Project night started off with a visit from a biochemist who works in the Science Center and took a class at the Hacktory. He didn’t have time to stay for the evening, but did offer to help out if anyone is interested in DIY bio. After he left, more people arrived to work on their various projects.
Christalee continued working on the website for Hacking the Gender Gap, mostly the form for online visitors to enter their stories. She also laid out and cut fabric for a pillowcase. My brother practiced his soldering by building a Drawdio. I helped with the soldering, and read about NURBs, towards eventually implementing them as part of the Diagrams library.
Far, with help from Sharp, set up a mail server for himself, as part of a broader plan to be less dependant on Google services. Steph cut fabric for hexaflexagons, and gave me some great advice on where to learn more about patternmaking for sewing.
(Is sysadmining a word? When I spell it like that, it looks like “sysad” is some sort of ore.)
What: A talk with Georgia Guthrie about art, making, and experimentation When: Wednesday,
March 27, 2013, 7-9 PM Where: The Hacktory at The Department of Making and Doing, 3711 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104.
*We’re sorry to say we have to postpone this event because our presenter is sick. We’ll reschedule for Wednesday, April 10th at 7 pm.
There’s a growing movement of tinkerers, self-taught engineers, and artists, experimenting on their own, in groups, and at spaces called maker or hackerspaces. What they’re doing is changing how our country thinks about art, learning, and where innovation comes from. On Wednesday, March 27, the Director of The Hacktory, Georgia Guthrie (Philadelphia’s 2012 Hacker of the Year) will talk about this movement and more. In 2012 The Hacktory was awarded a Knight Arts Challenge grant to support artists who want to experiment with technology and incorporate it into their creative practice. Learn more about this project that will put Philly at the forefront of this new wave of creativity and innovation, and how you can contribute.
This event will take place in The Hacktory’s new space at 3711 Market Street (you may know it as NextFab’s first location). We’ll also share some details about The Hacktory’s new partnership with Breadboard, Public Workshop, and NextFab to create the Department of Making + Doing. The event will wrap up with some time to play with an interactive installation that uses the kinect to sense body motion. Light refreshments will be served.
When we at The Hacktory were invited to present a hands-on activity for The Davidson Young Scholars’ gathering at the Academy of Natural Sciences, one scientific exercise came immediately to mind:
A ferocious, fire-breathing dragon
Students of all ages used conductive play dough and electronic components to sculpt a fantastic menagerie of glowing, moving clay creatures. As they exercised their creativity, the students also got to explore the science behind circuits and electricity (a principle which happens to be part of The Hacktory’s core educational values
Click through for our experiences making and using conductive dough, and more photos! »
Graphs are essential not only for communicating about data, but for discovering patterns in the first place. Good graphs make both these tasks easier, and making good graphs requires good tools. Python has excellent tools for making graphs and manipulating numerical data. Come learn to use Python to explore large datasets and make beautiful graphs.
Background and details:
Have you been looking for an opportunity to level up in soft circuits? Program Your Hoodie is a class for people skilled in at least one of: sewing, circuits, or Arduino. By the end of this class, you will be reasonably competent in all of them, and have a sweet light-up hoodie to take home! We’ll have supplies to make a chain-reaction LED hoodie, based on a design by Penn’s eCrafting group, but if you have a project idea of your own, we highly encourage you to bring it. The hoodie uses two conductive patches on the cuffs as a switch for the Lilypad attached to the back, so your design blinks into action when you hold hands with yourself or others. Bring your hoodie to the Franklin Institute’s Astronomy Night, April 26, and join the circle of lights to celebrate the Philadelphia Science Festival!
The class will be two sessions, Wednesday April 10 and 17, from 6-9pm. (Class will include time to work on your project, so if you have to skip out a little early, that’s ok.) Instructors will also be present at Soft Circuit Saturday, April 13, 1-4pm, if you want to get extra help or work on your project with company. Thanks to generous funding from the NSF, this class is free! Students ages 13+ are welcome. Bringing a laptop to install the Arduino compiler is helpful but not required, we’ll have a couple of workstations you can use instead.
A free showing of the documentary Top Secret ‘Rosies’: The Female ‘Computers’ of WWII is scheduled for March 20, 5:30pm at the Comcast Center. This film by LeAnne Erickson delves into the history of the women who programmed and debugged ENIAC and its forerunners at the University of Pennsylvania. Get your ticket today! (Thanks to Far for the tip!)
Photo by Kevin Gotkin.
Want to get involved at The Hacktory? Next weekend, the Department of Making + Doing is having a potluck & work party, starting at 10am on Saturday, March 16, where we plan to paint some walls, build some shelving for our stuff, organize workstations/workspaces for specific tasks, and generally make the space our own. Lunch and afternoon snacks are potluck, so please bring a labeled dish to share. If you have a few hours and a hankering to help out, we’d love to see you!
Yesterday’s Soft Circuit Saturday was a ton of fun. Tim brought some squishy circuit dough he cooked up; he and Amy are taking this activity to an event next weekend at the Academy of Natural Sciences. After some trial and error and careful multimeter work, he succeeded in lighting up an RGB LED, but concluded that the dough’s high resistance required a lot of batteries to generate a visible glow. I think he’s planning another batch with more salt and/or less flour.
Photo by Kevin Gotkin.
Steph dug up the silkscreens for our Heart of a Maker tshirts
, and printed a striking poster to put on our front door. We also printed purple Hearts on the backs of some older shirts we found in a box, but ran out of time to run them through the heat press to set the ink. So, we’re looking forward to more silkscreening some time! Read More
Before I recap last night’s Project Night, a couple of notes:
- We’ve renamed Thursday Open Hacks to Project Night, because sometimes you just get tired of the word “Hack”.
- Tomorrow is Soft Circuit Saturday, March 9 from 1-4pm!
- Next week’s Project Night is March 14, which coincides with Ignite Philly and Pi Day! Come by The Hacktory for pie and hopefully a livestream of the Ignite talks, including one by Hacktory organizers.
This week, we had a decent-sized crowd at Project Night. JD brought some oscilloscope probes, so he and Sharp hooked them up and went hunting for interesting periodic signals, to verify that the ‘scope works properly. Steph, Amy, and Georgia took over the couch to polish slides for their Ignite Philly talk next week. Jenna, who created a great visualization with Isotope for the Gender Gap data at last weekend’s Lady Hackathon, added more features and styling to the timeline, and also shared her ideas for an interactive display using d3. Some students from Drexel discussed how they’re using Arduinos and sensors to control lighting in their design project, and wired up some LEDs to test out some ideas for their program. And friends from Prometheus Radio stopped in for a tour and promised to come back next week to build a radio project of theirs. I’m looking forward to hearing more about what people are working on at the next Project Night!
Philly continues to strengthen and diversify it’s tech community with the addition of the first hackathon for women* in the area. This Friday at Saturday March 1 & 2, come out to LadyHacks hosted by WHYY where programmers, graphic designers, interface designers and project managers will collaborate intensively on software projects. See more info on the event website, including acknowledgement of the complicated nature of the word “women” and an invitation for men to join the mentor groups. If you’re familiar with The Hacktory’s Hacking the Gender Gap, one of the projects you could potentially work on will be creating a digital version of the timeline. Registration is $10, which you can do here.