Tag Archives: Raspberry Pi

Secure your Raspberry Pi and Linux applications with ZymKey

ZymKey makes it easy to secure your IoT applications and manage them in the real world.

More times than not, developers are faced with two bad options: either deliver a substandard product quickly, or reinvent the wheel and miss the market altogether. Luckily, one Santa Barbara-based startup has come up with a solution, not just a band-aid but a true fix to the all too common conundrum. Introducing ZymKey, a tiny, low-cost piece of hardware for authenticating and encrypting data between Internet of Things devices.


The key integrates silicon and software into a simple, ready-to-go package that will automatically work with Raspberry Pi and other Linux gadgets. What’s nice is that the ZymKey integrates seamlessly with Zymbit’s existing IoT platform, which includes Zymbit.Connect software, the Zymbit.City community and the Zymbit.Orange secure IoT motherboard that was on display back at Maker Faire Bay Area. Together, Zymbit enables IoT professional developers and Makers innovate faster with the confidence of data security and integrity.

“The Internet of Things will reach its full potential when real people like you and I begin to connect our devices and share data streams,” explained Zymbit CEO Phil Strong. “Then we can work together to solve real problems that impact our everyday lives. Funding our Kickstarter campaign is not just about building the ZymKey, it’s about enabling an entire community of people to collaborate around secure data streams and ideas.”


Ideally, Zymbit will make it easy to not only collect but to share data in a trusted manner. The platform embraces open technologies and gives people the freedom to innovate quickly without having to compromise security or performance. Aside from that, the so-called Zymbit.City will serve as a forum for those with common interests to collaborate on ideas powered by such verified and authenticated information.

ZymKey works by attaching to IoT Linux platforms like the Raspberry Pi. When combined with Zymbit’s Linux APIs, it offers true authentication and cryptographic services of remote devices, as well as a real-time clock and accelerometer to timestamp security events and detect physical tampering, respectively. For its Kickstarter launch, ZymKey is available in two versions: a header-mounted crypto key for the RPi and a USB stick that plugs into the port of a Linux board, including BeagleBone, UDOO and Dragon.


For the RPi model, the low-profile hardware attaches directly to the Pi’s expansion header while still allowing Pi-Plates to be added on top. Lightweight firmware drivers run on the RPi core interface with software services through Zymbit.Connect. Meanwhile, the USB version adds more functionality and is usable on any Linux unit with a USB host.

“Great security has to be designed end to end. From silicon to software, from point of manufacture through end-of-life. ZymKey brings all this together and makes it easy to manage your applications and devices out in the real world, without compromising security,” the team explains. “ZymKey integrates speciality silicon with firmware drivers on the host device and the corresponding software services in the cloud. The result is a robust and secure communication workflow that meets some of the highest standards in the industry.”


Both ZymKeys are embedded with an ATECC508A CryptoAuthentication IC for bolstered security, while the USB version also features an Atmel | SAM D21 Cortex-M0+ core. Once connected to the Zymbit platform, you will have the unprecedented ability to transparently manage all of your remote devices from a single console — upgrade over the air, configure admin rights, and so much more. Additionally, you will be able to publish, subscribe and visualize secure data. Each ZymKey comes pre-packed with dashboard widget that make it simple to customize and share with others.


So whether you’re connecting one Linux gizmo in your garage to a public forum or have tens of thousands of Raspberry Pis deployed throughout the world, ZymKey seems to be an excellent option for everyone. Interested? Head over to its Kickstarter page, where the Zymbit team is seeking $15,000. Delivery is slated for December 2015.

Solving the Rubik’s Cube with Raspberry Pi and Arduino

A Maker duo created a Rubik’s Cube-solving robot using recycled FAC system parts, a Raspberry Pi Compute Module and an Arduino Mini.

