If there’s one area we’ve never seen the Raspberry Pi delve into before, it’s world of mysticism. Maker and developer Echo-Lalia, as they’re known as on Reddit, has dragged us into a new Pico-powered realm of mystery thanks to their clever tarot card reader project. It’s driven by an RP2040 board and uses an e-Ink display to show random tarot cards at the press of a button.
Cards are chosen based on random EM feedback. An image of the card is displayed along with text and sometimes a spooky unexpected glitch. The glitches are intentionally programmed into the output by Echo-Lalia to add to the “digital-mysticism” vibe, as they put it. Because the unit is using an e-Ink display, images will remain on the screen until it’s powered back on and cycles through another card selection.
According to Echo-Lalia, this project involved a lot of firsts for them as a maker and developer. This was Echo-Lalia first microcontroller project, 3D-printing project, and first foray into coding with MicroPython. Overall, the end results speak for themselves and clearly, this first-time project was well worth the effort
The tarot reader is driven by a Waveshare RP2040-Plus board which has 4MB of flash rather than the 2MB that comes on the regular Pico. The e-Ink display is a 3.7-inch Waveshare Pico e-Paper module. These boards are housed inside of a custom 3D-printed shell alongside a button, two switches, and a bone conduction transducer for audio. The unit is powered by 3 AAA batteries.
Echo-Lalia was kind enough to share more details about the code used in this project. It creates a seed using data from the ADC pins. The button is used to pull the card while one switch alternates between two function modes. The other switch is programmed to power the unit on and off. There is a 1 in 4 chance the card pulled will be reversed and a 1 in 20 chance it will appear with a glitch effect.
Overall, this is a very clever Raspberry Pi project and the final product is very impressive. If you want to get a closer look at this project and see it in action, check out the original thread shared to Reddit by Echo-Lalia and be sure to follow them for more cool creations.
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Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer at Tom's Hardware US. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting.