Hackaday’s 10th: The Celebration is Imminent

HAD 10 YR 02We’re celebrating 10 Years of Hackaday with a day-long event in Pasadena. It’s not too late to get in on the action. If you’re in the LA area on October 4th, 2014, you can attend the mini-conference in the afternoon and the party that evening.

It’s free, but you must secure a ticket for yourself.

A small group of hand-picked hackers will begin the day building alternative gaming controllers for use at the party that evening. The morning will be occupied by a trio of workshops focusing on robot building, lock picking, and LiPo cell charging.

Things start to really pick up steam in the afternoon with a mini-conference. There are a few dozen tickets left so get yours now! As we mentioned in our last post, [Steve Collins] will talk about how early hacking led him to a career with NASA, [Quinn Dunki] will discuss Veronica the 6502 Computer, and [Jon McPhalen] will present the benefits of mult-core embedded development.

To the list of speakers we can now add [ThunderSqueak]. You may remember her CO2 laser build that used a lot of hardware store parts. We’ve asked her to talk about her work on a non-binary computer. We covered the project back in June but this type of through-the-looking-glass subject fares better as a live talk with Q&A.

We hope to announce one more speaker soon, and already have a few lightning talks (one on a Demoscene board and another on hardware dev that ended with a successful Kickstarter). We’ll keep you posted!

Call for Art

We have space for a few pieces of art for the event. We would prefer things that are interactive and ‘glowy’ or self lit as the space will be fairly dark. There are two areas that we would like to fill right now, one is a small room approximately 9′ square with an 8′ ceiling. The other is a much larger space about 24′ square with a very high ceiling. We also have a couple of walls on which we could hang things or do projections. If you have something interactive and fun that you can get to the LA area on the week leading up to October 4th please let us know.

UPDATE: Poster

[Jim K.] asked for the printable version of the posts. Here’s a link to the .ai file. This is the work of our illustrator [Joe Kim]. He really gets us and has a bunch more artwork to be found around here. Some of our favorite is the “story” art he did in the description of the two classic t-shirts, and the original designs for the premium tees.

Hacklet #12 – Last Minute Hackaday Prize Submissions

12

If hackers and engineers are notorious for anything, it’s for procrastinating. Many of us wait until the absolute last-minute to get things done. The Hackaday Prize has proved to be no exception to that. Anyone watching the newest projects could see the entries fly in the last few days. Let’s take a quick look at a few.

handuino

[Cyrus Tabrizi] submitted Handuino just a few short hours before the deadline. Handuino is an Arduino based human interface device. You can use it to control anything from R/C cars to 3D printers, to robots to Drones. Input is through the joystick, switches, and buttons, and output through the on-board 2.2″ LCD. Projects can interface to the Handuino via a USB port, or an XBEE radio. Nice Work [Cyrus].

bionicYoSelf

[txyz.info] wants to make us more human than human with Bionic Yourself, an implantable device to make you a bionic superhero. [txyz] plans to use sensors such as an electromagnetic field sensor, accelerometers, and Electromyography (EMG) muscle activity detectors. The idea is to not only sense the implanted wearer, but the world around them. The wearer can then use an embedded Bluetooth radio to send commands. The entire system runs on the Arduino platform, so updating your firmware will be easy. Not everyone has a charging port, so [txyz] has included wireless battery charging in the system.

HAD-alarm-clock[Laurens Weyn] wants to wake us all up with Overtime: the internet connected alarm clock. Overtime is a Raspberry PI powered clock with a tower of 7 segment displays. The prototype displays were sourced from an old exchange rate sign. Overtime does all the normal clock things, such as display the time, and date. It even allows you to set and clear alarms. The display is incredible – there are enough pixels there to play Tetris. Overtime is currently running on an Arduino Mega, but [Laurens] plans to move to a Raspberry PI and hook into the internet for information such as Google calender events.

We’re going to cut things a bit short this week. Your work is done (for now) but for the Hackaday staff, the work is just beginning. We’re already on task, reviewing the entries, and picking which submissions will move on to the next round. Good luck to everyone who entered.

As always, See you in next week’s Hacklet. Same hack time, same hack channel, bringing you the best of Hackaday.io!

Programmable Logic II – CPL

There is a wide assortment of cheap development (dev) boards for Complex Programmable Logic Devices (CPLD), the smaller cousin of the Field Programmable Logic Array (FPLA)

Using an inexpensive board and the development software that’s free to download from the major programmable companies such as Xilinx and Altera, the only additional thing needed is a programmer module. Cheap ones are available on Ebay but I am hoping that someone takes the time to teach an ARM/Arduino to step in as a programmer.

I have a small collection of dev boards including some Ebay specials and also designs I did a few years ago to choose from. For today I am grabbing a newer board that has not been fully checked out yet; an Altera Max V device. I have stuffed the CPLD, the clock oscillator, some LED’s and part of the onboard power supply along with the JTAG header needed to program the CPLD and that’s about it.

