Friday Hack Chat: High Speed Data Acquisition

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking all about High-Speed Data Acquisition. If you’ve ever needed to shove voltages, currents, logic signals, temperature, pressure, or sound into a computer, you’ve used a DAQ. If you’ve ever needed to acquire a signal at a very high speed, you’ve probably paid a lot of money for that piece of equipment.

Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat will be [Kumar Abhishek], engineering student, Hackaday Prize finalist, and creator of the very, very cool Beaglelogic, a logic analyzer for the BeagleBone. The interesting bit about the Beaglelogic is its utilization of the Programmable Real-Time Units (PRUs) found in every BeagleBone.

These PRUs are basically DMA machines, shuttling bits back and forth between memory and GPIOs. This year, [Kumar] turned the Beaglelogic cape into the Beaglelogic Standalone, a device based on the Octavo Systems OSD3358 (the ‘BeagleBone On A Chip‘) that gives those Saleae logic analyzers a run for their money.

In this Hack Chat, we’ll be discussing the PRUs found in various iterations of the BeagleBoard, how the Beaglelogic performs its data acquisition, and how programming the PRUs is actually accomplished. If you have a question for [Kumar], leave a comment on the Hack Chat page

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. Usually, our Hack Chats go down at noon, PDT, Friday. This one is different. Because [Kumar] is in India, we’ll be running this Hack Chat at 9:30a PST, Friday, November 17th. What time is that in India, and what time is that where you live? Who cares! Here’s a time zone converter!

Click that speech bubble to the left, 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.

We’re also looking for new Hack Chat guests! If you’ve built something cool, you’re working on an interesting project, or you’re about to introduce a really cool product, hit us up! Email our wonderful community managers, and we’ll see if we can slot you in.

Friday Hack Chat: Fundamentals Of RF

Designing a system for communication over RF is a dark art. It’s an obscure domain filled with photonmancy, wires going every which way, and imaginary numbers. RF is reserved entirely for wizards. The guy who simplified Maxwell’s equations into the form we now use went literally insane and replaced all the furniture in his house with granite blocks. This is weird stuff, man.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re talking about RF. Everything from the capabilities of different bands, how bandwidth is incorporated into designs, different modulation schemes, RF concepts, I/Q, Nyquist, and other deep-dive topics that elucidate the mysteries of the universe and include all the math.

If you’ve ever wondered how bits get turned into radio waves, what all the PSKs and SSBs are all about, and how bandwidth and range of a radio system play into what frequencies are used, this is the Hack Chat for you.

Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat is [Nick Kartsioukas]. He’s an infosec engineer, an amateur radio operator with an Extra license, hardware hacker, plays around with radio and antenna projects, SDR, and he’s an RC pilot. There’s a lot of RF swimming around [Nick], and he’s got the skills to pay the bills.

This is a community Hack Chat, and we’re taking questions from the community. If you have a question or something you’d like to discuss, add it to the sheet.

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This Hack Chat is going down noon, PDT, Friday, November 3rd. Do you wish every time zone was UTC? Yeah, it’s a great idea, but when you really think about it, it would be terrible. Here’s a time zone converter!

Click that speech bubble to the left, 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.

We’re also looking for new Hack Chat hosts! If you’ve built something cool, you’re working on an interesting project, or you’re about to introduce a really cool product, hit us up! Email our wonderful community managers, and we’ll see if we can slot you in.

Friday Hack Chat: DMX512 Gon’ Give It To Ya

DMX512 is the standard for theatrical lighting, and it’s best described as, ‘MIDI for lights’. It’s been around since the 80s, and in the decades since it’s been used, abused, and shoved into just about everything imaginable.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re talking all about DMX512. What is DMX512? How does it work? What can you control with DMX512? What Open Source projects use it? There’s a wealth of information out there, and a lot of very cool tricks you can pull with this ubiquitous lighting protocol.

Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat is [Martin Searancke], owner of Dream Solutions Ltd. [Martin] was contacted early on in the development of Coca-Cola’s impressive 3D Times Square advertisement to see if Dream Solution’s LightFactory software could be used to drive this 3D screen. This software has pixel mapping and media playback capabilities and was used for the prototypes for the project. A subset of this product made it into the final installation, and is now driving a gargantuan display above Times Square in New York City.

This is a community Hack Chat, and of course we’re taking questions from the community. If you have a question you’d like to ask [Martin], add it to the discussion sheet.

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. Our Hack Chats usually take place at noon, Pacific time on Friday, but this week is different. [Martin] is in New Zealand, so this Hack Chat is happening at 2pm Pacific, Friday, October 27th. Is that too hard for you? Here’s a time zone converter!

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.

We’re also looking for new Hack Chat hosts! If you’ve built something cool, you’re working on an interesting project, or you’re about to introduce a really cool product, hit us up! Email our wonderful community managers, and we’ll see if we can slot you in.

Friday Hack Chat: Energy Harvesting

Think about an Internet-connected device that never needs charging, never plugs into an outlet, and will never run out of power. With just a small solar cell, an Internet of Thing module can run for decades. This is the promise of energy harvesting, and it opens the doors to a lot of interesting questions.

