When the [Director of Legal Evil] at Louisville’s LVL1 Hackerspace decided to demonstrate the uselessness of a 3D printer by printing a fidget spinner, another member at the space’s Tuesday meeting rose to the challenge and built a machine that whose sole purpose is to spin fidget spinners.
[Gary Flispart] used an Arduino clone and what appears to be a motor driver in conjunction with a stepper motor. The motor moves a belt that turns a series of metal scraps serving as a four-bar linkage. The linkage moves the dowel that turns the spinner and then gets out of the way so it doesn’t inhibit the toy’s rotation. The Digital Fidget Digit, as [Gary] calls it, looks like it was built out of scrap metal and random pieces of wood in the glorious tradition of hackerspace projects.
[JAC_101], the Director of Legal Evil Emeritus for LVL1 Hackerspace (don’t ask me, it’s their title system), was challenged to a hacking duel. It all started years ago. The person who is now president of LVL1, visited the space for the first time and brought with her a discarded Apple II controller for Lego bricks which had previously belonged to her father. Excited to test it, the space found that, unfortunately, LVL1’s Apple II wouldn’t boot. An argument ensued, probably some trash talking, and [JAC_101] left with the challenge: Could he build an Arduino interface for the Apple II Lego controller quicker than the hackerspace could fix its Apple II?”
In the end, a concentrated force by one hacker over two years overcame the collective ADHD of many. He began by opening the interface to look inside, a completely unnecessary step since he found it was already thoroughly documented. Next he forgot about the project for a year. Then he remembered it, and built an interface for an Arduino Uno to hook to the controller and wrote a library for the interface. Realizing that sending serial commands was not in line with the original friendly intention of the device, he added a graphical display to the project; which allowed the user to control the panel with touch. In the end he won the challenge and LVL1 still doesn’t have a working Apple II. We assume some gloating occurred. Some videos of it in action after the break.
Here’s one of those ideas that makes us wonder: “Why didn’t we come up with that?” The LVL1 in Louisville, Kentucky is hosting an event they call the Quadcopter Ultimate Aerial Combat Competition (QUACC). Kudos to them on coming up with a very professional name for the event. At risk of drawing cease-and-desist orders from the defunct TV program, we’ll always think of this as Battlebots in the Sky. (Lawyers: please don’t make us take that down… it’s an homage to the awesomeness that was at least the first few seasons of the show).
So why are we publicizing local events on Hackaday? It’s not the event, but the idea that’s spectacularly worth sharing! You’ve got to check out their contest rules as well as the Q&A list. Registration is closed, but the lucky ones who claimed a spot for the low price of $40 will be issued a regulation quadcopter today. They have a week to play around with it, testing out different ideas for disabling their enemy. A match ends when either one competitor defeats the other, or when a competitor’s battery runs dry. A new battery is the issued to the winner for use in the next round.
We’d love to hear your ideas for weaponizing (or adding countermeasures to) these delicate, lightweight aircraft. Aerosol accelerant and a BBQ igniter? How about shielding and a type of EMP, or some other system that will disrupt controller commands of your opponent? Obviously if you launch a similar competition at your hackerspace we want to hear about it!
The clone [Brad] used is the Nanino, a single-sided board we’ve seen before. Unfortunately, there aren’t any CAD files for the Nanino and doing a toner transfer with the existing PDFs was a pain. This led [Brad] to redraw the Nanino in Diptrace and put the files up for everyone to grab.
What good is a moat if nobody is guarding it? We suppose that depends on what beasties lurk beneath the surface of the water, but that’s neither here nor there. The members of LVL1 continue their quest to outdo each other in augmenting the building’s automated features. The latest offering is this security camera which is operated with an analog thumb stick.
These are the people who are building a moat (which the city things is a reflecting pool) in front of their main entrance. Now they will be able to see and sense if anyone is trying to get across the watery hazard. The hack marries an ultrasonic rangefinder and camera module with a pair of servo motors. The brackets for the motors allow a full range of motion, and the signal is translated by an Arduino and Video Experimenter shield to put out a composite video signal. That’s not going to make streaming all that easy, but we’re sure that is just one more hack away.
Looks like you might not be fully immersed in the digital world if you didn’t complete your chores. The members of the LVL1 Hackerspace have put together a lot of automation for their lair, but nothing drives home the utility of the system they call MOTHER like the shenanigan-preventing trash removal system. Or in layman’s turns, being nagged by MOTHER until you empty the trash can.
For instance, the night before trash colletion the system starts by letting members know it’s trash night and someone needs to empty the garbage. There’s a pressure sensor under the can which alerts MOTHER to the fact that it has been moved. But what if nobody moves the can? Say goodbye to Google. Yep, it’ll block all Google searches until the chore is done. And that’s just one punishments in its bag of tricks.
So what if you just move the can and don’t take it out? No dice. MOTHER is also monitoring the garage door which needs to be open to get the extra-large can out to the dumpster. You’ve got five minutes to do that before she starts getting nasty.
We recently had the pleasure of visiting the LVL1 hackerspace in Louisville, Kentucky. Any hackers in the Louisville area who haven’t visited yet are doing themselves a big disservice. The space recently had its one year anniversary in July, but it’s hard to tell. The space features many of the things you’d only expect in older spaces such as a laser cutter (added while we were visiting), CNC machines, extensive electronics workbenches, and even a section for those who are into music. The best part about the LVL1 hackerspace is it’s members. We’ve all heard horror stories of hacker spaces with drama or overly restricting rules, but the people at LVL1 are extremely friendly and willing to help.
The Micro Colonel (president, if you wanna go that route), [Christopher Cprek], gave us a tour of the space and its current projects. One of the most impressive is the White Star Balloon project, which aims to fly a balloon across the Atlantic. There’s also the Louisville Soundbuilders which meet at the space every other Monday at 8pm to make new instruments. Some other projects include a telepresence robot, a pony that breaths fire, and a power wheels race car for the Detroit Makerfaire. There are also things such as the Kentucky Open Source Society (KYOSS) that meets at the space. Even a few sumobots were scattered around. We were fortunate that at the same time we were visiting [Brandon Gunn], who regularly does video tours of the hackerspaces he visits, was there too; watch his video tour of the space after the break.
The space usually has an open to the public meeting every tuesday at 7:00, but be sure to check out their calendar for more. If you’ve never been to a hackerspace before you should definitely make an effort. It’s not the tools that make a space, but the people, and LVL1 delivers.