Archive for the ‘Events’Category

Dream Hackers Club

Lucid Dream: any dream in which one is aware that one is dreaming. 

A few of us got together to discuss lucid dreaming this past Sunday. Among the things we talked about were; the benefits of lucid dreaming, the possible evolutionary explanations for dreaming, and personal lucid dreaming experiences.

We left off with a group challenge to try at home:

1. Wake up earlier than normal.

2. Play ambient tropical ocean sounds.  Click here for ambient music or find your own.

3. Go back to sleep with the ambient tropical sounds playing.

With this experiment, we want to see if we can affect our dream’s setting through audio. You may be able to hear the sounds in your dream, which could place your dream on a tropical beach.

I hope to use these meetings as a way to explore how we can use lucid dreaming, with intention and purpose, to improve and explore ourselves. How can we hack our dreams to get more out of them? Can lucid dreaming become part of our creative process? Join us at our next meeting and feel free to try out the group challenge.  We will discuss our experiences with this experiment together.

Next Meeting: Sunday, Aug 10 at 7pm in the kitchen

06

08 2014

CNC Build Club – Let’s Talk Stepper Motor Drivers.

178

Stepper motor drivers are the things that power most of our DIY CNC projects.  There are dozens of choices.  What makes a good driver?  We will talk about that.

I will bring as many as I can find, which could be a dozen or more. Gecko’s, Leadshine DSPs, Pololu, Panucatt, Allegro, TI and others. I even have a three phase closed loop driver and motor.

 

2133angle2_zps989f1d86

 

Special attention will be given to the Trinamic TMC261. This is a new-ish driver chip that has a lot of cool new features. The most interesting is it’s sensorless load detection. This means the driver can sense the load on the motor. This allows it to do a few new tricks. One is to dynamically adjust the current. You can set the maximum current quite high, but it will only go that high if the load on the motor requires it. This keeps the driver cool, yet allows it to power through higher loads and accelerations. The other trick is stall detection. If the motor totally stalls this is sensed and a fault pin is activated. This is being used by people to eliminate end stop switches. Rather than using pots and pins to set these values, you use and SPI bus. The driver also has a very high voltage range for a chip this size of 9-60VDC. Stepper motors love higher voltages

eval

I have a eval board we can play with.  This board has a motion controller on board and can take the steppers up to ludicrous speeds.


The CNC Club is a monthly meeting of Chicago area people passionate about learning, building and using digital fabrication equipment.  It is held at the Pumping Station One Hackerspace.  It is open to non members.  We also have a Google Group calledCNC Build Club.

 

04

08 2014

Pumping Station: One at the South Side Mini-Maker Faire

Pumping Station: One was at the Chicago South Side Mini Maker Faire next to the Ford City Mall this weekend teaching people how to build Noise-o-Trons.

blogpostpic1

Thanks to the volunteers who came out and helped us, and to everyone who attended the faire! It was a big success, and we couldn’t have done it without you. We hope to see everyone again next year. We had a lot of kids and adults alike come through and build circuits with us!

blogpostpic2blogpostpic3

blogpostpic4blogpostpic5

blogpostpic6blogpostpic7

Special thanks also goes to the participants of our Pre-Maker Faire Poker Night!

pokerpic1pokerpic2pokerpic3

Poker Night was a huge success! We had a great time playing, and we raised some money to help pay for the Noise-o-Tron kits we used at the Maker Faire. Congratulations to the winners of the raffle.

 

pokerwinners

Some of us also stopped by the teen hackerspace Level Up inside the Ford City Mall.

10527657_10204666804218428_5402854723619609715_n

They put a lot of effort into helping organize the Maker Faire, so check them out!

03

08 2014

Group ShapeOko Build, Part Two!

The adventure continues! We had a great turn out at the last ShapeOko build event. Now it’s time to assemble the gantries and do some wiring. Join us this Wednesday July 30 from 7-10PM in PS:One’s shop to see the machine really take shape, and maybe we’ll get to see it move, too. Learn about open hardware and the ShapeOko 3D carving machine. This event is open to the public and is great for newbies and experienced CNC’ers, too.

