Sneak Preview: Hackforge Prepares for w.a.v.e.s

Hackforge is busy preparing for the upcoming w.a.v.e.s festival! As part of our participation at the festival, we are marrying art and technology with persistence of vision technology. Check out the amazing work by Hackforgers Paul and Kevin. Stay tuned for more as we get closer to the festival.

Be sure to join us on September 26th and 27th at the Sculpture Garden for w.a.v.e.s!

The 8×8 LED Matrix Project

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For the past couple of months Rob Caruso, one of the ingenious and industrious HF members has been quietly implementing a discrete 8×8 LED Matrix using the pegboard backing of one of the workbenches at the Hackforge.

The goal is to provide an educational platform, not a complete standalone display. The 8×8 LED matrix was chosen simply to utilize the existing pegboard surface. A conscious design aspect was to provide a simple ‘plug and play’ method for breadboarding experiments that utilize typical hobbyist microprocessor such as the Arduino, PIC and the ever popular Raspberry PI. Integrating the display into the existing backboard of the workbench has an inherent appeal for those who equate blank space as wasted potential. For this project Rob has blended 3D printed LED holders (his own design) with standard prototyping PCB boards to create a well-engineered design that will permit novice microprocessor (or RPi) programmers to show off their projects with a minimum of construction.

Rob has extended the utility of the matrix by providing a means of allowing the LED’s to be changed for different colours or replaced easily in the event of ‘design malfunction’. Using the 3D printer at the Hackforge, he designed a holder that snugly fits into the existing 1/4″ holes to secure the LED. A two-pin socket, glued to the back of the holder is fitted into strips of PCB board to provide a common bus for the Anodes(+) and Cathodes(-). What you end up with is 8 wires from the Plus side of the matrix and 8 wires from the Minus side that will fit into convenient plug-in headers. The intrepid experimenter needs only to connect their breadboard via short runs of jumper cables to these sockets, keeping everything in view. It should be noted too that the LED holders contain a plastic clip (part of the 3D composition) that secures the plug from popping out of the hole.

There is still some work to be done before this project can be pronounced ‘done’. In particular the wires running from the back to the sockets at the front need to be secured, and of course the position of the sockets themselves need to be finalized. Two standard 8-pin Arduino headers will likely be used, allowing for simple plugin-in ability from whatever device the experimenter chooses. We believe that simply mounting a typical Arduino UNO R3 board onto the backboard will be the ‘gateway drug’ to future experimentation.

The project can be considered completed, and ready for the enthusiastic hobbyist to develop their version of 8×8 PONG….

Click below for Terry McAlinden’s photo of the work…

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Hackforge 3D Printing Demo at Devonshire Mall on Friday

This Friday, August 22nd, Hackforge is heading to Devonshire Mall to demonstrate the power of 3D printing in anticipation for the upcoming W.A.V.E.S Festival. From 5-8PM, join us for the Back to School Craft Night at the main concourse of the mall, in front of The Bay.

This is a free family friendly event and part of Devonshire Mall Fun Fridays series. Hackforge will be joined by other local organizations like the Art Council of Windsor & Region and the City of Windsor.

Stop by our booth to see our MakerBot 3D printer in action, bringing to life various objects. Learn about how 3D printing is changing the world of engineering, health, technology, and art. Interact with 3D printed objects and meet Hackforge volunteers.

Preview the excitement of the W.A.V.E.S Festival which is coming up on September 26th and 27th. Hackforge will be taking part in the festival which connects communities through waves of art, culture and technology.

 

Hackforge/Open Data Windsor-Essex Takes Part in All Candidates Night

This Thursday, August 21st and next Wednesday, August 27th, Hackforge and Open Data Windsor-Essex are taking part in Pathway to Potential’s All Candidates Night, “Shared Prosperity: The Municipal Role in Reducing Poverty.”

Candidates and community members can learn about community groups, like Hackforge, working to improve the quality of life in Windsor Essex. Pathway to Potential will also be presenting their progress, strategic priorities, and highlighting their “What Matters” community survey results. This is also an opportunity to exchange ideas and meet others passionate on improving our communities.

Hackforge is working to making technology accessible to everyone. Money shouldn’t be a barrier for individuals or groups to use technology that could better their lives. Our Tech Talks allow people to learn about different fields for free. The Software Craftsman Guild helps programmers learn best-practice skills and acts as professional development without the cost of a class or membership. Our space gives members access to technology, mentorship, and a working area for projects, learning, and experimentation.

Open Data Windsor-Essex, Hackforge’s special interest group funded by the Ontario Trillium Funding, is promoting, creating, and hosting open data in our community. Through our three year grant, we are working with community partners, both from non-profit groups and the government, to make information free and accessible to everyone. Open Data helps to create a more transparent and community-engaged world when the public has access to information for research, advocacy, education, and content development.

