Tag Archives: Community

Putting out feelers: Compute Module Symposium

via Raspberry Pi

It’s been a few months since we originally announced the Compute Module. Now we’re beginning to see orders from industrial customers, and designs incorporating it hitting various crowd funding websites, we thought it might be time to have a get-together to share a little!

The Compute Module is not a consumer product. It was developed specifically to help our industrial customers. There are a lot of businesses out there using standard Raspberry Pis inserted into their products: the Compute Module allows them to redevelop their products to be smaller and to address their task more specifically. Over the past few months we’ve seen new products being developed through the Raspberry Pi forums and on social media, and we thought it was about time to think a little more seriously about how we can help.

Gordon tests CM

The other day I was talking with the team at ARM about their Connected Community, and it rang a bell with me about what we’re trying to do with the Compute Module on a slightly different scale. So I thought a developer symposium would be a great way to get people who are interested in the Compute Module together to discuss their projects and designs.

So we’re putting out a call for participation/presentations/papers. We want to invite people who are using the Compute Module in their own products to take part, and we will also give at least the following 30 minute presentations:

  • James Adams – Hardware design with the compute module
  • Gordon Hollingworth – Software design and platform configuration with the compute module
  • Gordon Hollingworth – Compute module automated test development for high volume production

We’ll also be available during the symposium to discuss designs individually, and to help direct people in the right way of doing things.

We have not yet set a date because we don’t know what demand will look like. So if you’re not interested in presenting please tell us what you would like to see from the event, and what you’d like to learn: we’ll see if we can incorporate that into the symposium.

For presentations please send a short abstract (150 odd words will do) explaining what you’d like to talk about to gordon@raspberrypi.org. And let us know if you’d be interested in coming in the comments below too, so we can gauge interest.

MagPi issue 26

via Raspberry Pi

I’m in a bit of a rush today; we’re all at the factory in Wales where the Raspberry Pi is built to show the team that works in Cambridge how to make a Pi. So I’ll hand over to Team MagPi, who have just released their 26th edition of the free monthly Raspberry Pi magazine, written by Raspberry Pi fans for Raspberry Pi fans.

Screen Shot 2014-11-18 at 14.17.27

Editor Ash Stone says:

This month’s Issue is packed with hardware and programming articles.  We are pleased to present the first article in an OpenCV (open source computer vision) image recognition software series by Derek Campbell.  The robot that Derek used to test the software configuration is shown on this month’s cover.

Expanding the I/O possibilities of the Raspberry Pi is often a first step of electronics projects.  This time, Dougie Lawson presents a review of the Arduberry board from Dexter Industries.  This little board provides an ideal microcontroller interface for more complicated electronics projects.  This month’s hardware articles are rounded off by Karl-Ludwig’s third BitScope article, which includes examples of preamplifier circuits and associated test and measurement.

The Raspberry Pi provides the opportunity to run many different software applications.  Voice over IP (VoIP) allows telephone calls to be carried over an internet connection.  Walbarto Abad continues his mini-series by describing how to setup an Asterisk VoIP server.

The second application article this month continues the discussion of git (distributed version control system).  Git was originally produced for Linux kernel development, but is now a mainstay of many different development projects and has been adopted by several schools too.  Alec Clews leads us through his second tutorial on the subject.

This month’s programming article demonstrates how to build an arcade game using FUZE BASIC.  Jon Silvera includes instructions, code and images to build a horizontally scrolling game.

We are on the look out for more articles at all levels and on all subjects.  If you are interested in submitting an article, please get in touch with us by emailing articles@themagpi.com.

If you have any other comments, you can find us on Twitter (@TheMagP1) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/MagPiMagazine) too.

 

 

The MagPi issue 27: out now!

via Raspberry Pi

Is that the date already? The new issue of The MagPi, the free magazine written and produced by members of the Raspberry Pi community, is available today.

The MagPi issue 27

Editor Ash Stone says:

Welcome to Issue 27 of The MagPi magazine. This month’s issue is packed cover to cover with something for just about everyone!

Are you tired of controlling your Raspberry Pi with the same old mouse and keyboard? Have you ever wished you could have the ergonomic feel of a console controller in your hands when playing some of those retro games we have written about in past issues? If you answered yes to either of these questions, why not take a look at Mark Routledge’s fantastic article describing how to do just that.

Alec Clews talks us through the use of Git, a free version control software package that we also use here at The MagPi to ensure that all of the team work on the most up to date copy of each issue. This is a great read, especially if you work with any type of document or file as part of a team.

As you can see from our front cover, we return to the popular world of Minecraft in Dougie Lawson’s clever article on building QR code structures inside the game. We also have more physical computing from ModMyPi, and a great father and son story on building and funding a Raspberry Pi project through Kickstarter.

Of course we have not forgotten about programming. William Bell continues his popular C++ series and we also have part three of our game programming series using FUZE BASIC. Start thinking of some game ideas now because in the next issue we will have a game programming competition.

If you want even more from The MagPi this month then why not join us on the 11th October at the SWAMP Fest event (see this month’s Events page) where we will have our own stand. We look forward to seeing you there.

We hope you enjoy this month’s issue and don’t forget to like our Facebook page and leave a comment at www.facebook.com/MagPiMagazine.

China press and community tour

via Raspberry Pi

As you might have spotted, if you follow us on Twitter, Eben and I spent the last week and a bit touring China, meeting the Raspberry Pi community there and giving interviews to the press, with some sterling organisational help from our friends at RS Components. (A special and huge thank you to Eric Lee, without whom we’d have been absolutely stuffed. Mostly with delicious pork confections and noodles, but stuffed nonetheless.)

Here’s what we got up to.

First up, there were a lot of press conferences to give, with help from the excellent William, our simultaneous translator; after a week of doing this, we ended up with more than 100 pieces of media being written or recorded about Raspberry Pi across China. This one, in Shanghai, is pretty typical.

Press conference

We noticed that the tech press in China is incredibly well-educated; a lot of these journalists trained as engineers and then moved into publishing. (And everywhere we went, at least 50% of the technical journalists were women – something I wish we’d emulate in the west.)

