First Hackaday Prize Session

We just ended out first meeting which consisted of an overview of the contest, introductions, individual skill sets and brainstorming project ideas. So far, we are going to do something involving plants. Whether that is hacking a plant directly or using sensors around a plant is yet to be determined. Feel free to attend our second meeting which is tentatively to be held next Wednesday at 7:00 PM.

11

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.

30

05 2014

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

Beads-WEB

 

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!  

20

05 2014

Chicago’s Inaugural Group Telepresence Experimentation Event

This weekend, starting Friday May 23 at 8pm and continuing until Sunday May 25 at noon, Chicago will have its very first TeleHackathon.

Join the members of Pumping Station: One and South Side Hackerspace: Chicago in connecting our respective spaces in innovative, ridiculous and primarily useless ways. Imagine a lamp in one building with no apparent switch – yet it toggles on and off at random. That’s because it’s an IP lamp! The switch is at the other hackerspace!

Almost, but not entirely unlike, this!

Come out for the whole thing or a few hours, we’d love to see you here (or there! It’s the internet!) Make a thing talk to another thing that’s somewhere else, learn about internet communications, or just get your hack on. See you there!

 

-Derek

19

05 2014

V Carve Pro Class

vcarvepro

The Shopbot will arrive soon.  Do you want to get a jump on the certification?  Come to the V Carve Pro training class.   V Carve Pro is the software that ships with the Shopbot.  It is a easy to learn and powerful tool that can probably meet most of your CNC machining needs for the Shopbot.

We will start with creating designs, whether you create them outside V Carve and import them or you create them in the software itself.  We will then go over creating the tool paths for the Shopbot.  We will go over selecting bit sizes, bit types and strategies to get the best results.

image11

The class will be loosely structured, so questions can be asked at any time.  The class is open to PS:One members and people thinking about becoming a PS:One member.  It will be limited to about 20 people, so please reserve your spot via the Meetup page

Where: Pumping Station One, Electronics area

When: Thursday May 22, 2014 at 7:00pm

Duration: At least an hour.

 

11

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.

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

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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

08

05 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

Intro to Programmable Logic & FPGAs – April 27

fpga-architecture

I’ve been bugged to death lately about doing another FPGA intro class…and after a full year, it’s finally here.  We’ll be going over some theory & concepts first before we hit the real stuff.  Familiarity with digital logic circuits is highly recommended, but you will still learn something regardless.  A basic overview of what will be covered:

  1. Combinational Logic – Basic Logic Gates
  2. Sequential Logic – Flips Flops
  3. CPLD – Complex Programmable Logic Device
  4. FPGA – Field Programmable Gate Array
  5. Nintendo DS ReView – An Example of What FPGAs Can Do
  6. Xilinx ISE & Verilog – Synthesizing the First Project
  7. Using Clocks – Blink that LED!
  8. State Machines – Alternate between blinking different LEDs!
  9. Video Example – Making an 8-bit VGA controller

I’ll be using the Elbert FPGA development board for most of the examples we’ll be doing.  Having the board is not required to attend.  I will bring a disc with the software tools in case anyone would like to install them.  We will be using Verilog as the HDL (hardware description language) in this class, since that is what I am familiar with.

The Details:

  • Who: Anyone (Open to the Public)
  • When: Sunday, April 27th – 2:00pm to 4:00pm….but we can chill until 5:00pm.
  • Where: 3519 N. Elston – 2nd Floor in the Electronics Lab
  • Cost: FREE

 

19

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

Mini Maker Faire in Chicago at Schurz High School – May 3

Reserve your spot to the third annual Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire! Tickets are FREE to the public, but by reserving early you guarantee your spot. Now you can e-sign the media release on Eventbrite and skip the line! As always, your generous donations allow those who cannot otherwise afford Maker Faire to attend for free. Recommended donations are $10/adult, and $5/child under 12.

http://www.eventbrite.com/e/chicago-northside-mini-maker-faire-2014-tickets-10903088431

Pumping Station: One will hopefully be there with a table. Come visit us!

 

–Derek

10

04 2014