Category Archives: Prototyping

Tweets in motion

Here we go everyone, as promised, a video of the prototype system working from start to finish! I can recommend viewing it in HD at full screen with a bit of volume for effect. Obviously theres still the final system to create but this is the big turning point in functionality. Let us know what you think in the comments here or on YouTube we’re interested to know what you think of the system as much as the video at this stage.

 

The Twitter API, Twython and I

Musical references aside my time has, since building as much of the actual system on breadboard as was needed and ordering PCBs, been spent mostly on finding a suitable Python 3 compatible Twitter library and getting it to work.

Job number 1 was finding one I liked the look of. Truth be told, this extended as far as some Googling and finding a list of popular libraries. Then choosing one that was actively maintained, worked with Python 3 and introduced the least interfering with data between me and the actual Twitter REST API 1.1.

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Code structure, planning and progress

Since software has been a major focus while the PCBs have been in production we will give you a sneak peek into how we’re designing and keeping track of things.

Work in progress system class diagram

Work in progress system class diagram

Above is our UML (Unified Modelling Language) class diagram for the software that is being developed on the Raspberry Pi. With a project as complicated as ours, it was very important to plan the software. This allowed us to break up the overall goal into smaller, more manageable modules. These modules could then be programmed in parallel as the requirements of each piece of code was predetermined. Continue reading

Breadboard prototype

We thought it was about time you saw the breadboard monster that we’ve been developing with until the PCBs arrive and here she is! It’s only a mostly functional version of the registers and the adder function but it’s allowed us to make sure all of the most important functions work for now.

A basic functional prototype of the registers and adder hardware
A basic functional prototype of the registers and adder hardware

Breaking the silence

Ok, so we know we’ve been quiet for a little while now but that’s only because we’ve made epic progress.

Last we said was that we’d laid out the PCBs ready for ordering them. Well, we have ordered them but it all underwent a full re-work and re-plan before submitting the orders finally because we learnt a few important things.

V0.1 of the TwitALU PCB layout

V0.1 of the TwitALU PCB layout

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All aboard the PCB Train!

Now I know it’s been a little while since our last blog entry but don’t worry, we’ve been busy working on producing schematics and PCB designs for the project!

Not long after the last post we decided that it probably wouldn’t be the best use of our time to produce the entire ALU and registers on breadboard. It’d be big, bug ridden and consume more sections of board and tiny bits of wire than have probably ever been produced.

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