Raspberry Pi Pico Solar Flower Follows The Light

Raspberry Pi
(Image credit: Hannu Hell)

We may be moving into Autumn, but this project will put a "spring" in your step and proves that there are still some cool Raspberry Pi projects that are blossoming in the community. Today we’ve got a beautiful project to share with you by maker and developer Hannu Hell. Using the Raspberry Pi Pico, they've created a mechanical light sensitive flower that relies on solar panels for power.

The idea was to create something similar to a sunflower but totally mechanical. When the flower detects light, it actives servo motors to rotate and position itself toward the light source. According to Hannu Hell, the flower can last quite a while in a well-lit area without the need to be manually recharged.

The flower has 6 petals fitted with RGB NeoPixel LEDs and the petals are capable of independent movement. It also has a stem consisting of three components, two of which can move. When light is detected, the pieces with solar panels automatically orient so they receive as much light as possible from the source.

The body was designed by Hannu Hell in Fusion 360 and 3D printed. The main board behind the project is a Raspberry Pi Pico working alongside a custom PCB Hannu Hell developed just for this project. Connected to the Pico is an ST7735 TFT display module that serves as a simple interface for the flower that can display the date and time thanks to a DS1307 real-time clock module. It also relies on 8 servos and a couple of servo driver boards to handle the motion.

The code for the project has been made available over at Instructables for anyone interested in recreating the project or those who just want to know more about how it works. It’s written in CircuitPython and covers how to set up the TFT display, programming the LEDs as well as how to drive the servos for the stem and petals.

If you want to get a closer look at this Raspberry Pi project in action, check out the demo video shared to YouTube. You can also find a full breakdown of how the project goes together over at Instructables. Be sure to follow Hannu Hell for more cool projects as well as any future updates on this one.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.