Solving a Rubik’s Cube is no easy feat. In fact, for a vast majority of folks, it’s a downright daunting task. But what if there was an automated mechanism that could do it for you? That’s exactly what the duo of Maxim Tsoy and Wilbert Swinkels has developed. Inspired by other DIY cube solvers comprised of LEGO and Fischertechnik, the Makers brought their creation to life using antiquated FAC-System parts — a modular system developed back in the early 1950s.


At the heart of the machine lies a Raspberry Pi Compute Module along with Arduino Mini. The Compute Module actuates a series of  motors and grippers, while also running a two-phase algorithm from Herbert Kociemba. Aside from that, the ATmega328 board was employed to control an LDR-based scanner which consists of three modified ColorPAL sensors. The data is sent to the Arduino and based on the incoming set of information, the program begins computing how to solve the cube and relays commands to the motors.

“It turned out to be very easy to connect Arduino to Raspberry and make them work together,” the Makers reveal. This called for nothing more than two wires and a level converter from SparkFun.


The entire system is mounted onto an MDF base, which houses all of the electronic components. It should be pointed out that, at first, an Arduino was implemented as the brains of the entire operation. However, the Makers realized that an RPi would be a much better suitor for the job. After all, the sophisticated cube solving algorithms required quite a bit of memory — more than the Arduino could provide.

Pretty cool, right? See it in action below, and check out the project’s elaborate overview here.

Enhance Raspberry Pi security with ZymKey

In this blog, Zymbit’s Scott Miller addresses some of the missing parts in the Raspberry Pi security equation. 

Raspberry Pi is an awesome platform that offers people access to a full-fledged portable computing and Linux development environment. The board was originally designed for education, but has since been embedded into countless ‘real world’ applications that require remote access and a higher standard of security. One of, if not, the most notable omissions is the lack of a robust hardware-based security solution.


At this point, a number of people would stop here and say, “Scott, you can do security on RPi in software just fine with OpenSSL/SSH and libgcrypt. And especially with the Model 2, there are tons of CPU cycles left over.” Performance is not the primary concern when we think about security; the highest priority is to address the issue of “hackability,” particularly through remote access.

What do you mean by “hackability?”

Hackability is a term that refers to the ease by which an attacker can:

  • take over a system;
  • insert misleading or false data in a data stream;
  • decrypt and view confidential data.

Perhaps the easiest way to accomplish any or all of the aforementioned goals is for the attacker to locate material relating to security keys. In other words, if an attacker can gain access to your secret keys, they can do all of the above.

Which security features are lacking from Raspberry Pi?

Aside from not having hardware-based security engines to do the heavy lifting, there’s no way to secure shared keys for symmetric cryptography or private keys for asymmetric cryptography.

Because all of your code and data live on a single SD card, you are exposed. Meaning, someone can simply remove the SD card, pop it into a PC and have possession of the keys and other sensitive material. This is particularly true when the device is remote and outside of your physical control. Even if you somehow try to obfuscate the keys, you are still not completely safe. Someone with enough motivation could reverse engineer or work around your scheme.

The best solution for protecting crypto keys is to ensure the secret key material can only be read by standalone crypto engines that run independently from the core application CPU. This basic feature is lacking in the Raspberry Pi.

Securing Raspberry Pi with silicon and software

With this in mind, Zymbit has decided to extract some of the core security features from the Zymbit.Orange and combine them into a tiny device that embeds onto the Raspberry Pi, providing seamless integration with Zymbit’s remote device management console. Meet the ZymKey!

ZymKey for secure remote device management

ZymKey brings together silicon, firmware drivers and software services into a coherent package that’s compatible with Zymbit’s secure IoT platform. This enables a Raspberry Pi to be accessed and managed remotely, firmware to be upgraded and access rights to be administered.


Secure software services

Zymbit’s Connect libraries enhance the security and utility of Raspberry Pi in the following ways:

  • Add message authentication to egress messages to the Zymbit cloud by attaching a digital signature, which proves that the data originated to a specific Raspberry Pi/Key combination. (Meaning that it was not forged or substituted along the way).
  • Assist in providing security certificates to the Zymbit cloud.
  • Authenticate security certificates from the Zymbit cloud.
  • Optionally help to encrypt/decrypt the content of messages to/from the Zymbit cloud.

