Necessity is the mother of invention - and one great example of this has been described by Seb at the hacking beaver website. Their hot water system is only activated when required, and takes between thirty minutes and an hour to be ready, so Seb created a system based around a Raspberry Pi that allows for remote control via email.
After receiving an email from a certain address the RPi will activate the boiler via a mains-rated relay. However to determine the right time to turn off the boiler would normally required monitoring a temperature sensor. In this version a webcam is used to monitor the needle of the boiler's analogue gauge - and when the point is covered by the needle the boiler is switched off. This is demonstrated in the following video:
Even if you're not interested in the final product, the project is a great example of remote control and using webcams to monitor changes in the environment - so visit Seb's project page to learn how it's done. And for more, we're on facebook, Google+, and twitter - so follow us for news and product updates as well.
If you're looking for a more permanent way to mount circuitry to your Raspberry Pi, check out our PiBreak - the prototyping board for the Raspberry Pi. It provides labelled breakout pins for all GPIOs, a large prototyping area with solder pads, and power rails for easy power connection:
Furthermore the PiBreak also includes mounting hardware to firmly attach it to your Raspberry Pi using a nut, bolt, and spacer - and is compatible with all revisions of both model A and B Raspberry Pi computers. For more information about our new PiBreak board, our Getting Started guide, and to order - visit the product page.