Inventables-Shapeoko2-2

28

07 2014

Pre-Maker Faire Poker Night

Update V2!:  The grand prize will include a BeagleBoard.org Mesanger bag and BeagleBoard.org leather notebook (paper).

UPDATE: Prizes have been announced!
One prize will be the book Make an Arduino-Controlled Robot, part of the Make Projects book series. The grand prize will be a shiny new BeagleBone Black!

So, come on out, and try your luck! You just might be the winner of one of these amazing prizes!

YouTube Preview Image

You are all invited to an exciting night of gambling-free poker!

Players of all skill levels are welcome! We will be playing Texas Hold ‘Em to raise money for the Noise-o-tron kits we will be teaching people how to build at the South Side Mini Maker Faire this Saturday. We provide this demo for free to Maker Faire attendees, and we’d like to keep it that way so we can help educate as many people as possible! Food will be provided; feel free to bring your own drinks.

So how does the gambling-free part work? The entry fee for playing at a table is $10, and you’ll get a stack of chips to play with. When you are done playing, you turn in your chips for raffle tickets. Each dollar in chips that you have will convert to 1 raffle ticket. At the end of the night, we will have a raffle for 1st and 2nd prizes. Don’t worry, you do -not- have to be present at the raffle drawing to win. As long as you’ve turned in your chips, you have a chance of winning. We will notify the winners via email, and you will get your prize ASAP. What prizes do we offer? You’ll just have to wait and find out! We promise that you’ll like them.

Also: We are looking for a third dealer. Justin and I will be dealing all night, but we would really appreciate it if someone would volunteer to help us deal another table.

Rules & strategy links for Texas Hold ‘Em

  1.  http://www.wsop.com/poker-games/texas-holdem/rules/
  2. http://www.wsop.com/poker-games/texas-holdem/strategy/

We will also have printouts of the rules at each table for reference. We look forward to seeing you there!

Where: Electronics Lab

When: Friday August 1st, 19:00-24:00; the raffle drawing will happen at midnight.

28

07 2014

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Come out to see the recently premiered documentary about the life and struggles of Aaron Swartz, Reddit co-founder and political activist.

From Wikipedia:

“Swartz was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS,[3] the organization Creative Commons,[4] the website framework web.py[5] and the social news site, Reddit, in which he became a partner after its merger with his company, Infogami.[i]

Swartz’s work also focused on sociology, civic awareness and activism.[6][7] He helped launch the Progressive Change Campaign Committee in 2009 to learn more about effective online activism. In 2010 he became a research fellow at Harvard University‘s Safra Research Lab on Institutional Corruption, directed by Lawrence Lessig.[8][9] He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act.”

IOB_photos_0008_Photo 09_Aaron Swartz (waiting for clearance)

There will be popcorn provided, and feel free to bring any snacks or drinks of your own. After the documentary showing there will be discussion, or people can hang out. This is a public event, so bring your friends!

Extra links:

Here is his blog: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/

One example of Aaron’s legacy: http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-aaron-swartz-helped-inspire-lawrence-lessigs-mayday-pac

Legal analysis of the case: http://www.volokh.com/2013/01/16/the-criminal-charges-against-aaron-swartz-part-2-prosecutorial-discretion/

18

07 2014

Artificial Intelligence Q&A with Tim Winkler Follow-Up

photo (26) copy

The event was a big success with over 30 people showing up to hear Tim answer questions about IBM’s Watson. Here are some pictures and sample questions (may be heavily paraphrased since they are drawn from my shoddy notes and memory) from the event:

Tim at QA2

Q: Can Watson pass the Turing Test?

A: Watson has never been given the Turing Test.

Q: Are there plans to build a physical analogue for Watson? (Asked multiple times)

A: No.

Q: Can you tell us about the specific details of what you do?

A: No, but after Watson was on Jeopardy IBM released detailed documentation

Q: Has anyone fed Watson info about itself?

A: No.