Data that is encrypted/authenticated through ZymKey will be stored in this encrypted/authenticated form, thereby preserving the privacy and integrity of the data.


In addition to its standard attributes, developers can access lower level features through secure software services, including general cryptography (SHA-256 MAC and HMAC with secure keys, public key encryption/decryption), password validation, and ‘fingerprint’ services that bind together specific hardware configurations.

Stealth hardware

ZymKey’s low-profile hardware plugs directly into the Pi’s expansion header while still allowing Pi-Plates to be added on top. Lightweight firmware drivers run on the RPi core and interface with software services through zymbit.connect. It should also be noted that a USB device is in the works for other Linux boards.


At the heart of the ZymKey is the newly released ATECC508A CryptoAuthentication IC. Among some of its notable specs are:

  • ECC asymmetric encryption engine
  • SHA digest engine
  • Random number generator
  • Unique 72-bit ID
  • Tamper prevention
  • Secure memory for storing:
    • Sensitive key material – an important thing to point out is that private keys are unreadable by the outside world and, as stated above, are only readable by the crypto engine.
    • X.509 security certificates.
    • Temporary items: nonces, random numbers, ephemeral keys
  • Optional encryption of transmitted data across the I2C bus for times when sensitive material must be exchanged between the Raspberry Pi and the ATECC508A

Life without ZymKey

Raspberry Pi can be used with the Zymbit Connect service without the ZymKey; however, the addition of ZymKey ensures that communications with Zymbit services are secured to a higher standard. Private keys are unreadable by the outside world and usable only by the ATECC508A, thus making it difficult (if not practically impossible) to compromise.

Each ZymKey has a unique set of keys. So, if, on the off chance that a key is compromised, only that key is affected. Simply stated, if you have several Raspberry Pi/ZymKey pairs deployed and one is compromised, the others will still be secure.

Once again, it is certainly possible to achieve the above goals purely through software (OpenSSL/libgcrypt/libcrypto). However, especially regarding encryption paths, without ZymKey’s secure storage, key material must be stored on the Raspberry Pi’s SD card, exposing private keys for anyone to exploit.

Stay tuned! The ZymKey will be making its debut on Kickstarter in the coming days.

$60 hack can trick LIDAR systems used by most self-driving cars

A security researcher has created a $60 system with Arduino and a laser pointer that can spoof the LIDAR sensors used by most autonomous vehicles. 

Many self-driving cars use LIDAR sensors to detect obstacles and build 3D images to help them navigate. However, one security researcher has developed a $60 device with “off-the-shelf parts” that can trick the systems into seeing objects which don’t actually exit, thereby forcing the autonomous vehicles to take unnecessary actions, like slowing down or stopping to avoid a collision with the phantom thing. Ultimately, this further highlights the need for stringent security measures for automobiles that would otherwise be vulnerable to cyber criminals armed with nothing more than a low-power laser and pulse generator.


“It’s kind of a laser pointer, really. And you don’t need the pulse generator when you do the attack. You can easily do it with a Raspberry Pi or an Arduino,” explains researcher Jonathan Petit, principle scientist at Security Innovation.

According to IEEE Spectrum, Petit began by simply recording pulses from a commercial IBEO Lux LIDAR unit. The pulses were not encoded or encrypted, which allowed him to replay them at a later point. He was then able to create the illusion of a fake car, wall, cyclist or pedestrian anywhere from 65 to 1,100 feet from the LIDAR system, and make multiple copies of the simulated obstacles. In tests, the attack worked at all angles — from behind, the side and in front without alerting the passengers — and didn’t always require a precise hit of the device for it to achieve its goal.

“I can spoof thousands of objects and basically carry out a denial of service attack on the tracking system so it’s not able to track real objects,” Petit adds.

