Steampunk Conference Personality Identification Apparatus – Gen 5

Gen 5 Steampunk Conference Badge

The 5th-generation conference badge sports a 3.5″ color TFT touchscreen and a Raspberry Pi 3, wrapped in a decorative brass and leather Steampunk-themed package. An additional Arduino Pro Mini manages the ultrasonic range finder, with an “ozone tube”, photocell and digital temperature sensors, in the works. The device plays promotional .mp4 movies using mplayer, on the display and runs for about 2 hours on a 2200 Ah cell battery. There were a lot of “Wow, what’s thats?” when I wore it to a recent conference in Santa Clara.

The Steampunk Eye Ball Is Operational

The Steampunk Eye Ball is up and running.

It features a copper lightning rod ball, pan and tilt servos, a decorative brass frame and base, along with a Pixy image processing camera inside. You simply sit it on a table, plug in a cell phone power pack and the device will track you as you walk around…if you are wearing a blue shirt. You can train it to recognize other colors using the PixyMon application on a Linux notebook. Be sure to check out the entire build series, “Off-The-Shelf Hacker Steampunk Eye Ball (parts 1 through 5) over at thenewstack.io.

Dr. Torq's Steampunk Eye Ball.
Dr. Torq’s Steampunk Eye Ball.

Steampunk Badge Is A Hit At FETC

The response has been amazing for the Generation 4.0 Steampunk Conference Badge. People stopped me and asked what it was and if I made it. I showed them how it worked and how the display hooked up to the Raspberry Pi. A few attendees took selfies with yours truly and the badge. It was inspiring and fun for everybody.

badge

Found a few challenges. I’ll likely mod the alligator clip attachment system. The clips bend and are hard to get lined up correctly. The thumb screws loosened over time, as well, so those will have to be changed a bit.

Check out my slides: presentation-apparatus-talk

New Off-The-Shelf-Hacker Series On TheNewStack.io

I recently started a brand new column on TheNewStack.io about hardware hacking. The series walks through tips, techniques and projects for the physical computing hardware hacker.

The first edition, “Off-The-Shelf-Hacker: The Physical Computing Stack”, introduced the reader to the exciting new world of off-the-shelf microcontrollers, sensors, actuators, Linux/Free software, NanoLinux systems and companion topics like the Arduino, Raspberry Pi, ESP8266, and other tools and designs of the DIY (do-it-yourself) and Maker movement.

Future stories will take readers through hands-on fabrication tutorials, using various programming tools/frameworks and discussions on using sensors, micro-controllers, nano-Linux systems and interfacing to various electronic/mechanical devices.

The articles will appear weekly, typically over the weekend.

If you want to get into hacking hardware and building physical computing projects, be sure to check it out.

Doc

Steampunk Name Badge – Version 1.0

After a lot of work, version 1.0 of my Steampunk Name Badge was unveiled at the recent Orlando Robotics and Maker Club meeting. It features a 1.8″ color TFT LCD screen, an Arduino Pro Mini microcontroller and a Dallas DS18B20 digital temperature sensor. It has an integrated micro-SD card and can display bitmaps at 160×128 resolution. The badge cycles through a “Dr Torq” bitmap and a text readout of the ambient temperature. It’s all wrapped up in a brass Steampunk-themed frame with several interesting aesthetic features.

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