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Archive for the ‘Hackerspaces’ Category

Okay, we’ve just left May and stepped into June, why are we talking about Arduino Day — traditionally a March 16th event where makers congregate and share projects? I live in Ho Chi Minh City, and the event tends to take place in mid-May, but the enthusiasm and collaborative spirit are just as strong. Organized by the awesome local maker group Fablab Saigon with the venue provided by Intek Institute, there were some neat projects on display along with some talks from local companies.

The first thing that struck me about the event was how young the maker movement is here – most attendees were still in high school or early university. By contrast, I was 23 when I first learned to use AVR microcontrollers with assembly language (by the time Arduino started to get traction the boat effectively missed me). I couldn’t help but feel like a bit of a relic, at least until we all started talking excitedly about robots (I had brought a couple). It seems that geeking out about electronics is the great equalizer which knows no age limits.

Tesla Coils, Blinking Circuits, and Robot Races

Among the projects on display was this low-power Tesla coil, happily making small sparks, turning on CCFL bulbs in its immediate vicinity, and generating a bit of plasma too.

There was a learn to solder workshop for attendees to join in anytime and produce artful dead-bug style transistor multivibrator circuits.

Many of you will be familiar with the astable multivibrator circuit seen here as a popular introduction to electronics and soldering. But if you’re not, it’s a good place to start as you’ll learn about several different components, and the result has blinking lights… while leaving your Arduino free to be used in other projects! Someone had also brought in a bit of a show-and-tell on using GSM modules here.

Next there was a workshop where rover-style robots were built from a locally developed STEM education kit called GaraStem. Fundamentally, it’s a tacklebox filled with instructions, laser-cut chassis parts, an Arduino compatible board and sensors, and an Android control application for your smartphone. It looked easy and fun to work with, and I wish that STEM robot kits like this were available when I was a kid. I can’t help but feel a little jealous – all we had in my area when I was in high school was the occasional science fair!

Of course, any time more than one remote controlled robot is in the same place, a race is necessary and we got right to that. Entirely by coincidence, the floors were painted in a way that sort of looked like a racetrack.

Talks from Hardware Startups

Besides the projects and workshops, there was a track of talks from local companies on what they’ve been up to. One of them, called Indruino, designs their own Arduino boards for use in industrial environments, along with all the bells and whistles that requires. They had a good demo of a speed controller for a 3-phase motor, and talked about what they’ve done to make the platform suitable for industrial use.

At the very least, I could tell that their boards made ample use of optoisolators, secure connectors, and high quality shielded DC-DC converters. According to their pamphlet, they’ve already deployed in a number of factories, with industrial touchscreens and a freeze-drying system controller — not surprising as freeze dried foods is an industry that has really been taking off in Vietnam the last few years and designing what you can locally is a good move.

Vulcan Augmentics, a local startup that designs modular prosthetic limbs was there to present their work on practical human-machine interfaces. For a variety of reasons, there are quite a few amputees of all ages in Vietnam, and so any effort to better serve them is certainly appreciated. Unfortunately, their prosthetic limbs were either overseas or in use at the time, so I couldn’t examine the hardware. Nonetheless, it’s a nice example of how the skills we learn as a hobby can one day develop to the point where we can make a positive impact on another person’s life.

I presented some IoT use cases and demos, many of which I’ve written about here, along with some notes on the importance and implementation of security such as MQTT with either AES or TLS. I also talked about ways to define reliable failure states for IoT devices in case of loss of connectivity. While it’s an extreme example, you can’t have a large robot plow into a wall because the last command received before a connection loss was ‘go forward’! Of course, there exists the argument that we shouldn’t be connecting dangerous robots to the Internet frivolously in the first place, but it’s not very interesting and the lessons in control systems still apply. It was good fun and no robot, human, or architecture was harmed.

Chúc mừng sinh nhật Arduino!

Even the Cake was High Tech

At the end of the day, there was the requisite cake (strawberry jam). The local bakeries have something like a type of marzipan sheet that they can print on at a surprisingly good resolution, and the cake featured some pretty good imagery as a result.

The event wrapped up with a trivia competition, with some kits that had been donated as prizes for the highest scores.

Overall the sense of community at the event was strong, and despite the fairly high attendance it was well organized. My hat is off to Fablab Saigon for putting it together.

This past week, maker professionals learned about new security measures for their projects and found solace in Arduino's new leadership.

Read more on MAKE

The post Maker Pro News: The Maker Pros of DEF CON, Shakeup at Arduino, and More appeared first on Make: DIY Projects and Ideas for Makers.

In order to resolve the problem of congestion at the entrance to their hackerspace, the minds at i3Detroit installed a motion-activated mechanical iris in their door’s porthole.

