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Hackers! Need to finish your costume and/or decorations before the spooky festivities begin? We will be hosting a Halloween themed open build night this Friday, October 24th, 7pm – late o’clock! Suggested themes include wearables, microcontrollers, LEDs, and blood. Bring something to work on!

WHAT: Halloween Open Build Night
WHERE: Hive76 Global Headquarters
WHEN: October 24th, 7pm – ????
WHO: Wizards, witches, warlocks
WHY: ?????

 

Making the Hivelord [Part 1]

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Oh hai

Hello, meatbags! Perhaps you saw me at Maker Faire, jukin and jivin and havin a time. You probably wondered “where did this guy get his slick get-up?” And,  “is it possible for me to build something similar in his glorious image?” And then your dreams were consumed each night by a vivid nightmare of a distant planet, covered in entirely in evergreen trees and a deafening roar. “What is this place, and why am I forced to wander it every night?” No? Well consider yourself one of the lucky ones then.

Anyway, this is part one of the build log for the Hivelord costume. The inspiration was based on the scramblesuit from the novel A Scanner Darkly, by Philip K Dick, which is a suit that anonymizes its user by constantly projecting a changing image of different people on the outside of the suit. I figured that’s not technologically feasible, but making a mask version certainly is. I originally wanted to record short videos of the inside of the mask, with different people wearing it, but as I built the mask it became obvious that it wouldn’t be feasible, or as cool as using it to take photos. There is a raspberry pi running some python code to control the slideshow and picture taking functions along with an arcade button connected to the raspi’s GPIO. Pressing the button puts the screen into preview mode, which shows what the camera is looking at. When the button is released, the picture is taken and added to the slideshow.

Parts list:

  • raspberry pi with camera
  • old laptop screen
  • output converter for the laptop screen
  • arcade style button
  • 12V lead acid battery
  • 5V step down converter (for raspi)
  • HDMI cable
  • military backpack frame
  • copper pipe
  • pipe insulation for padding
  • various nuts and bolts
  • mirror for periscope
  • scrap wood, square dowel
  • orange spandex suit

This first post will focus on creating the screen. I was surprised to find many vendors on ebay selling boards that will convert the proprietary pinout of the laptop board to something useful, such as HDMI or VGA. If you have an old screen laying around, you can even make a new monitor for yourself for $35.

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Found an old laptop screen in the hackerspace

Take the case off the screen and read the model number from the back. Look around on ebay for a converter board. It seems like most of them are made to order, so if you don’t find a listing, try contacting a seller. Below is a picture of the board I used, which runs off 12V. Thankfully I found a 12V wall wart in the space to test it.

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The deconstructed screen

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The screen connector. This will be converted to something useful, like HDMI.

The converter board came with all its own cables and its own separate board to control the screen functions, like resolution, alignment, and an on/off button.

Here’s the pic from the ebay listing. Nifty!

Once everything is plugged in, turn it on to test it out. The screen worked perfectly, and automatically configured itself to the correct resolution. There was enough cabling for me to run the wires outside of the original laptop screen case, so I just put everything back the way it was, with the converter board hanging off. All the electronics will eventually be mounted to the wooden frame of the mask.

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First try running the screen.

Next, connect everything together, screen to converter to raspi, and power it up. Here I am testing out the camera after I changed all the settings to portrait mode.

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The creator’s visage!

I then connected it all to a bench supply so I could see how much power the whole set up consumed. It uses just about an amp at 12v. I found a 7 amp-hour 12V lead acid battery on amazon that did a decent job, though I’d probably buy a spare since I did run out of battery at maker faire. There’s a 5V downcoverter thrown in there too, to power the raspberry pi off the 12V supply.

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Powering up this mess with a sneak peek of the copper frame.

Thanks for reading! Next post will be on the making of the frame.

 

 

Hive76′s Yard Sale Give Away!

The theme of this weeks open house?

Yard sale Giveaway! 
Hive has been accumulating a lot of stuff, and now its time to pass it on to you! 
IMG_0802We have all sorts of stuff!

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A blender for blending your things!? A George Foreman Grill for Grilling them?!

A working stereo system could be yours! Do you like printers? We have two of them for you!

Get your Halloween presents NOW!

 

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Hive will be at the Philadelphia Museum of Art TONIGHT from 5:00 to 8:45!

Come out and support us on the museum’s PAY WHAT YOU WISH ADMISSION night. For as little as a penny, you can see some amazing art and play our 12-foot high Connect Four in the grand stair hall!

 
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We had a lot of fun yesterday building a Time Machine with Pafa’s Art Summer Camp. The kids helped us add lots of awesome features like an Ejection button for Time Warp Emergencies. Also, who could forget invisibility and cloaking!? Thanks Pafa and Sue Liedke for having us! We had so much fun!  
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Tonight’s MMMM

I regret to have to cancel tonight’s microcontroller night, but I am out of town and won’t be able to make it in this evening. We’ll pick MMMM up on July 14th.

See you then!

 

Philly Tech Week 2014: Arcade At The Oval

Edit: The arcade jawn is now April 5th @7pm because of weather.

Arcade @ The OvalPhilly Tech Week 2014 kicks off on April 5 at The Oval in front of the Art Museum, and we’ll be there! The big draw, of course, is Tetris on the Cira Center. But just to show that we can play the gimmicky-oversized-kid’s-game game too, we’re building our own gimmicky oversized kid’s game:

Frame Under Construction!

Frame Under Construction!

Light-Up Disk Wiring

Light-Up Disk Wiring

While everybody’s staring at the Cira Center, you can play our giant electronic game of Connect Four. The jams will be pumping while you skillfully use a DDR pad to strategically place your checkers. Pretty sneaky, sis.

