Hive76 Intro to Microcontrollers — News From The Front

… Soon, I’m gonna have to switch places with some of the students in the class

It was weird to hit the Wednesday Hive Open House and see a handful of original MSP430 projects.  The video above is an LED chaser effect that Chris Thompson whipped up based on concepts from the first session of the MSP430 class.  As the old saying goes — teach a geek to fish and you’ll soon have LED encrusted fish.

Speaking of LEDs, here’s a Morse Code blinker project that Chris did.  Mostly a cut & paste job, but if nothing else, it makes the point that there are plenty of  MSP430 code samples out there and that it’s relatively easy to use them once you know the tools.


If you are an artist who wants to create small, cost effective interactive systems or a stone geek who wants to actually make a computer do something physical, this is a must-attend course.  We’ll have labs that will show you how to flash gobs of LEDs with just a few IO pins, run stepper motors, read switches, generate sounds, read analog signals and even have MCUs communicate.   You’ll leave with sample code and enough experience to apply this tech  immediately.
We’ll be running this class again, for sure.

Send any questions to: mikehogan62 AT gmail DOT com

Top Secret Rosies tonight!

Just a reminder to come out to The Rotunda tonight at 7pm to check out “Hidden Herstory:  The Top Secret Rosies of WWII.”  Local filmmaker LeAnn Erickson will give an illustrated lecture on the “female computers” who did the math that made US weapons accurate during WWII, and worked on some of the earliest mechanical and electronic computers.  Pretty cool stuff.  More details here.  Thanks to Sean for the flyer!  Note:  Our weekly open house should still be on, so come check out the talk before heading to Hive76 to hang out and hack.

MSP430 Class in Development

Sunday, August 15th at the hive was a day of MSP430 madness. Robert Vlacich, Sean McBeth and Dr. Wonkaburger were in attendance helping to develop labs and build adapters that let folks program MSP430s right on a breadboard using the EZ430 USB programming tools.

Here’s a pic of Robert soldering up some of the target board adapters and some pics of the target board running a small stepper motor (along with obligatory LEDs to make things all purdy-like).

Zerg-adelphia (Hive76 Starcraft II LAN Party)

Does your love for insane micromanagement of miscellaneous bugs and aliens know no bounds? Do you enjoy sharing that love with others? Assuming you already know that we’re talking about Starcraft II, we’ll just say it:

Come to Hive 76 on Saturday, August 21 for some Starcraft and SCII LAN madness. The siege tank-rushing shindig starts at 5 PM and will go until your fingers cannot possibly strike another hotkey. Absolutely do not bring food, we’ll take care of it. What you do need are these essentials:

* A computer (laptop or desktop with internet capability) capable of playing Starcraft and/or SCII
* Your own copy of Starcraft and/or Starcraft II to play with
* More vespene gas (kidding… sort of)

See you then and remember to bring your A game!

Saturday, August 21
Hive 76, 915 Spring Garden (Suite 519) in the Spring Garden Arts building, Philadelphia PA
Free, bring your own game,laptop, snacks, and beverages.

This Event is by Hive76(Far McKon), and Geekadelphia (Joe Osborne) , and several others.

Hackadelphia at Hive76 on Sunday

Hackadelphia is meeting at Hive76 this Sunday, from about noon to 5PM. Hackadelphiais (in their own words):

We’re a group of coders who get together in the Philadelphia metro area to hack and share ideas. We’re a pan-technological group who accept people regardless of technology (though we can’t promise that COBOL users won’t get strange looks). The basic idea is to have people spending nights hacking in the presence of other hackers.

Come and share your code expertise, learn from another hacker/code, or just get some work done on a project. Hackadelphia will be here to help. Or better, sign up for their mailing list, and get a heads-up every time they meet.

The Skinny:
Hive76 (915 Spring Garden)
Sunday, Aug 15th, Noon to 5PM
It’s Free, bring your own food & computer.
(This event organized by Hackadelphia)


NBW Haddington student soldering an odometer kit
Durryah soldering an odometer kit at the NBW-Haddington shop. Photo: S. Alarcon

Loyal readers will remember that back in May we had a table at the Trenton Ave Arts Fest to raise loot for a project with Neighborhood Bike Works (NBW).  Now that the project is well under way, it’s time to share the fun.

