Eclipse 2017 Balloon pictures

This blog post contains images from the balloon taken by two of the three Raspberry Pi Zero cameras on-board.  Unfortunately the third suffered catastrophic data loss (probably upon landing) and everything on its SD-card was lost.  One of the Pi cameras faced outward from the side of the payload and the other at about a 30° angle off of straight down.

About 5 minutes after launch.

 

Looking at Shoshoni, WY soon after launch.

 

Totality approaching.  Balloon altitude is about 28,000 feet (8500 m).

 

Shadow approaching on the ground.

 

Start of totality in the clouds.

 

Totality.

 

Shadow receding on the ground.

 

And in the clouds…

At about 45,000 feet (13,700 m).  Temperature outside is about -58 F (-50 C).

 

About 80,000 feet (25,000 m). -12 F outside (-24 C).

 

The ground from near the highest point the balloon reached (94,000 feet/28,600 m). It took about 3 1/2 hours to reach this.

 

Just as the parachute burst. Decent was 27 minutes.

 

Just about to land. Balloon all tangled up.

 

A SSDV photo received by the launch team shortly after launch. Some packets lost.

 

Short youtube video showing eclipse

Eclipse 2017 High Altitude Balloon

A handful and a half of our hackers collaborated over the past several weeks to design and launch a high altitude helium-filled balloon during the recent total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.

The balloon was kitted out with cameras, sensors and way-finding equipment. After being aloft for about 3.5 hours, the increasing altitude contributed to the balloon’s anticipated popping and rapid fall back to earth. It traveled around 100 miles, capturing video and photos before, during and after the eclipse.

This project page from our Wiki, prepared pre-launch, contains a wealth of details about the endeavor, including specs of the equipment, testing needs, and compliance considerations leading up to the launch. Member Dan Julio also posted about the project on Hackaday.

The balloon crew included SSD members Brandon Skari, Dan Julio, Tim Pegg, Andrew Bigoney, Specter, Rob Bryan, Sarah Gjestvang, along with additional crewmembers Kate, Bob, Tessa, Jason, and Sarah’s family.

A remote launch site surrounded by land with considerable public access to make recovery easier was carefully researched prior to the launch, though modified after reviewing different wind forecasts. The crew gradually assembled starting Friday night through Sunday, traveling from Boulder to an area about 10 miles ESE of Shoshoni Wyoming. The group split into three teams: a launch team, a recovery team and a remote telemetry receiver in Casper.

Most team members were on the launch team, who released the balloon at about 10:30 am. The initial climb rate of 2.5 m/s was a bit slower than expected and meant that the balloon was ultimately aloft for longer than initially anticipated.

The balloon traveled almost due east, eventually succumbing to the effects of partial vacuum about 20 miles north of Casper after reaching a maximum altitude of over 90,000 feet! At that point the balloon burst, and it and its payload quickly fell to earth. The recovery team, consisting of Kate, Bob, Sarah and her family, found out that the payload had landed on a private ranch. The balloon was found in about 5 hours near the last LoRa telemetry message.

In 360-degree video footage captured aloft during the event, a noticeable shadow can be seen visibly encroaching from the west over the land below. A few minutes later, totality arrived at approximately 11:39 AM. The darkened sky showed stars and the solar corona. The balloon’s cameras continued filming along its eastward trek for almost another hour before the balloon burst.

This endeavor generated a lot of interest and activity at SSD, and many thanks for helping go to: Todd LaWall, Chrobi, John West, and John Maushammer!

Spring BBQ and Spruce-Up This Past Saturday

This past Saturday over a dozen members and guests gave some well-needed TLC to our our space and enjoyed a late lunch of tasty grilled burgers and brats.

While not exactly a tradition, we have these combination bbq / clean-up / build events at least a couple times a year. For example, last fall one of the center tables in the main room of the space was built, and last spring several members built the built-in wall-side table that is also in the main room.

In addition to grilling up the meats and vegs that were enjoyed by all, Dan straightened up the Admin room and Electronics room.

Meanwhile in the wood shop, Ted and friends removed excess scrap wood, did some general cleaning up, and rearranged the tools for better access.

The entryway and Snackerspace are all sparkly now, courtesy of Specter and son.

A few of the other many accomplishments included: Brandon tackled the floors in the metal shop and beyond, Jay transferred items cluttering up common areas to the member and other storage shelves, Nick got the mask glowing again, and Liz guided several additions to our bios webpage.

Remember to stay tuned to our Meetup page to keep posted on future events!

Learning Arduino at the Hackerspace

An introduction to the arduino, the development software, and interfacing with basic hardware. The class will be broken up into two days, split one week apart. The first session will be an introduction to the arduino, and coding, and simple examples

The second session will be a deeper dive into the world of arduino using examples

No experience with arduino is necessary.

What to bring: 1 laptop
Cost:$100 for non-members, $90 for members

What you ge for $100 :

Instruction – we are going to be working through this fantastic manual from Sparkfun

Sparkfun Inventors Kit

When: Wednesday 2/15 7:30 to 9:30pm, and Wednesday 2/22 7:30 to 9:30pm

Where: Solid State Depot

Total Students: 8 (to see ammount of seats remaining see the eventbrite page)

Teachers: Paul Sobczak and Chris Davidoff

Sign up: EventBrite

Sparkfun is located right here on the Front Range, but our class will be held at Solid State Depot, Boulder’s Local Hackerspace.