TWO DATES | TWO LOCATIONS

WINDSOR: August 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Windsor Star News Cafe.

ESSEX: August 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Shaheen Community Room,
Essex Arena (Essex Centre Sports Complex).

Team Rocket Tusk Vs. Power Miner: Robot Sumo at Bridgeview Library (Updated with Video)

Saturday, August 9th, Hackforge brought Robot Sumo to Bridgeview Library. Teams Rocket Tusk went head to head with Team Power Miner trying out their designs and techniques. Big thanks to our mentors, Aaron, Paul, and Kevin.

This event was part of Windsor Public Library’s summer Eureka programming.

Click below for more photos (taken by Sarah Morris) and video (thanks to Paul Anderson) of the event :

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Tech Talk: Introduction to Max/MSP (Paul Anderson)

MaxMSP

Join Hackforge on Thursday, August 21st for our next Tech Talk: Introduction to Max/MSP presented by Paul Anderson. The Tech Talk begins at 6PM at Hackforge, located in the front of the Windsor Public Library (850 Ouellette Ave).

Max/MSP is a function-block programming system used by many artists and hobbyists. While simple and easily managed even by those very new to programming, it is capable of very complex behaviour. Spend an evening with Hackforge regular Paul Anderson as he walks us through the basics of this fascinating software.

Paul Anderson is Hackforge’s resident polymath and facilities manager. He rarely finds a hobby he doesn’t like.

For more information and to see more upcoming Hackforge events, visit our Meetup.

Robots Invade Hackforge

On Tuesday, August 5th, teen volunteers from Windsor Public Library stopped in Hackforge to get a lesson in robot sumo. Going head to head against each other, they worked on building and programming the best robot. This spawned some creative adaptations including a spear, tower of tires, and a robot that only goes in reverse. They will be returning with some younger library enthusiasts next week and assist them in competing with the robots. Many thanks to Hackforge mentor Paul Anderson for leading the teams!

This Saturday, August 9th, Hackforge will be hosting a Robot Sumo event at Bridgeview Library (1295 Campbell Ave) from 1-4PM. Registration is still open for this event for kids and teens age 10-18. Email info@hackf.org to sign up.

Click below for more photos from the Robot Sumo at the Hackforge Headquarters.

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Hackforge Hits Maker Faire 2014

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Last weekend, Maker Faire Detroit brought together over 400 makers, showcasing their work at the Henry Ford Museum. Hackforge couldn’t miss the opportunity to check it out! Many of our members made the trek across the border to check out what kindred spirits were up to.

Hackforger Terry McAlinden reported: “From watching a two-ton safe get dropped on a car (life-sized Mousetrap game) to an endless stream of Arduino enabled projects, to robots playing basketball, to artists and craftsmen hand making art that ranged from recycled tin kitchen appliances to meticulously detailed miniature working engines.” He was joined by JoAnne, Paul Anderson, and Rob Caruso. “Suffice to say we spent nearly 7.5 hours there and only absorbed a fraction of what was offered.”

Maker Faire Detroit was an inspiring event that brought together tech enthusiasts, crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, science clubs, authors, artists, students, and commercial exhibitors. Hackforge is a small organization of smart, talented people within a larger world and Maker Faire was the hub.

Click below to see more of Terry McAlinden’s photos:

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Tech Talk: High Availability MySQL on a Low Budget (Terry Johnson)

Thursday, August 7th at 6PM, join Terry Johnson for a discussion on how to build a high-availability MySQL database using Linux clustering inside a virtual environment, and why hypervisor-based HA isn’t enough.

Terry Johnson is responsible for IT and R&D at Scribendi.com, an online English editing and proofreading company based in Chatham, Ontario. Terry has a degree in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from the University of Oxford.

This Tech Talk is part of the Hackforge series which takes place every other Thursday. Hackforge is located in the front of the Windsor Public Library Central branch (850 Ouellette Ave). To learn more, please consult our Meetup.

Open Data Windsor-Essex Takes The Next Step

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Last night, Tuesday, July 29th, Open Data Windsor-Essex (ODWE) met at Hackforge with its members and interested people from the community. ODWE announced the Trillium funding received that will help community partners employ, access, and utilize open data. With the hiring of new Program Coordinator, Sarah Morris, ODWE is helping non-profits make their information available to the everyone.

ODWE plans for an exciting fall with a portal launch and hackathons in the works. For a more comprehensive breakdown, please take a look at the slides put together by ODWE Director, Mita Williams.

If you are interested in being a part of ODWE, have an interest in open data, or ideas about where it can grow in the city, please let us know by contacting info@hackf.org.

 

 

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