As IEEE Spectrum notes, sensor attacks are not limited to self-driving cars, either. The same homebrew laser pointer can be employed to carry out an equally devastating denial of service attack on a human motorist by simply dazzling them, and without the need for sophisticated laser pulse recording, generation or synchronization equipment.


While the DIY system won’t necessary affect everyone, it does state the case that security should be at the forefront of auto design. Petit concludes. “There are ways to solve it. A strong system that does misbehavior detection could cross-check with other data and filter out those that aren’t plausible. But I don’t think carmakers have done it yet. This might be a good wake-up call for them.”

The researcher described his proof-of-concept hack in a paper entitled “Potential Cyberattacks on Automated Vehicles,” which will be presented at Black Hat Europe in November.

[Images: Jeff Kowalsky/IEEE Spectrum, TechHive]

Sense HAT is an add-on board for the Raspberry Pi

This Raspberry Pi HAT features an 8×8 RGB LED matrix, a five-button joystick and a number of sensors. 

The Sense HAT is a sensor-laden, add-on board for the Raspberry Pi that will soon be headed into space as part of the Astro Pi mission.


For those familiar with the initiative, Astro Pi is a collaboration between Raspberry Pi, British astronaut Tim Peake, UK Space and the European Space Agency that was formed to offer students a chance to devise their own experiments and run them in space. In December, a pair of RPi computers will be connected to a new Astro Pi board and sent to the International Space Station. During the mission, the astronaut will deploy the units in a variety of locations onboard the ISS, load up the winning codes while in orbit, set them running, collect the data generated and then download this to Earth where it will be distributed.

As for the Sense HAT, the board is packed with a gyroscope, an accelerometer, a magnetometer, a temperature sensor, a barometric pressure sensor and a humidity sensor, as well as a five-button joystick and an 8×8 RGB LED matrix — all powered by an LED driver chip and an ATTiny88 MCU running custom firmware. By attaching the board to your Pi’s GPIO pins, Makers can use the integrated circuit-based sensors for any number of experiments, apps and games. Raspberry Pi has also devised a Python library for easy access to everything on the HAT.

“The Sense HAT was originally developed around James Adams’ idea to make a cool toy-style board that showed off just how much you could do with your average modern MEMS gyroscope, 64 RGB LEDs and some Atmel microcontroller hackery,” the team writes. “Somewhere between prototype and production, it seems to have attracted extra features like a pressure sensor, a humidity/temperature sensor and a teeny joystick.”


The LED matrix will provide a feedback mechanism and enhanced interactivity for astronaut Tim Peake when he’s tasked with deploying the Astro Pi board on the ISS. One of the winning entries – Reaction Games – has even programmed a whole suite of joypad-operated games played via the LED matrix. According to the Raspberry Pi crew, Snake is hilarious on an 8×8 screen!

“The Atmel [MCU] is responsible for sampling the joystick. We didn’t have enough pins left on the Atmel to dedicate the five that we needed to sample the joystick axes independently, so they’ve been spliced into the LED matrix row selects. The joystick gets updated at approximately 80Hz, which is the scan rate of the LED matrix,” its creators explain. “All of the sensors (and the base firmware for the Atmel) are accessible from the Pi over I2C. As a fun bonus mode, the SPI peripheral on the Atmel has been hooked up to the Pi’s SPI interface – you can reprogram your HAT in the field!”

Intrigued? Head over to the Raspberry Pi blog, where you will find an elaborate log of the Astro Pi mission.

Hacking a wireless weather display with an ATmega328P

Maker integrates his weather system into a Raspberry Pi-controlled sensor network.

The transmitter on embedded software designer Yveaux’s wireless weather station broke a couple of years ago, which left its indoor display out of commission. Not long after, the Dutchman received a new Alecto DKW-2012 system for his birthday. But it turns out that both weather stations lacked the ability to log data over an extended period of time. Channelling his inner DIY spirit, he decided to reverse engineer the transmitter’s protocol and build a sensor network system of his own.


