The HypnoLamp Goes to Maker Faire

Submitted by zkarcher on Thu, 2013-05-23 14:59

Portland Dorkbot had a booth at the Bay Area Maker Faire this year. Here's my first proper invention, the HypnoLamp, alongside the Editor's Choice award that we received:

HypnoLamp + Editor's Choice Award

Many factors helped birth the HypnoLamp: At Toorcamp 2012, I learned to program microcontrollers. Jeff of OlyMEGA blessed me with addressable LED strips, at the aforementioned event. Jeff was also at the Portland Mini Maker Faire, showcasing (among other things) glass Ikea lamps with LEDs inside. I decided to build my own version!

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.