Our second public event in as many years was held last weekend at the Drogheda Arts Festival. Over the course of two days we had a number of stands allowing members of the public to learn how to solder LED badges, connect everyday items to the internet, learn how to make LED Graffiti and watch our doodlebot in action! We also had a number of members projects on display including a retro arcade cabinet and an LED matrix. During the two days we also met many people interested in Lightbox Labs. It was great fun and we had a busy but fun packed weekend and we really hope to do it again next year! Here are some shots from the Saturday and Sunday.
Doodle Bot doing his thing.
Learning about LED Graffiti
LED Graffitti - Space Invader
Learning How To Solder
Making music with vegetables and virtual synths and playing space invaders with conductive ink
“Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It's intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.”
With 2014 fast approaching I thought it best time to post a "2013 year in review" for Lightbox Lab. We are now in our second year in existence and we are almost a year in our current space at Millmount RDC in Drogheda. Everything we hoped to achieve in 2013 has been done. Our club bank account was created, Millmount RDC have given us the a space we need for members to work and storage of equipment and membership payment is in place.
We have also built up a steady stream of funding from membership payments, non-member donations and from various workshops we ran over the year. This allows us to continue to use our current residence and also to put aside some funding for equipment in 2014.
This year also saw Lightbox Lab become involved with other events that took place such as Coder Dojo's DojoCon 2013 in Slane Castle and the Dundalk Youth Arts festival. We also attended Gaelhack in Waterford, a new event organised by Irelands hackerspace community which we will be more involved with next year.
Plenty of interesting projects were worked on in the space during the year by members, some of which have been documented on this site. Our weekly FREE! open night on Tuesday continues to allow anyone, members and non-members alike to come in and work on their own projects or a group project, use some of the equipment or to just bounce ideas or questions off like-minded people in the space.
Our members and our regular non-members at the open night have a range of interests. From electronics, hacking and gaming to music and other creative uses of technology. In 2014 we hope to hold even more workshops and to hopefully hold more regular events during the week.
We are always interested in hearing more from people in the Louth/Meath area and beyond who would like to get involved or who are just curious about what we do. You don't have to be an expert or even know what you are doing! just a sense of wanting to learn and/or get creative in something you are interested in within an easy-going environment is all that is required.
Picking up ADS-B Flight messages ON a €40 Raspberry Pi
After listening to a talk by RenderMan DEFCON 20: RenderMan on ADS-B (Interesting talk) I came accross a few threads on how it was possible to recieve these ADS-B broadcasts using no more than a Raspberry Pi and a €8 DVB-T digital tv usb dongle.
As I had a Raspberry Pi spare I decided to see if I could get this working on my Pi. After doing a bit of research on a compatible usb dongle it transpired that I needed one that could tune into the 1090 MHz range to pick up ADS-B broadcasts. This led me to the RTL2832U/E4000 or a newer RTL2832U/R820T chip/tuner combination that tune into 1090 MHz and there are plenty of these out there on eBay. Please do double check the specifications before purchasing from the link. The one I purchased was this one.
I found a great How To guide online from a guy called David Taylor http://www.satsignal.eu/raspberry-pi/dump1090.html explaining the complete setup and following the guide worked to the letter. He explains it all fully and there are plenty of other links with further information on his site. It is recomended to use a powered usb hub but for me anyway it worked fine from one of the usb ports on the Raspberry Pi. Even using the dedicated mini areil that came with the dongle I was soon able to pick up plenty of aircraft traffic within a range of around 150 km. Impressive for €8 :) I intend to make a cheap homemade antenae when I've some time.
I grew up in the 70/80's which was where my love for arcade games grew.A lot of 10p's were fed into the Space Invader and Asteroid cabinets during my childhood. I always dreamed of owning an arcade cabinet but I was never really in a position or had the space to follow it through.Two things that recently changed this recently were my introduction to the Lightboxlab Hackerspace in Drogheda which helped cured my long term procrastination and secondly the release of the Raspberry Pi. Information on hackerspaces can be found here and more information on the amazing Raspberry Pi can be found here.
My Arcade Cabinet requirements in no particular order were
- As cheap as possible
- Semi portable
- Real Arcade Joystick and Button controls
- Putting my Raspberry Pi to good use
- Having a Lightboxlab slant
- Not too complicated
Saturday 13th April members from Drogheda’s Lightbox Lab and Dublin’s TOG (http://www.tog.ie/) hackerspaces took along some of our projects and ideas to the DojoCon conference held in Slane Castle. It was Jester aka Martin Mitchell from TOG who initially suggested that it would be a great idea to have some representation from the irish hackerspace community at the event. So a after a few emails to Graham at CoderDojo Drogheda who also thought it would be a great idea, we put the wheels in motion to get a stand arranged.
TOG are well used to public events but this was to be Lightbox Lab’s first venture outside of our workshop in Millmount and we all were quite new to planning the logistics, so we naturally wanted it be as successful as possible. A week beforehand we got some of our projects organised and ready for the Saturday. And thanks to Paul Doyle and family we were also well set with flyers, posters, and our new banner.
On the Saturday we picked up Jeffrey and Jester from TOG at Drogheda bus station, got ourselves some breakfast and then made our way to Slane Castle.
We knew there might be issues with getting an internet connection in the exhibition area but we had made sure we had a backup plan to get ourselves a reasonable connection so we set this up first. After that we were pretty much set and we set up a bunch of projects and hands on tutorials for people to play with, this included Jester’s lockpicking tutorial, Paddy’s Arduino projects, Paul’s games emulators running on Raspberry Pi, Cians 3D printer, my own playdough and banana powered makey makey sip phone :-) and of course Jeffrey Roe’s soldering tutorial.
The morning was reasonably quiet but there was a steady stream of CoderDojo delegates, organisers and volunteers visiting the stands and getting stuck into the lockpicking and soldering tutorials. Jeffrey later said that about forty people learned to solder on the day!
However come lunchtime we were pretty much swamped for about an hour and a half, there was a lot of interest in hacker and maker spaces and I was surprised to learn how many people had not heard of the community in Ireland. However I think we all did a good job of explaining that it is a community open to anyone interested in exploring technology and that its not just for people who are well skilled in the area.
It also looks like we could have done with another body on the soldering stand, Jeffrey was flat out especially at lunchtime.
Shortly after lunch it was time to bring things to a close, pack up and then head back to Drogheda for some celebratory drinks.
This was of course the time to relax and go over what went well and what we could do better next time round. It was also great to catch up in the pub with the lads from TOG where we discussed ideas around running hackerspaces and some upcoming irish hacker events, most notably Gaelhack which will be a community run event in Waterford in June. details here ( http://gaelhack.hackerspaces.ie/ )
So a fun first day out for Lightbox Lab overall with thanks to CoderDojo for hosting us and of course to TOG for coming up from down south. And of course we hope to do a lot more over the next year or so.