Eth0 Autumn 2019: Tiny Camp, Creative Badge

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From Jenny List on Hackaday:

Eth0 Autumn 2019: Tiny Camp, Creative Badge

The Dutch organisation eth0 has run a series of informal small camps over the years, never with an attendance too far into three figures, and without pre-planned events or entertainment. What happens is at the instigation of the attendees, and the result is a weekend of much closer socialising and working together on projects than the large camps where you spend your time running around to catch everything.

The largest of hacker camps offer all the lights, robots, tschunk, and techno music you can stomach; they can be a blast but also overwhelming. I made my way eth0 over the past week weekend, enjoying the more intimate size and coming away having made friendships from spending time with great people at a large private camping hostel near Lichtenvoorde. This is in the far east of the country near the German border, to which in the company of a British hardware hacker friend I traveled in the tiny European hatchback. Netherlands roads are so easy to navigate!

The badge itself has an interesting layout, because aside from a bit of badge.team and event related artwork it uses a multipurpose layout from Electronic Eel, that’s designed for both SMD and through-hole parts. This proved to be extremely versatile, but came with the slight burden that the through-hole pads were closely surrounded by the ground plane, making soldering a bit tricky. Despite this there was an enthusiastic take-up from camp attendees, with offerings that went well beyond the mundane.

For the majority of the attendees there was a badge bar, with plentiful supplies of LEDs ad other components. Some attendees made do with a pair of colour changing LEDs and a CR2032, but others made CMOS astable oscillators using 4093 Schmitt AND gates for the full flashing effect. It’s almost unexpected today when so much is done by microcontrollers to see people hacking logic gate oscillators, but there was a circuit bending element to it all that made for a more enjoyable experience.

A fully functional event badge built upon an event badge. Fuchsia's Tamafoxi runs the badge.team firmware.
A fully functional event badge built upon an event badge. Fuchsia’s Tamafoxi runs the badge.team firmware.

One or two badges sported extra lighting in the form of Neopixels and similar. This staple of the LED badge is the obvious choice for one like the eth0 badge, even with its relative lack of space. The piece de resistance of the eth0 winter 2019 badges though did not feature any LED lights, instead it came with a small OLED display and a set of buttons. Fuchsia’e Tamafoxi is a fully functional tamagotchi clone that runs under the badge.team badge firmware, for which a Wemos ESP32 board had been fitted to the back of the badge. Power wasn’t quite so elegant, requiring a small protoboard and LiPo cell sandwiched to the back of the badge, but for the feat of getting a badge that wouldn’t disgrace a much larger event running on what was in effect a fancy protoboard, we’ll forgive all that. Plenty of event badge teams have set out to achieve this level of functionality and not quite made it, so to do so on an event badge like this one is a very significant feat indeed.

This was a short camp by the standards of some others, starting on a Friday evening and wrapping up at Sunday lunchtime. We left in the drizzle of a damp autumn afternoon for the easy trip to the overnight ferry across the billiard-table-smooth Dutch motorways, without some of the stress of limited access while packing that comes with the larger camps. It had been everything we’d wanted from a small hacker camp and more, so speaking personally I’d certainly head back to this one if the opportunity arose.

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Speakers Taking the Stage at Hackaday Supercon

We are big fans Hackaday Supercon and several of the OSH Park team will be attending again this year from November 15 – 17.  Here’s some of what to look forward to:

Four weeks from today the Hackaday Superconference comes alive for the fifth year. From engineering in challenging environments to elevating the art form of electronics, here are nine more talks that will make this a year to remember.

In addition to the slate of speakers below there are three other announcements, plus workshops. Jeroen Domburg (aka Sprite_TM) is designing this year’s badge based around a beefy FPGA running a RISC-V core and using open source synthesis tools. We’ll have more on that soon, but if you just can’t wait, check out the expansion board spec he just published, and join the conference chat room for the inside track. Badge hacking is sure to be the liveliest we’ve ever seen.

Tickets are sold out but you can still get on the waiting list and hope that one becomes available. If you are holding onto one of these hot commodities but are unable to use it, please return your ticket so that we can get it to someone waiting with their fingers crossed.

via Speakers Taking the Stage at Supercon Plus a Hint of the Hacking to Come — Hackaday

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High-Speed PCB Design with Bil Herd

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Bil Herd gave some great advise on high-speed PCB design last month during a Hackaday Hackchat.  You can read the transcript here:

High-Speed PCB Design with Bil Herd

Printed circuits have become so commoditized that we seldom think much about design details. EDA software makes it easy to forget about the subtleties and nuances that make themselves painfully obvious once your design comes back from the fab and doesn’t work quite the way you thought it would.

PCB design only gets more difficult the faster your circuit needs to go, and that’s where a depth of practical design experience can come in handy. Bil Herd, the legendary design engineer who worked on the Commodore C128 and Plus4/264 computers and many designs since then, knows a thing or two in this space, and he’s going to stop by the Hack Chat to talk about it. This is your chance to pick the brain of someone with a wealth of real-world experience in high-speed PCB design. Come along to find out what kind of design mistakes are waiting to make your day miserable, and which ones can be safely ignored. Spoiler alert: square corners probably don’t matter.

High-Speed PCB Design with Bil Herd