If you’re a regular on our blog, you are probably familiar with a workshop we created to talk about the gender gap in the tech world, called Hacking the Gender Gap. We did the first workshop over a year ago, with a great reception at the Women in Tech Summit, and have presented in many more venues, including IgnitePhilly11. You can watch a video of our Ignite Presentation above for a quick summary.
We have an opportunity now to apply for a grant that recognizes innovative programs in nonprofits that are simple, focused, and start small. We think we can make a good case for the Hacking the Gender Gap workshop as an innovative program. The application also asks for a description of how the program makes a demonstrable impact in the lives of the people it’s aiming for, which is where we could use some help. We’ve collected some surveys from workshops, but not all. If you’ve been to one of our workshops, or have followed our progress, maybe by looking at the photo sets of the stories, please consider helping us now by filling in this quick form with a sentence or two of how the workshop had an impact for you. This grant could help us match our Knight project grant, and provide funds for regularly paid staff, which we could really use to help us plan classes on a more regular basis.
Sign up for our 3-day Intro to Arduino class on June 4, 11, 18. In 6 hours you will learn to build and program your own Arduino-based project. We’ll be working with knobs, buttons, LEDs, piezo-buzzers, light sensors, and more!
Past participants have gone on to make handheld games, music instruments, wearable electronics, and even a controller for wireless robotics. Bring your ideas and we can look into how to develop these advanced projects from what is learned your first day. Our aim for this course is to send you home with a cool project to show your friends, a whole bunch of new ideas and the knowledge and resources to produce some Arduino magic!
Well, we’d like to report back that our inaugural Intro to Interactive Art class was a modest success. A good group of folks showed up, and the presenters did an awesome job talking about the pros and cons of using various software platforms to create interactive art, including Processing, OpenFrameworks, and Max/MSP/Jitter. The presenters included Matt Miller, an interactive designer and educator; Ben Farahmand, another designer, entrepreneur and artist; Paul Christian, a programmer and musician (link to his github here); and Kim Brickley and Sarah Zimmer, who form the team behind Create in Situ. (Thanks again to all of you, you really made the event a success). It was clear that the presenters had chops in their technology of choice, have spent significant time on their work, and have deep knowledge that they apply to it.
The point we wanted to get across, though, was that they way people make programs and learn in these mediums is by messing around on their own and seeing what works. To help get over some initial unknown vocabulary and learn more about communities making this work, we also made a pirate pad with helpful vocabulary and a ton of links. If you find it useful, please add your name and write a comment, or fill in more terms or links we missed (there’s bound to be quite a few). Read More »
There are some amazing things being done with technology in the art world. The above work is by an artist called Prince Mio, who writes, “This choreography is about the duet of dance and interactive media. My inspiration is to investigate different possibilities to melt organic hiphop dance with projected light — searching for new shapes, transisition, identities and meanings. It is a portray of urban artists giving a computer the acces to their very private natural flow.”
The piece uses a kinect, a computer, and a few different bits of software built in OpenFrameworks. But if you’re new to this world of art you may have no idea where to begin. What’s a kinect? What’s OpenFrameworks? How can I possibly make art this way if I don’t know how to code? If you have any of these questions you should definitely check out our Intro to Interactive Art class this coming Wednesday, from 6-8 pm. It’s a quick intro to the terms and tools available to start making works of art in this new field, and it’s not as complicated as it may seem right now. We’ve also invited several local artists who have made and exhibited interactive works using Open Frameworks or other similar software. Ben Farahmand, a designer and interactive artist, and Sarah Zimmer and Kim Brickley, the team behind Create in Situ, are just 3 of the artists who will be speaking about their work. I’ll add a few more blog posts this week discussing these artist’s work in more detail, but be sure to get a ticket now, they are only $10!
Come learn the fundamentals of sound generation with Free Libre Open Source Software! This two hour course will cover a brief history of early electronic music, some physics about sound, subtractive synthesis, and will end with the class designing some sounds of our own. Learn the basics of electronic music with free, open source software that you can take home. Bring a laptop!
Got a neat project occupying your time and/or mind? Want to tinker in the company of some like-minded maker-types? Every Thursday night is an open project night at The Hacktory. Here’s a recap of what’s been going down:
An ongoing area of interest with few of our regulars has been software-defined radio (SDR), specifically the surprisingly useful radio chipsets found in some uber-cheap TV-tuner dongles. We looked at an upconverter circuit designed to extend the tuning range of the SDR, and in the woodshop, progress was made on a wooden enclosure to house both radio boards.
