Hackerspace Intro: Make Lehigh Valley

make-lehigh-valley

The video tour of Make Lehigh Valley in Pennsylvania involves mostly a show-and-tell about the raw materials just waiting to find their way into members’ projects. The tour starts off outside the warehouse that house the hackerspace as well as an associated business incubator called Hive 4A. It then moves inside to give us a look at what they’ve got going on.

We love the space. There are really two kinds of buildings we see used in these tours. One type are commercial retail spaces, like HeatSync Labs or Workshop 88. They’re clean, well-lit, and in the public view. This is the other kind, behind closed doors and full or floor-space. The building features a really awesome wide-plank wooden floor. It plays host to a smattering of different equipment and a multitude of boxes, jars, troughs, and jugs full of all kinds of stuff. It looks like they’re beginning to get the parts organization under control. Old milk jugs serve as a first round of sorting. There’s also a nice little small parts rack built from plastic tea bottles and small cubby holes made of cardboard. See it all in the clip after the break.

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Carry a Git server in your pocket

android-git-server

We love using Git for its superior version control. We often host our more advanced projects in a public Github repository. But the bulk of our little experiments are simply local repos. This is fine if you’re always at home, but if we are away from home we find ourselves having to SSH into our server to copy over the Git files. [Andrew] found a way around this slightly awkward process. He used an old Android phone as a Git server.

This actually makes a lot of sense when you start to think about it. Most Android phone have a microSD card slot to provide a huge storage bin (the lack of this on the Nexus 4 is baffling) so you don’t need to worry about running out of space. All of these devices have WiFi, making it easy to use them as an AP when there isn’t any other WiFi around. And the web-connected nature of the device will make syncing your repo over the Internet a snap.

Most of the behind the scenes work is done using Debian packages. This provides a few issues which [Andrew] walks through one by one. We also like his pointers like using ‘noatime’ on your EXTx file systems to avoid wear on the SD card.

Fabricating custom displays for a commercial coffee roaster

custom-display-panel-for-a-coffee-roaster

Roasting the perfect coffee bean is an art form. But even the most talented of roasters can use a little feedback on what’s going on with their equipment. [Ludzinc] recently helped out a friend of his by building this set of 7-segment displays to show what’s happening with this coffee roaster.

The yellow modules hiding underneath the display panel are responsible for setting the speed of the hot air blower and the rate at which the drum turns. They’re adjustable using some trimpots, but it sounds like the stock machine doesn’t give any type of speed feedback other than direct observation.

The solution was to patch into those speed controllers using the ADC of a PIC chip. They each output 0-10V, which [Ludzinc] measures via a voltage divider. After the speed is quantified the microcontroller outputs to one of the displays. Since there’s a different chip for each readout, the firmware can be custom tuned to suit the operator’s needs.

Keep this in mind if you’re still planning to build that coffee roaster out of a washing machine.

Stereoscopic display art installation

stereoscopic-display

This rig is something of a museum or art installation, but the concept is so simple we thought it could easily inspire your next project. The two mirrors and two video sources make up a stereoscopic display.

The user sits between two displays (computer monitors shown here, but the post also shows images projected on two walls of a room). A pair of mirrors mounted at forty-five degrees form the eye pieces. It’s a V-shaped mirror assembly in which the narrow end pointing toward the bridge of the user’s nose. The mirrors reflect the images from the monitors, giving a different view for each eye.

In this case each monitor is playing back a video loop, but one is just slightly longer than the other. Each monitor has a potentiometer in front of it. The user can turn them to speed or slow the playback in an attempt to bring the video back into sync. We don’t think we’d replicate that portion of the project. But it might be fun to view some stereoscopic clips in this way. There’s even instructions on how two cameras were used to record the scenes.

You can get a closer view of the test apparatus in the clip after the jump.

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Python script migrates from dying Google Reader to Evernote

google-reader-to-evernote

We’re sure you’ve heard by now that Google has decided to close its RSS feed aggregator service called Google Reader. We’ve got to remember to get our list of thousands of great hacking blog feeds off of there before it’s gone. But just preserving the list is rather easy. [Paul Kerchen] has a bit different problem. He’s got hundreds of articles starred and he wants to preserve a way to find those pages again. His solution was to write his own Python script to migrate starred Google Reader articles over to Evernote.

We’re not here to promote the Evernote service. But just so we’re on the same page, it’s an archiving system that lets you save things like webpages and text documents for access on a wide range of different platforms. So all that really needs to happen is for [Paul] to get the list of links from his starred articles folder formatted for import on Evernote. It starts by using Google Takeout to download an archive of his account data. Within this dump is a JSON formatted file called ‘starred.json’. His script parses the data and imports each article into Evernote. There’s even rate limiting to manage the daily import maximum of free accounts.

Ask Hackaday: What movies have the best/worst hacking scenes

best-and-worst-movie-hacking

It’s time to do your best impression of [Comic Book Guy] as you make your case for trash or triumph in big screen hacking scenes. We watch a lot of movies, and it’s hard not to groan when the filmmakers cut corners by doing zero research into what using a computer actually looks like. But then once in a great while you have a team that does its due diligence and puts up a scene that makes sense to those of us in the know. So we’re wondering, what movies do you think have the best hacking scenes, and which ones are the worst offenders? Leave your opinion on the topic in the comments section.

We realize that you can come up with tons of poorly done ones, what we would really like to hear about is who did it right. We’ll get you started with a couple of examples. The image on the upper left is a scene from Tron: Legacy which we think did a fantastic job of portraying actual computer usage. You can read more about the huge amount of work that went into it in this article (via Reddit).

In the lower right is one of the most shady movies scenes that comes to mind. [Hugh Jackman] is compelled to do some ‘hacking’ by [John Travolta] in the movie Swordfish. The caption at the top of the screen is “COMPILER”, and who the heck knows what the rest of that is supposed to be?

On the hardware hacking side, it gets a little more difficult, we would LOVE some examples of hardware hacks or mods done right.

DIY Arduino Pro Mini quadcopter

DIY-arduino-pro-mini-quadcopter

[execUc] took a stock V929 quadcopter and started making some crafty customizations. The main change – the control electronics were replaced by an Arduino Pro Mini (16Mhz model). He soldered all the modules on a prototyping board and, although admittedly a bit heavy, the little guy takes flight with no problem.

Among other details, an HMC5883L (magnetometer) and MPU6050 (accelerometer / gyroscope) are used as sensors. A LiPo 7.4V battery pack supplies the power. The brushed motors are controlled by pulse-width modulation from SI2302 MOSFET with added diodes. He plans to swap out the micro-controller for an ARM7 stm32F103 for extra computing power, and needs to play with the PID values to correct a slight problem he seems to be having when rotating.

Check out a test flight video after the break. [execUc] has a thorough list of all the alterations he made in the video description, so be sure to read it.

[via Hacked Gadgets]

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