Q: There seems to be a competition between IBM and Google in the realm of AI. Do you believe that the future will include more mainframe-based AI’s like Watson or decentralized neural network based AI?

A: I’m a big fan of decentralized neural networks.

Q: How do you go about getting a job in AI?

A: I have a CS degree with an AI concentration, and I got an internship with IBM that eventually led to working on Watson. I worked on unrelated projects before this. There’s no set path.

Q: Is there any project to work on improving Watson’s ability to interpret history?

A: There are many NLP (natural language processing) projects that focus on solving that problem.

Q: Does one version of Watson know what other versions of Watson know? (i.e. medical student Watson vs cognitive cooking Watson)

A: No.

Q: Why is Watson so much better than Siri?

A: Siri is not really an AI aside from its NLP abilities.

Q: What question do you wish people would ask about Watson?

A: You guys ask good questions.

Q: Do you do unit tests and end tests on Watson?

A: Yes.

Q: Are there any Easter eggs in Watson?

A: I can’t tell you.

Q: Do you have a button that stops Watson if it turns into HAL?

A: We’ve had no serious thoughts of Watson turning on people.

Q: Watson does not have ontological understanding of the world; any benefit to adding that?

A: We’re working on it.

Here are some related links to the Q&A that Tim shared afterwards:

1.)    “Here’s the IBM research journal issue on Watson, that gives away all the tech secrets anyone would want”: http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/tocresult.jsp?reload=true&isnumber=6177717

2.) Behind a paywall:( “Computational creativity for culinary recipes”: http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=2559206.2574794

3.)    “This is relevant to cognitive cooking, Florian Pinel is one of the authors, he’s our team lead”: http://arxiv.org/abs/1311.1213

17

07 2014

ShapeOko 2 Group Build This Wednesday!

Curious about computer numerical control and open hardware?
Want to meet and help build PS:One’s newest machine? Join us
for a group build of an upgraded ShapeOko 2 CNC router,
donated by Inventables! Everyone is welcome, newbies and
experienced alike – if you can tighten a bolt, you can
assemble a ShapeOko. Please RSVP to the Meetup group or cahira_mirrored [at] yahoo [dot] com, so we
have some idea how many people to expect.

Wednesday, July 16th
7-11 PM
PS:One’s Shop

Everyone is welcome, although only members will be authorized (at a later date) on the machine once it’s completed.

Inventables-Shapeoko2-1

14

07 2014

A Crash Course in Applied Linear Algebra

Hackers frequently need to solve geometric problems for their projects. Whether it’s cutting acrylic on a laser cutter, slicing wood on a table saw, planning the route of a robotic arm on a new 3D printer, or analyzing a polygon mesh in a Python script, a working knowledge of geometry can save time, frustration, and material costs.

This isn’t the geometry you learned in high school, though. This is a crash course in the basic notions of linear algebra, perhaps the most useful branch of mathematics there is.

This course is geared towards demonstrating practical concepts and applications that can be put to use immediately in your own projects. To avoid bogging down the class with tedious details, we will use our computers to perform the calculations for us, allowing us to focus on the big picture and core ideas of each technique we cover.

The only prerequisite for the course is a solid understanding of high school algebra. Exposure to vectors and matrices would be helpful, but not required. There will be a review session before the class officially begins for anyone who wants to brush up on the basics.

Topics for the class:

  • A Review of Coordinates, Vectors, Matrices
  • Examples of Linear and Affine transformations
  • Linearity, Bases, and Where Matrices Come From?
  • Square Matrices, Determinants, and Inverses
  • Application: Solving Systems of  Linear Equations with Gaussian Elimination
  • Dot Products, Angles, and Lengths
  • Cross Products, the Plane Equation, the Normal to a Plane
  • Application: the Line-Plane Intersection Test
  • Triangles and Baricentric Coordinates
  • Application: the Line-Triangle Intersection Test

Details:

  • This event is open to the public
  • Prerequisite: High school algebra, some light exposure to vectors and matrices
  • When: Sunday July 20th at 5pm, review session starts at 4:30pm.
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: Free

11

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