Grabbing the design online (which they are now hosting on their site here), the parts were laser cut out of wood, gold leaf was added for effect, and it was relatively easy to assemble. PIR sensors detect movement on both sides of the door and an FET resistor connected to an orange LED add some old-school science fiction flair. The iris is actuated by a 12V car window motor — which works just fine on the 5V power that it’s supplied with — and an Arduino filling in as a controller. Start and stop positioning required some limit switches that seem to do the trick.

Finally they laser cut acrylic plastic with the i3Detroit logo to complete the porthole modification. You can watch a video of the mechanical iris in all its glory here — but unfortunately it’s on Google+ (do people still use that??) so we can’t embed it in the post.

If you want to add this sleek idea to your home but lack a laser cutter (understandable), then you can still hack one out of some common household materials.

[via Evan’s Techie-Blog]


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Hackerspaces
Feb
19

Mobile Hackerspace Status Indicator

arduino hacks, hackerspace status indicator, Hackerspaces, Raspberry Pi, spacestate Commenti disabilitati su Mobile Hackerspace Status Indicator 

HACKERSPACE LIGHT

Cruising around town, not sure what to do — oh hey look, someone is at the hackerspace! Introducing the Mobile Spacestate Indicator!

During our Hackerspacing in Europe tour, we had the pleasure of visiting ACKspace in Heerlen, the Netherlands. And like many hackerspaces, they have an online status indicator letting members and non-members alike know if the space is open. [Vicarious], the gentleman who kindly picked us up from the train station, has just finished off an awesome modification to his car. Using an Arduino Uno and a Raspberry Pi, he has created a mobile indicator of his hackerspace’s status.

The Raspberry Pi automatically tethers to his phone and checks the status of the hackerspace online. It then sends the data to the Arduino Uno which controls a small strip of RGB LEDs. He’s cleverly hidden all of this inside his center console, and it looks awesome!

To see more of ACKspace’s cool projects, check out their wiki!


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Hackerspaces, Raspberry Pi

HackPhx 2014

The HackPhx Winter 2014 hackathon was held at Heatsync Labs hackerspace in Mesa, Arizona, USA. The advertised theme was “Arduino Wearables”. Participating attendees were randomly placed on teams evenly distributed by their disclosed skills across all teams. There were 10 teams with 4 to 5 members per team competing for two winning spots.

Each team had to build an amazing wearable project utilizing the secret ingredient which was Seedstudio’s Arduino-compatible Xadow wearable platform and add-ons. The Xadow is similar to the Arduino Leonardo and participants used an Arduino cross compatibility and pin mapping chart to assist in development.

Top prize was the Judges’ prizes for the best completed and documented Xadow wearable team project. The second prize was the Jury’s prize given to the team project that the other teams liked the most regardless of event criteria.

Read more about the winning teams and watch their presentations after the break.

I was already planning on attending the hackathon. When I mentioned this to the Hackaday team they also put me on assignment to film and write about the winning teams. Full disclosure: I couldn’t resist signing up as a team member for some hacking fun.

No team members had experience using the Xadow platform so the playing field was quite level. The range of Xadow add-ons was extensive, but teams could only blindly select from a bucket of donated Xadow add-on modules such as OLED display, LED arrays, motors, accelerometers, GPS, NFC and BLE. Bartering between teams was encouraged as teams developed their final project plans.

The event really began the night before the hackathon with a 4 hour meet and greet to divide into teams and finalize hardware trades. The real event started at 8 am the next morning and lasted for 12 straight hours of mad hacking using any tools and supplies available at Heatsync Labs. Heatsync Labs provided experienced volunteers to assist teams that needed to use lab equipment such as the Laser cutter, 3D printers, welders, metal lathes or any power tools.

All team code, photos and final documentation had to be uploaded to each team’s GitHub repository before judging started at 8 pm.

Morse code Jelly Friend Earrings Flashing HackPhx in Morse code Controller and Bluetooth reciever module hidden in necklace

After the smoke cleared the Judges’ winner was Team 8 with “Morse Code Earrings”. This really was an amazing wearable hack especially if you take into account they scrapped their first project and started over on the winning project halfway through the hackathon. Team 8 utilized the Xadow Bluetooth LE module to send text messages from a phone to a stealth receiving necklace containing an Xadow which modulated the message in Morse code over flashing “Jelly Friend” LED earrings. The earrings were also made by Team 8 using clear acrylic laser cut in the shape of jellyfish and having a base of LEDs and some old Christmas tree fiber-optic lighting parts. The big advantage to having such decorative communication is to send SOS requests to nearby girlfriends when you find yourself entangled in scary company. Or to scream covertly flash profanity at your boss.

