Wanderlust 1: Light Show

The WanderLust

My love for wandering around and getting lost inspired me to make an environmental guidance system that little did i know, would gradually mutate into one of my most ambitious projects..

The SenseHat

The SenseHat is a nifty as hell upgrade for the raspberry pi that has exactly what i was looking for: temperature, humidity and barometer sensors for cataloging whatever enviroment i decide to get lost in.

But in addition! Comes with built in gyroscope, accelerometer and magnometer for measuring orientation, motion and gravity direction. A very conveniant button and the killer 8×8 rgb led matrix.

Which means that not only could i now have a sleek environmental companion, but with the onboard IMU in the mix, i could totally put together a wearable device that can measure and record the users movements and give them a better idea of what their body is doing and where.

SOoo if im recording data in the middle of a storm, i could also record and display MY data: the accelerometer to tell me how fast im going and how fast i should be going, the gyroscope to help me orient myself if i cant tell which way is up, the magnometer to program an led compass if im lost and god knows what else i can figure out. Really, a whole new world opened up.

In fact, the device is so well suited for reading motion and climate and getting lost its actually used in the ISS(outer space!) And is often referred to as the AstroPi.

The SenseHat teamed up with my trusty Raspberry pi3b+ (and some programming magic) is lookin like a perfect match. I can just feel it!

Getting Started

So getting started is pretty easy. a simple

sudo apt-get install sense-hat

In the terminal will do the trick.

For other documentation refer to the quick start guide.

The sense_hat library turned out to be refreshingly straightforward. Highly efficient and beginner friendly as hell with PLENTY of simple yet impressively fun examples of what this gorgeous tech can do.

3D Printing a Case

Now that i know it works, my new gadget could use a tough case. I used the Astropi Simplified case by vicoz2009

For a bad ass case

along with this LED Diffuser by Anders644PI.

For a “milky light”

Long live thingiverse.

In keeping with the spirit of things, i printed some parts in heat changing PLA to add yet another layer of communication between machine and user. I call it the WanderLust 😉

3D Printing Service

Now if theres one thing i hate its limitations. I wouldnt have gotten half as far as i did without a 3d printer and if you are experiencing this limitation, i offer my 3dprinting services to help keep things smooth in your day to day diy life for some gorgeous prices.

The Plan

Basically, id have to come up with a system that can read and record environmental data and the users physical data and use the led to display/play it back somehow.

On top of that, id integrate espeak to have it speak its readings on top of displaying them, speech recognition to include voice logs and a gps of some kind to include location. But first let me figure out how to use this thing 🙂

Fun with Colors

One of the things that intrigued me about this pi hat is the built in led screen which would allow the use of graphics and an awesome user interface. Sounds like a whole lotta fun i thought id start with some colorplay to get a feel for coding the led display.


The Rainbow creates waves of color much like a rainbow 🙂

Rando which produces the effect of every pixel having a randomized color.

And Solids which cycle through each color one at a time.

I learned a lot from these codes and will probably integrate them into a user interface in the future. I eventually put them all together in one efficient class that i like to call the


The colorwonder is a class that holds all my colorful effects in one place to be used at leisure with timer modifications so they dont run forever.

And with that, ive taken the first step to mastering the Raspberry pi SenseHat and it feels good! 😉

Well thats all for this one. In the next one ill be taking a look at some games i found that make full use of the led display and imu sensors for some motion controlled, digital goodness.


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