Several weeks before we launched the Hackaday Prize 2015 officially, I was asked to set up a local event in Mumbai to help spread the word about the event to local Makers. Since I also help run a local maker space, Makers’ Asylum, we decided to have a Bring-a-Hack evening on March 21st at the Asylum.
It was a packed day at the Asylum. We had an Aeromodeling workshop in the morning. One bunch was building a quad bike from old bicycle frames, and another was doing something similar using PVC pipes. A third bunch was building a work table from a recycled wooden pallet. All this before we even hit lunch hour. I set up my OpenSelfie photobooth, and everyone quickly wolfed down a lunch of Biryani. We started off late in the afternoon with a quick round of introductions.
First up was Siji Sunny, who quickly setup his latest hack – an Intel Atom NUC running Ubuntu + a WiFi router and he had media streaming over the local network from his Phone. Something like AirPlay, but using open source software – ffmpeg, ffstream and ffserver.
We then had Neha Bagoria talk about the EcoTrapIn waterless urinal system which is pegged to use just 0.5% of the water used in regular urinals, resulting in huge savings annually. This is a product they have applied a patent for, but an open source version could be ideal Prize idea or project.
I then showed off a simple hack that I built up the previous day in preparation for the upcoming Arduino Day next weekend. This is a LED cube made using six WyoLum TinyTiM boards that I helped design. These are WS2812B based boards with a slightly wider LED spacing which makes them more suited for matrix illumination such as in word clocks.
I also used the same TinyTiM board to help my wife Samata build her first wearable electronics project.
Since I was up, it was time to show the Hackaday Prize video and give a short presentation about Hackaday, last years prizes and winners, and this years theme and contest details. I showed off some of the projects from last year – SatNOGS, Chip Whisperer, ArduCorder, PortableSDR, RamanPi, OpenMV, MeArm and a few others, to give the makers a sense of the kind of big and small projects to use as motivation.
My buddy Vaibhav, founder of the Asylum, and Akshat, a Mozillian, then talked to us about “hillhacks – hacking and making in the himalays“, which they attended late last year. This year, the dates have been pushed forward to before the rains come in – 23rd May – 7th June 2015. Hillhacks is an awesome experiment, and I urge everyone to check out the event. The prospect of spending anywhere between a month to a couple of days, nestled in the beautiful, foot hills of the Himalayas makes me want to drop all work and run away there – if I could!
Next, we had a quick talk from the team at IIT-Mumbai who are working on a project to convert an off-the-shelf Android tablet in to a proper Netbook (full keyboard, trackpad, HDMI, WiFi, USB, Audio I/O, 6 hour battery, running Ubuntu). The project is tentatively called Vidyut, and is an evolution of the earlier Akash Tablet experiment. The target price is around $80.
Karan Kamdar showed off some of the work they have been doing using technology for advertising in public spaces – Drones for Burger delivery and autonomous chess playing robots pitted against human opponents [video].
Everyone was excited to learn about the crack team of Judges for this year’s Prize, and since some of us know Akiba personally, we played one of his awesome Wrecking Crew dance [video] which had everyone in awe.
To get all the Makers through the evening, we had some pizza and beverages doing the rounds. all of which got lapped up before the end of the evening.
We’d also ordered out some cake , so the evening ended on a really sweet note.