Team 8 members:

  • Mattie Finney – GossamerLights
  • James Brooks – pyrobrooks
  • Nate Plamondon – meznak
  • Brett Warner – brettwarner
Experiencing a new reality The OLED display attached to the back of the head unit How the user sees the OLED display in the 2 reflecting mirrors

Team 4 with “Over 9000” won the Jury’s prize. This prize winner was picked by all the other teams and I must say my team members were amazing; yes I was on Team 4. My team members were extremely talented at learning this new hardware platform. Almost effortlessly, and with time to spare, they quickly integrated the hardware, code and bits of scrap into a wearable head mounted heads-up Google Glass style interactive and fully functioning augmented reality head unit. I say “they” because I only worked on the glove unit and cabling. The glove unit retrieves distance measurements in feet and inches from a Parallax ultrasonic ping sensor mounted on the back of the glove and is cabled into the back of the head unit.

The project name comes from the accelerometer output mounted in the head unit. Once the accelerometer’s power unit output tops 9000 all the LEDs on the side will turn red indicating max power level activity. This power unit value along with distance measurements to objects in front of the glove unit are internally reflected into the wearer’s right eye from an OLED display mounted at the back of the head unit. If the glove detects objects closer than 3 feet, a front mounted red LED also lights to warn innocent bystanders. The back of the head unit is prewired for jacking in auxiliary off board sensors and equipment to simplify integration and assimilation.

Team 4 members:

  • Chad Tech – ChadCS
  • Joe Fleming – w33ble
  • Doug Sheridan – dsherida
  • Todd Harrison – toddfun


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Hackerspaces, iphone hacks, Virtual Reality, wearable hacks, wireless hacks

sidebyside

If infinity mirrors aren’t cool enough, the 10-foot-tall infinity portal should blow you away. Strictly speaking, the mirror itself is only 7′x4′, but you’ll still find yourself engulfed in the archway. The portal began as a simple prototype that we covered earlier this summer, which was just a frame of 2×4′s, some acrylic and LED strips. It works by putting lights between a two-way mirror and another mirror, reflecting most light internally and creating the illusion of depth.

The giant archway also began as a small-scale prototype, its shape and engravings carved out by a laser cutter. Once they were satisfied with its design, it was time to scale things up. The full-sized portal needed a a tremendous amount of stability, so the guys at Freeside built the base from wooden palettes. They needed the portal to travel to a few different venues, so the rest of the frame breaks down into components, including a removable wooden frame from which the acrylic hangs. A Teensy 3.0 runs all the WS2812 LED strips, which were chosen because each of their LEDs is individually addressable.

Check out the video below for an extremely detailed build log, which should give you a better idea of how massive and impressive this portal really is!


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Hackerspaces, laser hacks, led hacks, Microcontrollers
Ago
20

Twitter Knitter combines 40 year old hardware with modern social media

arduino, arduino hacks, Hackerspaces, knitting, servo, twitter Commenti disabilitati su Twitter Knitter combines 40 year old hardware with modern social media 

When presented with a vintage Empisal Knitmaster knitting machine, members of the TOG Dublin Hackerspace worked together to not only bring it back from the dead but to also add some custom hardware that allows for computer generated patterns.

At first the Knitmaster was in fairly bad shape requiring a few custom machined parts just to function.  It was originally designed to feed in special punch cards that mechanically directed the many moving parts of the machine (called “dibblers”) to knit patterns in yarn.  Using an Arduino, a number of servos, and a microswitch to detect when the knitting carriage is pulled across, this card-read system was replaced with a computer controlled mechanism that can direct the machine to print out images one row at a time.

Of course, you don’t get too many opportunities to name your project something as cute as “The Twitter Knitter”, so once the system was working, it was only a matter of writing some code to snatch tweets from the web and generate images out of the text.  Visitors of the Dublin Mini Maker Faire got to watch it in action as they posted tweets with a particular hashtag which the machine happily printed in yarn (as long as they weren’t too long).

Video demo after the jump.


Filed under: Arduino Hacks, Hackerspaces
Mar
02

HeatSync Labs Hosts Arduino Hackathon

arduino, Electronics, Hackerspaces, HeatSynch Labs Commenti disabilitati su HeatSync Labs Hosts Arduino Hackathon 

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 3.18.37 PMPhoenix's HeatSync Labs will host HackPHX Arduino, an all-day and all-night Arduino hackathon tomorrow, March 2, from 10am-10:15pm. Here's how it will go down: In a ode to Iron Chef, 50 participants will be split into 10 teams for 12 hours to create something awesome from an Arduino, a "secret ingredient," and the hackerspace's resources. The teams will compete for more than $4,000 in prizes and giveaways. Expect music, robots, interactive light, wearable electronics, and more. Tickets are sold out but the the event will be live streamed

Read the full article on MAKE



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