 

Herdware CPLD 5M570ZT

Herdware CPLD 5M570ZT dedicated PCB with SRAM.

 

CPLD Schematic

CPLD Schematic showing an Altera CPLD 5M570T144

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Video: Getting Your Feet Wet with Programmable System On Chip

 

Ever since I received my PSOC 4 Pioneer kit from Cypress I have wanted to play with this little mixed-signal Programmable System-on-Chip (PSOC) developer board. I love developer boards, providing that they are priced in a way to entice me to not only open my wallet but also make time in a busy schedule. I think my kit was free after winning a swag bag from Adafruit that they themselves obtained at the Open Hardware Summit and gave away on their weekly streamcast. Ultimately it was the invitation to beta test datasheet.net which also was included in that pile of swag that led to my getting involved with Hackaday.

Pioneer 4 Development Kit

PSCO4 Development Board on Hackaday

What is Programmable System On Chip?

So what is a PSOC 4? A quick summary is that it’s based on an ARM Cortex reduced instruction set processor (RISC) and is somewhat capable of supporting shields based on the Arduino footprint, and it also uses a bright red PCB that I have come to associate with a Sparkfun PCB. What doesn’t show is the fact that this programmable system on chip has programmable analog function blocks in addition to programmable digital logic blocks. There is also some supporting input/output circuitry such as a multicolored LED and a capacitive touch sensor directly on the PCB.

This is an intriguing amount of programmability, so much so that Newark/Element 14 highlighted a “100 projects in 100 days” event on it.

Enter the IDE

Over the years I have had to create or install many Integrated Development Environments (IDE) that linked hardware to software. Knowing that you had to, and how to, implement an IDE was part of being an engineer. Nowadays with the Arduino type environment the user has an IDE pretty much as soon as they click on the executable which I find to be one of the best aspects of the genre. It was so quick in fact that I was able to get my teenaged son into writing his first program even before he remembered to do massive eye-rolls and make sounds of utter disdain. He did give up however, just shy of learning how to have the Arduino make sounds of disdain on his behalf.

PSCo4 Cypress Development Kit on Hackaday

Closeup of a Programmable System on Chip Development System

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Fubarino Contest Example: A Sneaky IRC Bot

adam-fubar

You may have heard about Hackaday’s contest to win one of 20 Fubarino boards. We included an example entry from [Mike]. Here’s my example entry for the contest: An IRC search Bot powered by a Wicked Device WildFire board. We’ve all seen IRC bot’s before, but how many have you seen that can turn on an LED while running off a cell phone battery?

The IRC bot’s operation is fairly straightforward. It enters a channel and can be commanded to search.  The first two searches will return links to Google searches for the strings given.  Every third search however, will return a link to Hackaday’s search page. In the example below, “SedAwk” is an unsuspecting user, and “SearchRobot” is our bot.

SedAwk: SearchRobot: SEARCH Unicorns
SearchRobot: Search Complete! https://www.google.com/#q=Unicorns
SedAwk: SearchRobot: SEARCH Rainbows
SearchRobot: Search Complete! https://www.google.com/#q=Rainbows
SedAwk: SearchRobot: SEARCH Quadcopters
SearchRobot: Search Complete! http://hackaday.com/?s=Quadcopters
SedAwk: What the heck?

Follow along after the break to see what other tricks the bot has up its sleeve…

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Voting is open for the Red Bull Creation contest. Go Team Hackaday!

Go Vote Now!  update: looks like the vote button opens a popup to a Facebook app. this is required to vote :(

For the full writeup on our entry, go here!

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How to earn your Hackaday skill badge

Since Adafruit released a few dozen hacker skill badges, we’ve been waiting for this tip to come in. [phillip torrone] over at Adafruit posted a requirement sheet put together by a school teacher-blogger friend aimed at high school students wanting to earn their Hackaday skill badge.

The requirement list is heavily influenced by the requirements needed to earn a merit badge in the Boy and Girl scouts – first, do a little research and be able to describe the type of build we usually feature. Then, describe the project to your teacher and directly relate your project to other builds featured on Hackaday. Solid advice, we have to say.

There’s a few solid tips that really help us out; putting up a blog post for your project really helps us out, as does hosting your code on a Git. Videos are always good, and even though I’m partial to Vimeo (these videos just come out looking more professional for some reason), a lot of our commentors prefer YouTube.

About the commentors: the requirement sheet specifically mentions ignoring the flame bait comments, something we’d have to agree with. The comments have gotten better, but the best way for you (yes, all of you) to help is just hit the report button and don’t feed the trolls.

If your post doesn’t make Hackaday, don’t feel bad. Before I started working here, I built a Mellotron and submitted it to the tip line. It didn’t get featured, but I just rolled with the punches. Now I’m waiting for a Raspberry Pi to come in so I can update that build and give it the rollout it deserves. If your build gets skipped, just re-submit a week or so later. We’re a fickle bunch and sometimes projects waste away in the tip line, especially if it’s similar to a recently posted build.

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