Friday Hack Chat: Open Hardware For Science

Scientific equipment is expensive. It can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to set up a lab. Simply the cost of machines, like data acquisition units or even a simple load cell, can cost hundreds of dollars. This makes research cost prohibitive, and that’s the case even if you do spend a dozen hours a week writing grant proposals. Citizen science is right out, because the cost of the tools to do science is so high.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking about Open Hardware for science. This is the chat that’s all about Open Source equipment, hardware modular electronics, and Open designs to make the tools that make science.

Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat is [Dr. Alexxai Kravitz]. He has a PhD in Neuroscience from UPenn and completed a postdoc at the Gladstone Institutes in San Fransisco. [Lex]’s research focuses on understanding the reward circuitry in the brain, and his publications use a variety of experiments to examine this, including behavioral testing, in vivo electrophysiology, and optogenetics.

For this Hack Chat, we’re going to about how Open Source has made more science possible. Of note, we’ll be discussing:

  • What Open Source science equipment is being used today
  • The initiatives behind Open Source Hardware for science applications
  • Scientific application that could benefit from Open Hardware

You are, of course, encouraged to add your own questions to the discussion. You can do that by leaving a comment on the Hack Chat Event Page and we’ll put that in the queue for the Hack Chat discussion.join-hack-chat

Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week is just like any other, and we’ll be gathering ’round our video terminals at noon, Pacific, on Friday, May 11th.  Here’s a clock counting down the time until the Hack Chat starts.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io.

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

Friday Hack Chat: Control Schemes For Robotics

The Hackaday Prize is in full swing if you haven’t heard. It’s the Academy Awards of Open hardware, and the chance for you — yes, you — to create the next great piece of hardware and a better future for everyone. Right now, we’re in the Robotics Module Challenge portion of the prize. This is your chance to build a module that could be used in robotics projects across the world! Show off your mechatronic skills and build a robotics module that’s transferable to other builds!

Not coincidentally, for this week’s Hack Chat, we’re talking all about Robotics Modules. We’re taking a deep dive into actuation and control schemes for robotics, and you’re invited to take part. Everyone wants affordable robotics, and stepper and servo motors are no longer the domain of high-budget industrial robots. Everyone can build a robot, but how do you do that? That’s what we’re going to find out this Friday in the Hack Chat!

Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat is [Ryan Walker]. He holds a diploma in Mechatronics and Robotics from BCIT. He’s worked on everything from prosthetics to industrial automation, and his current hobbies include designing and building control algorithms that drive electronics and enable cheap hardware to excel! If you want to learn about robotics, this is the Hack Chat for you.

In this chat, we’ll be talking about:

  • Control schemes
  • How to actuate your projects
  • Wheels, tweels, and ways to make your project move
  • Automating robotics

You are, of course, encouraged to add your own questions to the discussion. You can do that by leaving a comment on the Hack Chat Event Page and we’ll put that in the queue for the Hack Chat discussion.join-hack-chat

Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week is just like any other, and we’ll be gathering ’round our video terminals at noon, Pacific, on Friday, April 27th.  Here’s a clock counting down the time until the Hack Chat starts.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io.

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

Friday Hack Chat: Circuit Board Art

We are now in a golden age of printed circuit boards. It wasn’t too long ago that making your own circuit boards either involved a lot of money, or slightly less money and using some proprietary garbage PCB layout tool. Now, every board house speaks Gerber, and you can get a ten-pack of PCBs from China for five bucks. This incredible cost reduction means people are making art with printed circuit boards. We’ve seen portraits, landscapes, and memes. This is truly the beginning of a new artistic medium rendered in fiberglass and soldermask.

Check out this blinky bit of art nouveau. There is a facebook group for PCB paintings, and some of the Badgelife crew are relying on woodcut and linoleum engraving techniques to create works of art in copper and fiberglass.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking all about PCB artwork. Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat will be [Andrew Sowa], an electrical engineer, a vocal advocate of KiCad, and the guy who made more of me money. The Benchoff Nickel was created by simply taking some of the fantastic illustrations from Hackaday’s own [Joe Kim] and applying KiCad’s Bitmap2Component tool. Since the creation of the nickel, [Andrew] has been working on extending his technique to cross-hatching, backlighting, and halftones.

