Maker Faire 2013

Submitted by paul on Tue, 2013-05-14 16:48

The Dorkbot booth at Maker Faire worked out really well.  Here's a couple good photos Zach took:

This is the right-hand side, with my extremely bright OctoWS2811 Arduino library demo triggered by stomp pads.

This is the center with Tom's Bee counter, Zach's Hypnolamp, and Tara's soldering demo in the center, viewed over the top of Jared's VFD display spectrum analyzer (and FPGA Robotron not visisble in this photo).

Click "Read more" for more pictures, source code and other stuff

Unix Select-Paste in Arduino Editor

Submitted by paul on Mon, 2013-04-22 06:14

The Arduino IDE editor's lack of support for X11's select-paste mechanism has always annoyed me.  Well, I finally got around to adding it.  Especially for helping people with their Arduino troubles (which I do every day), it's so very nice to finally be able to quickly select-paste between Arduino and forum messages, email, terminal windows, etc.

This is a Unix/X11 feature.  Mac & Windows do not have anything similar.  But on Linux it's so very fast and convenient.  This tiny little feature really makes me happy.  :-)

Update: Arduino 1.0.5 now has this feature on Linux.  It's not mentioned in the release notes, but if you try select-paste, it now works properly even without installing Teensyduino.

Teensyduino Regression Testomatic, 1st Try...

Submitted by paul on Tue, 2013-04-16 06:43

Over the last couple weeks I've been working on a automated test system for Teensyduino, which someday will verify nearly all the Arduino functionality on every board and also test most of the Arduino libraries.  Here's what my first try looks like.

Click "Read more" for another photo, a bit of discussion about how this works (and what doesn't work so well), and a peek at what will be my second attempt.

Use MAME's debugger to reverse engineer and extend old games

Use MAME's debugger to reverse engineer and extend old games

For the Church of Robotron's installation at Toorcamp 2012, we needed to be able to trigger physical events when game events happened in Robotron 2084. A quick summary for context:

  • We had an Altar that contained a Linux box that ran MAME and Robotron 2084
  • We had joysticks that acted as HID devices
  • Player would kneal down and play the game. As events happened in the game (player death, human death, lasers firing), we would trigger physical events.

We choose to use MAME's debugger to detect game events and notify other pieces of software when they happened. This is a quick tutorial for others (and a reminder to ourselves) if you're interested in doing similar things. We're going to find out how to detect player death!

DorkbotPDX 0x0B


  • When: Monday June 17th, 2013 - 8pm
  • WhereBackspace (map)
  • Who: All ages -- open to the public
  • Cost: Free!

The Good Life Lab

presented by Mikey Sklar & Wendy Tremayne

Mikey & Wendy live in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico and have been homesteading there for the last seven years. They produces their own power, fuel, food, water and building materials. Mikey will be explaining how a little bit of embedded hardware can empower anyone to leave their day jobs and focus on the interests. Projects such as grease car temperature displays, irrigation moisture monitors, pulsed LED growlights, using machines to build with trash, fermentation controllers and recovering different battery chemistries.

Mikey is a open hardware developer who has been selling kits and has worked for Adafruit, Hack-a-Day, and Popular Science. This will be his fifth dorkbot presentation. 

Blending art, nature, and mechanics

presented by Stephanie Simek


Stephanie will be speaking about some of her recent art projects involving light, sound, and electrical components. She'll talk about her interest with combining disparate materials and pushing the limits of their inherent functional capabilities, like playfully incorporating circuitry with handwriting and the movements of Venus Flytraps. She'll also discuss her newest project, a crystal radio sculpture. Other topics to be covered include: synchronized swimming, the Golden Record, non-Newtonian lovers, and Cab Calloway.
Stephanie Simek has been living in Portland for 6 years, where she has been creating experiments with sound, performance, and sculpture.  Throughout the month of June, Place Gallery will be exhibiting her most recent project, Radio Room.



An open-mic session for those looking to show off a project, ask a question, solicit help, or incite collaboration.

DorkbotPDX 0x0A


  • When: March 25th, 2013 - 8pm
  • Where: Backspace (map)
  • Who: All ages -- open to the public
  • Cost: Free!

Self Balancing Robots 101

Glenn Phillips

Glenn's presentation will cover the basics of self balancing robots:

  • Overview of accelerometers and gyroscopes
  • Control software
  • Motor controllers
  • Battery and electric motor selection

Glenn Phillips got into the computer business around the era of the Mac Plus. Glenn's last job was the owner of Gorge Networks Inc. a rural Internet provider using fixed wireless and dsl. The business was sold in 2010 and Glenn has been on the Obama plan ever since.

Glenn became interested in the Arduino a couple years ago, but he had no programming experience. At some point in the process Glenn began to control servos and motors from his old RC collection. Computer control of motors was fun, interesting and possibly a job in the future.

Self balancing robots seemed to be the holy grail of motor control! Constant feedback from sensors is processed and translated to power and direction of the motor. Any issue with any component of the system is immediately apparent.

Glenn is also a cheap Yankee so his creations use salvaged parts from electric bikes, scooters, wheelchairs, laser printers and computers.

The Church of Robotron

Learn about the mutant savior and our efforts to save the last human family.  

We will talk about the Chuch of Robotron installation at Toorcamp 2012.  It involved many different types of materials, skills, and work.  We used microcontrollers, plywood, and cast away junk to create a brand new immersive experience of Robotron 2084.  On top of that, we had performance, writing, and art to complete the branding of the Church.  We will show what a lot of people working together can accomplish.
We hope to inspire you to take up the two eight ways!

CoR H264 half from Libbey White on Vimeo.



An open-mic session for those looking to show off a project, ask a question, solicit help, or incite collaboration.