Update 2/18 – Week 1

I’ve learned a lot of lessons from my first week at this project. I haven’t worked with Raspberry Pi in over a year (since my Designing Humanity Centered Robotics course in Fall 2017), and I’ve never been solely or even primarily responsible for the technical aspects of a project.

Forgetting the major differences between Arduino and Raspberry Pi, I didn’t realize that I was going to need a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at the ready to set up my Pi. So I attempted to get started without any of these things. Yikes.

I banged my head into a brick wall for hours upon hours trying to get this all working last week. The Brown University WiFi uses a security method called WPA2Enterprise, not supported by the automatic WiFi setup program built into Raspbian (my Pi’s operating system). I was plugging the Pi’s SD Card (where the operating system, etc. is stored) into my laptop to edit a document which contains the WiFi settings. This worked to connect my Pi to my phone’s personal hotspot, but not any of the Brown networks. Eventually I gave in and bought an HDMI cord so that I could connect my Pi to the TV in my dorm lounge, and connected my Bluetooth keyboard and mouse to the Pi. Great, but I was no closer to being connected to Brown’s internet!

I started complaining about this problem to my friend Seiji, who told me about wpa_gui, a program that makes setting up WiFi connections much easier. This worked and I successfully connected to Brown WiFi! But I still needed a way to access my Raspberry Pi from my laptop and I could not get SSH to work, which left me in a position where I’d still need a separate display, mouse, and keyboard to operate the Pi. Yesterday I figured out the final problem standing in my way (a missing security certificate in my WiFi setup) and I successfully accessed my Raspberry Pi from my laptop using the Brown WiFi. Whew!

Other things that happened this week: My package with the supplies for my first prototype came, courtesy of Beeminder!

Thank you Beeminder!

After the package came, I was able to 3D-print a case for my Pi, making it much easier to throw in my backpack and work on-the-go

protected, and shimmery!

Now that I’ve got a reliable connection to my Pi, I can get started on the real work in the coming week.