Microcontroller Class Getting Blingy

You can never have too many LEDs. One way to run a whole bunch of LEDs is using the MAX7221 or MAX7219 display interfaces.  These devices allow you to run 64 LEDs per chip using an SPI interface.  The demo below is showing an early prototype of an MSP430 library for the MAX chips that was developed here at the Hive.  These particular displays have three MAX7221 chips on them — and we happen to have these displays in abundance due to some fortuitous dumpster diving (the secret — dive to the very bottom, and disregard the smell).

At any rate, the library is a nice introduction to the SPI protocol and MAX7221 chips, and it’s pretty useful besides.  Here’s a link to a zip file that has the library and some demo code.

Also, I tossed in a video of the LaunchPad controlling a laser scanner mirror — just because it looks cool (the program is extremely simple)

Neighboorhood Bike Works Odometer Class

This summer, Hive76 embarked on a mission to teach more than 100 youngsters how to solder, and to promote making and inventing as a life skill.  We teamed up with Neighborhood Bike Works, a bicycle co-op and youth program which we have a huge crush on, to offer a series of classes for their summer campers.  After raising money by selling kits at the Trenton Arts Fest, and receiving some generous donations from our members, we bought a truckload of class supplies and recruited great teachers from Hive76 and the Hacktory.   The classes taught basic soldering skills, some elementary electricity, and applied these ideas to building electronic odometers and safety lights,  which were developed here at Hive76. 

We had a blast, and hopefully we’ll be doing more events for young ones in the future.  If you have an idea for a youth-outreach class, let us know!

OpenHatch at UPenn this weekend

If you aren’t already going to Maker Faire NYC, or setting up an antenna with Promethus Raido in Hudson, NY this weekend, there is also going to be a FOSS Hackathon in Philly this coming weekend.

If you use open source software and want to give back to the community, here is your chance. Or, if you have some UI, design, or human interface skill and want to work on a project used by thousands or millions, Open Source software *always* needs design, UI, and layout help. Always. I mean, have you even looked at GIMP?

Top Secret Rosies Premiere

What: Top Secret Rosies première
When: Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010, doors 6:30, film 7:00
Where: Franklin Institute. Call for reservations: 215-448-1254

A few weeks ago, our new friend LeAnn Erickson gave a great talk about the women who did the math and computer programming behind the scenes during WWII. Her film on that topic, Top Secret Rosies, is premièring next week at the Franklin Institute. Not only that, but she won a grant to take her film on the road and develop teaching materials for it, before it shows up on public TV. Come celebrate with her next week so you can say you knew her way back when. Tickets are free but you have to call for reservations which are running out, so don’t slack!

For immediate release:

In 1942, when computers were human and women were underestimated, a group of female mathematicians helped win a war and usher in the modern computer age. Fall 2010 marks the 65th anniversary of the end of WWII yet their compelling story has never been told, until now.

Filmmaker LeAnn Erickson announces the world premiere of her HD documentary *Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII*, RT 60 minutes, c. 2010. *Top Secret Rosies* shares the little known story of a group of female mathematicians who did secret ballistics research for the US Army during WWII, a handful of whom went on to serve as the programmers of ENIAC, the first electronic computer.

The Franklin Institute of Philadelphia will host the première screening of *Top Secret Rosies* on Thursday, September 23, 7pm in the Franklin Theater. The filmmaker will be available for a question and answer session after the film screening.

Free reservations can be made by calling The Franklin Institute ticketing center at 215-448-1254. Space is limited, so please make your reservations early. Doors open at 6:30 pm.

In war, math may be the most secret weapon of all.

*Top Secret Rosies: The Female Computers of WWII*


History of Hackerspaces

class icon Hackerspaces, Makelabs, whatever you call them, they are our beloved tinkering garages and workshops away from home. But just what is it that makes them so great?

In this short class/discussion group, we’ll be covering a bit of the flora and fauna of the hackerspace movement—for new and old members alike—and its growth in popularity throughout the world. We’ll look at some notable spaces and what they are known for, how different spaces organize themselves, the pros and cons of such arrangements, and how new members can get involved, have fun, and make new friends quickly and productively. Afterwards, established members are encouraged to introduce themselves, share their stories of Hive76, and talk a little bit about their projects.

Join us on Wednesday, September 22nd and/or Wednesday, October 6th, at 7pm. Come for the class and stay for the open house afterwards to experience the full buzz of a vibrant community of creators in action.

Giant Fresnel Death-Ray Action

Some videos of us playing with a large fresnel salvaged from a projection TV.  This is about a 1m^2 lens, with very fine lines.  The lens is kind of dirty and we were positioning it by hand (not ideal), but the results are still impressive …