Small Computer Tweets Location Of The International Space Station

Small Computer Tweets Location Of The International Space Station

A Raspberry Pi device pings users whenever the ISS is directly over their heads.

Rachel Pincus
  • 12 february 2014

Liam Kennedy, a video producer and amateur astronomer, is fascinated with space and the stars, and he wants to bring that connection to the younger generations who have largely turned to more earthly pursuits. And what better way to do this than with the tiny, inexpensive portable computer known as the Raspberry Pi? Kennedy’s pet project the ISS-Above, now gathering funds through Kickstarter, is a tiny device that alerts you to the International Space Station (ISS)’s movements over your location.

The device takes full advantage of the Raspberry Pi platforms’s open-source flexibility. Using a memory card pre-loaded with your location (which will be sent to you if you pledge $42 to the project) it can integrate an LED to alert you of the space station’s presence.  The case is available in several different colors, including some swanky 3D-printed options, and the simpler options on Kickstarter provide you with certain individual components, perfect should an enterprising programmer want to incorporate ISS-Above’s functionality into a different or more complex device. Should you choose one of these options, one of the devices in Pasadena, CA will automatically tweet you a thank-you message when the ISS passes over it.


Many commenters on CNet asked of the advantage to the end-user such a device has over space tracker apps like Space Junk, or even Spot the Station, the free NASA e-mail service that can notify you of the movements of the ISS. Kennedy responded that he is a believer in the curiosity that an object like the ISS-Above can bring about. “This is something that sits on a shelf.. in your house… at the office… at the coffee shop (there really is a coffee shop in Pasadena, CA that has one).”

It provides public knowledge and stimulates togetherness in a world where people have an unprecedented ability to tailor their daily information intake to a narrow set of interests. “It just does its job of making a general fuss that EVERYONE can see as the Space Station gets near.  It gets you and those who can see it aware of what is going on a few hundred miles above you,” he wrote.

On a trip to England, he brought the device to his grandkids, and now Kennedy is keeping track of the spread of the device around the world with a map and the device’s Twitter. The project has 27 days to reach its backing goal of $5000; you can contribute here.


Sources: Kickstarter, CNet

Images: ISS-Above Blog


Machine Printer Uses Coffee Drips To Create Intricate Portraits

Arts & Culture
Technology december 2, 2016

Why Nest Doesn't Get The Holidays

PSFK founder reacts to the damaging effects of poor email marketing

Children december 2, 2016

Robots Could Be Joining Dubai’s Police Force In 2017

The real-life RoboCops can salute, shake hands and collect traffic fines


Get PSFK's Related Report: Future of Retail 2017

See All
Travel december 2, 2016

Parka Hides And Charges Portable Devices

Bolt is a jacket that lets people carry and charge their various electronics without the need for an outlet

Related Expert

Gonçalo Campos

Furniture and Accessories Designer

Food december 2, 2016

Yelp's New 'Yelfie' Feature Lets Diners Take Selfies

The update is designed to encourage people to attach a selfie when they share their experiences

Design & Architecture december 2, 2016

Build Your Own Savory Cheese Advent Calendar

A British food blogger has created a guide to building a different kind of holiday surprise

Fitness & Sport december 2, 2016

Floating Gym Concept In Paris Is Powered By Your Workout

The proposed design from Carlo Ratti Associati lets passengers ride a stationary bike as they travel through Paris along the Seine River


Future Of Retail 2017
Transformation Strategies For Customer-First Business

PSFK Op-Ed november 22, 2016

Digital Strategist: Why “Big Sensing” Is Key To Retail’s Future

Bud Caddell, Founder of NOBL, shares why the most capable and useful asset in any retail environment is the workforce

PSFK Labs december 1, 2016

Retail Spotlight: Home Depot Reimagines How Employees Conduct Tasks

The home improvement retailer puts the customer first by initiating local fulfillment centers and simplifying freight-to-shelf inventory management

Syndicated december 2, 2016

What Does The Future Of Android Look Like In A World With The Pixel?

Google’s decision to make its own phone might have looked like a blow to the likes of Samsung but the reality is much more interesting

Retail december 2, 2016

Customer Service Expert: Why Offline Retail Has Better Data Than Online Retail

Healey Cypher, Founder and CEO of Oak Labs, shares why we should be thinking about the physical store as an e-commerce site

Fashion december 2, 2016

Alexander McQueen Designs A 3D-Printed Umbrella

3D-printed fashion arrives in time for the winter season

Work december 2, 2016

Why Training Associates To Be Advocates Is Key To Retail Success

In our Future of Retail 2017 report, PSFK Labs discusses strategies to prioritize customer service, which begins with associate advocates

Media & Publishing december 2, 2016

Netflix Creates Binge Candle To Celebrate A New Season Of Gilmore Girls

The streaming service developed a special layered candle that creates candle with episode-specific smells


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

Arts & Culture december 2, 2016

Interactive Film Tells A Story About Living With Cancer

A moving song written by a father of a cancer patient comes alive in a 3D environment

Automotive december 2, 2016

Audi And LEGO Exhibit Autonomous Vehicle Installation

The installation at Design Miami explores the 25th hour, which represents bonus productive work or play time

No search results found.