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LVL1 2012 Boneyard Hackathon Recap

A big personal thanks to everyone who came out to the 2012 LVL1 Boneyard Hackathon.  We had 9 teams consisting of 54 hackers compete for 24 hours straight, putting to the test their technical capabilities, endurance, and creativity.  We had 9 great projects, and everyone had a lot of fun!  Our youngest competitors were only 11 years old! Everyone here already looks forward to the next event.

Thanks to Jon for recording a summary of the projects at the hackathon.  I’ll upload a full video of the project showcase soon!

Team Bloominglabs made an incredible 3 musical instruments, a mixer for them all, and a bunch of LED blinky stuff! They brought 9 hackers to bring this all together, and were a flurry of activity throughout the hackathon.

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The Raging Narwhals, a team from the Triangle Fraternity at LVL1, made a floppy drive keyboard. Unfortunately, it wasn’t quite working by the end, but it was an impressive effort, and they plan to come back to finish it up. They brought a huge team, and almost all of them stayed through the night!

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The LVL1 Stonecutters managed to make a 3-D Scanner and Animated Gif Maker using the parts in the boneyard!

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Team Rainbow Unicorn built a first place trophy, so even if they failed, they would win.

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The Dirty Cheaters put together an incredibly impressive Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em robots kit, which included rack and pinion steering, and no microcontrollers.

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Destined for Failure built a looping synthesizer controlled by a PS2 mouse. Very impressive, especially consdiering this was the group’s first foray into Arduino progrmaming!

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Team Polar Bear build a laser pong game, complete with scorekeeping, 8 bit sound effects, and varying difficulty levels. Superb engineering, guys!

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The Noobs were our youngest team, and they put together a custom computer using parts from the basement, including custom LED signs.

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Finally, Bob the Bodybuilder built a very loud keypad controlled synthesizer. They even devised a means to convert sheet music to keypad tablature.

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I owe a huge thanks to everyone involved. Thanks to FoodCalc Inc. (http://www.foodcalc.com) for supplying libation for the event. Thanks to Joe L. for helping out throughout the event. Thanks to Gary F. for being a trooper, staying way later than he meant to, and helping out almost every team here. Thanks to Jose C. for taking way more crap than he deserved. Thanks to Lauren, Jynn, and Steph for acting as team breakfast, and keeping us all from starving.

Plenty more photos on the flickr stream. Peruse through, and if this interest you, come to our space! Links above and to the right will help you find us.

Candy Launching Pumpkin

 

After the popularity of Butterscotch I seem to have got a reputation for adding fire to things (even though it was FireTim that did the pyro half of Butterscotch).  So when the Mythbusters posted a link to a fire breathing pumpkin I was bombarded with questions about when I would be building one.  Not being the type to do what others expect me to do I rejected the idea of doing a pyro pumpkin outright.

 

Though I was set on not building a fire breathing pumpkin it did make me think about building other things inside of a pumpkin.   Then it hit me just two days before Halloween. I needed to build a pumpkin that would forcefully deliver candy to Trick-or-Treaters much in the same way they would deliver eggs to my house if I did not provide candy to them.  From that point on I had a mission. Throwing sleep and other responsibilities to the wind I went to the bowels of the LVL1 bone yard to hack together a candy launching pumpkin.

 

After design concessions due to time and help from fellow LVL1ers (thanks FireTim and Jon the Kilted) I was able to defend my house this year.  Although I never saw the pumpkin Mythbusters link and I am sure it is cool I considered this a spite project similar to JAC 101 Micro-Laser Cutter.  I just hope everyone enjoys it as much as I enjoyed making it.

 

I have posted an instructable for this project to help others defend themselves next All Hallows’ Eve… but really, why wait.  Go to that instructable and start defending yourself for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas.  There is nothing like a fruitcake chucking Santa to keep those damn carolers at bay.

