation.”

      I was in awe when I read this description. In the last semester, we had “Introduction to Databases” unit, and in the beginning, I had a problem understanding it fully, as we were taught little bits at a time without seeing the whole thing together. I WAS MISSING A BIGGER PICTURE!


    1. Catalyst-
      “Your objective is to act and to initiate action. You cannot wait until the discussions are over, wondering when we can actually start doing something. Undoubtedly, sometimes the progress could be achieved in a meeting room, but deep down in your heart you know it’s the action that leads to tangible results. If some can be resistant to act because they don’t have full information, for you – acting is the best teacher and the best source of information. How can you know something that does not work if we haven’t tried it? You make a decision, you take action, you look at the result, and you learn. As a result, you are impatient for action and, if not managed, it can lead to confusion of your team members. However, this talent of transforming intangible ideas into tangible actions is invaluable in every team. It’s all because you believe that you will be evaluated by what you get done, not what you say or what you think.”


      Yup, I learn stuff by doing them. I love to be in the move, always doing something, always creating. My friend always says that I’m “a busy 🐝”. The more I do, the more time I have for everything.


    Here it is. You’ve learned a whole lot about me today. I hope I interested you in the strengths test, let me know if decided to do it and what you think about your results!

    >>Take the High5 test here!<<

    *The featured photo: Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash
    The post also used Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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