Hackaday was in Portland last weekend for the Open Hardware Summit. I did a brief recap earlier this week but this post has been on my mind the entire time. The night before the summit, OSH Park (the Purveyors of Perfect Purple PCBs which we all know and love) hosted a Bring-A-Hack at their headquarters. [Laen] knows how to throw a party — with a catered spread and open bar which all enjoyed. The place was packed with awesome hackers, and everyone had something amazing to show off.
In fact, there were far too many people showing off hardware for me to capture all in one evening. But join me after the jump for six or seven examples that really stuck out.
We have been running into [Louis Beaudoin] all over the place for the last couple of years. He’s the one behind SmartMatrix, which I used for my 1-Pixel Pacman project. He brought along with him a project based around the Particle Photon (a WiFi dev board) which drives APA102 LEDs. You can check out the software he’s been working on, but the breakout board for the Photon is what caught my eye. It appears that the pin headers on the Photon plug into a 0.1″ pitch protoboard. On the bottom you can see the trick is a set of surface mount headers that allow through-hole to pass right… through. Cool!
Here’s something aimed at the FPV RC scene (think quadcopter racing and the like). [Shea Ivey] is developing modules to extend the functionality of Fat Shark RC vision glasses. These head-mounted displays have an expansion port on them. The module he was demoing connects to the camera output on the quadcopter (it’s a super-small board not pictured here) and can overlay any info you want on the display — compass, altitude, battery, etc. The module itself has a screen and user control for choosing what settings you want to use.
I first bumped into [Josh Sharpe] at CES last year and was glad to see him again at this meetup. His company is moving toward release with a car hacker’s dream. It plugs into the ODB-II port and has all kinds of goodies, like an SD card slot, and a ZigBee header loaded up with an ESP32. [Josh] isn’t running the CAN on the ESP32; he has a transceiver for that and the latest and greatest in Bluetooth+WiFi chips is just that – a WiFi and Bluetooth interface. The red board he’s showing off is super interesting; it’s the first time I’ve seen an ESP32 in the wild and it’s not one of the dev boards we’ve previously encountered.
At OSH Park they spin panels of PCBs and then separate them for shipping to a lot of different customers. That means scrap from panel edges and what isn’t able to be “tetris’d” into useful space. I like it that they didn’t get rid of their recycling before the party because it’s impressive to see this huge scrap bin.
There were a ton of OSH Park boards on display, but this crown seemed especially awesome to me!
Meet the Internet of Fuzzy Dice which [Scott Dixon] brought along to the party. They use Rigado BMD-200 modules to connect the dice to the display. Roll the dice and the resulting up-face will be shown on the display which is housed in a repurposed enclosure which looks fantastic!
You can find [Zack Fredin] hanging out on Hackaday.io quite often by the name of [zakqwy]. He is the mind behind NeuroBytes (Best Product finalist in the 2015 Hackaday Prize). Check out what he calls a “weekend novelty project” — this POV wristwatch with a spectacularly dense set of hand-soldered SMD LEDs. Wow!
I couldn’t get a good camera shot of the display as he twisted his wrist to-and-fro, but it was easy to make out with the eye. The image here is from his project page. The wristbands are wires with JST connectors. There are three boards, the brain board hosts a Teensy 3.2, the LED board uses shift registers driven by SPI, and the battery board on the bottom is a bit hacked together just to really win our hearts. This is an epic build, go give him a like on his page!!
While you’re there, check out the technique he uses for rapid-prototyping with copper clad. The plane is broken up by cuts of an X-ACTO knife. It’s intriguing and anyone who will be a the Hackaday SuperConference should seek him out — he’ll be helping lead badge hacking and I bet we can convince him to do some mini-seminars on the technique.
This cool little kit, called the COSMOneer is about to go into crowdfunding. It seeks to get kids excited about cube satellites. You assemble the kit and hang it by a little thread, then a motor acting as a flywheel is used to show how these can change their orientation while orbiting the earth. For this demo the balance is calibrated by adding or removing pennies and the power is transferred wirelessly. There’s a bunch of different interesting concepts, surely one of them will turn a middle schooler’s head.
[Eric Pan], CEO of Seeed Studio brought along a ReSpeaker board with him. It was running a little hack to light up different sides of the board based on where sound is coming from. In talking to him about it I started to get really excited about the potential for this board. For instance, he mentioned it has the capability to recognize who is speaking to it. So a good software hack will let you plop it down on the conference table next to the phone and it can let everyone on the conference call know who it is that is speaking.
I missed so much!
There was so much more on display. It’s too bad that I didn’t have more time to see everything, but I also wanted to chew the fat with all of these awesome people. Always have a hack in progress because you don’t want to miss an opportunity to attend a Bring-A-Hack like this one!