Zombie projects

I post many of my projects on public sites for two reasons: (a) they *might* be useful to other people and (b) they *will* get lost if I store them on my home computer. It surprises me when I have a project that has been around for a while and then, seemingly out of the blue, there’s some activity. That is the case with my goiolink package that interfaces Vernier’s Go!Link adapter (and compatible sensors) with Mathematica running on a Raspberry Pi. (Clearly, something that many, many people are doing…)

So I was reasonably surprised that within the span of a few weeks earlier this semester, I received several communications about my code. There is clearly some small interest in reproducing my setup but folks are having problems following the directions. I have little experience in distributing software, and because the Vernier/Mathematica/RPi crowd is a fairly small one, I have access to very few beta testers. If there’s any hope of others using my software, it looks like I’ll need to streamline the installation. So here it goes.

If you are interested in using Vernier sensors on a Raspberry Pi with Mathematica, here’s what you need:

  • A Raspberry Pi with the latest OS, including the recommended software (this is the one that comes with Mathematica)
  • A Go!Link adapter and at least one sensor.

Once you have the RPi set up and a sensor connected via the Go!Link, you can grab the installation script using the command below. Make sure you save this script in your home directory (/home/pi) since there’s some (poorly coded) commands that assume the script is in this location.

cd ~
wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/bobthechemist/goiolink/master/vernierlink.sh
bash vernierlink.sh

Throughout the process, you will be asked a couple of questions. It is recommended that you do not skip the install steps unless you have a very good reason to do so. Towards the end you will have to check the log to see if the Vernier SDK is installed properly (you’ll get a sensor reading if it is) and then at the end it runs a trivial WolframScript to confirm that the Mathematica driver is set up properly (again, another sensor reading). Once the script has completed, you are ready to go, and should look at the github page on how to use the driver.

Hopefully, that’s an easier setup. Perhaps if someone tries the process, they can comment below and provide some feedback. If I know there is interest, I am more than happy to continue working on the project.

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