The tagline of Bay Area Maker Faire is “Inspire the Future” and there was plenty of inspiration for our future generation. We have exhibits encouraging children to get hands-on making projects to call their own, and we have many schools exhibiting their student projects telling stories of what they’ve done. Then we have exhibitors like Oakwood School STEAM Council who have earned a little extra recognition for masterfully accomplishing both simultaneously.
[Marcos Arias], chair of the council, explained that each exhibit on display have two layers. Casual booth visitors will see inviting hands-on activities designed to delight kids. Less obvious is that each of these experiences are a culmination of work by Oakwood 7th to 12th grade students. Some students are present to staff activities and they were proud to talk about their work leading up to Maker Faire with any visitors who expressed interest.
Continue reading “Hacking for Learning and Laughs: The Makers of Oakwood School”
In European medieval folklore, a practitioner of magic may call for assistance from a familiar spirit who takes an animal form disguise. [Alex Glow] is our modern-day Merlin who invoked the magical incantations of 3D printing, Arduino, and Raspberry Pi to summon her familiar Archimedes: The AI Robot Owl.
The key attraction in this build is Google’s AIY Vision kit. Specifically the vision processing unit that tremendously accelerates image classification tasks running on an attached Raspberry Pi Zero W. It no longer consumes several seconds to analyze each image, classification can now run several times per second, all performed locally. No connection to Google cloud required. (See our earlier coverage for more technical details.) The default demo application of a Google AIY Vision kit is a “joy detector” that looks for faces and attempts to determine if a face is happy or sad. We’ve previously seen this functionality mounted on a robot dog.
[Alex] aimed to go beyond the default app (and default box) to create Archimedes, who was to reward happy people with a sticker. As a moving robotic owl, Archimedes had far more crowd appeal than the vision kit’s default cardboard box. All the kit components have been integrated into Archimedes’ head. One eye is the expected Pi camera, the other eye is actually the kit’s piezo buzzer. The vision kit’s LED-illuminated button now tops the dapper owl’s hat.
Archimedes was created to join in Google’s promotion efforts. Their presence at this Maker Faire consisted of two tents: one introductory “Learn to Solder” tent where people can create a blinky LED badge, and the other tent is focused on their line of AIY kits like this vision kit. Filled with demos of what the kits can do aside from really cool robot owls.
Hopefully these promotional efforts helped many AIY kits find new homes in the hands of creative makers. It’s pretty exciting that such a powerful and inexpensive neural net processor is now widely available, and we look forward to many more AI-powered hacks to come.
Continue reading “Modern Wizard Summons Familiar Spirit”
With so many cool things going on at Bay Area Maker Faire, it takes something special to stand out from the crowd. Covering several hundred square feet of floor and wall with creations made of tape would do the trick. Welcome to Tapigami Tape City, a traveling art exhibit by [Danny Scheible].
Many of us used construction paper, glue, and tape to express our creativity in our youth. Tapigami’s minimalism drops the paper and glue, practitioners of the art stick to tape. It is an accessible everyday material so there is no barrier to entry to start having fun. And while tape does have some obvious limitations, it is possible to get quite creatively elaborate and still use tape almost exclusively.
The Tapigami booth is very happy to accommodate those wishing to learn the way of tape. At their table, young and old alike are welcome to sit down and start building basic shapes out of masking tape. This begins with cones, cylinders, and cubes which are then combined into more complex creations — it’s kind of like OpenSCAD, but all with tape.
Attendees of Bay Area Maker Faire should not miss seeing Tape City in person, it’s quite the sight to behold in the south-east corner of Zone 2. (Not far from the Tindie/Hackaday booth, stop by and say hi!) And while it’s plenty of fun to stick to tape, we can see the Hackaday demographic taking these concepts up a few notches. If you’ve pulled off something mind blowing using tape, you know where our tip line is.
Continue reading “Visit Tapigami Tape City, Where Tape Is The Fabric Of Society”
Maker Faire Bay Area is this weekend, and the Hackaday and Tindie crew are getting ready to jack some cupcake cars. The Bay Area Maker Faire is one of the greatest gatherings of all the cool people we know, and five years ago we started host a meetup. This Saturday, we’re blowing the roof off our favorite joint in San Mateo yet again. Join us at O’Neill’s Irish Pub for the 5th annual Hackaday x Tindie BAMF Meetup!
