It’s probable that most of us have at some time dreamed up a witty and subversive way to deface our city, but that few of us will have followed through on the idea. [Matt Gray] then is something of a modern-day urban hero for doing just that. Who couldn’t walk past Knightrider Court, EC4, in the City of London, without thinking of the 1980s TV series featuring David Hasselhoff and a talking car? [Matt] couldn’t, and so of course he simply had to upgrade the street sign with the signature LED scanner.
At its heart is an Adafruit Gemma ATtiny85 board in a 3D-printed case attached to a length of aluminium extrusion holding a strip of addressable LEDs. When attached to the sign it looks the business, and while the late-night crowd showed it little interest the Londoners passing in the morning were much more enthusiastic. We applaud him for the idea.
As occasional students of medieval history here at Hackaday, of course we couldn’t let this go without asking where the unexpected London street name came from. Sadly for fans of the Hoff it has nothing to do with the small screen, instead it appears to have a much earlier origin having been first recorded in 1322. The knightriders in question are reputed to have been real medieval knights, or at least horsemen. Pay it a visit, should you ever find yourself in the British capital.
Continue reading “Creative Vandalism The KITT Way” →
If you’re a frequent traveler on a public transit system, it can be helpful to know when the trains or buses are arriving and if there are any delays. We might reach for a tablet to mount on the wall, but that relies on keeping the OS, the software, and its library dependancies up to date. For true reliability you’ll need to build directly in hardware, which is exactly what this map of the London tube system uses.
The base map is printed directly on PCB, with LEDs along each of the major routes to indicate the current location of the trains. A few small chips handle the WiFi connection — it appears to our eye to be an ESP8266 — and pulling the information about the trains from the London Underground API (it would be virtually impossible to build everything for this project in hardware). The hardware can be easily reprogrammed, and with the PCB layout this could be adapted for other public transit fairly easily.
Even apart from the philosophical differences on design between hardware and software approaches, we still appreciate the aesthetic of LEDs on PCB. In fact, we’ve seen a whole host of artwork on PCBs ever since the price came down dramatically in the past two decades.
Thanks to [Al] for the tip!
In the process of finding new, low-carbon ways to provide our homes with heat and electricity, it is that one might consider sources that never before came to mind. In London such a source that has been examined by researchers and an electricity network operator are the 2.5 meter wide tunnels that run for many kilometers underneath the city. In each of them are many more kilometers worth of electricity distribution cables, each of which produces so much heat from electric resistance that active cooling is required.
Currently, every 1.8 kilometers there are shafts that lead to the surface, through which cold surface air is brought in and the warm tunnel air is exhausted into the air. The study by London South Bank University researchers and UK Power Networks looked at using this heat directly for heating local houses, replacing the use of gas boilers. This is in effect similar to heating with waste heat from industrial processes, but with noticeable differences.
The thermal power available from each 1.8 kilometer section of tunnel differs between 100 – 460 kW by installing equipment at the top of the shafts. With London looking at using heat from the London Underground for heating in a similar fashion, it would be fascinating to see whether the combined heat from both underground sources could provide the city with a sizeable source of low-carbon heat, while increasing creature comfort.
Hackaday and Tindie are on the road in the UK and we want you to grab one of your projects and come hang out! We have three meetups scheduled over the coming week:
Fresh from our Dublin Unconference and following our London meetup which is happening today, Hackaday and Tindie are staying on the road. We’ve already told you about Nottingham on the 18th, and Cambridge on the 19th, to those two we’re adding Milton Keynes on the 23rd.
We’ll be at convening at Milton Keynes Makerspace on the evening of Monday the 23rd, a community hackspace venue with easy access and parking, and a vibrant community of members. It shares an industrial unit with the local Men In Sheds, so look out for their sign. Entry is free but please get a ticket so we know the amount of pizza and soft drinks we need to arrange. Bring along whatever you are working on, we’d love to see one of your projects, whatever it is!
At the end of the month we will also be at Maker Faire UK in Newcastle, Meeting you, our readers, is important to us, and though we can’t reach everywhere we would like to try to get further afield in the future. Please watch this space.
Hackaday and Tindie have arrived in London at the weekend, fresh from our Dublin Unconference. Join us this Sunday afternoon, as we convene at the Artillery Arms, a pub on the northeastern edge of the City. It’s a free event, we ask though that you sign up for it via Eventbrite if you’d like to attend.
We’re following our usual Bring-a-Hack style format, so come along and hang out with members of the London Hackaday community, and if you have a project to bring along then don’t be shy as we’d love to see it. And especially if you have a Hackaday Prize entry to show then we’d particularly like to see it. You never cease to amaze us with the work you do, be it the simplest of hacks or the most technically advanced. Just one thing though, if you bring something, make sure it’s handheld or portable enough to easily sit on a pub tabletop, space may be limited.
In attendance will be Tindie’s [Jasmine Brackett] and Hackaday’s [Jenny List], as well as quite a few of our community regulars. What better way could there be to spend a spring Sunday afternoon in London?
But what if you can’t make London, and face the prospect of missing out on us entirely? Fortunately, this one is not the only meetup we have planned, we’re heading to Nottingham and Cambridge on the 18th and 19th of April, respectively, and might even squeeze in another date if we can.
A trip to London, for provincial Brits, is something of an undertaking from which you invariably emerge tired and slightly grimy following your encounter with the cramped mobile sauna of the Central Line, its meandering international sightseers, and stampede of besuited commuters heading for the City. Often your fatigue after such an expedition will be that following the completion of a Herculean labour, but just sometimes it will instead be the contented tiredness of a fulfilling and busy time well spent.
Such will be the state of the happy band of the Hackaday community who made it to London this weekend for our UK unconference held in association with our sponsor, DesignSpark. A Friday night bring-a-hack social in a comfortable Bloomsbury pub, followed by Saturday in an auditorium next to one of the former Surrey Commercial Docks for a day of back-to-back seven-minute talks laying out the varied and interesting work our readers are involved in.
Continue reading “London Calling: The Hackaday UK Unconference Roundup” →
Upstairs at the Marquis Cornwallis pub in central London, around 75 Hackadayers convened, ate well, drank well, and were generally merry. Nearly everyone in attendance brought a hack with them, which meant that there was a lot to see in addition to all that socializing to be done.
I spoke with a huge number of people who all said the same thing: that it was fantastic to put faces to the names of the writers, hackers, and other readers. As a writer, I finally got to meet in person some of the people who’ve produced some of my favorite hacks, in addition to most that were totally new to me. I can’t say how often I heard “Oh you’re the person behind that project. I loved that one.” A real sense of the Hackaday community was on display. Continue reading “Hackaday’s London Meetup Was A Corker” →