Hive13 Sumobot Recap

LVL1ers had an awesome time at Hive13 (Cincinatti’s Hackerspace) this weekend. Hive13 did a great job hosting a Sumobot competition. The competition was staged in an actual boxing ring at the gym next door to Hive 13! A big thanks to the owners of the boxing gym. What a great venue. Many bots competed, but the LVL1 bots rose to the top. Jose won with “Lessor”.

Here is the actual video of the rounds.

I would like to sincerely thank Hive13 for hosting this event. It is fantastic to get to know you all. It should also be noted that Hive13 made an excellent web app that organizes Sumobot competions – check it out http://sumobots.hive13.org/. LVL1 will be hosting our second Sumobot competition in the Fall of 2011, probably October. You have 6 months to build your next Bot! All competitors are welcome, especially other hackerspaces (Lexington, Dayton, Indy, Bloomington, Nashville…). Hope to see you there!

DIY Isomorphic Keyboard

This is a velocity sensitive MIDI isomorphic keyboard. 192 total keys. The project came out of Louisville Soundbuilders, a fortnightly meeting of circuitbenders, synth engineers and experimental musicians. After seeing a couple of my failed variations of a single-bus isomorphic keyboard, Tim was intrigued enough to design one even better. He designed multiple PCBs that sandwich together with multiple switch types for velocity sensitive keypresses.

More development on the way! We’re working on molds/methods for making hexagonal keycaps. And I’m working on an Arduino-based controller as an alternative to the midibox controller Tim has working already.

Watch the progress at http://soundbuilders.lvl1.org

WARNING: DIY GRAPHIC VIDEO

A son of one of LVL1′s members got a little too close to a bandsaw over the Christmas break… Remember, safety first! But what started as a lesson on what *not* to do (i.e. don’t be too cavalier with a bandsaw) turned into a nice lesson on DIY stitches. Why would you stitch yourself up? His explanation was “something something waiting rooms something something scar tissue.”

Remember if you can’t fix your body, you don’t own your body.

Teletron Composition @ Louisville Soundbuilders

Video of the Teletron Demonstration. This was performed at the 1st meeting of Louisville Soundbuilders at LVL1.

Score by Robert Schneider (The Apples in stereo). Performed by Robert Beatty (Hair Police) and Robert Schneider, September 20, 2010, at LVL1 Hackerspace (Louisville, Kentucky), using two Moog MG-1 synthesizers with two Teletron mind-control interfaces. Conducted by LVL1 president Chris Cprek (Pax Titania, Nzambi).

From another angle:

Post demonstration Q & A:

Fun with the LOLShield

We had a fantastic weekend at LVL1. Not only was LVL1 at an awesome Actors Theater event, we also had some important visitors at the space on Saturday! On Saturday, Mitch Altman (of TV-B-Gone fame) and Jimmy Rodgers (of LOLshield fame) presented a soldering workshop. There must have been 50 people around! Also Matt Mets and Dale Dougherty were here from Make Magazine. Big thanks to Mitch, Jimmy, Matt and Dale for being part of the LVL1 experience. Our doors are always open to you!

During the soldering workshop, I built at LOLShield. Nice kit – lots of LEDs to solder. Jimmy was really good at making his LEDs come out in neat little rows – mine, not so much. Here is my video

I came upon this post and decided to make an animated LOLShield LVL1 logo. I had to download python 2.6 and the PIL library and the script ran perfectly. I created an animated gif using Gimp. Set up an image to be 9X14 in grayscale. Then draw your picture (zoomed in) and animate it using multiple layers. When you save as a gif, Gimp will make the layers into a animated gif. It is not hard. Here is my gif…

It is tiny! Next run the script in the command line and then cut and paste the code. Here is the Arduino program I am using.