Stephen in the news

Member Stephen Chavez has been making waves again — following his presentation with an SSD member at Defcon 24, he travelled to China and won an award at the GeekPwn 2016 hacking contest.  And now, just after his graduation from Metro State University in Denver, he has been featured on Denver’s 9News.

Stephen and friends have been hacking his electric wheelchair with the goal to make it semi-autonomous.  Unable to talk, he uses a computer keyboard to communicate; a task that cannot be done while controlling the chair’s joystick. As a result, he cannot “talk” and “walk” at the same time.  With a semi-autonomous chair, he can set it to follow a friend or drive on a path while avoiding obstacles — freeing his hands to type and communicate.

Stephen’s wheel chair is a product of PGDT.  The chair utilizes a proprietary protocol that runs over the same CAN interface found in all late model cars and trucks.  PGDT calls the protocol R-net.  R-net is deployed on the wheelchair to allow the various devices and interfaces on the vehicle to communicate with each other.  There are no public documents about the R-net protocol.  Stephen worked with a team of hackers to reverse-engineer this protocol and take control of the wheelchair’s internal network.  “We’ve learned that power wheelchair hacking is also closely related to car hacking”

Stephen Chavez. Photo by Sara Hertwig

Stephen Chavez.
Photo by Sara Hertwig

ElectroPumpkins for Halloween

An Arduino, a bit of ws2812 LED strip, and some sanded acrylic tube make the perfect light for a jack-o-lantern.  If you’ve ever wanted to play with the intelligent LEDs like the ws2812, I highly recommend using FastLED to drive them.  The library has a good set of examples bundled with it, one of which is the Fire2012 example.  You can see that in action in the embedded video below.  For these two pumpkins, I used some very simple code that cycles them through the HSV color wheel at 100% saturation and 100% value.  See the code at the end of the post.

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And now for the code:

 

#include "FastLED.h"
#define NUM_LEDS 20
#define LED_PIN 5

// Define the array of leds
CRGB leds[NUM_LEDS];

void setup() { 
   FastLED.addLeds<WS2812, LED_PIN, BGR>(leds, NUM_LEDS);
}

#define HUE_DELTA 1
#define TIMEOUT 200

void loop() {
   static uint8_t hue = 0;
   // Turn the LED on, then pause
   for( int idx = 0; idx < NUM_LEDS; idx++)
   {
      leds[idx].setHSV( hue, 0xff, 0xff);
   }
   FastLED.show();
   delay(TIMEOUT);
   hue += HUE_DELTA;
}

 

CNC Drawing class

Thursday night’s CNC Basics class went well, and will likely be a recurring class.  Be sure to keep looking on our Meetup page for the next one if you missed it.

 

10/27/2016 - CNC Basics, Phase 1: drawing

10/27/2016 – CNC Basics, Phase 1: drawing

Fall Fixin’ Stuff BBQ

This past weekend, about a dozen or so of our members spent part of Sunday afternoon spiffing up the space and enjoying a tasty BBQ. 20161023_192001
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We had a crew working magic in the electronics room (behold the new ‘wall of resistance’), and another group that built a sturdy (and mobile!) base for one of our main room center tables.

A few more of us spent some time clearing the dust in the wood shop and doing some general straightening up in other parts of the space. And we couldn’t have asked for a nicer fall afternoon to open the doors and enjoy each other’s company while munching on burgers, brats, veggies, potato salad, fruit and cookies!

We had a similar event at the end of June, which resulted in a new wall-mounted table being built for the main room (seen in the background of the middle photo above). The dedication of our members is immeasurable and paramount to creating and recreating our useful and fun space. A warm and hearty thank you to all who participated in these events!

Denver Mini Maker Faire 2016 recap in pictures

SSD members turned out in force the the mini maker fair held at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the crowd was fantastic.

Jim’s Drawbot was a huge draw — one girl adored it and was thrilled when he gave her the drawing it had just made!

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Terry’s soccer scoring system got the most interest and kids loved rolling tennis balls through the goalposts and watching it mark their point.  Pictured behind is the mini version of John English’s Soundpuddle, set up by Tijlon.

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Jennifer’s automatic dog play system also entertains kids pretty well!

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Dan’s remote car had lots of kids mugging for its camera.

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I had lots of fun walking around with my video T-shirt and explaining how it worked.  Mostly though, kids just stared at it, mesmerized.

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Turnout was excellent for other booths, with the return of many popular exhibits and new ones, too.

One of my all-time favorites is a group that deconstructs old pinball machine mechanisms and explain how they work. Very hands-on, it’s much easier to see how a mechanical score counter works than an electronic one.

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Denhac had a lockpicking workshop, where kids could try to escape from handcuffs. They also had some great lights in the darker area of the Faire

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Zoe Doubleday’s Haptika series of therapy gloves were a hit —

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I didn’t get the guy who made these beautiful electronic quilts — he was one of many participants who also did amazing things:

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Human foosball, of course!

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I fell in love with these hacked furby skeletons!

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Looking forward to future Mini Maker Faires!

LED tattoo

Sarah shows off her shiniest tattoo, made with temporary tattoo paper, copper foil, and circuit stickers.  She’s also experimenting with conductive ink instead of the foil.

LED tattoo

LED tattoo