Arduino Day 2014 celebrated at Makers Asylum
March 29, 2014 was the 10th anniversary of every Maker’s favorite micro-controller prototyping platform, ARDUINO (www.arduino.cc). Arduino Day was planned as a worldwide event bringing together Arduino people and projects and getting them to share the experience!
We had just about set up Makers Asylum at our new location, and Arduino Day seemed like a good opportunity to get a community together and share and learn from each other’s experiences. We decided to go ahead and host the event just a few days before the 29th, so it was too late to register officially at the Arduino Day website (www.arduinoday.tv). Nevertheless, 60 guests RSVP’ed on our facebook events page (https://www.facebook.com/events/379786245492757/) and it looked like we would end up with standing room only. Luckily, attendance was limited to about 25-30 people through the day, which was perfect. Since we never had enough time to plan out the event in advance, we thought it best to run it as an “un-conference” format like a BarCamp.
We planned to start off the day at 11:00am, but had to hold up a bit since some folks had trouble finding us. The planned sessions consisted of Talks, Demos and Show-n-Tells.
After a brief round of introductions, we started off with the first talk of the day by Shreeyash Salunke. Shreeyash talked about “Serial Oscilloscope”. A windows based, open source program that can connect to external signals via the USB port, and display real time plots. So, hooking up an Arduino to it, and plotting/measuring signals becomes pretty simple. A simple piece of software, but mighty useful if you’re trying to monitor or debug your Arduino project.
Next up was Kaustubh Shivdikar, who talked and demo’ed his Smart Back Pack called as E-Bag v2. He’s managed to squeeze in a mini-refrigerator, a mobile phone charger, smart wallet to track his cash, a display to monitor all the functions, a 230V inverter outlet, and more. The young kids at the Asylum were so engrossed in talking and discussing the E-Bag, it made all the elders feel left out.
Well, so what do they do – have a fight. We have a couple of Nerf Guns at the Asylum, and a gun fight started out in earnest. Well, there was total insanity and mayhem.
The workout made everyone hungry, and we all went out looking for grub. Bandra West Hill Road is a pretty swanky location, with lots of eating options. But this was a Saturday afternoon, and every place was full to the rafters. We walked over to Hearsch Bakery which offered a nice outdoor sit out for us to munch and talk.
Back at the Asylum, we had Arjun Jindam waiting for us. He demo’ed his awesome tweet-a-target Nerf Gun – a project that he did for a client at a Shopping Mall, where shoppers were asked to tweet a hashtag, and the gun would try to hit a moving target. People who hit the bulls eye got some free stuff. The Arduino was used to trigger the Nerf Gun via a Relay.
Abhishek Sawarkar walked in with what looked like a tricked out Skate Board. He had a pressure sensor connected at the front of the skateboard. This was hooked up to an ATMega which was controlling a pair of drivers. The drivers were PWM’ing the DC motors connected to the rear wheels using a set of gears and bicycle chain. Frankly, it looked like a tank. The power source was a hefty lead acid battery which he claimed ran the skateboard for around 4-5 hours. It was an awesome project, said everyone who tried it out.
Siji Sunny from the Mumbai Linux Users Group gave a talk on his experience using various open source development platforms like the Arduino, Raspberry-Pi, Beagle Bone series, Cubie Board etc.
Next up, I gave a talk on the Arduino eco-system, explaining the hardware, the software, shields, programming and applications for this wonderful platform. That was as good a time as any for me to also open up my box of goodies and show off all the various Arduino projects that I have been doing with my team at WyoLum (www.wyolum.com).
There was a lot more Nerf Gun action.
Kaustubh demoed how the Arduino IDE works, and walked through some simple examples like how to blink a LED and how to move a servo etc. For some of the folks who were still new to Arduino, it looked simple and easy, and I could sense we had a few more Arduino converts.
All the heavy fighting action got one of the Nerf Guns jammed, so Vaibhav, Harshad and a couple of others did what happens best at a MakerSpace – open it up, fault find and repair it.
Before we all knew, it was already 6:00 in the evening and time to go. It was a great day where everyone who attended enjoyed, had fun and learned a lot of new stuff. Next up at the Asylum, lots more Arduino action in the future, so keep an eye out.