In this Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking all about PCB artwork, including the very beginnings of PCB art where engineers hid a few easter eggs in the PCBs of Xboxen and other consumer electronics. Topics covered will be bitmap to SVG conversion (in Inkscape and Illustrator), KiCad footprint creation, and the more technical side of things with the limitations of PCB fabrication and the slightly different shades of beige FR4 comes in.

join-hack-chat

Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week is just like any other, and we’ll be gathering ’round our video terminals at noon, Pacific, on Friday, April 20th. How can there be time zones when the Earth has four days simultaneously for each rotation? You erroneously measure time from one corner. Here’s a clock counting down the time until the Hack Chat starts.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io.

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

Friday Hack Chat: Talking MQTT With The Community

The Internet of Things is just around the corner, and somehow or another, all these bits of intelligent dust and juice bag squeezers will have to talk to one another. One of the better ways to get IoT bits talking to each other is MQTT, Message Queuing Telemetry Transport, a protocol designed for small code footprints and limited network bandwidth. It gets a lot of IoT hype, but it’s a great alternative to HTTP for your own small projects, so that’s what we’re talking about during this week’s Hack Chat.

MQTT is a machine-to-machine connectivity protocol, very useful in remote locations, where a small code footprint is required, where bandwidth is at a premium, or for turning a lamp on and off from your phone, while sitting in the same room. It’s ideal for mobile applications, and in the twenty or so years since its creation, MQTT has made inroads into all those ‘smart’ devices around your house.

MQTT is based on a very simple publish and subscribe model with ‘topics’ that allow you to configure where messages should be sent. It is an extremely simple protocol, but with MQTT, you can set up a complete home automation system that opens the garage door, turns on a lamp, or pings a few weather sensors.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re going to be discussing MQTT with the entire Hackaday.io community. There are dozens of people who have built MQTT-based projects that frequent the Hack Chat, and hundreds more that want to learn. Want to get in on the ground floor of the Internet of Things? This is the Hack Chat you want to check out. It’s a community pow-wow around connected devices.

join-hack-chat

Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week the crew is going to sit down around the campfire around noon, Pacific time, Friday, April 13th (oooh, spooky). Want to know what time this is happening in your neck of the woods? Have a countdown timer!

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io.

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

Friday Hack Chat: Simulating Analog

Simulation is a valuable tool for any hardware developer. Instead of building hardware for a long debugging session, you can emulate a microcontroller and blink your lights with some Javascript. Instead of working on a Bluetooth protocol for your fitness wearable, you can just whip up some Javascript and get it working that way. Once all your Javascript is in order, then you can finally move over to hardware. It saves development time, and it saves money.

But this is all digital. What do you do if you’re working on an analog system? Lucky for you, there’s a system built for analog and mixed-signal analysis, and it’s been around for decades. This week we’re talking all about PSpice, a simulator for analog analysis that will give you voltages and currents across every node in a schematic.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking about PSpice with [Abha Jain] and [Alok Tripathi]. [Abha] has worked at Cadence for 19 years and has been part of the PSpice R&D team for the last decade. She’s an MTech in VLSI Design Tools and Technology and holds multiple EDA patents. [Alok] graduated in 1993 with a B. Tech in Electrical Engineering. He started working at the Department of Atomic Energy in 1993 as a power supply and control system designer for particle accelerators. Currently, he’s working with Cadence and is the Product Engineering Architect for PSpice and OrCAD.

For this Hack Chat, we’re going to be discussing the challenges of system-level simulation, improving reliability, yield, and productivity of circuit design, the issues of Spice simulation, and answer the question, ‘on an infinite grid of one Ohm resistors, what is the resistance between two nodes a knight’s move apart?’ You are, of course, encouraged to add your own questions to the Hack Chat. You can do that by leaving the questions as a comment on this Hack Chat’s event page.

join-hack-chat

Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week it’s going down at an unusual time: 8 AM Pacific, Friday, March 30th  Want to know what time this is happening in your neck of the woods? Have a countdown timer!

