A recurring theme of 2020, pandemic aside, is a tech shortage. Brand new graphics cards like the Nvidia RTX 3080 / 3070 / 3090 and the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT have been nearly impossible to find in stock, thanks to scalpers who use powerful bots to snap up inventory as soon as it becomes available and then resell it to consumers on eBay for twice the price.
However, with the help of a Raspberry Pi and some open-source Python code, you can create your own bot and up your chances of scoring any hard-to-find new product, including consoles like the PS5 or XBox Series X. Think of the Pi as the scrappy T800 fighting against the better-specked T1000 bots that scalpers use.
Coder Eric Marti has written Inventory Hunter, a Python app for Raspberry Pi that goes out and scrapes the web, checking to see if your desired products are back in stock. Here's shared the code and instructions on Github so you can use it yourself. You install the software using Docker, a container system used to package software into units for deployment.
Marti used his program to buy an RTX 3070 after being unable to get one, due to all the professional scalping tools that snap up inventory as soon as it becomes available.
"In a nutshell, inventory-hunter is a web-scraper that will notify you as soon as the product you want becomes in stock, giving you a better chance of successfully buying it," Marti explained on Reddit. "Before developing inventory-hunter, I used online inventory trackers such as NowInStock.net for this purpose. However, I found that these services are not fast enough to compete against scalpers. That is why I developed inventory-hunter."
Marti chose the Raspberry Pi because of its " low power requirements and onboard ethernet" and he was able to run "multiple web-scrapers running 24/7 on my Raspberry Pi."
Installation is a breeze, requiring that the user clones Marti's Github repository, then build a container using a pre-configured script. After that all that is needed is to create a config file which supplies the URLs to scrape data from, the frequency of scraping and the maximum price to pay.
Running the code will trigger the script to check inventory on your chosen retailers, and once a card is found it will alert you via email. This is a great Raspberry Pi project and hack which solves a problem common to many and throws Pi in the face of scalpers.