Archive for the ‘Events’Category

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.



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


  • 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


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 (
Tonight at NERP, Luciano will tell us about the Pingo
project in progress at Garoa HC
( 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

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
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 2014

Artificial Intelligence Q&A with Tim Winkler, IBM

Applied Sciences Chicago presents:

What will you do with Watson:

Come out this Monday evening from 7-8 to do a Q&A with Tim Winkler, a former PS:One member and software engineer at IBM who works on Watson, the Jeopardy winning artificial intelligence.

Tim has worked for IBM for 10 years and on Watson for about 3 years. He works with natural language parsing and machine learning.

Watson processes unformatted data, i.e. natural language documents, and not structured databases, so part of Tim’s job is to work on ingesting that data and making sense of it. One of his current projects is cognitive cooking, in which Watson comes up with recipes for us to cook and is really awesome:)

Cognitive Cooking in the IBM Cloud:

So come with any and all questions about one of the most famous robots in the world:)

When: Monday July 7, 2014 7-8 PM
Where: Lounge

More links to check out:

IBM’s Watson Supercomputer Destroys Humans in Jeopardy
Watson is headed for your pocket
Watson’s new job, IBM salesman
Watson goes to the hospital
Artificial intelligence


07 2014

Women’s Electronics Workshops

Our first round of Women’s Electronics Workshops were a huge hit!

I’ve had several requests for more events like this, so I’ve created a Meet Up page for it. Please join it if you’d like to participate.


14-06-28-Chris-n-Rodica 14-06-28-Etienne-BreadboardADSC_4535-Sara-n-Rodica14-06-28-Sheila-n-Kathy   ADSC_4546-Jill-Liz-Solder  Read the rest of this entry →


06 2014

SIGBOT is starting tonight!

Hey everyone! We’re starting a new robotics group tonight at 19:00. SIGBOT is the Special Interest Group for Robotics. We’ll be meeting the 3rd Thursday of the month in the electronics lab at Pumping Station: One.

Tonight we’ll be talking about what this club will really be all about. I want to hear everyone’s ideas for projects we can work on as a group, and also what projects people are working on individually.

Hope to see you all there!


06 2014

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


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 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 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

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

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


06 2014

Demo Day: Ancona Edition

Soldering kidHello everyone! You know those demonstration days we did for the library a month or so back? Well, Elizabeth and I thought it’d be a good idea to reach out to the school where we teach the after school Maker class and do the same. We thought that having an open demonstration for parents, kids, and faculty would be a great idea to cultivate our image as a valuable educational resource for kids and adults alike.

We want to showcase the value of Maker culture and skills in the development of kids in gradeschool. We want to be entertaining, so we plan on doing the Learn to Solder kits, Laser cutter demo, possibly some 3D printing demos, and the like. If anyone has any demonstrations that would be appropriate for kids, and would like to help out by hosting that demonstration, please come.  And if you just want to be there and mingle with the parents, maybe bring your own kids, show them what our community means, and what it means to your kids, please come.
The event is Sunday, June 8th, from 2-4pm, at Pumping Station: One.


05 2014

B.Y.O.Beads! Sunday, 5/25/2014



B.Y.O.Beads means “bring you own beads”. Bring in an assortment of your own beads and learn basic jewelry assembly on Sunday, May 25, 2014 at 2:00 – 4:00 pm in the Arts & Crafts Area. Findings will be provided for earrings and to also make a bracelet or necklace. This is a good introduction to beading and bead tools. No prior experience is needed. Make items for yourself or to give as gifts!  


05 2014

Mini Maker Faire – or “How I annoyed hundreds of people”

On March 26th, our PR director forwarded an email to one of our mailing lists. This email detailed the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire, which was to happen in a little over a month. I decided that PS:1 needed to have a presence there, and it couldn’t just be a booth with some folks sitting behind it talking about hackerspaces all day.  An electronic project was very much within my skillset, but I didn’t want it to become yet another ‘how to solder’ class — they had one or two of those already. I wanted something that could be assembled quickly and offered a chance to talk about electronics if the assembler was interested. If they weren’t, they should have a fun doodad to walk away with.

2014-04-30 18.57.30

The final revision of the board art

I needed a project, something that would engage kids and adults. Something that was easy to assemble, cheap and offered a chance to learn a little bit about electronics (but didn’t require it!). I recalled a field trip I went on in high school. We went to an engineering firm or something, and they had us assemble little crystal radios on card stock. There were just four components that twisted together on the back, then you hooked up the crystal earset and bam! crappy radio.  I settled on a crappy optical theremin – using a photoresistor to modulate the pitch of a buzzer.2014-04-27 20.28.52 Thinking about it, I decided I could probably manage something pretty cool with five components or less if I used a microcontroller of some sort. I settled on the Atmel ATTiny45, which is an AVR in an 8 pin DIP package. Some clever folks have already ported the Arduino libraries to work on these small chips, so all I had to do was come up with a design and write a few lines of code. I won’t bore you with excessive details, you can check out the github repo.


I had a number of parents and teachers assemble kits, too.


Justin helping someone out

I learned a lot with this project, and  I think some other people did too. I had kids as young as 5 assemble these boards with guidance, some of them with surprisingly little help. Everyone seemed to like them, and I ran out of components for kits. I’m calling it a huge success, and I hope that this project is replicated and taken to other faires, expos and ‘learn electronics’ nights.   –Derek


05 2014