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We went to a Raspberry Jam in Shanghai, held at RS Components’ offices. We met some great people (Kevin Deng and the gang from 52pi.cn, a Chinese website dedicated to the Raspberry Pi, actually followed us on to the next event in Shenzhen as well), who’d built some amazing projects.

Shanghai Jam

The robot on our desk is LIDAR (laser radar)-equipped, from DFrobot. We’re listening to a talk about open source from David Li, one of China’s most famous open source pioneers. Eric Lee from RS is on the right.

lidarbot

This laser-etcher is one of the projects the 52pi gang had brought along; you can buy lasers for this sort of project off the shelf in China, where the integrity of your eyeball is your own responsibility. I’ve got a couple of coasters with our logo on them on my desk at the moment, made using this machine.

laser etcher

Jackie Li gave an amazing talk about the projects he’s made at home – cameras streaming to remote screens, a simplified media centre for his grandma, robots – and this excellent LED persistence of vision device for displaying reminders in the kitchen.

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We flew out next to Shenzen, where hundreds of people turned up for a Raspberry Jam, and where we did more press conferences and more interviews. Before we left for China, I’d been worried that the community base would be smaller than we’re used to. It turned out to be almost too large for us to deal with in the time we’d had allotted in each location.

Shenzhen Jam

It got a bit hard to move in Shenzhen for all the people wanting a photo. We saw some great presentations (one of which, from Martin Liu, who describes himself as a living-room maker, demonstrated the work we sponsored to get the XBMCmenu working in new fonts – including Chinese. It’s at the back of the photo here, behind all the people with cameras.)

allthecameras

We met a lot of Shenzhen makers who are also entrepreneurs; on the left here is Zoe from Seeed Studio. Eben’s holding some sensors from their Grove project, which works with Raspberry Pi.

seeed

This young gentleman had a robot to show us, controlled with Scratch (on the desk to the right), and a poster for Eben about Pi-controlled brewing. He was terribly shy, and I really wanted to give him a hug, but suspected that might have made matters worse.

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We managed to get about an hour at the enormous electronics market in Shenzhen with Eric, where we had some fun looking at components and working out if we could lower the bill of materials cost in the Pi itself. Unfortunately, it’s so big you need at least a week to work your way around the place; we plan to return.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Next stop, Taipei. We started off at Noise Kitchen, where we met a group from CaveDu, a local hacker group. The robot in the middle was being prepared for the next day’s Jam at Tatung university – the display shows how many likes CaveDu’s Facebook page has.

CaveDu

These guys hung around for HOURS to meet us, for which we’re very grateful; our plane was delayed six hours, and we didn’t get there until nearly 11pm. I met a home-made laptop with a removable wireless keyboard (a clever way to get around the hinge problem), and made a new best friend.

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First thing the next morning, we headed out to Tatung university.

tatung uni jam

We were expecting a few tens of people, having failed to learn our lesson from Shenzhen. More than 250 people turned up.

tatung crowd

Among the crowd was my new best friend from the night before. We do not have a language in common, but we bonded over high-fives and fist-bumps.

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It was HOT; about 33C in the shade. And unfortunately, the air conditioning in the building got turned off an hour or so in, so we get damper and damper as these photos progress and the temperature climbs well above 40C.

We met a self-balancing robot in a hamster ball.

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We bumped into an old friend. (The beer is there for thermal reasons.)

Rapiro

Eben got interviewed, sweaty, by Taiwanese TV.

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And this is my other new best friend, Liang Chih Chiang, who gave a presentation (which he’s very kindly translated for me so you can all read it) about our community and social media – a subject that’s very close to my heart, for obvious reasons.

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We saw some amazing projects, like this gaming machine…

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…this Pi-powered 3d printer…

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…and this, which I was never able to get close enough to to find out what it does. I think it might be a musical instrument. Or possibly a cocktail machine.

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Any suggestions, anybody?

We had a wonderful, exhausting, wonderful time. Thanks so much to everybody who came to see us; and an especial thanks to Eric, Desiree, Soo Chun, Katherine and the rest of the RS gang, who looked after us so well. We hope we’ll be back in a year or so – and until then, here’s a picture of a bit of press that I can’t read, but that’s made me laugh more than anything else that’s been published about us this year.

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The MagPi issue 26 – out now!

via Raspberry Pi

August’s MagPi, the magazine for the Raspberry Pi community written by the Raspberry Pi community, is out now. As always, it covers the whole spectrum of Pi users, from absolute beginners to people looking for challenges; and as always, it’s a free download.

MagPi issue 26

This month you’ll find a continuation of the robot series that kicked off last month, adding voice control, facial recognition and speech to your home-made friend. There’s a fun persistence of vision (POV) magic wand project, an in-depth introduction to the new Model B+, and a great example of a dynamic art application for total beginners.

Our favourite project this month is Mashberry, a home brewery project which you can control using a TV remote. There’s lots more too: click on the image above (or here) to read the latest issue.

The MagPi team are always looking for volunteers to help produce the magazine: there’s a lot involved in getting a monthly publication ready beyond the writing and proofing. They’re always looking for writers and proofreaders, but if you’re interested in the production side of things in particular – that’s layout, typesetting, graphical work and testing – they’d especially love you to get in touch. If you can help, email editor@themagpi.com, or comment on their Facebook
page.

MagPi issue 25 – out now!

via Raspberry Pi

For your weekend reading pleasure, here’s issue 25 of the MagPi! Published just yesterday, the latest issue of everyone’s favourite free, monthly, community-produced Raspberry Pi magazine is as full of fantastic stuff as ever.

The MagPi issue25

Click to read The MagPi!

The cover story is one that’ll definitely get some attention in our house this weekend: it’s a full Python simulation of the Pocket Enigma Cipher Machine, a cleverly devised toy that demonstrates some of the principles of a real Enigma machine like the one many of you will recognise in the cover photo. Used by the German armed forces during World War II to encipher messages, these used rotating disks to achieve a sophisticated substitution cipher; the Pocket machine, and its Python simulation, use two disks to arrive at a fun, if not exactly unbreakable, cipher.

