HacDC Summer School 2013

Attendees at Summer School 2013 kickoff kit-buildHacDC Summer School 2013 is doing a whiplash, 4-workshop tour of physical computing using Arduino, Processing and Sparkfun’s Danger Shield. A group of curious attendees, many from non-technical backgrounds that range from law and philosophy to the arts, have learned to solder by assembling the Danger Shield (DS). The DS is an ideal learning project and fits in perfectly with the free series’ exploration of physical computing. It has a variety of input/output devices and is well suited for simulating the kind of sensing and control of the physical environment that makers need for their home brewed projects and media art.
Soldering during Summer School 2013 kickoff kit-build
The workshops have covered soldering, the basics of Arduino programming and interfacing, a crash course on programming in the astoundingly great environment of Processing, and next week’s closing workshop will tie it all together when they will use the DS via Arduino to manipulate live video capture.

This popular series was designed and developed by a handful of HacDC members and we hope to eventually offer it online. It will complement a curriculum on physical computing with a follow-up workshop series on microcontroller programming and a lead-in series on basic electronics. Join our MeetUp Group to stay informed about future sessions.

Feel free to visit HacDC if you want to learn about all aspects of DIY electronics and programming, or to work on your own projects. We have a range of equipment that can help you make stuff!

Awesome photos by doubly awesome HacDC member, MissionControl! (Licensed CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

HacDC Amateur Radio Club Field Day 2013

When: June 22-23 2013   arrl_logo
Where: HacDC Space
Talk-in Frequency: 146.500 MHz Simplex
Set-up: Saturday Morning
Contesting: 2:00 PM Saturday until 2:00 PM Sunday
Tear down: Sunday Afternoon
Please join the HacDC Amateur Radio Club participate on ARRL Field Day.   Field Day is a national amateur radio emergency preparedness drill and informal contest to make contact with amateur radio operators all over the United States and  Canada.   We will run our radios on solar power and batteries to practice how we might operate in an emergency.
Whether you’re a currently licensed radio operator, interested in learning more about ham radio, or just want to join us for food and fun – you’re invited!

Project Byzantium ported to the Raspberry Pi!

Project Byzantium logoThe dev team for HacDC’s awesome, incubated Project Byzantium (PB) has ported their “ad-hoc mesh networking for the zombie apocalypse” platform to the Raspberry Pi. As the 1st milestone of their recent ISC grant award, they’ve started a parallel repository for ByzPi, their PB port for ARM, currently for Raspbian:

We opted to use Raspbian because it seems to be the more popular of the two [commonly installed Raspberry Pi Linux distributions]. Also, the packaging process for Debian was better understood than that for Arch Linux by the Project Byzantium team. We’re in a rapid development cycle so we wanted to hit the ground running and accomplish as much as possible in the available time before the first milestone.

Congratulations to The Doctor, Ben the Pyrate, and haxwithaxe!

HacDC is five years old!

HacDC Opening Night PortraitLongtime active HacDC member and former board member Martin notes that five years ago today is when one of our co-founders announced on our blog that HacDC has “officially organized, filled out the annoying paperwork and found a location in which to conduct our secretly awesome experiments.” It’s hard to believe that five years have passed since that time, and we’re happy to report that our awesome experiments continue! Here are some of the things we’ve done in our half decade of existence:Blue LED

  • held classes and workshops on robotics, AVR microcontrollers, bicycle maintenance, electron tubes, Python, visual communications, LED cubes, Scheme, tea, artificial intelligence, disassembly, and many other topics
  • launched—and retrieved!—five high-altitude balloons, a.k.a. spaceblimps, the latest reaching an altitude of 118,533 ftbye bye, balloon!
  • acquired 501(c)3 nonprofit status, meaning your donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law, so donate now!
  • hosted six rounds of lightning talks
  • formed W3HAC, an ARRL-affiliated, FCC-licensed amateur radio club
  • set up 3D printers, a CNC mill, a lathe, a drill press, and a fully automatic espresso machine :) with plans underway to acquire a laser cutter
  • hatched GrindDC, a weekly “meatup” where biohackers research topics like materials biocompatibility and neurostimulation
  • developed Project Byzantium, a live Linux distribution that delivers easy-to-use, secure, and robust ad-hoc wireless mesh networking

HacDC Group photo from September, 2010 Meeting

We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to founders Nick Farr, Andrew Righter, Alli Treman, Eric Michaud, et al for creating HacDC back when U.S. hackerspaces were few and far between. And since then we’ve thrived thanks to the support of countless members and friends who’ve given generously of their time, labor, and money to make HacDC an awesome community. Please consider supporting us so we can be around to foster curiosity and creativity in technology for the next five years.