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io.

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

Friday Hack Chat: All About The Hackaday Prize

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re talking all about the Hackaday Prize. Our guests for this week’s Hack Chat are Alberto Molina and Elecia White.

Elecia White was a Hackaday Prize judge in 2015 and 2016, and she’ll be discussing what makes a standout entry from a judging perspective. Elecia is an embedded software engineer at Logical Elegance, Inc., author of Making Embedded Systems, and host of the Embedded.fm podcast.

Alberto Molina won the Grand Prize of the 2016 Hackaday Prize with Dtto, an Open Source, self-reconfiguring rescue robot that Alberto is continuing to develop.  Alberto is an Electronic engineer who wants to design the next generation of robots and he will share his insights on putting together a fantastic entry for your project.

The Hackaday Prize is the greatest hardware competition ever. It’s the Academy Awards of Open Hardware (and will remain so until we get a cease and desist). The Hackaday Prize is a competition where thousands of hardware hackers, makers, and artists compete to build a better future.

The Hackaday Prize is in its fifth year in 2018, and the theme this year is Build Hope. We’re challenging everyone to put your ideas and creativity to use and Build Something That Matters. Do this, and you’ll be in the running for the Grand Prize of $50,000. In total we’re giving away $200,000 in total cash prizes to build hardware, something no other hardware competition can match.

Also on board for this Hack Chat, like all Hack Chats, will be Stephen Tranovich, Technical Community Leader at Hackaday.io. Steven has been working hard on the logistics for the Prize this year, and will field any and all questions about entering the 2018 Hackaday Prize.

In this Hack Chat, we’ll be discussing how the Prize is judged, the new challenges for the 2018 Hackaday Prize, the achievements the winners of the Hackaday Prize have already seen, and of course, your questions. We know there’s a lot of interest in the Hackaday Prize, and we want you to ask what’s on your mind. If you have a question, just add it to the Hack Chat event page as a comment, and we’ll answer it.

join-hack-chat

Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week it’s going down at the usual time, on noon, Pacific, Friday, March 23rd  Want to know what time this is happening in your neck of the woods? Have a countdown timer!

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io.

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

Friday Hack Chat: Everything Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is six years old now, and in that time it’s become the most popular single board computer. Over these last few years, the Pi has improved from a relatively anemic board based on a smartphone SoC to a surprisingly fast board that’s loaded up with some of the best software and the best community support we’ve ever seen. There’s an awful lot you can do with a Pi, and the continued support of the Raspberry Pi Foundation has enabled millions of people to get their hands on a cheap computer that runs Linux. It’s great.

Now it’s your turn to ask the engineers behind this tiny little computer what’s going on in the world of Pi. We’re having a Hack Chat this Friday, and you’re invited.

Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat will be [Roger Thornton], principal hardware engineer for the Raspberry Pi, where he oversees design, test, compliance, and production for Raspberry Pi products. Previously, [Roger]’s work for Broadcom included being part of the team that characterized and tested numerous SoCs including the BCM2835/6/7 found in various Pis. He also has experience in the smart home and IoT fields from working in a consultancy where be helped bring chips to market.

[Roger]’s most recent work was announced today; the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ is the latest in a long line of Pis, and while it’s not the octocore ARM monster with SATA and PCIe and Gigabit networking and 4G that the power-hungry have been clamoring for, it is more capable than its predecessor and still only costs less than forty bucks.

This is also the second time [Roger] has been a guest on our Hack Chats. You can check out the transcript of the 2017 chat here.

During this chat, we’re going to be discussing the future of Raspberry Pi products, Pi events around the world, and a question on the minds of many: where you can buy Pi Zeros in quantity. You are, of course, encouraged to add your own questions to the Hack Chat. You can do that by leaving the questions as a comment on this Hack Chat’s event page.

join-hack-chat

Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week it’s going down at the usual time, on noon, Pacific, Friday, March 16th  Want to know what time this is happening in your neck of the woods? Have a countdown timer!

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on Hackaday.io.

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.