Plus: The whole oval is gonna be filled with games from local developers, presentations, musical performances, food trucks, and a Yards Beer Garden. Nice! The fun begins at 7pm. See you there!

 

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1:00 – 5:00 PM   $10/ at door

Leave a comment below for RSVP :)

 

Got a sweetheart?  Want to meet a sweetheart?  David and Leslie are back to share the Valentine’s love.  Make sweet gifts and  learn about 3D printing and paper circuits at the same time.   For the gamer in your life,  there’s  a Valentine  Creeper.  Got an inspirational do-gooder?  Here’s a movie inspired MockingJay pin.  Just want to show you care?  Well, they’re working on a pixel heart necklace/keychain, that is sure to please.

 

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While your piece prints, make a Valentine card that will illuminate your sweetheart’s soul.  Bring some materials from around your house and combine them with a variety of papers, copper tape, LED and battery to create the perfect paper circuit.  If you love crafting and electronics, you are about to experience  maker heaven.  If you’ve never been here before, you can tour the space and find out more about other member’s projects.  Munchies will be on hand.  Don’t forget to comment below so we know you are coming!

 

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3D Snowflake3D Ornaments

Okay, so the boys and girls haven’t been nice.  However, that shouldn’t exclude you from having some fun holiday hacking.  Join us this Sunday at Hive  for either of these workshops:

3D Printed Ornaments

1:00 – 5:00 PM

Want to witness 3D printing live?  Join David Morfin and Leslie Birch for this festive workshop where you can choose from a variety of ornaments to print (including an epic Star Wars snowflake).  Then, hack it here with a battery and LED to get it glowing.  Tour our space and enjoy holiday snacks at the same time!

Price:  $10 Collected at door

 

Get Your Tickets Here

 

Remote Controlled Car Hack

1:00 – 5:00 PM

Learn how to turn almost any toy RC vehicle into a simple robot.  Because most RC toy vehicles are incredibly similar, you can easily learn how to hack them.  We’ll teach you some of the theory behind these circuits and then we’ll help you put it into practice.  A cut here, a jump there, a microcontroller and a little code and — voila! — you will be the proud creator/owner of a small-but-evil robot, just in time for XMas.

We will have microcontroller kits and cars available if you need them, or you are free to bring your own.  If you bring your own controller, we would recommend that you bring an Arduino or an MSP430 Launchpad.   If you bring your own vehicle, just make sure is has a TX2/RX2 chip (as a suggestion, the Thunder Tumbler is one of my favorite bot platforms).

Prices: Based on car and will be collected at door

 

Base Price — Donation for materials etc. in whatever amount you feel is appropriate

Large Car — $20

Medium Car — $15

Small Car — $5

Micro-controller kit — $5 (MSP430 Launchpad)

 

 

Let’s make a tablet!

UPDATE: I’ve since returned this unit to the vendor. It’s really bad. The native screen resolution is abysmally small, plus is a weird value such that none of my OSes could handle it. The device did its own down-sampling, but did a terrible job of it. Also, the touch sensing was almost completely broken.

Apparently, there is a thing with these small displays where they advertise them as “1080p input!”, meaning they will make attempts to downsample a 1080p data stream to whatever their native resolution is. The resolution on this one was actually 800×480. I couldn’t get Linux Mint or Windows 7 to display on it at the native resolution. It would take other resolutions and do some pretty awful down-sampling, but it always managed to cut off the edges enough that the taskbar and window title bar were never visible.

The touch feature was also almost completely broken, as well. I tried it on Linux Mint first, trying a variety of different drivers available for the device. All Linux drivers from this manufacturer were compiled from source. I tried the one copy named “Linux” on the included CD and tried two copies downloaded from their website for “Ubuntu 6.06″ and “Debian K26″. Of course, if we’re compiling from source, why would we need separate sets of source code? But anyway, at first it didn’t seem to work, so I thought I just failed to install the drivers, but things that happened later changed my mind. Windows 7 found a HID driver for it, identified it correctly, but it still didn’t work correctly. I also tried to download the latest driver off of their website, but their ZIP file is corrupted and won’t open with either the Windows Compressed Files utility or 7-Zip.

Moving on with the driver found for me by Microsoft, I now tried using the touch screen as the primary display, disabled my main monitor, unplugged my mouse, and restarted the computer, thinking it might help stabilizing the situation. I finally realized that I had seen the same behavior on Linux, I just hadn’t yet figured out what was going on because Mint wasn’t showing a cursor for the touch events and Windows did. It had the axises completely swapped, and also reversed, so dragging down the screen moved the cursor left. Also, it had no concept of a continuous drag event. It would sometimes drag, sometimes spawn a series of rapid clicks instead.

In other words: complete, unworkable garbage.

I’d be interested to hear from people if they have a recommendation for a simple touch screen. I think I’d like at least 15″ size, and I’m a little concerned about the popularity of multi-point capacitive sensing over the older-style, one-point-only resistive sensing. Yes, the capacitive is more precise, but the resistive doesn’t freak out if it gets just a little damp.

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So here is my latest toy. It is the Lilliput 7″ SKD Open Frame Touch Screen VGA Monitor with HDMI, DVI Input (note: this is not a referral link). You can see more pictures of the device on my Tumblr page. I’m thinking of either building my own tablet computer or a sort of remote control system. It’ll end up being a little chunky, but I don’t mind.

The natural DIY platform for such a project is the RaspberryPi. I’m thinking I want to take the stock Raspbian distro and hack together my own window manager for it to suit the small, restricted dimensions of the system. I’d like something halfway between a CLI interface with its infinite possibility and a GUI interface with its emphasis on geometric arrangement.

Anywah, I’ll keep everyone posted with my progress.

 
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