Author Archive

NERP Tonight — JTAG on the Brain

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Electric_hair_curler / Brain-Machine Interface

Joao (“Gamblit” on the PS:One mailing list) will give an introduction to JTAG at NERP on Monday. JTAG is an important tool for embedded developers, manufacturers, and hardware hackers who do reverse engineering. The JTAG interface is included in all but the smallest processors. For use in degugging, JTAG provides real-time read/write access to a chip’s cpu, i/o systems, ram, and mass storage. It gives a user live access points inside a running cpu from which they can take over its brain, or just burn a fresh rom.

Physically, JTAG consists of a small set of pins on a microprocessor, a hardware interface device, a cable connected to a host computer, and a (not physical) protocol. JTAG is most generally useful for programming the flash in embedded controllers. That much is simple. The rest, of course is software.

Joao’s tools and target will include:

– Linux Host (Fedora VM)
– GDB (GNU Debugger) and DDD as debuggers
– No IDE (VIM and direct GCC if I need it)
– Olimex USB JTAG and TIAO USB generic interface
– Olimex Atmega128 board (Atmel Atmega128 MCU)

Joao says:
I’ll be talking about flash programming and debugging software running on a
micro-controller. I’ll also be showing that it can read and set
micro-controller pins but not getting into depth about how that actually
works, as that would need some additional low-level explanation. Depending
on feedback and available time I might explore a bit of it.
Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is October
13th, 2014.

NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping
Station One

12

10 2014

NERP Tonight: A Simple Wireless Link for Serial Data

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Amongst the Maker community ZigBee® is usually thought of alongside the XBee® modules from Digi Corporation. The little blue irregular-hexagon shaped boards mean “wireless data” to a lot of folks. XBee is in fact the name of a family of wireless data modules that share the same form factor and blue color. The family includes ZigBee modules, DigiMesh modules, WiFi modules, and IEEE802.15.4 radios. Depending on the model, the data radios can do point-to-point, peer-to-peer, star, and mesh networks.

If you’d like to play around with wireless data a good place to start is replacing a serial cable with an XBee Series 1 module. There are two power levels to choose from: a 1mW module that can work to a distance of 300ft, and a 60 mW module that can work to a distance of one mile (in perfect conditions).

The Series 1 modules are usually used as IEEE 802.15.4 data radios. ZigBee and several other protocols are built on top of 802.15.4.The 802.15.4 spec provides the physical and MAC layers to serve higer level protocols. It’s a just enough support to get bytes sent from A to B. One nice thing about working close to the metal is that, once the hardware is set up, it’s fairly easy to push bytes around. You can even make up your own simple ad-hoc protocols if needed.

Tonight at NERP, I’ll show how to set up a wireless data link between two devices that can communicate at 300 to 115200 baud. I’ll show XBee XPB24-AWI-001’s moving serial data, and how to set up and test the modules using the X-CTU software from Digi.

As a side-note, the Internet of Things is creating a demand for better and cheaper wireless data connections. It is common for the Things to speak a local protocol that is propietary or unique to their class of device and for the relevant parts of the machine to machine dialog to be passed upstream through a server or bridge.

ZigBee® is a trademark of the ZigBee Consortium

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/and http://pumpingstationone.org/ Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is September 29th, 2014.
NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station:One

29

09 2014

NERP Tonight — A Tor Relay Demo, and a Sketchy Update

NERP Tonight — A Tor Relay Demo, and a Sketchy Update
NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer
and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One
in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping
Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Drew has put together a Tor relay using (what else) a
BeagleBone Black.
(https://www.torproject.org/index.html.en) Tonight at NERP,
he’ll show us how it’s done.
From the Tor site:
/*
Why Anonymity Matters: Tor protects you by bouncing your
communications around a distributed network of relays run
by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody
watching your Internet connection from learning what sites
you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from
learning your physical location.
*/
Use of Tor is often a sensitive discussion topic. In the
culture in which we live, there is no universal consensus
on where an individual’s right to privacy from governmental
and corporate interests ends and the larger interests of
security and commerce begin.

Tor is a tool that aims to provide user and location
anonymity on the Web. Anonymity can foster good, bad, or
indifferent ideologies and behaviors. In some contexts
anonymity can even be seen a sort of power similar to that
of a firearm. There are those who would question “a priori”
why a person would insist on total privacy unless they had
something to hide. From this perspective, using a privacy
tool is in itself suspicious. Others feel that privacy is a
basic need of human individuals, and therefore an
inalienable right. At the end of the day, technology itself
isn’t human, isn’t alive, and can’t think or feel; it’s
totally indifferent.

In tonight’s presentation we will try to stay focused on
the technology behind Tor. It’s counter intuitive to me at
least, how anonymizing technology is practically possible.
How it’s done will be an interesting study in some
non-obvious applications of low-level network programming.

Also tonight, I’ll be giving another update on development
of “Sketchy”, the network controlled servo-powered
Etch-a-Sketch.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and

http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is September
1st, 2014.

NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping
Station One

01

09 2014

NERP Tonight — NVIDIA’s CUDA: 192 Parallel Procesors

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer  interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.  NERP meets  every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston  Ave. in Chicago.

Tonight at NERP, Sevin Straus will give an introduction to NVIDIA’s CUDA architecture. CUDA uses a cpu to farm out pieces of a task to the parallel processors in a video graphics chip (GPU). [more below]

NVIDIA's CUDA , NVIDIA.com

[img: large-video-dynamic-parallelism-2-en.jpg nvidia.com]

Nvidia wants lots of developers to know about CUDA. To that end, they have put together a complete development environment. In the best of all worlds, the environment should be usable on Linux after simply running “install.sh”. It’s never really that simple. Sevin has put together a working develpment system targeting the Jeston development board. Tonight he’ll show us how he did it and some of the included demos.

A sense of what CUDA is about would include these thoughts collected from various parts of the CUDA website:

CUDA® is a parallel computing platform and programming model invented by NVIDIA. It enables dramatic increases in computing performance by harnessing the power of the graphics processing unit (GPU). A GPU consists of thousands of smaller, more efficient cores designed for handling multiple tasks simultaneously.

GPU-accelerated computing is the use of a graphics processing unit (GPU) together with a CPU to accelerate the compute-intensive portions of tan application to the GPU, while the remainder of the code still runs on the CPU. From a user’s perspective, applications simply run significantly faster.

– See more at: http://www.nvidia.com/object/what-is-gpu-computing.html#sthash.hSegwmwk.dpuf

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is August 18th, 2014.
NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com

Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi,
hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station One

 

18

08 2014

NERP Tonite: The New Raspberry Pi B+, and The BeagleBone eQEP

NERP is Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Tonight at NERP, Craig LeMoyne will introduce the new Raspberry Pi Model B+: the new and improved version of the highly successful Model B. We will have a side by side comparison with the Model B and highlight the changes.

Servo motors are computer controllable motors that do pretty much the same thing as stepping motors. From a systems perspective they have nothing else in common. Servos use feedback to adjust the motor’s position and velocity. The difference between the target speed (or position) and the measured speed (or position) is called error. Without error, the motor has no reason to move. The type of sensor usually used to detect a motor’s position is called a quadrature encoder. Although servo systems can give better performance than steppers in some situations, servos are more complex and more expensive than steppers. Part of the complexity is reading and making sense of the encoder. Adafruit has posted a video in which Drew Fustini has a good job of introducing some techniques for accessing the special eQEP quadrature decoder module in the BeagleBone Black.

https://www.adafruit.com/blog/2014/07/15/how-to-read-the-position-of-a-rotary-encoder-connected-to-a-beagleboneblack-txinstruments-beagleboardorg/

A PS:One member (me) has a project that aims to use the BBB’s eQEP to control an Etch-a-Sketch. Tonight I’ll show some of the technology that’s involved and progress on assembling the system.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

NERP – Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi

Chicago, IL
246 members

NERP is Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station One in Chicago. (Chicago’s oldest and finest hackerspace.) NERP…

Next Meetup

Bring questions, demos, personal research, etc. to share.

Monday, Jul 21, 2014, 7:00 PM
7 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

and http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is July 21st, 2014. NERP is free and open to the public.

Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com

Tags: electronics,embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi,hackerspace, BeagleBone, Element14, Pumping Station One

 

21

07 2014

NERP Tonite: Pingo means “pin, go!”

NERP is Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and
embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in
Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping
Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Luciano Ramalho is a member of Garoa Hacker Clube in Sao Paulo,
Brazil (http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/Garoa_Hacker_Clube).
Tonight at NERP, Luciano will tell us about the Pingo
project in progress at Garoa HC
(http://www.pingo.io/docs/intro.html). Pingo aims to make
interconnecting small controllers of all sorts easy and
transparent, so that they can use each other’s peripherals. An
example use case would be using Python on a Beagle (or similar)
to effectively “program” one or more attached Arduinos.

From the website:
“Pingo provides a uniform API to program devices like the
Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, pcDuino etc. just like the
Python DBAPI provides an uniform API for database programming in
Python.

The API is object-oriented but easy to use: a board is an
instance of a Board subclass. Every board has a dictionary
called pins which lists all GPIO pins on the board. Each pin is
an instance of a Pin subclass with attributes that you can
inspect to learn about its capabilities.”

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is July 7th, 2014.
NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com

Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi,
hackerspace, BeagleBone, Element14, Pumping Station One

07

07 2014

NERP June 23rd – BeagleBoard Project co-founder Jason Kridner

BeagleBoardCompliantLowRes

NERP June 23rd – BeagleBoard Project co-founder Jason Kridner

NERP is Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Jason Kridner, BeagleBoard project co-founder, community manager, and software cat herder will speak at NERP on June 23. His topics will be “JavaScript on BeagleBone” and “Real-time programming with BeagleBone PRUs”. As part of his job at Texas Instruments, Jason provides support and development of the BeagleBoard.org project. He is also a member of hackerspace i3 Detroit.