An enterprising engineer brought in an Arduino-based project designed to operate the signs and lights around his steam-powered model train sets. We discussed the pros and cons of servo motors vs. stepper motors, and open-loop and closed-loop control. Because strong steppers were available and easy to work with, we brainstormed ways of sensing the stepper’s position (optical sensor, mechanical switch, magnetic switch…) and prototyped some code to automatically return the stepper to its “home” position.
Twinkle, twinkle little hoodie…
With the Program Your Hoodie class taking place this month, several students brought their projects in to snip, stitch, code, and discuss the finer points thereof. We saw some beautiful sewn designs and clever LED arrangements. Participants from our class and other hoodie classes held around the city will show off their work this Friday at the Philadelphia Science Festival Astronomy Night at Franklin Square.
We also saw some of our Philly maker friends work on a computer game in Java, talk about shape-memory alloy muscle wire linear actuators, and a few Hacktory organizers brainstormed ways to make our coin-and-paper money donation jar more fun. (Are you excited? I know I am…)
Is everyone ready for Philly Tech Week? It kicks off this weekend with a slew of events, including the second annual Philadelphia Women In Tech Summit, Saturday April 20 at Philadelphia University! This year’s program features an exciting lineup of panels and workshops on UX, Big Data, mobile apps, and more. Hacktory organizers Steph, Sarah, and Georgia debuted Hacking the Gender Gap at last year’s WITS, and we’re impressed by the talented speakers and presenters participating this year. Tickets are $50 for students, $80 for general admission; proceeds from this year’s event go to TechGirlz.
There’s a long list of cool stuff going on this weekend, but a couple of highlights:
Our friends at Data Garden are holding a workshop this Sunday to teach you how to get sounds from plants. “During this workshop facilitated by Data Garden, participants will gain an understanding of how to graph real-time data streams from the metabolic processes of plants for use in creating generative electronic music. Individuals with basic experience in electronics, visual programming languages like Pure Data and Max MSP as well as digital audio workstations like Ableton Live will get the most from this workshop though all are welcome. Efforts will be made to pair up participants who have complementary skill sets.” It’s from 11 to 1:30 pm this Sunday at Bartram’s Garden, and FREE, though limited to 25 participants. Read more here or RSVP to Leslie Gale, firstname.lastname@example.org, 215-729-5281, ext. 110.
Hacking electronics and everyday items sure is a lot of fun, but the idea of hacking Earth and space on a larger scale brings forth a different level of excitement entirely. On April 20-21, 80 cities in 44 countries will provide a location to participate in such an opportunity – the International Space Apps Challenge, organized by NASA. Equally thrilling is the fact that our city’s location, the new ExCITe Center at Drexel University, will be the global main stage for this event!
NASA is inviting people of all professional backgrounds and a wide range of skillsets to participate in this free two-day global hackathon. The projects and resources, which vary for each location, are already provided on the event site to help you decide on a focus area ahead of time. There will be an Opening Reception on April 19 at First Round Capital from 6-8 pm, with a special opening by Derrick Pitts, NASA Solar System Ambassador and Chief Astronomer and Planetarium Director for the Franklin Institute. Prizes will be awarded by Derrick and other select judges at the end of the hackathon.
Sarah Guck, organizer for the Hacktory, participated in the planning phase and contributed to the list of project ideas. The available projects for Philadelphia are as follows:
As of this post, registration is still open. Now, head to the About page and click to view the source code to lift your excitement off the ground that much more! If you’re attending, let us know what you’re interested in working on in the comments section.
You’ll be making maps and launching balloons along with members of Hacks Hackers Philly, The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science, and The Hacktory. The event is on Wednesday April 24 from 9:30a-3:30p. Location TBD.
Read more about balloon mapping and example uses on The Public Laboratory’s website. And check out recent balloon launches by Hacks Hackers members Sean McGinnis (video and maps) and Dana Bauer (images/video and maps).
This workshop will be a full-day event, with a morning session focused on building the rig and flying the balloon, and an afternoon session focused on using open source software to stitch the images together to make a map. The morning session will be outdoors in the city, so please dress accordingly. Lunch and the afternoon session will be indoors at a location TBD. It is possible for participants to attend either the morning session or the afternoon session or both.
We’re charging $10 to cover the cost of supplies and lunch. Please bring cash to the event. Sign up here.
Help us give Philly artists a chance to take our classes and make amazing new work with technology. If we meet our goal, it will be matched by the Knight Foundation. The last day of the campaign is Monday, so add your pledge today.
What Is The Hacktory?
Hack(def): to find a new (sometimes inelegant) solution to a problem