This meetup is a well established tradition — it’s all the cool kids at Maker Faire, hanging out in a bar. Well, all the cool 21+ kids that is. There will be blinky, there will be bring-a-hack, and there will be the people who build stuff and make things happen. This is the mixer for everyone who is passionate about hardware, and a refreshing escape from the heat and the five dollar bottles of water.
Want an idea of what’s in store for the Hackaday x Tindie Bay Area Meetup? Last year it spilled into the streets. We cajoled [Josef Prusa] to head out, we had tiny 3D printers in action, [Ben Heck] made an appearance, and someone brought a HoloLens. the MOnSter 6502 was there, slowly increasing its program counter. If you want to see the coolest DIY hardware without the dealing with the masses at Maker Faire, this is the event you want to hit up.
But wait, there’s more: HDDG is Thursday!
Are you heading to San Fransisco early? Awesome, because we’re also hosting the Hardware Developers Didactic Galactic on the Thursday before the Faire! The HDDG is our monthly expand-your-mind gathering for hardware developers in the Bay Area. We have some amazing guests that will be talking about the latest hardware they’ve been developing.
On deck for this installment of HDDG is [Tanya Fish] who has been working at Pimoroni for the past couple of years. She’ll be discussing the ‘invisible magic’ of electronics and how to explain electrons to the uninitiated. Also on board for HDDG is [Roy Jui Liang Hung], the founder of Perkūnas Studio, one of the most renowned 3D printing experts in Taiwan. He’ll be talking about 3D sculpture. Also on board is [Jason Kridner], co-founder of BeagleBone.org, who will be talking about simplifying hardware design with the BeagleBone On A Chip.
Saturday night marked the fourth annual Hackaday BAMF meetup. The night when weary exhibitors close up their booths at Bay Area Maker Faire and head over to O’Neil’s Irish Pub where the real fun starts. There are many drawbacks to having a booth; you’re on your feet all day repeating the same small snippet to everyone passing by, and usually you don’t get much of a chance to mingle with friends old and new.
Walking into the meetup, it was striking to watch aching bodies slow with weariness perk up to the energy and excitement of the Hackaday Community incarnate. Join me after the break for a peek into the fun of the evening.
Continue reading “Hackaday’s BAMF Meetup Spills into the Streets of San Mateo”
[Eric Schlaepfer] tends to turn up to Maker Faire with projects you simply don’t want to miss. This year is no different. Twelve months ago we delighted in seeing his 6502 processor built from an enormous reel of discrete MOSFETs. At the time it was freshly built and running random code to happily blink the LEDs reflecting activity in the registers. This year he’s given that blinking meaning and is running real programs on his Monster 6502 processor.
Continue reading “Dis-Integrated 6502 Running Programs; Acting Like Computer”
This weekend at the Bay Area Maker Faire, Arduino in conjunction with SiFive, a fabless provider of the Open Source RISC-V micros, introduced the Arduino Cinque. This is a board running one of the fastest microcontrollers available, and as an added bonus, this board includes Espressif’s ESP32, another wonderchip that features WiFi and Bluetooth alongside a very, very powerful SoC.
Details on the Arduino Cinque are slim at the moment, but from what we’ve seen so far, the Cinque is an impressively powerful board featuring the RISC-V FE310 SoC from SiFive, an ESP32, and an STM32F103. The STM32 appears to be dedicated to providing the board with USB to UART translation, something the first RISC-V compatible Arduino solved with an FTDI chip. Using an FTDI chip is, of course, a questionable design decision when building a capital ‘O’ Open microcontroller platform, and we’re glad SiFive and Arduino found a better solution. It’s unknown if this STM32 can be used alongside the FE310 and ESP32 at this point.
We’ve taken a look at SiFive’s FE310 SoC, and it is an extremely capable chip. It was released first at the HiFive1, and our hands-on testing revealed this is a chip that outperforms the current performance champ of the Arduino world, the Teensy 3.6. Of course, with any new architecture, there will be a few problems porting the vast number of libraries over to the FE310, but SiFive has included an Arduino compatible SDK. It’s promising, and we can’t wait to see SiFive’s work in more boards.