We’re delighted to see an article by Andrew Suttle, the MagPi’s youngest guest writer so far. Andrew reviews the Fish Dish, an easy-to-build add-on board aimed at beginners, which he has tested with ScratchGPIO and Python. Also aimed at beginners is a new series on learning BASIC, which opens this issue with the kind of background that has most of Pi Towers sighing wistfully and exchanging anecdotes about our childhoods.

There’s the second half of a two-part article on understanding networks and network analysis tools, an introduction to electronic measurement with Raspberry Pi and BitScope Micro, a background piece by one of the creators of the Navio autopilot shield which the many backers of its successful Indiegogo campaign will be eager to read, and — another personal favourite — a tutorial on building an iPad/iPhone control panel for Raspberry Pi with RasPiConnect, taking the wonderful MouseAir deluxe automated cat toy as its example.

As usual, there’s so much here that I can’t mention even half of the articles, tutorials and reviews you’ll find here for beginners, advanced users and everyone in between. Download your copy now!

Open Source Hardware Camp 2014

via OSHUG

Open Source Hardware Camp will take place in the Pennine town of Hebden Bridge. For the second year running it is being hosted as part of the technology festival, Wuthering Bytes. However, this year OSHCamp will have the Waterfront Hall to itself on the Saturday and Sunday, with a separate Festival Day taking place on the Friday and with talks on a broader selection of technical topics.

Details of the OSHUG talks and workshops can be found below and the Wuthering Bytes website will be updated in due course with details of the complete programme of events.

Note that socials are planned for both the Friday and Saturday evenings, with the former being hosted at the Town Hall and where there will be a bar, food available and music and a live performance, and the latter will be hosted at a local hostelry that serves food.

Hebden Bridge is approximately 1 hour by rail from Leeds and Manchester. Budget accommodation is available at the Hebden Bridge Hostel, with private rooms available and discounts for group bookings. Details of other local accommodation can be found at www.hebdenbridge.co.uk.

Any questions should be directed to the Discussion List.

Saturday :: Talks

Linux bootloaders and kernel configuration

Linux is popular in embedded devices, but most use it once the kernel has booted and don't consider how it was started. This talk explores just what happens when you first start an embedded device that is running Linux, and will look at common bootloaders, such as U-Boot, along with kernel boot options. Finally, we will look at useful kernel configuration options for embedded devices.

Melanie Rhianna Lewis started a life long love of electronics as a child when her Dad helped her make a "crystal" radio with an ear piece, a coil of wire, a diode and a radiator! At the same time the home computer revolution started and she would lust after the "build your own computers" advertised in the electronics magazines of the time. She never got one but did end up the proud owner of a BBC Micro. Melanie learnt everything she could about the machine and including assembler, operating systems, drivers, interrupt, and, thanks to the circuit diagram in the Advanced User Guide, digital electronics. After the BBC Micro came the Acorn Archimedes and so started a long relationship with ARM processors. In the 90s Melanie became interested in Linux and then developed one of the first ARM Linux distributions running on an Acorn RISC PC. The hobby became a job and Melanie currently works for an embedded device consultancy near Bradford where a lot of her work is still with ARM processors. Recently Melanie became a sporty person and now spends a lot of her time hitting girls. She will probably bore you with tales of roller derby!

Open source archaeological geophysics - is it achievable?

The advance of technology into Archaeology has allowed geophysical surveys to "peer into the ground" and direct the diggers to the most likely "targets". However, as anyone whose watched Time Team will know, using Resistivity and Magnetometry doesn't always guarantee results. Such equipment is not usually within the financial reach of most hobbyists. However, the recent explosion of the Arduino, Pi and other cheap electronics has meant making such surveying equipment may be possible.

A small research project involving an informal collaboration between members of the Derbyshire Archaeological Society (DAS) & Derby Makers is exploring whether a high accuracy GPS unit, Magnetometer and a resistivity probe can be made and yield worthwhile results within a budget of £1,000. DAS has kindly funded this research and we are about 50% of the way through the GPS project. This talk will introduce the project and take a look at progress to date.

Tony Brookes was firstly an engineer and then worked in IT for a while (!) Now working part-time, hobbies easily fill the time available. Drawn to archaeological and historical research by way of Time Team, he now tries to apply open source software (Scribus, Inkscape, Qgis) and hardware (Arduino, et al) to investigating parish history and other interesting topics.

An open source aquaponics control system

Aquaponics is a closed system of food production that farms fish alongside vegetables, and this talk will look at the development of an open source aquaponics control system for the Incredible AquaGarden project in Todmorden, highlighting certain features of the design and exploring some of the difficulties encountered and how these have been addressed.

A control and monitoring system with an event-driven 'flowchart' interface will be presented, where data about aspects such as pH, temperature and light level etc. are collected and logged in order to monitor the environment. The system responds dynamically to control the level of water in the plant growing bed, to maximise the yield. Some design decisions and technical aspects of the system will be demonstrated and discussed, together with the open source model for sustaining the project.

Finally, we will look at the operational Node-RED installation in Todmorden, showing how the system is collecting readings and controlling the water level, and we'll talk about how MQTT has been used to loosely couple the code running on the Arduino with Node-RED on a Raspberry Pi.

Gareth Coleman is a inventive hardware hacker who's talent lies in connecting diverse devices. Dr Naomi Rosenberg is a freelance software developer with a background in formal logic who works on a wide variety of platforms. They both get a especially enthusiastic about open hardware, free software and empowering humans.

From Idea to Finished Product: A Tale of DFM and CEM

With numerous easily accessible embedded platforms around and concepts such as rapid prototyping and crowdfunding now being useful things as opposed to just buzzwords, designing the Next Big Thing without leaving your study is becoming a common story for makers and tinkerers.

