Pizza, Python, Posters, LANs and user groups.


WARNING: This might be a bit of a long post. Some parts of it have been waiting a while because blogging is the devil.

First off, we’d like to thank our friends at Four Star Pizza. We had our AGM (minutes here!) back at the end of November and they gave us a few pizzas for it. Now that Christmas is over and we’re well into the new year we figure that people have enough money again to be spending on random stuff… like pizza. Anyway, they have a new menu and a few deals going at the minute and we’d recommend having a look at them!

 

Read the rest of this post »

Arduino Drop-In Nights


Good news everyone!

Following the success of our recent free ‘Introduction to the Arduino’ classes, we are happy to announce the beginning of a regular drop-in night for people interested in the Arduino micro-controller system.

It will, hopefully, be a great opportunity for beginners to learn the basics but also allow other more experienced users to continue learning and working with a group of like-minds.

Every second Monday (from 7 to 9pm), we will be in the space to throw around ideas, build projects and lend a hand with anyone stuck on a circuit or project. The first night will be run on the 10th of October. (Check the space calendar for further dates). It will be free to attend these nights whether you are a member or not, but donations are always welcome to help keep the internet flowing and the rain off our heads.

For Beginners…

We recommend that absolute beginners purchase an ARDX beginners kit (or something with similar components) as it is designed to give you a well-rounded base of knowledge to start working on your own projects.

Don’t worry if it looks daunting at first, we’ll be in the space to give you direction of you need it.
If you don’t know whether you want to invest in an Arduino or a starter kit just yet, you can still come along and see what they are capable. We may even have a spare that you can build your first circuit on.

… And Enthusiasts

For those of you who already have some experience with the Arduino, this will be a good way to meet people to work on larger collective projects or just get help with something you’re stuck on.

Basically, it’s an open and informal way to start or continue learning how to create interesting, electronic, programmable art!

  • Dates: Every second Monday. (See our events calendar for specific dates)
  • Time: 7-9pm
  • Venue: 091labs, 47 Eyre Square, 1st floor, (above Kennedy’s pub)
  • Requirements: None (but we strongly recommend that you have an Arduino and some sort of starter kit with you if you really want to get involved. This is our favourite )

Hope to see you there,

and just in case….

What is an Arduino?

It’s a very cool little piece of hardware that allows even complete beginners to start making inventive and intelligent electronics projects. It is a great, enjoyable way to learn programming and electronics and has become very popular with tinkerers, artists, and hackers alike and you can see many interesting projects and tutorials online. Simply search ‘Arduino’ on youtube, hackaday, makezine, or instructables and you’ll see what we mean.

Introduction to Arduino course starting this Wednesday


This Wednesday at 7pm we will be starting our Introduction to Arduino course. It will run weekly for 3 weeks and will be FREE for both 091 Labs members and the public! You can get by in the first class without many electronic components – attendees can share components like LEDs, resistors, etc. amongst each other for the first week, but is recommended that people buy the necessary components for the next two classes.

The course will be based on the ARDX model, which can (optionally) be purchased at Oomlout.co.uk:
http://www.oomlout.co.uk/starter-kit-for-arduino-ardx-p-183.html

Most of the components in the above kit can be bought in smaller numbers for a cheaper price, so it would be good to purchase electronics based on the above model (if you don’t want to buy the actual kit). If you do not have an Arduino, we can pair you up with someone who has one.

The relevant wiki page details what you’ll need if you don’t want to buy the full kit.

We’re delighted to kick off the new 091 Labs premises with this complimentary event. If you’d like to spare a few pennies to help with the upkeep of the non-profit 091 Labs we’d be very much obliged :-)

You can sign up for the class below on the sign-up sheet below:

Arduino IR Beam Test


A few of our members recently made a bus walking bus walking trip out to Maplin Electronics here in Galway to source some electronics. A few months ago I purchased a Velleman solder-it-yourself clapper kit, which I subsequently plugged into an Arduino and had some fun with. After picking up some resistors, piezos and other bits n’ bobs, I took another look at the solder-it-yourself section for some inspiration. I came across something which tickled my hackery-fancy, an “IR Light Barrier”, again from Velleman.

The basic principle is the following: Two PCBs, one with the sole purpose of illuminating two IR LEDs, the other having a photo transistor and a fairly large buzzer. Place the two boards across from each other, break the IR “beam” between the IR LEDs and photo transistor and the deafening buzzer starts sounding. Belated apologies to those across the road in John Mulholland.

So in a typical maker reaction, my thoughts were, “Well that sucks”. So I ripped out the buzzer, placed two wires on the PCB contacts and plugged them into my Arduino microcontroller:

What I now have is a brilliantly useful and marvellously simple security system. My next step is to hook up the Arduino code to the Twitter API and have it tweet a message every time the beam is crossed.

INTRUDER ALERT!