Monthly Archives: October 2011

Desarrollando América Latina – Hackaton Regional de Datos Públicos

La Fundacion Ciudadano Inteligente de Chile nos propuso, junto a Wingu, formar parte de Desarrollando América Latina, una Hackaton regional de Datos Públicos con nodos en Buenos Aires, Santiago, Montevideo, Lima, Mexico DF y San Pablo. Por eso en Argentina, junto con Wingu, los invitamos a pasar un fin de semana festivo y productivo en el Campus de UDESA […]

PostPrivacidad – Gera Richarte

Vivimos una paradoja complicada como humanidad : tecnologias que están facilitando nuestra vida al mismo tiempo están registrando todas nuestras huellas y borrando la frontera de lo público y lo privado. Eso es la PostPrivacidad. Gera dio muchas charlas ya sobre PostPrivacidad (en GarageLab, en Pecha Kucha, en la EkoParty, pero tambien en escuelas primarias para […]

Visit to Make Hack Void

On Saturday we went to visit our sister hackerspace, Make Hack Void, down in Canberra. 

The MHV crowd greeted us for a breakfast feast nearby, and then took us to their space.

Hackerspaces in Australia seem to have really taken off. There’s now one in almost every state and territory. They vary from garage sized, to warehouses. MHV is clearly on the big end of the scale. It’s simply huge!:

In addition to the size, they’ve got an awesome layout for tools and equipment. It’s very easy to get what you want, there’s a large communal hacking area where you can sit and chat, and there’s also plenty of quiet assembly space for larger projects. You can even pull up a car and do automotive hacking!

Alastair and the MHV guys have won a bit of fame recently with their MHVBoard arduino clone, as well as the MHVLib, an arduino compatible library that speeds up core functions a lot.

They’re currently running a Pozible project to get the next round of boards made, check them out:

Here’s a bit of quicky hacking we did down there, 3D printed a rotor housing for Lachlan’s automated NERF missile!:

Bec made a pantograph for duplicating drawings:

Here’s an awesome brass nixie clock:

Soirée Survival kit , jeudi 20 octobre 2011, 19H00

Notre rendez-vous du jeudi 20 octobre à la Gaité Lyrique sera dédié au thème du ”  Survivor Kit ” ,  

en collaboration avec Ars Longa et Ewen Chardonnet, initiateur du projet.

Ces trois jours de conférences débuteront par la présentation du journal Planète Laboratoire N°4 avec Bureau d’études, Ewen Chardronnet, Jean-Baptiste Labrune et les membres du tmp/lab.

La Planète Laboratoire est un projet de recherche en philosophie des sciences / critique des techniques, mené par le collectif Bureau d’études et Ewen Chardronnet, artiste, auteur et commissaire.

“SURVIVAL KIT est une réaction artistique et collective face à la situation économique que vit la Lettonie depuis la crise de 2008. Expression la plus visible de la situation actuelle : les artistes prennent possession des locaux de boutiques vides du centre de Riga. Au cours de 2 semaines plus de 70 artistes locaux et internationaux convertissent les espaces vides en laboratoire créatif et les lieux d’exposition et se confrontent à une fiction bien réelle. Que feraient les artistes pour être acteur de leur époque face à une crise économique? un crash énergétique…?

Comment survivre en ville en cas de catastrophe majeure (qu’elle soit nucléaire, chimique, électromagnétique, électrique, politique, etc.) ? Que faire lorsqu’il n’y a plus d’internet, de téléphone, d’électricité et comment obtenir de l’information sur la situation ? Faut-il quitter la ville ou s’enfermer en attendant la suite des événements ? Peut-on faire confiance à la communication gouvernementale ? Peut-on mettre en place d’ores et déjà une forme de résilience écologique ? La conférence internationale accueillera des artistes et experts internationaux pour aborder ces questions.”

Pour connaitre le programme complet :


Bicycle lighting hack

So a while back, I got a Sturmey Archer XL-FDD hub with a dynamo with a listed output of 6 VAC at 500 mA (for 3 watts of power).  I was eyeballing this unit for quite some time because of the huge drum brake incorporated in the unit.  Once it arrived, I was puzzled to find that there was no instructions inside the box whatsoever.  A brief email to Sturmey Archer yeilded the response, "Youre on your own, kid!"  Cool.

I opened up the dynamo side of the hub looking for a zener diode to clip, which would de-limit the output of the dynamo.  The output of a dyno hub is typically regulated at the above specs so it wont overpower an old filament bulb.  Since I have something a little more powerful in mind, like some power LEDs, it would be useful to bump up the output and rectify the current.  I was suspicious that half of the wave was being clipped, as the light just didn't seem quite as bright. 

So once I hook a multimeter up to it, something suprising showed up.  It turns out the specs are a lie!  In the parking lot here I was able to acheive 14VAC at about 20 mph.  Okay, that saves me one step and some trouble.

So the light I am using is a triple LED mounted in an MR16 housing (the kind found in most track lighting as a halogen bulb) with a rating of 12V AC/DC @ 7 watts.  Two years ago it cost me about $20.  Hooking it up to a power supply at 12V reads 360mA, or ~4.5 W.  There is obviously some internal regulation happening inside the housing, and a quick inspection confirmed a SMT LED driver in the case. 

