THOTCON 0×5 Badge Revealed

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THOTCON  is the annual, small venue, hacking conference based in Chicago IL, USA. THOTCON is a non-profit, non-commercial event looking to provide the best conference possible on a very limited budget.

For the past 2 years Workshop 88 has been honored to design and produce the electronic attendee badges for the conference as a service to the local community.  The badge crew this year consisted of: Paul Reich, Bill Paulson, Karl Knutson, Zach Cassity, Russell Lankenau, and Rudy Ristich

This year’s badge was inspired by portable gaming systems from the past and featured  102 x 64 pixel graphic LCD screen and a push button interface. Once again, the badge features an Atmel AVR based microcontroller. The badge used nearly every byte of the 32k available SRAM on its Atmega32u4 chip.  The software consisted of a Break-out style game which participants could play to passtime, a complete schedule of talks and labs for the day long conference,  and the ability to patch into arcade panels hosted in the Hacker Village, and a few surprises for discovering inside.

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Just like the THOTCON 0×4 Badge, the 0×5 Badge is compatible with the Arduino open hardware programming environment and can accept standard Arduino shields. This means the badge can be easily reused and repurposed to power any sort of project. An improvement from last year’s badge is that no additional parts need to be added; conference goers can simply plug the badge into their laptop once burning a bootloader to reprogram it, encouraging easier exploration and badge hacking.

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The badge is designed to be completely open hardware and software.  Workshop 88 would like to thank the open source hardware and software community especially: Arduino, Oliver Kraus and other contributors to the U8glib graphics library, Dean Camera for the LUFA Project, and last, but far from least: Twisted Traces, our local assembly partner in Elk Grove, IL.

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Workshop 88 will be holding a badge hacking contest throughout the month of May.  Judging will consist of a panel from Workshop 88 and the THOTCON crew.  Interested contestants can register on the badge website: http://badge.workshop88.com

Full details on the badge specifications and firmware will be released on May 1st in conjunction with the opening of the badge hacking contest.

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3D printing demos with our Cupcake

We’ve been getting more and more requests for 3D printer demos lately.  Inspired by not wanting to disappoint kids who didn’t even have their first iPad back in the days when it W88LogoRWB1348was magic to be able to 3D print anything – like when our Makerbot Cupcake was hot stuff – Jim has been trying to get the old printer working again.  This W88 logo is one of the latest results.  Not bad for an old 1-color printer!  (Thanks to Bill for the color change tips.)

Its output is no match for current “appliance” 3D printers, but it’s still fine to show the basics in a nice noisy demo.  Details of Jim’s adventures with the printer are captured here.

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Bart Dring talks LinuxCNC and BeagleBone Black

Bart's Delta Router - Probably not going to be there on Saturday, but look at how awesome it is!

Bart’s Delta Router – Not going to be there on Saturday, but look at how awesome it is!

Bart Dring of MakerSlide fame is going to be out at Workshop 88 on Saturday, March 1 demonstrating CNC concepts and giving a brief talk about how he has constructed several CNC builds.  This talk immediately follows Arduino 301: Controlling The World, so come out for both! He has designed and built many great tools, such as a laser cutter, several types of 3D printers, including delta style printers. One of his most recent creations is a delta-style CNC router. Very cool! We look forward to having Bart out at Workshop 88 to share his expertise.

This event is FREE and OPEN to everyone! Please come out and bring a friend.

 

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THOTCON Badge Hacking Contest Begins!

We’ve all had a full week to recover from the THOTCON and B-sides activity here in Chicago and it is time to get back to hacking.    The badge that was distributed to THOTCON attendees was designed to be hacked and reused in your projects. In the spirit of badge hacking we’d like to announce our first badge hacking contest for the attendees of THOTCON 0×4.

The contest will start today and will run until 11:59 pm CT on Monday, May 27th 2013.

The rules are simple: In hacking there are no rules.

Although there are no rules your submission must be reproducible and should include:

  1. Video Demonstration of your Badge Hack
  2. Any applicable schematics for your hack
  3. Any code and compile instructions

In the interest of collaborative learning any requested information about the badge for the purpose of the contest will be shared with other contest participants. All contest submissions will also be archived on the official badge website.

There will be several categories we will judge against, you’re automatically entered to each category:

  • Best overall badge hack (make us say uhh!)
  • Most hackerish hack (what can you hack with the badge?)
  • Most unorthodox hack (does your badge now dispense cat food?)
  • People’s choice (the tubez chuze)

The prizes will be notoriety and some 3D printed randomness courtesy of the badge crew at Workshop 88.

The astute observer will notice that the pin outs on the side of the board fit the Arduino footprint for access to many of the ATMEGA128RFA1′s peripheral systems and compatibility with most Arduino shields.  The badge can be easily reprogrammed  via the unpopulated ICSP header with (at least) the following methods:

If you’re looking to hack your badge over and over again we have a few left over prototyping kits we were selling during the con and you can get them for $20 plus shipping by emailing us here. 

These include all the prototype rails and headers you need to use arduino shields  plus the passive components necessary to power the badge from a wall wart or other external supply.  The power system components are not necessary to reprogram or hack the chip.

Register here for the contest!

 

 

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Public Meetings

Meetings are always open to the public. We encourage everyone to bring projects and ideas to Workshop 88. If you can’t make it to the meeting but still want to share your ideas, just email info@workshop88.com and we’ll be happy to bring it to the table for you. Hope to see you all there!

Feel free to come early to the meetings.  We start the meeting at 7:30pm, when we dive into whatever interesting projects people are working on. But members are often at the space by 6:30 pm.

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Advanced Arduino class

Workshop 88 is offering a continuation of the Arduino classes featuring a concentration on interfacing the arduino with solid state relays, H-bridges and other ways of controlling high voltages sources and motors.

If you already have an arduino, you have all the materials you’ll need for this class.  Otherwise, you can order a kit and we’ll have it for you when you come to the class.

What you need to bring to the class: a laptop with the arduino environment already installed. What you’ll get from the class: an understanding of how to work with the arduino to control motors and 110-voltage devices.

When: April 3rd, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m.

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Printed Circuit Board class!

Minty Boost XL by Robert Hunt

Minty Boost XL by Robert Hunt @flickr

Jim is going to be running our Printed Circuit Board class again. Last time this class was offered it was really well received by those in attendance. This class will cover a variety of etching techniques. If you have any small circuits for which a PCB would be appropriate, let Jim Williams know right away. We might be able to add your boards to the class!

When: March 27, 6:30 – 8:30 pm

Where: Workshop 88 in Glen Ellyn, IL

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Introduction to Python

Python is a cross-platform programming language which is a popular choice for novice and advanced programmers. The design of python emphasizes the readability of code, making it easier for beginning programmers to learn.

In this class we will look at the basic framework of python programming and explore how to begin to design programs in python.

What you should bring to the class: If you want to use your own computer, you should download and install one of the stable versions of python from the python website.

When: March 24, 10:00am – Noon

Where: Workshop 88 in Glen Ellyn, IL

What you will get from the class: understanding of the python interpreter, how python classes are used, a basic understanding of how to write programs in python

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Intermediate Arduino – February 2012

Workshop 88 is offering a follow-up to the Introduction to the Arduino class featuring a concentration on interfacing the arduino with various sensors and learning to use communication protocols with the arduino. If you already have an arduino, you have all the materials you’ll need for this class.  Otherwise, you can order a kit and we’ll have it for you when you come to the class.

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