HacDC contains numerous enthusiasts active in both software and hardware projects, and although these categories divide, they can be difficult to define. On Monday and Wednesday nights at the space, microcontroller and electronics enthusiasts meet, and on Thursday nights hobbyists of artificial intelligence and natural language processing gather.
HacDC’s NARG group is beginning a project that offers one way to bridge the gap between these rough groupings. Blinky lights and LEDs have always been a foundation of microcontroller work, and as actuators they can be surprisingly dense. Interested in the “smart home” concept, HacDC’s NARG group would like to establish an ambient lighting platform with an API that could link into various algorithms — smart, simple, or silly — to affect the color and intensity of lighting in the space. Potential controlling factors include weather, natural language commands, and inferences about the “mood” of the space from sensor data. This could start as one light, like an ambient orb, and potentially expand to a complex network of lights and LED “objects.” This effort could also merge with a larger, long-term project HacDC has to create a master network to communicate with microcontroller projects in the space via XMPP, radio, and WiFi.
On Thursday, July 29, 2010 at 7PM, NARG will discuss and outline the hardware and software needs for this platform. This meeting, like all HacDC meetings, is free and open to the public. And please feel free to keep visiting NARG on Thursdays and Microcontroller Mondays to help this project develop.