Monday, August 02, 2021

IoT, Python, and Raspberry Pi–Oh My

Trying learn too many things can be a risky proposition. But sometimes it feels like the way to go. Regular readers of this blog know that I have been trying to learn Python and that I have been experimenting with the Internet of Things with Phidget devices. Mixing the two is a pretty obvious step but since I really want to set up some autonomous systems without tying down my laptop, it seems like the Raspberry Pis I have accumulated would be the way to go. So mixing a new programming language (Python), with a new development domain (IoT) with a new operating system (the Raspberry Pi OS is built on Linux) seemed like something I should give a try.

Fortunately for me, the Raspberry Pi OS installation comes with the Thonny, Python IDE for beginners and the Phidgets software has downloads and installation instructions for the Pi and Thonny. I had a little trouble getting the Phidgets library to install at first but the Thonny IDE had the ability to get the library and install it for me which was a big help.

Thonny feels like a very nice IDE for beginners BTW. I am surprised I hadn’t already known about it. It installs in Windows, Mac OS, and Linux. And it is free which is also nice. Visual Studio Code also installs on Raspberry Pi so if you are using that on other platforms it could be an easy move on the Pi.

My experiment involved using the Phidget Plant Kit because water and electronics go so well together. Seriously though I like the idea of having a computer controlled watering system for plants. That’s something I have wanted to do for a while. Plus it is something that lends itself to cross curricula work in schools.

Initially I plugged in a monitor, mouse, and keyboard. Not a bad desktop if a little slower than I am used to but fine for what I am needing. Next step was connecting over the network with VNC (Virtual Network Computing). This is the step I need for setting the Pi up without tying up my monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

Well, I have some more experimenting to do. More posts when I have some projects fully completed.  I’d love to hear what other people are doing with Raspberry Pi and IoT as well as where you like to go for connectable hardware.

No comments: