Make: AVR Programming released this week

Make: AVR Programming

Way back in February/March of 2011, The Late Elliot Williams (TLEW)Δ taught a 6-session AVR Microcontroller Class that introduced hardware programming beyond Arduino to an eager roomful of wannabe bare-metal programmers.

Elliot‘s hard work on that course and it’s 2009 iteration formed the germ for the shiny new 472-page Make: AVR Programming Learning to Write Software for Hardware, released this week by Maker Media, Inc.:

Atmel’s AVR microcontrollers are the chips that power Arduino, and are the go-to chip for many hobbyist and hardware hacking projects. In this book you’ll set aside the layers of abstraction provided by the Arduino environment and learn how to program AVR microcontrollers directly. In doing so, you’ll get closer to the chip and you’ll be able to squeeze more power and features out of it.

We’re big fans of the Arduino but sometimes our projects demand smaller size, less power consumption, more control, faster processing, and/or MOAR CHIPS! (You can buy almost 10 of Atmel’s ATmega328 AVR chips for the average price of one Arduino.)

Photo of HacDC's 2011 AVR Class Project PCB Kit (assembled) ©2011 Elliot Williams

For the 2011 class, TLEW designed a(n awesome) custom PCB to illustrate major topics. [2011 AVR Kit wiki page.]

Δ Elliot is alive and well. However, he’s dead to us, mostly because after he left DC it was decreed that we would forevermore immaturely express our separation anxiety by referring to him only as “The Late Elliot Williams”.

Raspberry Pi Roadshow Visits HacDC September 26 @ 7:30 pm

The Raspberry Pi Foundation presents the Raspberry Pi – an ARM GNU Linux development board for $25:

RaspberryPi: Past, Present & Future – An introduction to the RaspberryPi, including an overview of its history and development, details on the technical specification and an outline of future developments with many cool tech demos along the way. Followed by a Q&A session.

Tech Demos:
A chance to demonstrate various OS’s, new revisions of the Pi and the latest add-on expansion hardware.

A Taste of RaspberryPi – A chance to play with the RaspberryPi hands-on.

Show & Tell / Prizes:
An opportunity to display RaspberryPi projects from the community with prizes for notable projects.

This event, as with all HacDC events, is free and open to the public.

For more information about Raspberry Pi:

Microcontroller Mondays are Awesome

James and I stopped by last week to check out the what members were doing at Microcontroller Mondays! We talked to several people working on cool projects. Pictures below you can see someone knitting. You might wonder, as we did, what that has to do with microcontrollers. They are actually working on a piece of installation art where the piece of knit will be controlled by the microcontroller.

Learn how to make Soundscapes with Python and Arduino

SoundscapeA soundscape is “an environment of sound (or sonic environment) with emphasis on the way it is perceived and understood by the individual, or by a society” (Barry Truax, *Handbook for Acoustic Ecology*). Soundscapes can include natural sounds (like animal noises or weather) and/or environmental sounds that result from human activities.

Microcontrollers connected to both external sensors and computers (by serial or wireless communication) offer a wonderful and accessible platform to generate complex and interactive soundscapes. Light, motion, distance, and temperature sensors, along with large buttons (in this case crafted with piezoelectric devices inserted into felt-crafted designs) and computer-monitored variables such as time of day, rate of online activity, season, etc. can add mountains of additional texture to a soundscape.

Using Arduino and a soundscape package for Python called Boodler (see, we will explore and discuss the potential for highly personalized soundscapes that incorporate microcontrollers. The speaker, Todd Fine, has only very recently begun playing with Boodler, but he is interested in introducing it to others interested in soundscapes, Python, or Arduino.

When: Thursday,  March 26, 2009  @ 7:00 pm
Where: HacDC Headquarters
Cost: Free and Open to the Public