The BeagleBone Black is the most recent in a series of single board Linux computers created by the folks behind BeagleBone.org http://beaglebone.org. The BeagleBone is designed for educators, designers, makers, and hackers. The BoneScript language, based on JavaScript, reaches out to Web software developers who want to get out of the box. Being a Linux (plus Android and others) computer, the BBB natively runs Python, C++, and the usual suspects. There is also a growing ecosystem of hardware add-on “capes” that shield the user from the complexity of developing interface devices.

Some quick specs on the BeagleBone Black rev C : Technology: Texas Instruments Sitara® 32-bit ARM core cpu @ 1GHz, 512MB SDRAM, accelerated HDMI, Ethernet, USB, 69 (max) GPIO, and a host of i/o peripherals directly accessible from onboard headers. Dim 3.4”x2.1”, weight 1.4 oz., Debian Linux pre-installed, Price $55. Availability: everywhere. Element14 is a good place to look http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-54121?ICID=knode-beagleboneblack-space/

PLEASE NOTE: For this special NERP, we will keep introductions short and start promptly at 7pm. Please use the meetup (below) to confirm your attendance!

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is June 23rd, 2014.
NERP is free and open to the public.

Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com

Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi,hackerspace, BeagleBone, Element14, Pumping Station One

19

06 2014

U Can Has BeagleBone Black (but only one).

 BeagleBoard_Boris_Tux

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

The BeagleBone Black is a small single board computer in the same vein as the Raspberry Pi. The two boards are similar in appearance and composition but different in style. Both boards are based on 32-bit ARM-based processors. The Beagle’s is more recent and faster. The RPi is designed as a teaching platform that happens to have very nice graphics and video, but not much i/o. The Beagle’s graphics are wanting, but it has tons of i/o on the board. The Pi is more polished than the Beagle, in that what’s supposed to work usually does. The Beagle is more suited (for the moment) to dirty-fingernails hackers who enjoy hardware for its own sake.

One thing the two boards have in common is that their first manufacturing runs sold out quickly. It’s been weeks since there were any BeagleBone Blacks to be had for sale. (People have been hoarding them as OEM parts for their startup projects.) In the last few days, BeagleBone Blacks have been trickling out of CircuitCo’s production line. There are about 47,600 boards in the pipe, but you’re allowed to buy only one. http://specialcomp.com/beaglebone/ has them now for $45.00 each.

It’s time to give the BeagleBone Black another look at NERP.

Tonight we’ll go over some of the getting started routine, and have a peek under the hood of the Bonescript, the Beagle’s Arduino-like programming environment built on Node.js.

It’s time to give the BeagleBone Black another look at NERP.

Tonight we’ll go over some of the getting started routine, and have a peek under the hood of the Bonescript, the Beagle’s Arduino-like programming environment built on Node.js.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is April28th, 2014. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station One

 

 

28

04 2014

Tonight at NERP: Movement detection with Motion


NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

To do make a security-cam type device with a Raspberry Pi or a Beagle Bone, the software must run on Linux. There are several computer vision based motion detection applications available for Linux. The OpenCV framework can be used to build Computer Vision applications that do heavy mathematical operation on streams in real time. (It also can be used to draw colored shapes on your screen.) If the versatility of OpenCV isn’t needed for a simple camera app there are a number of movement detection and recording applications to choose from. One of the oldest is Motion. Motion is command line driven. It produces its output as a browser viewable video images, stills, and a few control output options. In contrast with writing applications using OpenCV, it’s very simple to unbox and and fire up Motion. With its simplicity comes limited versatility, but it might be suited to your CV needs.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is March 3rd, 2014. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station One

14

04 2014

Tonight at NERP: Drew demonstrates Software Defined Radio

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
radio-1
Software Defined Radio is a set of techniques for generating modulated RF waveforms in a transmitter, and demodulating the waveforms in a receiver. In traditional radio transmitters, the broadcast carrier waveform is generated in resonating analog circuits. The carrier is subsequently modulated in a specific way to encode information onto the carrier waveform. There are several distinct methods for doing the encoding and modulation. At the receiver the modulated carrier is received, amplified, and decoded to extract the transmitted information. Analog circuits are bulky. They could never fit in a cell phone, for instance. Worse, a specific analog circuit can operate over a very narrow range of frequencies (a “band”) and the modulation/demodulation method is inflexibly determined by the circuit topology.

Software defined radio allows the radio hardware to generate the physical carrier frequency and modulation format by algorithmic synthesis. Until recently, open (or open-ish) hardware capable of doing the waveform generation math in real time was not available at an affordable price. This has changed. Tonight at NERP, Drew Fustini will demo Aafruit’s “Software Defined Radio USB Stick” receiver. From the product description on the Adafruit site, the little radio does some absolutely amazing things. Software is eating the world, and radio is on the menu.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is March 3rd, 2014. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Software defined Radio Pumping Station One

31

03 2014