The network is controlled by a Raspberry Pi, which collates the weather-related sensor data and stores it on his home server. The designer also hacked the broken weather station, including its pressure, humidity and temperature sensors, and proceeded to mount it alongside the DKW-2012. Admittedly, the setup looked “a bit silly” but functioned just fine.

Yveaux thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have a single weather station that logs all of its data and at the same time display this data on the wireless indoor display?” With some surfing of the Internet, he discovered that his weather station operated at the common frequency of 868MHz and was able to make the Pi speak its protocol.

“Some code found on the web details the protocol but I couldn’t find any project that transmits weather data. I did, however, find some code by SevenWatt that uses an Arduino and RFM69W to transmit OOK modulated signals.”


Using this code as a base, he added a Moteino (ATmega328P) and an nRF2401+ transceiver to send data to the Pi. A DVB-T USB stick is tasked with capturing and analyzing the time and weather information, which is relayed over to the indoor display for viewing.

“My home server, which stores the weather data in a database, also publishes this data to an MQTT broker. A Node-RED installation subscribes to this data and republishes each value to topics recognized by an MQTT MySensors Gateway, which I wrote some time ago. The gateway distributes these values to wireless sensor nodes in a MySensors network,” Yveaux writes.

The setup has been running for a few years and the database now contains over one million samples. Intrigued? Head over to the Maker’s project page here.

This LED installation mimics the movements of fireflies

This 2,000-plus LED installation reacts to the movement of its visitors, placing them inside a colorful 3D environment.

Austrian arts collective Neon Golden recently created an immersive light installation designed to mimic the movements of fireflies. The project, aptly named SWARMconsists of over 2,000 LEDs that are suspended at various heights from an overhead metal grid and arranged in a series of 40 modules throughout a dark room.


The lights use motion-sensing technology, which is controlled by Raspberry Pi and Arduino running Processing, to replicate the motion of lightning bugs. The hanging LEDs change position horizontally in response to the movements of nearby visitors. The team also employed Cinema 4D to generate SWARM’s advanced 3D effects.

“Through the movement of the visitors within the installation the LEDs are lightening up and the static, chaotic structure transforms into a vibrant, three-dimensional swarm one can visually but also acoustically experience,” Neon Golden explains.


According to its creators, SWARM is adaptable to meet different space requirements, as the configuration of light modules can be adjusted to fit smaller or larger areas. The piece made its debut back at the Olympus Photography Playground in Vienna in February 2015.


You can see it for yourself in the video below as dancer Máté Czakó makes his way through the luminescent creatures, revealing the LEDs’ reactivity.

[h/t Dezeen]

Measuring the heartbeat of wetlands with Arduino and XBee

A team of National Geographic explorers are connecting the Okavango Delta to the Internet of Things.

Drones capable of detecting illegal logging in the Amazon Rainforest. Sensor networks to help research the dwindling honeybee population. Smart solar-powered waste collection. This is all happening today thanks to the Internet of Things. Joining that growing list of applications is the latest project from a group of National Geographic explorers. Over the summer, the researchers are taking a 1,000-mile journey down Africa’s Okavango River in an effort to collect environmental data, discover new species and measure the heartbeat of one of the most remote wetlands in the world. How, you ask? With the help of Arduino, Raspberry Pi and the XBee ZigBee network.


Located in Botswana, the Okavango Delta is one of the last pristine wetland wildernesses in the world. Although it is protected as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, the water supply further upstream in Angola and Namibia is still susceptible to human interference. And so, National Geographic’s Okavango Expedition assembled a team of scientists and engineers to gather data along the river so that conservation efforts can be more effective, raise awareness and ensure that this remote wildlife sanctuary can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Since the delta itself stretches a vast 5,800-square-miles, the researchers needed to find a way to efficiently gather data across the entire area. Being such a remote location presented a few challenges, which required additional considerations like weatherproof equipment, power sources, and more importantly, how to network the sensors.

