Archive for the ‘Announcements’Category

Tuesday Meetings Cancelled through January 1st

Nothing to do hereThe next two tuesdays fall on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, so we will not be holding official open houses on those days.  There will likely still be people around on those days working on projects though, so if you’d like to visit drop a note on our public mailing list to see if anyone will be there to show you around.

The next official meeting and open house will be on January 8th, 2013.


12 2012

Nerp tonight! Monday Dec. 17 at 7pm

Allen Kapusta will make a presentation on types of task dispatching. Any processor more complicted than an Arduino will be shared by different pieces of running code. Allen’s presentation will be a general overview of how tasks are selected for execution by the processor and what guidelines the task should follow in order to co-exist well with its neighbors.

Drew Fustini will show us how to display tweets on a character LCD connected to a Raspberry Pi. His Python examples will demonstrate a simple way to make a read-only connection to Twitter and print tweets on a 4-bit parallel connection.

NERP will not meet December 31st, but will resume its regular bi-weekly schedule starting Monday January 14th.


12 2012

Automation Night – Thursday, 1/10 at 7PM

Eric Gregori will be giving a talk about doing computer vision on the Android platform using the OpenCV library. It will take place at Pumping Station: One’s ( Automated Manufacturing Night on Thursday, 1/10, at 7pm.

Manufacturing applications for computer vision include assembly:

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And inspection:

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After his talk and questions, we will discuss, repair, and build CNC machines ranging from 3D printers to electronics pick and place machines.

Thanks to Eric for a wonderful talk and to everyone who came out.

Eric included the presentation, and the links he mentioned during it, here:  He has written an article on the topic here:

A recorded version of the talk is available here.  Unfortunately, the video and audio quality are low.
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Eric is the President of EMGRobotics ( He is a robot enthusiast with over 19 years of embedded firmware design experience. His specialities are computer vision, artificial intelligence, and programming for Windows Embedded CE, Linux, and Android operating systems.

Automated Manufacturing Night is a monthly event where a speaker will discuss a topic related to Automated Manufacturing on the third Thursday each month. It is affiliated with the CNC Build Club (, a group where folks work on automated manufacturing machines at Pumping Station: One. It is also open to the public.

Pumping Station: One is a Chicago hackerspace located at 3519 N Elston, Chicago IL 60618.

This talk was organized by Jeff McAlvay, who is working with a team from PS:One on an open pick and place machine (


12 2012

Monday Dec. 3rd. is back-to-basics night at NERP

Monday Dec. 3rd. is back-to-basics night at NERP. In Part 1, Carl
Karsten and Bonnie King will give an introduction to Python programming
for novice programmers. The target will be the Raspberry Pi, and the
focus of their teaching examples will be on input/output to simple
hardware. In Part 2, yours truly will demo control of output devices
including simple circuits for interfacing electronics to
electro-mechanical devices.

Find us here…



12 2012

Announcing the CNC Build Club

Plasma cut PS:One logo

Picture of plasma cut PS:One logo taken from

Last Monday’s 3D printing discussion was both well-attended and full of ideas. By the end of the night the beginnings of a few exciting new projects were starting to take shape. Since there are already several CNC projects in the works at PS:One, we decided that once a month isn’t enough to satisfy our appetites for automation.

So I’m pleased to announce the formation of the CNC Build Club, which will meet every Wednesday night at PS:One to design and build machines employing computer numerical control. If you’re interested in building a 3D printer, a CNC router or a pick & place machine, you can join up with a group already working on a design. Or come up with your own idea and recruit others to work with you!

  • Who: Open to the public
  • Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston Ave, Chicago, IL
  • When: Every Wednesday at 7pm
  • Cost: Free ($5 suggested donation for non-members to help us pay the rent)

We’re still going to have our monthly Automation Night, which will be slightly more formal and have a guest speaker, but all other Wednesdays will be focused on getting work done on projects.

Join the Google Group for the CNC Build Club. We’ll see you Wednesday night!


11 2012

Nerp – Oct 22summary and Nov 5 announcement

NERP October 22 Summary

Last nerp, Drew got things going with another well produced demo of the Raspberry Pi doing hardware i/o. In keeping with the spirit of the season he and Bonnie King put together a network controlled musical multimedia Jack o’ Lantern that blinked and played mp3′s through browser interaction. There are lots of ways of doing physical i/o though an internet link. To my untrained eyes, the high points of Drew’s and Bonnie’s approach included

  • Python on the RPi
  • ajax to help push the data back and forth between the web page and server
  • the RPi gpio module for reading switches and turning on and off the lights
  • the python thread class for allowing the RPi to blink the lights without stalling the program
  • a hook to control mplayer to play the sounds.

