Red Bull Creation Finalist

Brooklyn, NY Here we come! Paul, Jeff, Miles, David (from left to right) will be headed to New York in July to compete against 15 other teams in the Red Bull Creation challenge.  You can read the official e-mail below.

The photo on the left was taken at 3am as we were finishing up our qualifying entry to the Red Bull Creation challenge.
Here is Popular Mechanics coverage of the winners.
Our submission:


Congratulations Harford Hackerspace! Great Joy!

Your team has made it to the final round of Red Bull Creation, and you are invited to come to New York to take part in the ultimate 72 hour build-a-thon!

Go ahead and jump up and down, run around, call everyone you know (most importantly your teammates) and do what you need to do to celebrate, cause you’re invited to take the final challenge! Yes it’s true. You Won.

This is what you gotta do next:
Read more

Star Wars IV Played on Vintage ’77 Dumb Terminal

What are we going to do with our newly acquired vintage 1977 Lear Siegler terminal?  Why, we’ll play ASCII Star Wars Episode IV on it, of course!  Recently purchased at the 2011 Techno Swap Fest, this baby-blue beauty has classic 70′s styling, comfortable keyboard and gets 80 columns on the screen in a lovely white uppercase font.  It took some coaxing to get Baby Blue to play along with an Ubuntu-equipped laptop including tweaking some DIP switches hidden inside her chassis, some clever character substitutions in the ASCII Star Wars file, reading the datasheet for the terminal itself (thanks, Wikipedia!), and wiring up both a FTDI USB-to-serial converter and a MAX232 level converter IC.  But the results were worth a quick video.  Future improvements could include a way to hide the cursor (hardware modification?) and possibly speeding up draws by only painting the characters that have changed.  What do ya think?

DIY 8×8 LED Array

Like most normal people, I enjoy blinky lights.  Although I helped build the ring of lights in the Tron disc, I was not involved with any of the hardware or software used to actually control the LEDs.  Prior to this project, I had never done anything more than simple PWM control of a few LEDs directly from a micro-controller, so I decided it was a good time to learn how to control a lot of LEDs.  Since this was done for the purpose of learning, I did everything as difficultly as possible, such as building my own LED array on a protoboard instead of just buying an array.  I also wrote code to bit-bang the serial data instead of just using the compiler’s built in SPI function.  But, I wanted a generic serial data module anyway after dealing with the Nokia 6100 and it’s weird 9-bit SPI.  The main point of the whole project was to simply do it myself without asking anyone at the space for help with anything.  I’m sure the code could be a lot better, but it does what it is supposed to do (I think).  :)

RotoFoto Wins First Place

Harford Hackerspace took First Place in the first ever Baltimore Hackathon. It took nearly all 48 hours for us to plan and build RotoFoto. RotoFoto is an automated 3D imaging system that takes a series of 2D images of an object and stitches them into a 360 degree interactive image. This allows viewers to use simple mouse dragging gestures to rotate an object to see if from all angles. Watch the complete build in the below time lapse video. We will demonstrate the build shortly so check back soon.