While it is true that going from an idea to a finished product has never been easier thanks to the abundance of design resources and affordable manufacturing services, designing for volume manufacturing requires a different mindset that usually does not apply to casual weekend hacks. From component choice to packaging and logistics, there are several elements that needs to be taken into consideration, as they may cause significant headaches otherwise.

This talk will provide an overview of electronics manufacturing process, covering details such as managing design data, handling dependencies, component and process choices, testing and certification and several other aspects of DFM: Design for Manufacturability.

Omer Kilic is an Embedded Systems hacker who likes tinkering, a lot. He also likes tiny computers, things that just work and good beer.

Driving milling machines with Linux

Driving a milling machine with Linux is fairly easy and LinuxCNC (previously known as “EMC”) even provides a real-time distribution install disk. However, driving the machine is only half the story and gcode generation is at least as important.

This talk will share experiences using a mill and a router with Linux, looking at PCB manufacture, engraving, 3D milling, casting, tool paths, materials, tools and parametric design.

Matt Venn has run hundreds of creative science workshops for thousands of children and adults around the world. For the last year, he has been working with teachers in preparation for the computer science curriculum changes; creating and leading courses, workshops and projects.

When he's not inventing new ways of getting people excited about science, Matt plays music, invents puzzle boxes, practices martial arts and maintains bikes.

Oxford Flood Network - easier to Apologise Than to Ask Permission

Oxford Flood Network is a citizen sensing project which monitors water levels around the city, in streams, rivers and even under floorboards, sending water levels back to the Internet using low-powered wireless.

The network explores the possibilities of a smart city that is created by its citizens, rather than a more typical top-down deployment. Sensor networks are generally used to collect data about us for reasons and agendas chosen by others, but we can build sensor networks too; crowd-sourced data can be gathered for your agenda — providing evidence for your issues.

In this talk we will hear how Oxford Flood Network has developed an open source model for hardware and software, and the challenges of sticking mysterious boxes under bridges.

Ben Ward is founder of Love Hz, promoting the use of white space spectrum for open innovation in the Internet of Things. A survivor of the dotcom bubble, subsea bandwidth glut and the UK broadband wars, he's still surprisingly optimistic about the future.

An introduction to writing applications for the Parallella board

Parallella is a credit card-sized computer with a many-core accelerator that allows it to achieve high floating-point performance while consuming only a few watts. In this talk we will take a look at the Epiphany architecture and how to use the eSDK to write highly parallel applications for it, using hardware and software features to benchmark code and optimise performance.

Simon Cook leads Embecosm's work on LLVM and is author of the standard guide to the LLVM assembler. He is also an expert on low-energy compilation and is lead engineer on the MAGEEC project. Simon holds a double first class honors degree in Computer Science and Electronics from Bristol University.

Radio Then and Pararchive: decentralised, pervasive, and open story telling

Radio Then is a citywide cultural history experience, telling stories about Manchester’s jazz and popular music heritage using a small, Arduino-powered radio. Participants explore the city and tune in to archival broadcasts related to places, people, and events of note. In actual fact, the ‘radio’ contains GPS and audio breakouts to track its location and cue audio tracks depending on its coordinates.

The project is being created to showcase findings from Pararchive, an AHRC project being conducted by the University of Leeds, in partnership with the BBC, National Media Museum, Science Museum Group, and Manchester Digital Laboratory, among others. Pararchive represents an opportunity for members of the public to engage with archives, decentralising the material from archive holders, and offering alternative and personal perspectives on events.

James Medd is an artist, musician, and maker based in Manchester. He teaches all things digital in the north west of the UK, and creates whimsical, entertaining, and accessible interactive artworks. He currently leads Arduino Manchester, a community group for Arduino users in Manchester, and will be developing more interactive audio experiences at Watershed’s Pervasive Media Studio later this year, as a winner of their graduate and new talent competition.

Commercialising your ideas

Whether you're taking the time to build something fun, or have a solution to a problem you have faced, you are 'in your own right' an inventor.

One of the biggest challenges inventors face isn't making their product work, it's generating a living to continue inventing. Having spent over a decade in both sales and business development I have witnessed people use various methods to overcome this hurdle. I hope to share with you some of my experiences to provide you with some ideas you can take away and use when looking to turn a hobby or bright idea into a financial success. Our topic of conversation will take us from having a light bulb moment, to securing orders and reaping the rewards.

William Stone is the Head of Channel Strategy for hardware manufacturer, Ciseco. He is responsible for various commercial areas of the business including the very familiar responsibility of growing Ciseco's rapidly expanding chain of partners and distributors. Now with 36 recognized distributors worldwide, Ciseco has a growing presence and reputation in electronics manufacturing and Internet of Things (IoT).

OpenTRV: energy technology that saves householders money

The OpenTRV project aims to provide software, hardware designs and excellent interoperability to allow UK and EU householders to as much as halve their heating bills and carbon footprint with simple to fit hardware costing around £100 per house. Everything is freely available under liberal licensing — even our 3D printed enclosures — to enable adoption and cost savings.

Damon Hart-Davis gets excited about electronics, parallelism, robotics, distributed systems and resource efficiency, and solar PV and halving space-heating carbon footprint with cheap microcontrollers (OpenTRV) are two of his current passions. Damon has been working on “mission-critical” systems in banking for most of the last 20 years and before that founded one of the first UK Internet Service Providers.

Interfacing with SPI and I2C

SPI and I2C are industry standard methods of interfacing IO devices to micro-controllers and CPUs using just a few connections. SPI requires four wires and I2C just two.

This talk introduces SPI and I2C. It describes how they work and how you use them. It will look at common IO devices that connect via SPI or I2C. Finally it will look at controlling SPI and I2C devices from two example controllers, the Arduino and the Raspberry PI, in languages such as C and Python.

Speaker: Melanie Rhianna Lewis.

Introduction to Baserock

Baserock is a new set of open source tools for creating "appliance" operating system images. The aim is to close the gap between source code repositories and the code running on a device. This talk will go over Baserock's philosophy, what it provides and how you can try it out today.