Check out Drew’s full write-up on his Element14 blog

Joe Walnes, known for his PiCrust adapter board, was our dark horse presenter. One of his other Raspberry Pi based projects is a coding environment called quick2web for people who are new to web programming* and also for rapid prototyping of web connected hardware control. Joe demoed web-slider:

  • …a mobile web-app that contains a slider bar…
  • …that communicates to a Python program via WebSockets…
  • …that adjusts an LED bar-graph.
  • Then point your desktop or mobile browser to http://[hostname]:8888/. Try multiple browsers for fun.

The web interface allows multiple locations of interaction with the Raspberry-Pi through a browser. This is neat, but his main interest is in bringing a simplified, event driven programming model to beginning programmers. The demo made things like gui building and asynchronous hardware events look easy. When Joe’s quick2web environment takes off it will do for hardware-interactive web programming what the Arduino has done for microcontrollers and Libre development tools (gcc). I was pleased that Joe presented at nerp, and I hope he’ll do it again soon. Quick2web needs programmers. This is a worthy effort. Volunteer if you can!

*This is me.

Monday November 5

Ryan Pierce will show us how he is rewriting an Arduino 1-Wire library “…to be (mostly) non-blocking. My project is AC phase dimming with triacs while still reading temperatures… Each half of the AC sine wave is 8.333 ms. And reading a temp from 1-Wire is a 10 ms operation. So the new library allows me to start an operation, get a (nearly) immediate return, poll the timer for the AC to see if it is time to fire the triacs, go back to polling 1-Wire to see if it is time to bang a bit which should return (nearly) immediately, check the triac again, rinse, lather, repeat….. “

 John Dolecki will bring his Robot to this meeting. He says “Please don’t expect techno mumbo jumbo from me as my programming skills are on the beginner level. I’m sure once you are introduced to Microsoft Robotics Studio, the C programming will look familiar to you.

Let the Robot Apocalypses start here!”

Sounds great, John!


11 2012

Make food!

Pot Luck




When a fifth Tuesday rolls around, PS:One usually has a pot luck following the membership meeting.   October 30th is the fifth Tuesday in October, so there will be a pot luck starting around 8:30 pm.    Since it will be so close to Halloween, spooky food is particularly encouraged, but spookiness is not required.  Come and bring a dish!


10 2012

Hacks for Activists — Thursday at 7PM!

How can open source technology, design, and data accelerate social change and community improvement efforts? From Open 311′s city tracking system and the Grassroots Mapping of environmental impacts, to pedal powered electricity and LED banners at protests; design and technology have proven to be robust change agents.

CivicLab is entering the field with an initiative called “Hacks for Activists” (H4A). H4A seeks to build tools that solve common problems plaguing community organizers. We’re looking for activists, designers, coders, open hardware enthusiasts, and anyone with the slightest interest in technology for social change.

Our first meeting is being generously hosted by Pumping Station: One on Thursday Oct 18th, 7:00PM – 9:00PM. Snacks, beer, and non-alcoholic beverages provided! Here’s a few ideas we’re currently exploring but new projects are most welcome:

  1. Sign Me Up: An SMS/web based tool to replace paper sign-up sheets at community organizing meetings.
  2. Crowd Speaker: An application that would leverage participants’ cell phones as a collective public announcement system at rallies.

For more information and notifications about future meetings, you can contact bsugar [at], or visit our web site at

Please sign up on our Eventbrite so we can get an idea of how many to expect:

Attendees who have never been to our space, please sign and bring PS:One’s Liability Release with you. We’ll also have copies available at the site on the night of the meeting.


10 2012

Mutant Mold In Outer Space! A new exclusive documentary

Hey “Open Science” people and folks interested in Fungus…

A few months ago we got ahold of some very rare and insider information about fungal infestations on board MIR, the International Space Station, and the Apollo Missions. It turns out, the reason we let MIR burn up in the atmosphere was to protect our ecosystem from being exposed to mold species that had mutated during their time in space.

The super-fungus became more aggressive and could etch glass, eat through rubber gaskets, and grow four times as fast as fungus does on earth. Crazy, right?

Anyway, my family and I spent the last five months or so compiling this information into a 45-minute documentary. This documentary is just now starting to make the rounds in the microbiology world. It’s been screened privately for groups of microbiologists, the US Military, and other industry professionals.

We will screen this movie at PS:One, October 17 at 7pm.

Here is the trailer for the film:

If you are into science fiction, biology, Star Trek or real space exploration, this is really up your alley.

We look forward to seeing you there!


10 2012

NERP (Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi) meetup: Autonomous car & Aquaponics (Monday Sept-24)


The next meeting of our embedded systems interest group, Not Exclusivly Raspberry Pi (NERP), will be Monday, September 24th, at 7pm.  We have two presentations lined up:

  • Jeff will be talking about his research into machine vision on embedded systems.  He’s been working on an autonomous car project.
  • Christopher will give a demo based around the automation framework he’s been working on using Python, Raspberry Pi and Phidgets.  It’s currently based around his aquaponics system.

NERP is open to the public and free to attend – just RSVP on our Meetup page.


09 2012