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BuildFest, June 10, 2006

It has been a while since we made it up to Toronto. It felt good to be back. Yes, back to the smells of soldering irons, sights of tottering robots, and the joys of messing around with technology!

Here are a couple of the day's projects:

Steve Jones brought some single Nx boards. These feature surface mount inverter, resistor, and indicator LED. The inverter is a Schmitt SOT23-5 chip. There are pins for breadboarding and plugs for resistors and capacitors. Depending on how the resistors and capacitors are plugged in, the neurons are either Nvs or Nus. The PCB is an 8-pin DIP for breadboards. Neat!

Nicholas Barker was out in San Mateo for the Maker Faire. He let us know what we missed; including giving some details on the Parallax seminars he attended. In addition to making some cute Blinkybugs, Nicholas built a Thereping (a Theremin which uses a Parallax Ping ultrasonic sensor). It is a neat project, several people can play music simultaneously with a Thereclock to maintain tempo. His BuildFest project was taking the Thereping from the breadboard to perf-board.

We hooked up with Kyle Simmons. For the BuildFest, Kyle was tearing apart Apple iPods and hacking together a working MP3 player. His currents project all have an audio rather than mechanical bent: like a homebrew boombox made entirely from recycled components.

We met a fellow named Peter. His BuildFest project was dissecting a Turbo Twister Mini R/C Stunt Car. The car looked pretty neat but was disappointing in the fact that it does not turn. Peter is also rigging a Sumovore up with a webcam for what promises to be the most high-tech line-following I have ever seen.

Wolfgang gave a presentation on BEAM Biomorphic Robotics and Nervous Nets. You can download the PDF handout, and listen to that presentation by downloading this MP3 file. The audio file is 9,775 KB, 42 Minutes, 32 kBit/s, 24,000 Hz Mono.


Steve Jones' Single BEAM Neuron Boards.

Nicholas Barker's Musical Debut.

Thereclock device.

Thereping instrument.

iPod hacking and repair.

An Apple iPod, exploded (LCD, HDD, PCB).

Kyle Simmons Walkman assembled.

Kyle Simmons Walkman rebuild.

Sumovore line-follower with digital camera.