The Hackaday Superconference for 2018 was another massive success. As my first supercon, it was amazing to finally meet my fellow Tindarians in person. Not only did we have an awesome Tindie meetup, but several sellers also hosted talks, demos, and even workshops!
Let’s take a look back at Supercon 2018 and see what our fellow Tindarians were up to during this epic weekend!
The Tindie Meetup
During lunch on Saturday, we had a Tindie meetup outside in the alley area behind the Supplyframe DesignLab. There were several products on display, live demos, and more than a few familiar faces!
REPL stands for Read Evaluate Print Loop, and is the name given to the interactive MicroPython prompt that you can access on the ESP8266. Using the REPL is by far the easiest way to test out your code and run commands.
There is an USB-to-serial adapter board which be used to access the REPL on the badge via the serial port. However, a simpler option is to use the WebREPL:
Before connecting to WebREPL, you should set a password and enable it via a normal serial connection. Initial versions of MicroPython for ESP8266 came with WebREPL automatically enabled on the boot and with the ability to set a password via WiFi on the first connection, but as WebREPL was becoming more widely known and popular, the initial setup has switched to a wired connection for improved security:
Follow the on-screen instructions and prompts. To make any changes active, you will need to reboot your device.
The extra badges from the Summit are being sold here on Tindie as a fundraiser for the Ada Lovelace Fellowship which provides travel assistance to the Open Hardware Summit. All sales revenue will be 100% donated to the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) for this purpose.
The Snowy Owl is the rebel of owls. They live in the north near arctic regions of the world, and unlike other owls, they are active during the day instead of the night. Owls in general are pretty great, which is why this Snowy Owl version of the Surface Mount Device 0201 soldering challenge kit caught my eye.
For this challenge, the resistors on the back of the owl have been changed to a 0201 packages for an additional level of difficulty. These are cellphone-level miniaturization so it will be a challenge. A dual inverter NL27WZ04 is used to implement the ring oscillator, which drives the blinking LEDs.
Robotics is the exciting intersection of a number of engineering fields including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science. This project was designed as the basis for a two-day workshop for high school age students to introduce them to engineering principles and giving them a jumping off point for exploring their interests further. There is something for everyone here, even if it is just for the art it creates. The design goals were:
Easy to build.
Easy to program.
Did something interesting.
Low-cost so participants could take it home and continue to learn.
With those goals in mind, here were a couple of the design choices:
Arduino compatible for ease of programming.
4xAA battery power for cost and availability.
Stepper motors for accurate motion.
3D Printed for ease of customization.
Pen plotting with Turtle graphics for interesting output.
At Hackaday, we’re constantly impressed by the skill and technique that goes into soldering up some homebrew creations. We’re not just talking about hand-soldering 80-pin QFNs without a stencil, either: there are people building charlieplexed LED arrays out of bare copper wire, and using Kynar wire for mechanical stability. There are some very, very talented people out there, and they all work in the medium of wire, heat, and flux.
The kit in question was an SMD Challenge Kit put together my MakersBox, and consisted of a small PCB, an SOIC-8 ATtiny, and a LED and resistor for 1206, 0805, 0603, 0402, and 0201 sizes. The contest is done in rounds. Six challengers compete at a time, and everyone is given 35 minutes to complete the kit.
Tindie has been a favorite platform for creative makers for quite some time now. Hundreds of thousands of hardware craftsmen, hackers, and enthusiasts gather here, share their ideas and create a lot of amazing products.
Three years ago Tindie published an article that used the tools of data science to look at what makes a product successful. It’s been a very popular article, providing insight to the inventors who build their communities of customers through Tindie. With so many new products and sellers since the previous article, we were inspired to dig into the numbers once again to determine if the criteria for selling a successful product on Tindie has changed over the years.