Sam Thursfield likes it when technology is surprising in a good way but does not like it when it is surprising in a bad way. He spends a lot of time trying to reduce the amount of code that is required to do things. He has been known to play the trombone in and around Manchester.

Concurrency in the real world with xCORE and XC

There are many cases where a simple microcontroller won't cut it and the FPGA design route may be too drawn out and costly, particularly if your background is in software.

With the XMOS multi-core microcontroller architecture and toolset it's now possible to tackle complex hardware problems using familiar software and algorithms, avoiding the need to work with Verilog or VHDL. The XMOS XS1 microcontrollers provide tens of nano second resolution and deterministic, predictable, real-time operation in software. The XMOS toolset enables designs to be simulated and analysed, and signals to be monitored and scoped all within the IDE.

The XC extensions to C provide simple interfaces and tasks to write concurrent programs, taking care of nasty race conditions and parallel usage errors. xCORE open source libraries help break down complex domain-specific tasks, allowing you to focus on developing applications. While XMOS Links enable microcontrollers and boards to be chained together in a divide and conquer manner, allowing you to orchestrate your own hardware solutions.

This talk will introduce the XMOS technology and explore a selection of real world applications.

Alan Wood has been working with concurrent and distributed programming for over a decade. His recent work includes smart grid, control, and motion systems based on XMOS' concurrent technology. He is a long term advocate and moderator (aka Folknology) for xCORE and other SHW communities, such as TVRRUG, as well as a founder of hackspace, SHH.

Compered by:

Paul Tanner is a consultant, developer and maker in wood, metal, plastic, electronics and software. His day job is IT-based business improvement for SMEs. By night he turns energy nut, creating tools to optimise energy use. Paul graduated in electronics and was responsible for hardware and software product development and customer services in several product and service start-ups, switching to consulting in 2000.

Sunday :: Workshops

Some workshops will provide tools, boards and components etc. However, subject to demand this may involve an element of sharing and please feel free to bring along equipment and components, but note that you must be able to take full responsibility for your own personal safety and that of others in respect to these. Common sense must be exercised!

Let's build a flood network for Hebden Bridge!

Split into two teams, one will attempt to install flood sensors on the beautiful Hebden Water just outside the venue, while the other links these these to the Internet using readily available technology.

Proven hardware designs will be used to show you how can send water levels back to the Internet using low-powered wireless links, and sustainable approaches to citizen sensing will be explored.

Run by: Ben Ward.

Workshop notes: you may want to bring wellies if you plan to join the sensor installation team! Also feel free to bring sensors and boards that you think may be useful.

Building applications that sense and respond to the real world

Following on from their talk, Naomi and Gareth will be joined by Paulo Marini, the Tormorden project's resident aquaponicist. Together they will facilitate a hack session to help you build applications that respond to the real world.

Run by: Gareth Coleman and Dr Naomi Rosenberg.

Workshop notes: Bring your own hardware to work on, such as Raspberry Pi and Arduino etc. if you can, and they'll try to find ways to get your projects connected.

Do you want to build a robot? #meArm assembly workshop

How about starting with an Arm? With just a screwdriver and enthusiasm you can build an Open Source Robot Arm. If you bring an Arduino or Pi with you, you're free to stay on with your meArm and tinker with the code too.

The meArm is a project to get low cost robot arms into the hands of as many people as possible. Started in February this year it's made fast progress through open development. Already "home brew" (those not from the laser forges of phenoptix in Nottingham) versions have been spotted in the UK, Switzerland, the USA and Mexico!

Ben Gray is a proponent of Open Hardware and founder of phenoptix, a maker business based in Beeston, Nottinghamshire. Ben graduated from the University of Exeter with a chemistry degree and a fledgling phenoptix before moving to Nottingham to complete a PhD in theoretical physical chemistry. Through the open hardware movement he has been able explore the wonderful world of electronics and take phenoptix from a pocket money project to the full time job it is today.

Workshop notes: Bring along a laptop and, if you like, an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

Introduction to Bus Pirate

The Bus Pirate is a universal open source hardware device that can be used to communicate using various buses, such as SPI, I2C, UART and JTAG, with various devices. The Bus Pirate is, per the designers, intended to "Eliminate a ton of early prototyping effort with new or unknown chips."

This tutorial will introduce the Bus Pirate. Describe how to configure it and install the software required to use it. It will then look at some basic interfacing to devices via SPI and I2C. It will work through how you can 'sniff' buses. Finally it will look at use the Bus Pirate as a simple frequency measurement and generator device.

Run by: Melanie Rhianna Lewis.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop (Bus Pirate is supported under Windows, Linux and OSX) and, if you can, some hardware to debug. There will be a limited number of Bus Pirates available, but if you have one please bring it along.

Building your first Parallella application

This workshop follows on from the previous day's talk and participants will build a simple project which targets the Parallella board and uses all 16 cores of the Epiphany floating-point accelerator.

Run by: Simon Cook.

Workshop notes: Please bring along a laptop and, if you have one, a Parallella board (a limited number of boards will be available for use by those who do not own one).

The real world works concurrently and so can you

This workshop will take you through the basics of embedded concurrent programming using an XMOS multi-core startKIT. We will cover basic parallel processing extensions to C (XC) using tasks, interfaces, timers and ports. We will also get some insight into our running code using xSCOPE, a real-time debugging system built in to the XMOS tools. In addition we will use software modules to drop in rich functionality from the open source xCORE libraries.

Run by: Alan Wood.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop and any devices you would like to interface.

Design a PCB Shrimp and have it fabricated

The Shrimp is a super low cost Arduino clone. It makes an excellent teaching resource, and is usually delivered as a 'breaded shrimp' - using a breadboard. For hackers, it's a great way to knock up a quick, cheap microcontroller circuit.

In this workshop we'll make a PCB version of the shrimp — a more robust and Arduino shield compatible version — and you will be guided through the process of drawing the schematic, laying out the PCB and optionally placing an order with OSHPark for your very own PCB shrimp.

