Weekend Itinerary

the Atari Punk Console

This is a busy weekend for Hive76, with classes and guest speakers and projects out the whazoo, so if you can manage to dig your way out of your snowy sarcophagus, come on down and see what’s happening.

  • Friday, Jan 28th – At 6pm tonight, we’re having a new member orientation meeting. This will be one of the first times we’ve had so many new people join at one time to warrant a specific “orientation”. This event is open to new members as well as any old ones who would like to get more involved at the space. Afterwards, we are going out to a nearby restaurant for dinner and drinks.
  • Saturday, Jan 29th – From 10am to 4pm we are running our “Making Things Blink and Buzz” class ($40, kit materials included) with Far McKon. This class is a hands-on workshop for building fun noisemakers without getting bogged down in drawn-out mathematics and electronics theory. A couple of seats still remain open and we do take last-minute entries if you are paying cash-at-the-door.
  • Sunday, Jan 30th – From 5PM to 8PM we are running a special open house for analog audio hacking. This is an open house for anyone of any skill level to mess with audio electronics. The event is free, you may bring your own materials, or beginner audio kits ($15 – $30) are available to get you started. A few very knowledgeable geeks—Jimmie P. Rogers, circuitbender and designer of a popular Atari Punk Console kit, and our very own Brendan Schrader, cohost of our Guitar Effects Class—are on hand to help out with more advanced projects.

This is just the start to our new year of classes and workshops. We have a few exciting events currently in planning stages, including a workshop on Rapid Prototyping and a series of workshops on Mixed Drinks and Molecular Gastronomy. Also, don’t forget our weekly open houses, every Wednesday at 8pm, where you can meet our current members, get to know everyone, and join our ranks yourself. Members get discounts on classes and kits!

(ed: snafu on list of attending “experts” fixed)

Audio House Open House

On January 30th from 5PM to 8PM is an Audio House Open House at Hive76. This is an open house for *anyone* of any skill level to mess with audio electronics. Whether you have never soldered before, or if you are an audio expert, we will have great folks to hang out and learn from. On hand will be some beginner audio kits ($15 – $30) for people just getting started, and a couple of knowledgeable geeks to help out on more advanced projects. What experts? I’m glad you asked.

Exhibit #1: If you have been to a Maker Fair in the last year, you might have run into Jimmie P Rogers and/or Mitch Altman running one of their famous electronics tables. Jimmie and Mitch have tough countless people to solder, and do basic electronics. Jimmie is also well known for his circuit bending, and can do things to a talking toys that, well, you just have to hear it to understand.

Exhibit #2: If you have been to Hive76 for an open house in the last few months, you may have run into Brendon, who is an analog electronics nut, and has run some effects building classes here at Hive76. The Guitar Effects class he and Jack ran was a hit, and he’s back to help make your projects sound fantastic.

So, young or old, geek or square, drop by Jan 30th between 5PM to 8PM, Hive76 will be open and both of those audio hackering experts will be on hand tou help people mash up circuits, tweak their audio, and get analog. If you like audio (from Novice to Expert) come drop in, hang around, and geek out.

When: Sunday Jan 30th from 5PM to 8PM
Where Hive76 HQ (915 Spring Garden St, Phila PA)
Cost: Free! (A $10 donation if you insist)
Equipment: Bring a project, a talking toy, or 20 -30$ if you want to buy a kit.
(photo by CC from Steve Dubois Thanks Steve!)

We Boldly Went…

Last night’s gaming event was a huge success! We played 3 consecutive games of Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator, and the entire event lasted about 3 hours. Highlights were our tactical officer Adam E. blowing up every ship that we came in contact with, Captain Chris’ excellent leadership, and our engineer Brendan possibly getting us blown up while he was on his phone. Starfleet Security is looking into that last one. Everybody seemed to have a lot of fun and there was interest in playing the game again soon.


I’d like to thank Hive members Brendan, Adam K., Chris, and PJ for helping to set everything up and making sure everyone had enough computers to play. I’d also like to thank everyone else who rocked at their bridge stations and commanding roles.

Until the next adventure, Hive 76 out.

Hive 76, the Final Frontier…

At this week’s open house Hive 76 is hosting it’s second LAN gaming event. We’ll be playing Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator. What is Artemis Spaceship Bridge Simulator you ask? Well, it’s a co-operative computer game that simulates a spaceship bridge, similar to the ones you’d see on Star Trek. Each player is given a key bridge position to help guide the ship on a successful mission. Click here to see an awesome, and quite hilarious example of the game in action.

Players need only to bring a PC laptop or netbook as the game software will be provided. So come join us, because at this open house we’ll be cranking it all the way up to warp 11!

The fun starts this Wednesday, January 19th at 9:00 PM.

Hope to see you there, Captain out!

January Philadelphia Robotics Meetup Wrap-Up

Last night Hive 76 hosted the first Robotics Meetup Group of 2011. For those who are unaware, the group is organized and run by Roy Brewer and Hive 76 has been hosting a space for the group since September of 2009.

This month’s meeting featured an appearance by inventor & entrepreneur Michael Treat, who’s company Robotic Systems & Technologies, Inc. (RST) has been featured in sources such as the New York Times, ABC, TLC, and BusinessWeek. Mr. Treat stopped by to give a talk on his company’s newest project: a robot called Penelope CS, which is designed to automate work in a hospital’s sterile supply department. Sterile supply is the department where used surgical tools are cleaned, sorted & inspected, packed into containers, and finally sterilized to be ready for the next procedure. The talk concluded with Treat announcing that Penelope CS is ready for action, and RST is looking for partner hospitals in which to deploy the product.

After the talk we discussed ongoing projects within the group including 2 members who are building quadrotors, our uGPS project (an indoor GPS system), and other types of robots (delta bots, for instance).

We meet every second Thursday of every month, and our next meeting is February 10th at 7:30 PM. I’d like to encourage everyone with an interest in robots or electronics to join us. This is a fun and exciting group!

Open House, Wednesday, January 12th

Technically, these are highballs

We have big plans for this week’s open house meeting. Brave the cold and come hang out with us tomorrow night for an evening of tomfoolery, shenanigans, and if you’re lucky, maybe even charcuterie.

  • 7pm starts our membership meeting, where we will discuss open projects and start brain-storming on a cocktail and gastro/mixology workshop. Tom Cruise will not be attending.
  • 8pm starts the open house, where will be working on plans for a semi-secret, semi-sweet-chocolate project (well actually, no chocolate) involving remote control systems, stereoscopic vision systems, and high-voltage effects.
  • 9pm starts ???
  • 10pm is pure profit

Don’t dilly-dally, look lively, step to it, and make something!

Open Source Rendering with Blender, LuxRender, and SmallLuxGPU

There’s some outstanding new open-source add-ons for Blender, one of our favorite open-source 3D rendering/simulation/animation programs.

The first, LuxRender is a physically based Light Modeler. It’s currently limited to CPU-rendering only, but it creates enormously realistic lighting scenarios based on physical equations that describe the behavior of light. An amazing new feature here is that it stores the contribution of each light to each pixel during rendering, so you can modify the rendered image photorealistically and non-destructively without having to re-render the entire scene again.

The second, SmallLuxGPU is even more experimental but it is able to harness the full power of your GPU for unparalleled rendering speed of highly photorealistic visual scenes. Even better, with SLG you can interact with your scene in realtime to get just the view you want.

SmallLuxGPU v1.6 (OpenCL) from David Bucciarelli.

And here’s some examples of renders we’ve done in the past few days. Keep in mind, these are entirely synthetic images. Jump over to flickr to see at higher resolution.