Archive for June, 2009
The Hacker Space Festival preparation is well under way. Already, people from the Netherlands, Germany, Greece and Sweden showed up. More than 200 registrations were made so far and we’re waiting for the crowd to show up on Saturday morning. Meanwhile, if you’re around and want to give a hand during build-up, you’re welcome anytime: most of us are already in hack-mode and won’t leave the place before the end of HSF.
Check the directions on the hackerspace.net website.
Here is a small tool whose purpose is to make simple slide-shows with a Milkymist board.
It will be used on June 28th at Hacker Space Fest 2009 to give a presentation about Milkymist using itself
As it is extremely simple, it is also a good example of how to write a custom firmware for Milkymist. This tool is pure software, which is booted by the Milkymist BIOS using any supported method (read from the CF card or downloaded via the RS232 link) and executed by the softcore CPU. It does not require any modification of the FPGA bitstream.
The last two pictures are from Gieszer 16.
There, I have been to Raumfahrtagentur, a small geek collective with a strong taste for mechanics. An interesting project there is the modification of bikes to add electric propulsion. All it takes is a special brush-less motor mounted in the center of the wheel, some electronics to control it properly, and batteries. No gears or other complex mechanics !
I have also been to micro_research, where they run many interesting projects in connection with electricity or electronics; like Kirlian photography, TEMPEST, or making maps of electromagnetic emissions. They’re having an interesting event on June 27th, which is sadly at the same time as the HSF in Paris.
The c-base is starting an ambitious project called Open Moon, whose goal is to take part in the Google Lunar X Prize contest, consisting in landing a robot on the Moon which would take pictures and send them to the Earth.
Berlin is also quite open about squatting, as seen on this poster advertising the upcoming occupation of the defunct Tempelhof airport :
I have been to the famous Koepi 137, a big squat near the center of Berlin. There are many people living there, and it has concert rooms, a cinema, and an “info point” where you can get books, brochures and t-shirts. It’s quite nice; however, some of its parts are really dirty and there were drugged people, unfortunately contributing to the negative image of squats.
The entrance to the info point has a map of squatter-friendly places in Berlin, and a list of civil cop cars :
Sublab is celebrating its first anniversary tomorrow.
The visit of Das Labor was excellent. They really have an eclectic set of projects, ranging from cryptography and network security to FPGA system-on-chip design. Even a chemistry lab is being talked about. They also have a good taste for LED gadgets, with things like homemade T-Shirts on which you can play Tetris with a wireless joystick.
I have played a bit with soc-lm32 that they develop and found out why the Mico32 softcore CPU it uses had poor performance – it was configured to use an asynchronous reset which does not play well with DSP48 slices and caused problems and critical paths in the multiplier. I’m now seriously thinking about switching to Mico32 in Milkymist – the AEMB processor currently in use has a few problems.
Last night at HSB we had a JTAG finder workshop, during which we quickly hacked together a JTAG scanner for the ATmega328, called Arduinull (it’s not a port of Hunz’s JTAG finder as we initially planned to do). It is compatible with Arduino Duemilanove, so that people from low-standard DIY websites for the masses will see it and go “wow!”.
You can download the files here. They are public domain ; copyright is irrelevant on such a trivial piece of software. It tries every JTAG pinout on the 6-pin
port C of the microcontroller analog input connector of the Arduino, shifts a pattern into the IR chain and tries to read it back. Add protective 330 ohm resistors in series with your device.
A possible improvement would be to add a relay controlled by the
AVR microcontroller Arduino to power-cycle the device, in case the JTAG chip gets confused. Also, it should detect the IR length and reject a length of zero which is more likely due to two pins connected together.
They’re having a “hacknight” on July 11. Come visit them if you can, you won’t regret it, even if you’re too lazy to learn Swedish !
Utkanten itself is already well worth visiting, and has excellent freegan food.
There are also plans for setting up another geek collective in Stockholm.