In order to accomplish this, the expedition’s lead technologist Shah Selbe created a wireless sensor network to significantly reduce the amount of manual labor required by the team to accumulate the environmental data. Now, they no longer have to use pH strips or manually check sensor readings, then record it by hand onto paper. Instead, the wireless network automates this processing by accurately collating the information.


“Shah took us from little strips and pieces of paper – writing down the water quality as we go down – to environmental sensor platforms. We’re going to be measuring the literal heartbeat of that wilderness in real-time for the world to see,” says Steve Boyes, National Geographic Emerging Explorer.

At the heart of each network lies a Raspberry Pi running a Python script. This central hub processes the data generated from multiple remote nodes and acts as a Wi-Fi gateway. The data is then directly uploaded to the web server using JSON. In some particularly remote areas, Arduino nodes are employed to relay data using the Twilio API over a cellular network. These nodes are comprised of an Arduino, multiple sensors and an XBee module, which makes it possible to connect over long distances. For power, the remote nodes rely on a solar panel and a 6600 mAH battery.


An assortment of sensors are being deployed throughout the delta, with hopes of garnering various water quality data like pH, dissolved oxygen, salinity and conductivity. The team is also seeking to better understand flood dynamics by monitoring flow rate, water level and turbidity. On the surface, sensors measure air temperature, humidity, barometric pressure and in the future the researchers plan to add sensors to detect radiation and other air pollutants. Aside from all that, they are even streaming GPS location, research observations, wildlife sightings, photos and more in real-time on their website.

As the XBee crew reveals, this is merely the first phase of the project. Continuously monitoring the delta will enable the National Geographic explorers to detect even the most minute changes in water quality. The project will also be open source, so the conservation effort can reach and preserve as many marine habitats as possible.

“Instead of connected toasters and thermostats, we can have connected forests and wetlands,” Selbe explains.

Intrigued? You can read more about the project on Digi’s original post here, or check out Selbe’s own writeup.

[Images: Shah Selbe, Digi]

Mycroft is opening up artificial intelligence to everyone

Mycroft is an open source alternative to Amazon Echo and Google Now. 

No longer just something you see in sci-fi licks, artificial intelligence has arrived. From autonomous cars to household robots, it’s only a matter of time before it will be implemented everywhere and in everything. While larger corporations have been the ones lucky enough to have access to the technology, Mycroft is looking to change that.


The brainchild of Joshua Montgomery, Mycroft is the world’s first open source A.I. platform for the home. Based on Raspberry Pi 2 and Arduino, the system uses natural language processing to respond to your voice and make online services like Netflix, Pandora and Spotify instantly available to you. In other words, no more having to pull out your smartphone, enter log-in credentials, select a network, load an app and search for a feature.

With this nifty device, if you want to hear your favorite tunes before heading out for the night, all you’ll have to do is ask, “Mycroft, can you play ‘Baby Got Back’ from YouTube on my Chromecast?” and seconds later your video will begin to play.


As Montgomery points out, its capabilities extend well beyond streaming gadgets. In fact, Mycroft can emit music and sounds directly from its built-in, high-quality speaker. Just tell it to play your Pandora summer playlist for a day at the pool, then sit back, relax and enjoy the tunes.

Beyond that, Mycroft integrates with the smart devices in and around your house, including SmartThings, WeMo, Nest and Phillips Hue. This enables you to command your lights, thermostats and appliances with nothing more than your voice. If it’s connected to the Internet, Mycroft can control it. Turn on the lights? Yep! Lock the doors? Of course! Make your morning coffee? You betcha! Water the plants? Phew!

“Mycroft is an open source and open hardware platform. It allows developers, Makers and tinkerers to explore their own ideas. Want Mycroft to post to your Facebook account? Control a Roomba? Start your 3D printer? You can do it. Our community will include comprehensive documentation on the hardware inside Mycroft and the software that makes it go,” Montgomery explains.