Participants will be working in pairs. Boards will cost about £6 each. Kits of components can conveniently be ordered from shrimping.it for £4.

Run by: Matt Venn.

Workshop notes: bring along a laptop.

OpenTRV build and getting started

Kits will be available to solder and boards and cables to buy, along with valves that will be used to demonstrate how you can use Arduino-based technology to halve your heating bill.

Run by: Damon Hart-Davis.

Workshop notes: Please bring your own soldering iron, solder and AA batteries if you would like to build a kit to take away, and be aware that SMD soldering experience and a steady hand will be required to solder the TMP112 temperature sensor.

NOTE:

  • There are separate tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
  • A light lunch and refreshments will be provided each day.
  • Please aim to arrive between 09:00 and 09:15 on the Saturday as the event will start at 09:20 prompt.
  • MagPi issue 24, out now!

    via Raspberry Pi

    The MagPi’s a little late this month, but it’s full of good things. The MagPi is the free magazine for Raspberry Pi enthusiasts, written, typeset and edited by the community for the community.

    This month’s issue has plenty for Pi fans of all levels to get their teeth into.

    MagPi Jun 14

    Click the image to visit The MagPi

    We’re biased, but our favourite article this month is the interview with our very own Carrie Anne Philbin about Picademy, our free teacher training courses, where she talks a lot about the Raspberry Pi Foundation’s approach to education. And our hearts went pitter-patter when we saw the Wolfram Language-powered spectrophotometer from Robert J LeSuer, which can be used to calibrate colours: in this instance Robert is using it to make sure his watermelon punch is precisely the correct shade of red. There’s the final instalment in Michael Petersen’s Weather Balloon series, a project from Daniel Pelikan which turns your Raspberry Pi into an oscilloscope, and much more.

    The MagPi is a free download: the volunteers on the project donate their time and skill every month for free, and we are very grateful to them. If you’d like a printed magazine, we’re selling the MagPi’s Kickstarted binders of the first nineteen issues in the Swag Store: get them while they’re hot!

     

    29th of March: A celebration of 10 years of Arduino and its worldwide community

    via Arduino Blog

    ARDUINODAY

    Arduino Day  is a worldwide celebration of Arduino’s first 10 years. It’s 24 hours full of events – both official and independent, anywhere around the world – where people interested in Arduino can meet, share their experiences, and learn more.

    Arduino invites Arduino user groups, makerspaces, hackerspaces, fablabs, associations, studios, educators, beginners and pro to take part to a day of celebration.

    Every Arduino Day event is modular. All over the world, organizers can plan different types of activities according to different audiences and skills.

    You can attend any event or organize one for your community.

    It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert or a newbie, an engineer, designer, crafter or maker: Arduino Day is open to anyone who wants to celebrate Arduino and all the things that have been done (or can be done!) with it.

    The events set up by independent organizers will offer different types of activities, tailored to local audiences all over the world.

    1. Fill out this online form to submit your proposal.
    2. Once your idea is approved, a pin marking the spot of your event will be added to the map on the Arduino Day website.

      You’ll also receive a confirmation email with a link to download your Digital Kit, which includes:

      • Official Arduino Day posters
      • Event flyer
      • Official signage system
      • Badges
      • And a 10% discount code for the Arduino Store

    digitalkit

    The call will close 15th March 2014. Ready to join us? Follow this hashtag #ArduinoD14 and use it to promote your event!

    DIY IWBs for Officine Arduino 2nd Birthday

    via Arduino Blog

    Officine Arduino Party

    Arduino has a little (yet effective) bit in Turin, and that’s Officine Arduino. We opened this place two years ago to offer a shelter to the Arduinians in northern Italy and host a makerspace, for their creations. We witnessed (and joined) the foundation of the Torino Fablab, an association offering the very same machines to anybody interested about the maker movement in Turin. On top of that, the all ardu-maker-fab-co-creative space is hosted in Toolbox Coworking.

    It’s tough to weight all the efforts and failures and successes we reached in these two years. We’ve seen the birth of Verkstad Arduino, the Swedish Arduino Office which is sharing the same principles we’ve been looking for in conceiving this place: mixing the company approach and the horizontal, informal one of makerspaces and coworking spaces (aka collaboration spaces).

    I love the way Arduino Team dealt with the growing of the project: create different little places rather than having a huge one.

    Wonderful Lasercut

    On top of that, Officine Arduino wouldn’t have been so without the help of Smartprojects (one of the main producers of Arduino). A selfless and generous helping hand towards us and towards italian makers in general. They lended us their lasercutter for 2 years, now that we are setted up they are going to lend the very same lasercut to another newborn fablab! This is the picture I took when I broght the lasercut back last week.

    Interactive Whiteboard

    Last year we celebrated our birthday with Josef Prusa and the building of ten reprap 3d printers. This year we want to dedicate our birthday to education, so we are going to host and build Interactive digital writeboards during the week end, following the Wiildos opensource project, with Pietro Pilolli (project host with Matteo Ruffoni e Massimo Bosetti).

    Friday is important for yet another reason: Toolbox is going to host the press conference of the newborn italian maker association, inwhich Massimo plays the role of president: Make in Italy Cdb Onlus. If you are a journalist or maker you can enroll here to join the press conference.

    tl;dr: we are partying this upcoming friday, if you pass by let us knowFB Event. Interested in building your own Interactive Open Source Digital Writeboard? Join the Make In Italy Cdb Onlus Press conference here.

     

    Making is Best When it’s Done Together

    via Arduino Blog

    makingtogether_massimo

    (originally posted on Makezine)

     

    This month I’d like to talk about the idea of making together and what it means for Arduino. The whole idea of being a maker involves concepts of collaboration, community, and working with other people. It’s very hard to be a maker and be by yourself locked in a room or even in a lab. It’s really something that involves a lot of collaborations at different levels.

    Many people today know what Arduino is, but very few know about two projects I did before Arduino. They were my first attempts to solve the problems my students had in prototyping with electronics. I consider them “creative failures.” As makers, we welcome failure as a way to understand how to do it better the next time.

