Two of our members, Paul and Eric, recently took initiative to rework the electronics lab. The lab has already seen quite a bit of traffic in less than two weeks of being operational. Big thanks to Paul and Eric for all of their hard work and the materials that they provided for this remodel of one of the most important rooms at Workshop 88!
Workshop 88 co-founders Jay Margalus and Russ Lankenau recently gave a talk titled “Open Hardware and the Future of Games”. In their presentation they talk about a lot of things including Workshop 88, Raspberry Pi, open hardware initiatives, games as culture and much more. It’s always awesome to see what has come out of the work done by Workshop 88 members!
Russ is the current president of Workshop 88. He and Jay run an independent game company called Lunar Giant as well as a coworking space in Mokena, IL called SpaceLab.
The cornerstone of the THOTCON 0×4 design was to create a platform for a variety of electronics and radio projects. We’d like to showcase projects people have centered around this year’s AVR based PCB. The winning entry to our contest is called badgesniff and comes from Mike Ryan (@justfalter). Mike’s work is a powerful use of the radio on the badge. Not only did Mike create a custom firmware for sniffing the 802.15.4 spectrum via the badge but also a client application for saving the data to pcap files and instructions for setting up the environment on Ubuntu!
Kudos to Mike for creating such a useful tool with great documentation and instructions. His submission certainly surpassed our expectations.
We’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to explore the badge for THOTCON 0×4. If you have a project you couldn’t submit before the deadline last week we’d like to post your work here and archive
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:
Video Demonstration of your Badge Hack
Any applicable schematics for your hack
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:
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.
Here are some pictures from the space the night before Thotcon. Quite a few of the boards had been poorly soldered during manufacturing, and we had to do hot-air rework on them to get them to work. Rudy was the hot-air magic man, but there were a bunch of people working to process all the badges.
Workshop88 has been the recipient of lots of donated electronic parts. An effort of an hour a week or so over the last several months to sort through them is starting to show some results, so some random jottings on what’s back in the lab seem useful.
An awful lot of resistors are back there. If anyone needs virtually any value of 1/8th watt thru hole resistor you can probably find it, along with a pretty full set of surface mount resistors. There are also some larger wattage resistors, though they’re not as sorted out.
The thru hole or breadboard LED supply is also well stocked. Many colors and several sizes are back there.
One useful looking find last night was a half dozen PIC processors, PIC16C745. These have built in low speed USB, so they could be used in any project that needs a USB port to control or monitor something else. While not the latest part, at least they’re from this millennium.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on what’s available in the electronics bins for members. While most of what’s there is far from leading edge, for breadboarding purposes it’s ideal. One project that Jim and I have discussed is to have a simple PCB manufacture setup right in the room, so that an idea could go from concept to populated board in a couple of hours.
The Quest Academy in Palatine is opening an “Innovation Center” next year that will include a 3D printer for the kids to use. Vinnie Vrotny, director of academic technology, asked Workshop88 to bring a couple 3D printers to a benefit event last evening. Proceeds of the event will help fund the center.
I brought the MakerBot Cupcake up to Hoffman Estates. I’d pictured a junior high gym as a venue – in fact the benefit was at a pretty upscale banquet hall. Initially I thought that jeans and hiking boots might not be suitable among the tuxedos and gowns, but I think our demo was very successful. Lots of people stopped for lengthy conversations, and were quite interested in the tech. It didn’t hurt that the printers were right next to the open bar.
We should keep some open contacts with the school, as some of our aims match well with theirs.