Joining us for this week’s Hack Chat will be [John Tillema], CTO and co-founder of TWTG. They’re working on removing batteries completely from the IoT equation. They have a small device that operates on just 200 lux — the same amount of light that can be found on a desktop. That’s a device that can connect to the Internet without batteries, wall warts, or the black magic wizardry of RF harvesting. How do you design a device that will run for a century? Are caps even rated for that? Are you really going to download firmware updates several decades down the line?

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’ll be discussing what energy harvesting actually is, what TWTG’s ‘light energy’ technology is all about, and the capabilities of this technology. Going further, we’ll be discussing how to design a circuit for low-power usage, how to select components that will last for decades, and how to measure and test the entire system so it lives up to the promise of being always on, forever, without needing a new battery.

This is a community Hack Chat, so of course we’ll be taking questions from the community. If you have a question, add it to the discussion sheet

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This Hack Chat will be going down noon, Pacific time on Friday, October 20th. Is it always five o’clock somewhere? Yes, so here’s a time zone converter!

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: The Incredible BeagleBoard

Over the last year or so, the BeagleBoard community has seen some incredible pieces of hardware. The BeagleBone on a Chip — the Octavo OSD335x — is a complete computing system with DDR3, tons of GPIOs, Gigabit Ethernet, and those all-important PRUs stuffed into a single piece of epoxy studded with solder balls. This chip made it into tiny DIY PocketBones and now the official PocketBeagle is in stock in massive quantities at the usual electronic component distributors.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re talking about the BeagleBoard, BeagleBone, PocketBeagle, and PocketBone. [Jason Kridner], the co-founder of BeagleBoard and beagle wrangler, will be on hand to answer all your questions about the relevance of the Beagle platform today, the direction BeagleBoard is going, and the inner workings of what is probably the best way to blink LEDs in a Linux environment.

Topics for this Hack Chat will include the direction BeagleBoard is going, the communities involved with BeagleBoard, and how to get the most out of those precious programmable real-time units. As always, we’re taking questions from the community, submit them here.

As an extra special bonus, this week we’re giving away some hardware. Digi-Key has offered up a few PocketBeagle boards. If you have an idea for a project, put it on the discussion sheet and we’ll pick the coolest project and send someone a PocketBeagle.

join-hack-chat

Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This Hack Chat will be going down noon, Pacific time on Friday, October 13th. Wondering why the Brits were the first to settle on a single time zone when the US had a more extensive rail network and the longitude so time zones made sense? Here’s a time zone converter! Use that to ponder the mysteries of the universe.

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: Hardware Games

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re talking all about hardware games. What’s a hardware game? Anything where we use hardware, electronics, or code for user interaction. This is a vast, vast topic and there are a lot of tips and tricks that go into making a unified experience that’s both valuable and can stand up to the rigors of any crowd.

Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat will be [Phoenix Perry], lecturer, CS PhD researcher, game company owner, artist, programmer, game designer, and activist. For every human-computer computer interaction to teaching computer science, [Phoenix] has had her hand in it. She founded Code Liberation Foundation, which teaches women to program games for free. She’s a lecturer in Physical Computing at Goldsmiths, University of London, she’s given talks at Hackaday conferences, she’s created low-poly trees,

For this Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking about integrating hardware into gaming, or turning the idea for a game into a reality with hardware. We’ll be discussing game design, hardware design for games (need to make it idiot-proof, after all), building communities, and educating others.

As usual with Hack Chats, we’re taking questions from the audience. If you have a question that simply must be answered, here’s a discussion sheet. Fill that out, and we might get around to your question

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This Hack Chat will be going down noon, Pacific time on Friday, October 6th. Wondering why the Brits were the first to settle on a single time zone when the US had a more extensive rail network and the longitude so time zones made sense? Here’s a time zone converter! Use that to ponder the mysteries of the universe.

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 LED Design

There are three great enabling technologies of the last twenty years. The first is lithium batteries that hold a lot of juice. Quadcopters wouldn’t exist without them, and the Tesla Model S wouldn’t either. The second is crazy powerful brushless motors. Here, again, quads wouldn’t exist without them, but we’re also getting smaller, torquier, and more powerful motion platforms.

The third great enabling technology in recent memory is LEDs. Remember when the PlayStation 2 came out, and everyone was amazed by the blue LED? That blue LED won a Nobel Prize. Now, we have LED light bulbs, LEDs in any color of the rainbow, powerful UV LEDs, and bazillion candela flashlights. LEDs are awesome.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking all about LEDs. Everything from strips to rings, discrete to waterproof, COBs, weird colors, and everything in between. If you’re looking to replace your workshop lighting with LEDs, this is the Hack Chat for you. If you’ve ever wondered about the quality of LEDs, and the price-performance ratio, this is for you. This is all about blinky bling.

Our guest for this week’s Hack Chat will be [Metalnat], founder of the Burbank MakerSpace, a recent resident of the Supplyframe DesignLab where he designed a VR controller, and worked on Crane, a flapping automaton that glided over the playa at this year’s Burning Man. During this Hack Chat, we’ll be talking about LEDs, including installation methods, types of LEDs, suppliers, and LED manufacturing methods.

This is a Hack Chat, so we’re taking questions from the audience. Here’s a spreadsheet we’ll be using to guide the discussion.

Here’s How To Take Part:

join-hack-chatOur Hack Chats are live community events on the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This Hack Chat will be going down noon, Pacific time on Friday, September 29th. Sidereal and solar getting you down? Wondering when noon is this month? Not a problem: here’s a handy 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.