    Those initial projects I prototyped were not working so well because the technology was not really good but mostly because when I developed these things I did them by myself. I didn’t involve other people and I was very inefficient in trying to get them to work properly. They solved a number of problems my students had, but they didn’t really get a lot of momentum.

    Ten years ago I started teaching at Interaction Design Institute in Ivrea (unfortunately it doesn’t exist anymore) where the Olivetti company used to be. In the picture below you can see their building and it’s not hard to notice it was created with a “design” approach. Olivetti was one of the first companies in the world to really apply design to everything: from their typewriters, to their buildings and to their posters, etc. Mr. Olivetti had that idea factories should have paintings on the walls because workers should be surrounded by beauty and knowledge. It was part of a bigger approach putting people at the center. It was in this context at the institute where we developed a number of projects before we came out with Arduino in the shape you know it now.

    makingtogether_ivrea

    If you peel back the surface, underneath Arduino project you can find a lot of collaboration. On one side you can see a selection of pretty amazing open source software contributing to what Arduino has become. I’m talking about GCC, processing, wiring, AVR, and all the other contributions from the community. On the other side, I started to involve specific people.

    I met David Cuartielles when he was researching in Ivrea and we started to talk about things we wanted to see in the platform to help our students getting started with electronics. Slowly we also got in touch with other people: Tom Igoe, a professor at ITP in New York with great experience; David Mellis, an amazing software developer who joined Ivrea from MIT; and Gianluca Martino, an electronics engineer who knows every company involved in electronics in the area. He’s now taking care of the manufacturing.

    I gathered all these people one-by-one because we wanted to make an open project based on collaboration. All the founders brought their own experience into Arduino and later what became really important was the Arduino community. At the moment there is a community much larger than number of official Arduino boards we have sold. There are more than 180,000 people subscribed to the forum and more than 4 million monthly page views to the website with visitors spending about five minutes on each visit.

    Arduino was born out of different contributions and it taught us to follow this path with most of our products. We started collaborating with other people and companies of the open source community, extending our role as makers into ideas and projects becoming products. Recently, we told you the story of the Arduino robot and an example of collaboration.

    For example, some years ago, with Adafruit we developed the Arduino Micro packing all of the power of the Arduino Leonardo in a smaller board. We met with Limor and Phil sharing a lot of ideas and more projects are coming up in the next months.

    At some point we also worked with Telefonica, a global mobile operator, to make the Arduino Gsm Shield. The technology of the shield is basic but we worked really hard to develop the API to use the module very easily. What’s important about these collaborations is not the technology but other things like lowering the barriers to access a sim card and allowing people to activate it very simply, just with a credit card. The value we created was about opening up a collaboration and making a big company like Telefonica aware of the impact of a product like this in the maker community.

    A similar thing, but with a smaller company, happened for Arduino Yún. DogHunter, based in Taiwan, designed the board together with us. The factory we usually work with in Europe didn’t have the experience to work with wi-fi technology so we teamed up with a factory in Taiwan which had an experience with millions of access points. Arduino Yún became the first official board made in Asia.

    In the first half of 2014 we are going to release the Arduino TRE. It’s a combination of a Beaglebone and an Arduino plus a number of things designed to make it very convenient for people to get started. We worked with Texas Instruments and especially Beagleboard, which shares with us a series of commitments to open source hardware and similar goals and ideas, like the desire for simplicity and ease of use.

    Once again we realized how easier it is to find someone who can give you a cheaper piece of hardware, but in the long run, even if it’s harder to find someone who shares the same set of values, it’s well worth it.

    We believe in the open source movement and everyone should be really aware that it can develop successfully if everyone takes from it, but especially if people and companies contribute back. That’s why it’s important to highlight who creates a positive loop and nurture knowledge sharing and collaboration.

    makingtogether_mfrome

    Even if there is the perception the maker movement is much more U.S.-centric, with a lot of visibility for American makers, events, and companies, we believed that we could do something to improve the relations among the movement here in Europe and activate more positive loops.

    We realized that one of the issues was about language. Many European makers are very active in their local community, but they don’t Speak English. That’s why we decided to invest time and resources to create an European Maker Faire in Rome, inviting people from all over the continent. It was not easy to organize it, but I can say that it was an incredible success with more than 35,000 participants. It proved that in Europe people want to get together, know each other and cross the boundaries of the over 27 countries with different languages.

    Maker Faire is not an event that has to do strictly with people making hardware. For me it’s much more important because it opens up channels of communication between makers and the concept of making together. We are happy to show what makers can do and how they could collaborate toward a future of great open source projects and, later, bringing benefit to communities around the world.

    Concrete Batch Plant using Arduino and LIFA in Bangladesh

    via Arduino Blog

    concrete plant

    Arduino user Geotechbd wrote us from Bangladesh to share his experience:

    Our company here in Bangladesh owns a quite old concrete batch plant, which had full manual control requiring an operator to control 14+ switched and observe 3 mechanical scales (dial gauges). I was successful to upgrade this plant to an automated unit requiring minimal operator input using custom made Arduino Uno compatible board and LIFA. Wiring is still messy which I shall take care in the near future.

    concrete plant

    On his blog he then details a list of tools, components, and at the end of the post, thanks all the people and communities who supported him in this challenge:

    My gratitude goes to my lovely wife for keeping me sane and my brother for arranging for ICs not available locally. My sincerest thanks goes to the Arduino community for helping me to remedy EMI problem and LIFA community for I2C communication troubleshooting. I must thank the developers of Arduino/LIFA/Fritzing for making electronics more accessible to the general masses.

    My electronics and Arduino knowledge was gathered from websites as tronixstuff.com / jeremyblum.com / arduino.cc, so thanks to excellent contributors of these sites. I had support personnel (a very patient electrician and a plant operator) here who helped me with wiring high voltage lines, and plant operational knowledge; thus, they also deserve thanks.

    It’s cool to see how open source creates collaborations among people all over the world!

