Electromagnetic Field has come and gone. 1500 makers all assembled in a field in Guildford, England for three days and as you can imagine, it was cool projects galore. Tindie and Hackaday hosted a bring-a-hack event on Friday, there was a great turnout and loads of great projects. Here are some of those projects and other discoveries I made during the EMF weekend.
WS2811 LED Light Staff:
This light staff looks pretty cool when stationary. Start spinning it around and you can see some
POV effects at work displaying crazy patterns. The lights are run using a Teensy with some LiPo batteries stuffed into the handle of the staff. Made by electronic engineer David Hopkis.
This Fire Pong installation made by Nottingham hackspace was a huge hit with festival goers. The idea is there are 12 gas solenoid valves lined up in a row, each releasing a spurt of gas one after another to simulate a moving ball of flame. There is a person with a bat standing at each end and you can only swing the bat when the flame ball is within the four actuators closest to you. Any further than that and the ‘ball’ is not in your court so the swing isn’t counted.
With each successful hit of the bat things speed up and it becomes increasingly challenging to time your swing to be in your bit of the court. Each bat has a Wii remote built-in for gyro sensing as well as a vibration motor which provides haptic feedback to simulate hitting a real ball. Before a match you are given a few test swings to get a feel for the bat and where about in the swing it registers a hit. Getting used to the bat and timing your swing makes the game deceptively challenging and very fun to play.
StarPi : Raspberry Pi based Astrophotography
StarPi creator Chris Dick hooked up his telescope eyepiece to a Raspberry Pi camera but quickly ran into the problem of having no idea what he was looking at. The open source astronomy sky map software Stellarium has a plugin for motorized telescopes which solves this problem.
StarPi was born to connect a computer running Stellarium to a telescope equipped with motors and a Raspi. This allows for object tracking and knowing precisely what and where you are looking at. There are commercial solutions available but cost hundreds of dollars, StarPi is a nice and low cost solution to the problem. You can view the full project write-up over on Chris’ Hackaday io page.
Huge thanks to Oxford hackspace for hosting the Tindie/Hackaday brink-a-hack. Check out Hackaday writer and Oxford Hackspace member Jenny Lists write-up of the EMF weekend.
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