The system works is as follows:

  1. Mycroft listens for its name. When an end user says “Mycroft, ” it listens for a command or question. If it doesn’t get one, it beeps softly to prompt you.
  2. Once it has received a command, Mycroft connects to your home router through Wi-Fi or Ethernet.
  3. Mycroft sends the command or question to the cloud.
  4. The cloud sends the audio to two or more online APIs that translate speech to text (STT).
  5. The STT APIs respond with a text translation of the audio phrase.
  6. The Mycroft cloud compares the results and selects the best one based on past performance, response time and other factors.
  7. The text translation is sent to at least two artificial intelligence APIs.
  8. The artificial intelligence APIs respond with a data structure that translates the text into intents, objects, entities, contexts and other categories.
  9. The Mycroft cloud combines the data structure with the user’s profile information and sends the information back to the Mycroft unit.
  10. The Mycroft unit uses the data structure to select the appropriate action.
  11. Mycroft performs the action.

In terms of hardware, Mycroft is equipped with a Raspberry Pi 2 at its heart, along with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, and an ATmega328 to power its Tron-like LED display. Not only Maker-friendly and affordable to all, the $129 unit uses a variety of open APIs to process language, determine intent and obtain results. On the software side, Mycroft is powered by the Snappy Ubuntu Core. This makes creating, distributing and installing new apps simple and easy. And since it is open source, developers will have the ability to add more features over time.

Interested? Head over to its Kickstarter campaign, where Mycroft is currently seeking $99,000. Delivery is expected to get underway next year.

Young Maker creates a portable, 3D-printed game console

One 14-year-old Maker has built a portable, multi-purpose gaming console based on Raspberry Pi.

Evident by the recent success of Arduboy, not to mention a number of other projects, do-it-yourself gaming has surely risen in popularity over the years. Take for instance, 14-year-old Maker Rasmus Hauschild, who has developed a portable, multi-purpose Raspberry Pi console.


The Maker created a vast majority of the homebrew system’s components, along with its four action buttons, in Autodesk 123D Design, and then 3D printed them out on an Ultimaker 2. In total, the print job required just shy of 210 hours and called for roughly 1,000 feet of filament.

The console itself is comprised of a 3.5” TFT screen with a resolution of 480 x 320, a 6000mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery, two MP3 speakers taken out of a broken Nintendo DS Lite, an analog volume slider from a pair of old headphones, as well as a built-in controller with tactile switches and an analog thumb stick.


Users can expect anywhere from four to five hours of play time on a single charge, which is plenty for even the longest of car rides. When depleted, an Adafruit PowerBoost 1000C juices the battery up in about five to six hours. Additionally, since he used a cheap composite backup camera screen, the Maker does note that the console calls for 12V to operate out of the box, or can be configured to work with 5V.

In terms of hardware, the system is based on a Raspberry Pi running Retropie OS. This allows it to emulate games dating back to 1977 through 2003. It has both Raspbian and Kodi installed, too.


For Rasmus, the controller proved to be the most challenging part of the project, namely the thumb stick. This led him to use a Teensy 2.0 (ATmega32U4) to convert the controls from the gamepad into digital format since the Raspberry Pi seemed to have a difficult time understanding analog right away.

“If I had been a master programmer I could probably have gotten away with buying an ADC (analog to digital converter) and then writing a driver for it myself. But that did not work for me. So I did some research on the Internet, and found that the Arduino could convert analog signals to digital, but since the Arduino was way too big to ever fit in my design I decided to go with an Arduino ‘clone’ called the Teensy, because of the much smaller footprint,” Rasmus writes.


Aside from serving as a Game Boy alternative, the console can also be used as a media device, since Kodi and Raspbian are already loaded. Admittedly, Rasmus says that the screen is a bit too small for browsing the web, but when it comes to watching movies, it works just fine. Alternatively, it can be connected to a TV via HDMI.

Want to make one of your own? Check out his project on Thingiverse here.