Hackaday Prize Hack Chat With Majenta Strongheart on May 27

Coming up this Wednesday, May 27th:

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Hackaday Prize Hack Chat With Majenta Strongheart

Join us on Wednesday, May 27 at noon Pacific for the 2020 Hackaday Prize Hack Chat with Majenta Strongheart!

It hardly seems possible, but the Hackaday Prize, the world’s greatest hardware design contest, is once more at hand. But the world of 2020 is vastly different than it was last year, and the challenges we all suddenly face have become both more numerous and more acute as a result. We’ve seen hackers rise to the challenges presented by the events of the last few months in unexpected ways, coming up with imaginative solutions and pressing the limits of what’s possible. What this community can do when it is faced with a real challenge is inspiring.

Now it’s time to take that momentum and apply it to some of the other problems the world is facing. For the 2020 Hackaday Prize, we’re asking you to throw your creativity at challenges in conservation, disaster response, assistive technology, and renewable resources. We’ve teamed up with leading non-profits in those areas, each of which has specific challenges they need you to address.

With $200,000 in prize money at stake, we’re sure you’re going to want to step up to the challenge. To help get you started, Majenta Strongheart, Head of Design and Partnerships at Supplyframe, will drop by the Hack Chat with all the details on the 2020 Hackaday Prize. Come prepared to pick her brain on what needs doing and how best to tackle the problems that the Prize is trying to address. And find out about all the extras, like the “Dream Team” microgrants, the wild card prize, and the community picks.

Our Hack Chats are live community events in the Hackaday.io Hack Chat group messaging. This week we’ll be sitting down on Wednesday, May 27 at 12:00 PM Pacific time. If time zones have got you down, we have a handy time zone converter.

Hackaday Prize Hack Chat With Majenta Strongheart on May 27

Apertus Open Source Cinema: AXIOM Beta Power Board

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The Apertus AXIOM Open Source cinema camera projects is one of our favorites and we are excited to see that are making progress on the Beta Power Board:

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The AXIOM Beta Power Board sits between the Beta Main Board and the MicroZed™ in the camera’s PCB stack. It generates all the different supply voltages for the chips and logic on the other PCB’s inside the camera. It also monitors currents so that it can estimate remaining power based on the recorded consumption. Version 1 of the Beta Power Board has the 8 different voltage rails calibrated at factory. In case of a future hardware upgrade that require any power rail to have a different reference voltage this calibration needs to be redone.

Apertus Open Source Cinema: AXIOM Beta Power Board

Flexible PCB Earrings Put the Art in Art Deco

Exciting flex PCB project from the Hackaday blog:

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Earrings have been a hackers’ target for electronic attachment for quite a while, but combining the needed components into a package small enough to wear in that finicky location is quite a challenge. If [Sawaiz Syed]’s Art Deco Earrings are anything to go by, ear computers have a bright future ahead of them!

This is a project unusually well described by its name. It is in fact an earring, with art deco styling. But that sells it way too short. This sliver of a flex circuit board is double sided to host an ATtiny, accelerometer, LDO, and eight 2020 formfactor controller-integrated LEDs. Of course it’s motion sensitive, reacting to the wearer’s movement via LED pattern. [Sawaiz] makes reference to wearing it while dancing, and we can’t help but imagine an entire ballroom all aglow with tiny points of LED light.

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Read more on Hackaday…

Flexible PCB Earrings Put the Art in Art Deco

2020 Hackaday Prize Reveals Four Open Challenges and New Dream Team Program


 

The 2020 Hackaday Prize begins right now. Our global engineering challenge seeks solutions to real-world problems. If you like to come up with creative solutions to tough problems, four non-profits can use your help. We need hackers, designers, and engineers throughout the world to work on designs for conservation, disaster relief, renewable resources, and assistive devices.

via 2020 Hackaday Prize Reveals Four Open Challenges and New Dream Team Program — Hackaday

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Virtual Maker Faire on Saturday, May 23rd

Tomorrow will be an online Maker Faire!

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Virtually Maker Faire – May 23, 2020

Featuring Makers Responding to COVID-19

24 Hours of Presentations, Workshops, Demos, and Exhibits Across All Time Zones

Across the world, makers have responded to shortages of medical supplies and equipment with agile designs, adaptive distributed manufacturing, and community organizing. Virtually Maker Faire will be a stage to share the projects and learn from the people behind this extraordinary civic response.

Virtually Maker Faire will take place online through video sessions and an exhibit showcase on Make: Projects

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Virtual Maker Faire on Saturday, May 23rd

Hackspace column on PCB design

My recent Hackspace magazine column is an introduction to printed circuit boards (PCBs) and how they can improve DIY projects:

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PCB love – making circuit boards

You made your first LED blink, you learned how to use a breadboard, and you know which end of the soldering iron to hold. So what’s next? High up on the list of essential electronics skills is learning how to design and make your own printed circuit board (PCB). My first PCB was a POV (persistence of vision) display, a modified version of an Adafruit open hardware design. I still remember how exciting it felt to open up my mail and solder a board I designed myself!

A PCB is a board with traces (lines) that connect different pads or holes for electronic components to each other, or to connectors that allow us to hook up power, microcontrollers, or other parts. We use solder to connect the pads or holes on the bare board to the component that the board was designed for. Once the components are in place, the traces let us push power or data around our boards.

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PCBs themselves are like a sandwich made up of layers of different materials. The main ‘body’ of a PCB is made of some kind of substrate; typically a fibreglass called FR4. On top of that is a thin layer of copper-foil that lays out the traces and pads, then a layer of coloured solder mask which prevents solder from sticking where it shouldn’t.

This solder mask is often green, but you can get all sorts of colours, such as my favourite – purple. The copper that is not covered by solder mask then gets protected by a surface finish such as HASL (solder) or ENIG (gold plating). Finally, there is the silkscreen layer where text and symbols are printed.

Like any good sandwich, you can keep adding in more layers of copper, from two layers up to tens of layers. It’s also worth knowing that rigid fibreglass isn’t your only option: you can choose a material called Kapon (polyimide film) to make flexible PCBs. You can even make your PCB sandwich using both fibreglass and Kapon to make a board that is flexible in some places and rigid in others. One super-cool option, that both OSH Park and Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories have been using recently, is black fibreglass paired with a clear solder mask, so all your copper traces are visible.

In next month’s column, I’ll be talking about the awesome ways the hardware hacker community has been using PCB design to make cool electronics projects and beautiful art, as well as sharing some of the tools they’re using to make their boards. In the meantime, I recommend this excellent video that visualises the composition of a PCB: hsmag.cc/SI2m31 (How do PCBs Work?  by Branch Education).

Hackspace column on PCB design