It's Sean!

UK freelance journalist, author
and writer Sean McManus

Printed from www.sean.co.uk. © Sean McManus.
You are here: Home > Blog Home > Sean McManus's Writing blog: May 2015

Sean's Tech and Writing Blog

Make a Raspberry Pi text scroller using the Unicorn HAT

31 May 2015


I blogged previously about my Scratch project in this month's Magpi. I also have a Python project in this issue, which creates a text scroller for the Raspberry Pi's Unicorn HAT. You can use it to display any message, and I imagine it could be a useful building block for anyone needing to display output from a robot, Twitter or any other data-based project.

The Unicorn HAT text scroller

The Unicorn HAT text scroller

To get started with this project, download the June 2015 issue of The Magpi and read the tutorial there. This project requires two programs, one to make the font (which runs once only) and another to scroll messages (which you use each time you display a message). If you're having trouble getting them working, or just want to spare your fingers, you can download the font maker and download the scroller program. These are both text files - you can copy and paste from them, or you can download them and rename them from .txt to .py before loading into Python.

For this project, you'll need a Unicorn HAT and a diffuser layer from Pimoroni. The Unicorn HAT (pictured below) provides an 8x8 matrix of RGB LEDs that you can control the colour and brightness of. In my project, I've used some simple code to apply different red/purple shades across the message. I got my Unicorn HAT at the Raspberry Pi Third Birthday Party and my starting point for the project was to see how I could use the Unicorn HAT to output information from the Raspberry Pi, rather than purely as a colourful special effect.

The Unicorn HAT

The Unicorn HAT

The Magpi is published monthly and is the official magazine of the Raspberry Pi. It's available to download for free as a PDF, so get your copy now!


Bookmark and Share
Permanent link for this post.

2 comments

Learn to make a multiple choice quiz in Scratch


The June 2015 issue of The Magpi, just published, includes a tutorial I've written, showing how to make a multiple choice quiz using Scratch. It also shows you how to import list data into Scratch. That means you can make games with a huge number of questions, without having to set each one up with a Scratch block. You don't even have to type them all in. My game is a capital cities geography quiz, using data from Wikipedia.

Screenshot of the Capital City Quiz

Screenshot of the Capital City Quiz

If you're struggling to get it working, you can download the Raspberry Pi file Scratch file. You can also play the game and tinker with its code on the Scratch website.

The Magpi is the official magazine of the Raspberry Pi, and can be downloaded as a free PDF each month. Get your copy now!

Bookmark and Share
Permanent link for this post.

0 comments

Three new photo galleries uploaded

29 May 2015


I've added three new photo galleries to my website, including photos from Tokyo, New York and South Africa. I've also updated my London photo gallery with some more recent shots.

Here are some samples from the galleries. Click them to go through to the full galleries. You can browse the full gallery here.

Photo of the face of the Statue of Liberty

Photo of the face of the Statue of Liberty

Lego sculpture called 'Computer', by Nathan Sawaya

A Lego sculpture called 'Computer', by Nathan Sawaya, shown in London


A lioness in the Kruger National Park, South Africa

A lioness in the Kruger National Park, South Africa


A giant Gundam Robot in Tokyo

A giant Gundam Robot in Tokyo



Bookmark and Share
Permanent link for this post.

0 comments

Dip into the blog archive

June 2005 | July 2005 | August 2005 | September 2005 | October 2005 | November 2005 | December 2005 | January 2006 | February 2006 | March 2006 | April 2006 | May 2006 | June 2006 | July 2006 | August 2006 | September 2006 | October 2006 | November 2006 | December 2006 | January 2007 | February 2007 | March 2007 | April 2007 | May 2007 | June 2007 | July 2007 | August 2007 | September 2007 | October 2007 | November 2007 | December 2007 | January 2008 | February 2008 | March 2008 | April 2008 | May 2008 | June 2008 | July 2008 | August 2008 | September 2008 | October 2008 | November 2008 | December 2008 | January 2009 | February 2009 | March 2009 | April 2009 | May 2009 | June 2009 | July 2009 | August 2009 | September 2009 | October 2009 | November 2009 | December 2009 | January 2010 | February 2010 | March 2010 | April 2010 | May 2010 | June 2010 | August 2010 | September 2010 | October 2010 | November 2010 | December 2010 | March 2011 | April 2011 | May 2011 | June 2011 | July 2011 | August 2011 | September 2011 | October 2011 | November 2011 | December 2011 | January 2012 | February 2012 | March 2012 | June 2012 | July 2012 | August 2012 | September 2012 | October 2012 | December 2012 | January 2013 | February 2013 | March 2013 | April 2013 | June 2013 | July 2013 | August 2013 | September 2013 | October 2013 | November 2013 | December 2013 | January 2014 | February 2014 | March 2014 | April 2014 | May 2014 | June 2014 | July 2014 | August 2014 | September 2014 | October 2014 | November 2014 | December 2014 | January 2015 | February 2015 | March 2015 | April 2015 | May 2015 | June 2015 | September 2015 | October 2015 | December 2015 | January 2016 | February 2016 | March 2016 | May 2016 | July 2016 | August 2016 | September 2016 | October 2016 | November 2016 | December 2016 | January 2017 | April 2017 | July 2017 | August 2017 | Top of this page | RSS

Books by Sean McManus

Scratch Programming in Easy 

Steps

Scratch Programming in Easy Steps

Raspberry Pi For Dummies

Raspberry Pi For Dummies

Learn to program with the Scratch programming language, widely used in schools and colleges.

Set up your Pi, master Linux, learn Scratch and Python, and create your own electronics projects.

Super Skills: How to 

Code

Super Skills: How to Code

Web Design in Easy Steps

Web Design in Easy Steps

Learn how to code with this great new book, which guides you through 10 easy lessons to build up your coding skills.

Learn the layout, design and navigation techniques that make a great website. Then build your own using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

More books

©Sean McManus. www.sean.co.uk.