/*
Basic LoL Shield Test

Writen for the LoL Shield, designed by Jimmie Rodgers:

http://jimmieprodgers.com/kits/lolshield/

This needs the Charliplexing library, which you can get at the
LoL Shield project page: http://code.google.com/p/lolshield/

Created by Jimmie Rodgers on 12/30/2009.
Adapted from: http://www.arduino.cc/playground/Code/BitMath

History:
December 30, 2009 - V1.0 first version written at 26C3/Berlin

This is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the terms of the GNU Version 3 General Public
License as published by the Free Software Foundation;
or (at your option) any later version.

This library is distributed in the hope that it will be useful,
but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of
MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU
Lesser General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU Lesser General Public
License along with this library; if not, write to the Free Software
Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA
*/

#include //AVR library for writing to ROM
#include //Imports the library, which needs to be
//Initialized in setup.

int blinkdelay = 100; //Sets the time each frame is shown

/*
The BitMap array is what contains the frame data. Each line is one full frame.
Since each number is 16 bits, we can easily fit all 14 LEDs per row into it.
The number is calculated by adding up all the bits, starting with lowest on
the left of each row. 18000 was chosen as the kill number, so make sure that
is at the end of the matrix, or the program will continue to read into memory.

Here PROGMEM is called, which stores the array into ROM, which leaves us
with our RAM. You cannot change the array during run-time, only when you
upload to the Arduino. You will need to pull it out of ROM, which is covered
below. If you want it to stay in RAM, just delete PROGMEM
*/

uint16_t BitMap[][9] PROGMEM = {
{ 16382 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 8191 , },
{ 16381 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 12287 , },
{ 16379 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 14335 , },
{ 16379 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 15359 , },
{ 16375 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 15359 , },
{ 16367 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 15871 , },
{ 16351 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 16127 , },
{ 16319 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 16255 , },
{ 16255 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 16319 , },
{ 16127 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 16351 , },
{ 15871 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 16367 , },
{ 15359 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 16375 , },
{ 14335 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 16379 , },
{ 12287 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 16381 , },
{ 8191 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 16382 , },
{ 16383 , 1 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 8192 , 16383 , },
{ 16383 , 8193 , 2309 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11052 , 8193 , 16383 , },
{ 16383 , 8193 , 10501 , 3333 , 10581 , 10580 , 11053 , 8193 , 16383 , },
{ 16383 , 8193 , 10501 , 11525 , 2388 , 10581 , 11053 , 8193 , 16383 , },
{ 16383 , 8193 , 10501 , 11524 , 10581 , 2389 , 11053 , 8193 , 16383 , },
{ 16383 , 8193 , 10500 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 2861 , 8193 , 16383 , },
{ 16383 , 8192 , 10501 , 11525 , 10581 , 10581 , 11053 , 1 , 16383 , },
{18000}
};

void setup() {
LedSign::Init(); //Initializes the screen
}
void loop() {
DisplayBitMap(); //Displays the bitmap

}

void DisplayBitMap()
{
boolean run=true; //While this is true, the screen updates
byte frame = 0; //Frame counter
byte line = 0; //Row counter
unsigned long data; //Temporary storage of the row data

while(run == true) {
for(line = 0; line < 9; line++) {

//Here we fetch data from program memory with a pointer.
data = pgm_read_word_near (&BitMap[frame][line]);

//Kills the loop if the kill number is found
if (data==18000){
frame = 0;
data = pgm_read_word_near (&BitMap[frame][line]);
//run=false;
}

//This is where the bit-shifting happens to pull out
//each LED from a row. If the bit is 1, then the LED
//is turned on, otherwise it is turned off.
else for (byte led=0; led<14; ++led) {
if (data & (1< LedSign::Set(led, line, 1);
}
else {
LedSign::Set(led, line, 0);
}

}

}

//Delays the next update
delay(blinkdelay);
frame++;
}
}

I had to adjust the code to keep it from blinking at the end of the animation.

LVL1 Hackerspace Build-out in Progress!

After last night’s meeting, I wandered around our space to document the build-out and the building. Lease will start on July 1st!

Robots & Dinosaurs – Sydney, AU Hackerspace

Video of LVL1′s TV-B-Gone workshop

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