Hiver Jack Zylkin designed an adorable blinky odometer, and we’ve been teaching 8-14 year olds at the NBW summer camp how to build and solder them.  We’ve had a blast, and maybe even inspired a few mad scientists and junior engineers.  Many thanks to Cat, Alison, Joe, Brandon, Mustafa, and all the great coordinators and students at NBW.

If you’re interested in this fun and very basic electronics project, let us know.  We might be persuaded to run a class.  And if you’re feeling generous and want to support more programs like this, feel free to make a donation and note that you’d like it to go to youth education, bikes, rehabilitation of troubled robots, etc.

The Women of ENIAC: “Top Secret Rosies” Aug 18

What: “Hidden Herstory: The Top Secret Rosies of WWII”
When: Wed Aug 18, 2010, 7pm
Where: The Rotunda, 4014 Walnut St, Phila

Did you know that the first electronic computer, ENIAC, was built in Philly at UPenn?  Bet you did.  Did you know that it was built to calculate ballistics trajectories for fighter pilots during WWII?  And did you also know that the first mathematicians and programmers to work on the new machine were women, mostly from the Philadelphia area?  Hive76 is really, really excited to invite you to a presentation about these “female computers”.

On Wednesday, August 18 at 7pm, Hive76 and the Rotunda are teaming up to bring an illustrated lecture and movie teaser called “Hidden Her-story, the Top Secret Rosies of WWII”.  Documentary filmmaker LeAnn Erickson will give this talk based on the research she’s done for her film “Top Secret Rosies” which is nearing post-production.

Wouldn’t you know it, one of our members’ grandmothers was part of the all-star math team that gave ENIAC its start. You know, before it went mainstream and sold out.

Flyer forthcoming for this awesome event.  Spread the word to the history, math, science, and engineering buffs in your life.

Show and tell at Hive76

Francis Rabuck from Bentley Systems stopped by with some staff on Wednesday’s open house after seeing the Wall Street Journal article on hackerspaces. They came to see the space and chat about making stuff so we obliged them and showed off our best toys. Mr. Rabuck also brought a promo model of a Golden-i virtual display. Here is a Wired article about the tech and the item’s website.

In short, the Golden-i is a small voice controlled computer with a display that hovers over your eye. It’s odd to see the device perched on someone’s cranium, but saying “My Programs” does indeed go to the appropriate screen and displays a My Photos and My Videos app in a row with others.

I can see this being a neat (expensive) addition to a smartphone interface, but man, it has some prettying up to do. It looks a little 1998 right now. That may be fitting because Golden Eye came out in 1995. I don’t know what I’m saying. My p̶r̶o̶f̶e̶s̶s̶i̶o̶n̶a̶l̶ amateur opinion is clean up the lines, add some new materials like alloy memory wire for the arms, and hide the plastic. But no one asked me.

Bentley and Motorola think this could be used in niche markets. The example Mr. Rabuck gave was construction workers accessing plans on the job site and navigating hands free. In CrunchGear, John Biggs recommends ignoring niches for tablet development. I’d say that’s fine advice for any new tech. It should be launched and then (to paraphrase Burning Chrome) the street will figure out its own use for it. Then you sell them an app for viewing blueprints or a remake of GoldenEye 007.

We appreciate Bentley Systems and associates dropping by for a chat. Feel free to bring your futuristic tech for us to play with any Wednesday night up on the 5th floor.

Make Philly BBQ is this Sunday!

Get outside this Sunday, and spend some time with other makers, crafters, hackers, designers, and a lot of other ‘-er’s at Make:Philly’s summer BBQ. As usual there will be food (bring some of your own), frisbee, people hanging out, and Water Rockets. Bring your or, or make on on the spot using whatever happens to be lying around, and prepare to get soaked when you take your turn at the launcher.

If you were around last year, you got to play with The Wondergy team’s “Solar Smores” machine, a parabolic mirror perfect for toasting some mallow. They are bringing it back for this years BBQ, along with some new toys, like a trash-can launcher, that will send a trash can on a 20-50 foot flight.

In Short:
Sunday, August 8th, 1-3PM
Lemon Hill, Fairmount Park, Philadelphia
Kid Friendly: Yes
Food: Potluck – please bring something to share with 3-4 other people.
Water Rocket: Build yours at home and bring with you, along with a bottle of water