HACDC Robotics Class 2011

Come to the space, Saturday, June 4th, 2011, from 10:30am to 12:30pm for the first of six classes covering topics in contemporary robotics using the Robot Operating System and a robot custom designed for this course. For course costs, prerequisites, and a syllabus, see the course wiki page:


HacDC Science is back, baby! This time it is neuroscience…

Thank to help from several of my fellow HacDCers, I have my HacDC website access working again, and you know what that means- more SCIENCE content! Today a quick pointer to a fascinating article on the computer simulation of a mammalian brain – or at least an important portion of one- the neocortical column from a common laboratory mouse. The cool thing is that they generated much of the data needed to run the simulation (at the scale of one processor per neuron right now) by using laboratory robots to generate a huge number of experiments on living mouse cells, the data from which were put directly into the simulator. Very, very interesting approach, and an equally cool result- reproducible prediction of the brain’s response to stimuli by the model, which matches perfectly with what is observed in the living mouse. We are getting close to where we are only Moore’s Law away from being able to do the same thing with a human brain. If you read the article here: https://seedmagazine.com/content/article/out_of_the_blue/ be sure and ask me about my related funny Terry Sejnowski story.

Peter W. Singer on “Wired For War” at HacDC (June 2)

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We are pleased to announce that on Tuesday, June 2 at 7:30PM bestselling author Peter W. Singer will give a talk on military robotics and his new book Wired for War at the HacDC space.

Peter Warren Singer is Senior Fellow and Director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative at the Brookings Institution, and he is the youngest scholar named Senior Fellow in the 90-year history of Brookings. His new book looks at the implications of military robotics on war, politics, ethics, and law in the 21st century. Described as “an exhaustively researched book, enlivened by examples from popular culture” by the Associated Press and “awesome” by Jon Stewart of The Daily Show, Wired for War made the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list in its first week of release. It has already been featured in the video game Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriot, and Singer has given presentations on the book to a diverse array of military and civilian audiences.

We will be posting more information as this event approaches, but please do spread the word to media, listservs, or other communities of interest. HacDC is a nonprofit community space for people who experiment with all kinds of technology, and we have a strong group interest in robotics. In addition to robotics hobbyists, this event should appeal to people who work in public policy, engineering, military, and other fields in the Washington, D.C. area; we welcome all to the space. For specific information about the event or if you would like to cover it as press, please contact Todd Fine at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Where: HacDC (1525 Newton St NW, Washington, DC)
Date: Tuesday, June 2, 2009
Time: 7:30PM

Robotic Action — Bring Safety Glasses

Saturday! Saturday! Saturday!  Get ready to watch some burning polymer! Cheer as human sized robots compete on a half basket ball sized court,  attempting to stuff each other with plastic orbit balls, slipping and spinning on a low friction plastic floor.  Each two minute match runs six robots, designed by six different high school teams.  Matches run continuously all day until 4:30pm on Friday and Saturday, until all 60 robots from 12+ states have competed several times. See the live web cast.

I will be there with my team, 2008 Regional Champions, George Mason High School

GMHS Robotics Team in action for 2009

If you are of the hacking kind, you might enjoy helping troubled future engineers, with there troubled robots!  Bring your safety glasses, or buy some at the competition, and look for the “pit” — or find someone to show you around.  This is not about making robots, ya know, its about showing kids that making and engineering are MORE FUN that rock stars and sports bars.

Learn the rules of the game, the kit of parts, Compact-Rio industrial controller, and more on the right hand side of this page.

Friday February 27 and Saturday, Feb 28 9:00a at the Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC
Directions, schedule and specifics