I had the lamp in a housing using it as room lighting beforehand, and it was very bright.  Early in the morning when I had the light connected directly to the dynamo, it reached peak brightness at about 15 MPH.  I was not satisfied with the light output under AC current, which is what led me to build the bridge rectifier.

In the first iteration as a pure bridge rectifier, the output was ~16V. Cool!  Adding some 1000mF electrolytic caps to the mix pushed the voltage up over 20.  Im not entirely sure that would be bad for the LED, but I'd rather not take the chance.  I found a suitable voltage regulator and after installing it at, now the hub seems to be stable at 12.2V

I tried a couple different arrangements of Caps (series, parallel, series and parallel, before and after the regulator).  Guessing, I settled on two in parallel after the regulator so I dont push the specs on the caps, which are rated for 25V.  I'll let you know the subjective results tonight once it gets dark. 

Hub dynamo regulation circuit ideas


I know this has been done to some extent before, but we’re having another go of it. Better faster stronger and all that.

SpaceCamps exist as a venue for facilitators and founders of hacker and maker spaces to speak to each other on the meta level of the maker movement and the associated responsibilities. SpaceCamp has taken place at Maker Faire San Mateo, Detroit, and New York. It’s also taken place for the Seattle ecosystem and informally at Chaos Communication Camp in Germany. This first global Camp will bring together people from all over the world (ok, mostly North America until our budget is better) for a focused 2-day event. We will all learn from each other’s victories and mistakes, design new patterns for our space processes, and walk away from the event with deeper ways to interact with each other.
See planning and join in the action at

image nabbed from @GiantEye's photostream

Let’s get together and have dedicated time to learn from each other. Come prepared to present, as this will be an unconference format. We’re working on getting funding for travel scholarships, and we’ll all throw in together to cover food and drink. Tracks fall into the general categories listed above, and might include things like “If you could go back in time, what lessons would you impart to yourself (and how would you get you to listen?)” “Pokelhaftigkeil (the slump in energy after formation)” “Succession Planning” and “avoiding recreating hierarchical systems when trading time for dues” (add more ideas to the Atrium blog - please tag appropriately and comment a +1 on ideas you like). We’ll be capping attendance at around 350.
Where is this happenings? Well, there are so many fantastic venues that we’re doing a call for venue to kick things off
The offered space must be able to comfortably and safely house the 200-400 expected attendees. The event will take place from early Friday evening to late Sunday evening some weekend in April or May.

Andrew of Artisan’s Asylum

Who are you and what are you doing here?

I'm Andrew Bressen, I came here with Artisan's Asylum and under my own cognizance.


It's exciting. The maker movement is transformative in a way that may not have an "earth-shaking everything is different" impact like the internet has but will change things in small ways that permeate through society.

There are other spaces in Boston, why Asylum?

I guess because I got dragged to that one first. I'm friends with the founders, and I'd never had the time to see the other spaces and then this one dropped in my lap.

What's your role there?

I rarely make use of the tooling. I've done mostly administrative things because that's what we needed. Doing startups, I learned to be able to do a little bit of everything. I could fake running a woodshop, I'd do a passable job, but we had people around who could do much better. We needed people working on things like class scheduling, outreach and marketing, so I ended up helping with those things.

Favorite part?

Of Artisan's Asylum: The parties and the group builds. I was once talking with another member about some policy stuff, and we came up with a Venn diagram. It has two overlapping circles, labeled "tools" and "community."

There are people who are only there for one or the other. I've known makers for a long time, before we used that word for the movement. Even though Artisan's Asylum has so much tooling, I can get that somewhere else. I'm there for the community. If you put me in a room with 10 people I can do anything. But if I'm alone, I might get nothing done at all; the overlap of tools and community is where the awesome creativity happens.

Of Maker Faire: Dinner runs. That's where the community is - I can read about cool projects all day on the net. But talking to the people who made those projects and synthesizing new ideas with them is the amazing thing, and when people are running a booth, they don't have time to talk in depth.

What's next?

I don't know! I'm hoping to travel some, maybe visit some other spaces. Artisan's Asylum has grown up a lot and has fulltime staff now, so I'm not needed as much there.

James of Kwartzlab

At World's Maker Faire in NYC, I took a few minutes to interview the hackerspace members around our SpaceCamp area. Some were there to participate with SpaceCamp, some were at their own booths showcasing works, some were there to be on the other side of the table.

Who are you and what are you doing here?

I'm James, and I'm the director of Kwartzlab. I'm at Maker Faire to pick up on the energy and creativity and inspiration.

Why Kwartzlab?

I was a founding member and I thought I should have a say in the direction it was heading. Take some responsibility, eat our own dog food. We needed one because there was no hackerspace in my area. (Is that important?) It's the hierarchy of need - food, shelter, clothing, hackerspace.

Favorite part of Maker Faire?

All of it. The makers. They are the ones always bringing something new. Even the repeat attendees bring new things.

What's next?

12 hour bus ride home. Kwartzlab just did a pitch for Awesome Foundation for Hacky Halloween. Have a public space, invite public in to solder a kit I'm designing. The kit will flicker LEDs like a candle. Attendees will also bring a pumpkin to carve to put the LED in. Later, we'll invite them back to Kwartzlab to learn to hack the kit. We'll do all this the weekend before Halloween.