Mobile Hackerspace Status Indicator


Cruising around town, not sure what to do — oh hey look, someone is at the hackerspace! Introducing the Mobile Spacestate Indicator!

During our Hackerspacing in Europe tour, we had the pleasure of visiting ACKspace in Heerlen, the Netherlands. And like many hackerspaces, they have an online status indicator letting members and non-members alike know if the space is open. [Vicarious], the gentleman who kindly picked us up from the train station, has just finished off an awesome modification to his car. Using an Arduino Uno and a Raspberry Pi, he has created a mobile indicator of his hackerspace’s status.

The Raspberry Pi automatically tethers to his phone and checks the status of the hackerspace online. It then sends the data to the Arduino Uno which controls a small strip of RGB LEDs. He’s cleverly hidden all of this inside his center console, and it looks awesome!

To see more of ACKspace’s cool projects, check out their wiki!

16 thoughts on “Mobile Hackerspace Status Indicator

    1. I was thinking the same thing, Neopixels were used for this which might be a bit overkill. Nonetheless it’s a very cool hack.

      According to Adafruit’s Neopixel page ( ):

      “NeoPixels aren’t the answer for every project. The control signal has very strict timing requirements, and some development boards (such as Netduino or Raspberry Pi) can’t reliably achieve this.”

        1. There’re many ways to execute projects and many experimental/one off hobbyists projects depend on the components at hand but the builder achieved their goal which is the important part. Looks great and well diffused and the effect seems to fit that dash board well.

    1. Just do your chores unlike a lot of thing they teach in schools cooking and cleaning are thing you need to know how to do unless you are so rich you can afford a maid, butler, and chef. but either way they teach responsibility and reduce the chances that you will live like a slob. If you are a parent with kids this is not meant to be a slam on you but if you are a kid or young adult or even a irresponsible adult this is meant for you. Being LAZY will teach nothing nor does procrastination all in all.


      Oh Don’t want to forget all those Lazy Husbands Help your Wife. Do the dishes, Vacuum you make a mess clean it.

  1. Very cool you could also use a rgb led that is very easy to hook to a Pi if you want more than the 3 colors get the 4 lead led the 3 lead ones are to limited but the 4 not and are easy to mix to get the colors you want also you could get one of those tiny cheap routers that easy to mod and have it auto connect to almost any open connection and with that I’m quite sure you can add leds to it and bluetooth and be able to take the Pi out all together heck for around $8.00 you can get one of those cheap bluetooth with serial out and some leds and make an app to go on the smart phone and do it that way. sorry for the lack of sentence structure but when I thinking and ranting I never hit it. HAPPY HACKING EVERYONE

    1. Also it seems rather sad that someone who likes to think of themselves as a hacker, couldnt hook up some LEDs to a perf board and make his own LED strip so he could skip using the Audrino as the LED controller (because the GPIO on the RasPi sucks).

      1. Correction; i guess the GPIO on the RasPi is capable of switching fast enough to control the LED strip, he was just too lazy to port the library. For some reason I thought it was limited to 100khz (or something).

        1. The raspberry pi is not a microcontroller; generating signals which adhere to the timing of ws2812 protocol on the GPIO pins while an os with several background programs is running is not an easy / doable task. You’re welcome to prove me wrong though ;)

  2. Looks cool and he did it with minimal effort. So yes nice hack. Indeed there might be other solutions which are cheaper but your ‘making it work’ time also counts as a resource. Indeed porting the ws2811/ws2812 libs from arduino to pi would have been great addition. But you have to wonder it would most likely take a couple of days work to do that and is that worth it if you can do it in a few minutes by adding that arduino?

    The bluetooth dongle is indeed a good idea:

    But you’d have to write the smartphone app to make it work. With current implementation the hacker only needs a small bash script on the pi which checks some status url and it connects with wifi to his phone’s tethered connection. The bluetooth dongle route you need to send data over bluetooth using a custom written app (it’s again entirely doable but requires some extra effort indeed…).

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