    Making it in China

    via Arduino Blog

    Visiting the DimSum Lab hackerspace in Hong Kong. Photo by William Liang

    (originally posted on Makezine)

    Right after the overwhelming experience of Maker Faire Rome I left Europe for a week a quick tour in China. There are a lot of cool things happening there. I’d been to China twice before for a very short time so this time I wanted to spend a few days to meet with people and take part in some cool events going on in Shanghai and Shenzhen. I accepted an invitation to give a talk about Arduino at the School of Design of Hong Kong Polytechnic University and while I was there, William Liang (adjunt assistant professor at the same university) took me to visit the local community at the Dim Sum Lab hackerspace.

    Dim sum is a delicious, Hong Kong speciality composed of a myriad of different, bite-sized delights. Similarly, the DimSum Lab hosts different types of communities with various interests, from coders to makers.

    I then flew to Shenzhen to meet with the people at SeedStudio who took me around the city to discover the different opportunities this city offers. Makers are closer to the manufacturers here and have easier access to new components and parts. Clearly there is an advantage and certain makers, if they get organized, can jump quickly from a small idea to large scale manufacturing for a much lower cost.

    This happens because they are not only close to manufacturers, but closer to the supply chain as 90 percent of electronic parts are made in China and you can basically assemble a device very quickly because of easy access to parts. Recently, Seeds Studio published the Maker Map of Shenzhen which looks a bit like the celeb’s house map you get in Los Angeles, but instead of getting information on where famous actors live, you can easily find out where suppliers, manufacturers and hackerspaces are.

    maker map

    There are also lots of projects based on Arduino. We realized more than 90 percent of the boards people use are fake, not even Arduino clones, but fakes. We discussed this topic with SeedStudio which has always been very respectful of the Arduino project and of the use of our trademark. It’s understandable, in a way, that an Arduino made in Europe tends to be quite expensive for most of the people in China. We know that the interest in Arduino is very high and we are working on how to provide official Arduino boards in China.

    As we often said, it’s not only about making boards and selling them. It’s about creating all the official documentation in Chinese, having an official forum and social media presence, and making videos and sharing them outside of YouTube (inaccessible for many Chinese people). We clearly need to change the way we do things to be able to interact with the Chinese community. It’s going to take a bit than just focusing on providing accessible boards.

    Massimo with Guo Haoyun the translator of Getting Started with Arduino. Photo by Silvia Lindtner

    Later, when we visited the local hackerspace in Shenzhen called Chaihuo, some of the people I met there had just come back from Maker Faire Rome. They showed me all the pictures they took and it was amazing how they reported back to their peers the experiences they had in Italy and the projects they discovered during the event. During the Q&A session we had, they asked me a lot of really detailed questions and Eric Pan, from Seeds Studio, did a great job in translating my answers.

    Next stop was Shanghai where I gave a talk at the Sino-Finnish Centre at College of Design and Innovation at Tongji University. I visited the community of the XinCheJian hackerspace and then participated in HackedMatter, a whole day focused on rethinking manufacturing from the point of view of science fiction narratives and exploring “how the professionalizing of maker culture is developing increasingly intimate relations with the small-scale factory owners and micro-entrepreneurs that make up China’s core of hardware manufacturing”.  The event was organized by Silvia Lindter in conjunction with the Shanghai Maker Carnival.

    Speaking at HackedMatter in Shanghai.  Photo by Silvia Lindtner.

    During Hacked Matter I gave a talk on the topic of collaboration, a concept at the heart of the Arduino approach, highlighting the idea that innovation is not purely about technology, but more on creating the right collaborations with the right people.

    It was interesting to note that the maker community in Shanghai is pretty diverse and composed not only by locals as there are a lot of people coming originally from outside China who moved there. At the Maker Carnival I discovered many high quality projects and realized some differences with the community in Shenzhen. It was also interesting to understand how Chinese culture works and how Arduino can create channels to communicate within that culture.

    Open hardware companies from around the world could clearly benefit from a trip to China especially if they can find someone local to work with, tapping into the local community to go beyond language barriers. There’s a lot of very talented people over there able to deal with complicated projects. At the various hackerspaces I visited I received interesting questions and I was lucky enough to have someone translating otherwise I’d never met these smart people.

    Speed (overclocking, souped-up BBC Micro, compiler optimisation)

    via OSHUG

    The thirtieth OSHUG meeting is dedicated to the quest for computing speed. It will feature talks on a hardware design to aid overclocking, retrofitting a 30+ year old microcomputer with modern processors, and compiler optimisation.

    Fast and Furious: Overclocking chips for fun and profit

    Due to the variance in silicon manufacturing technologies, integrated circuits used in everyday designs are usually spec'ed at lower speeds than their actual capabilities. It is, therefore, not unlikely for chips to run faster than their advertised speeds, sometimes at significant margins with a little push. The umbrella term used for this practice is overclocking and it encapsulates a variety of techniques from simply increasing the clock speed to employing elaborate systems with liquid nitrogen cooling.

    This talk will provide an overview of overclocking and overvolting techniques — investigating the effects of forcing chips to run faster on the silicon level — and present vftweak: an open source hardware design that aims to simplify experimenting with circuits by providing a programmable interface and monitoring tools.

    Omer Kilic works on Erlang Embedded, a Knowledge Transfer Partnership project in collaboration with University of Kent and Erlang Solutions. The aim of this project is to bring the benefits of concurrent systems development using Erlang to the field of embedded systems; through investigation, analysis, software development and evaluation.

    Before joining Erlang Solutions, Omer was a research student in the Embedded Systems Lab at the University of Kent, working on a reconfigurable heterogeneous computing framework.

    Omer likes tiny computers, things that 'just work' and real beer.

    Souping up the BBC Micro

    This talk will introduce a selection of projects which allow modern processors to be used with a 30+ year old BBC Micro, before exploring in more detail the speaker's own open hardware contribution to the options available.

    Jason Flynn creates open electronics designs for the amateur radio and retro computing. His main areas of interest are digital TV, microwave, satellite and most things related to Acorn and ARM. He previously held a post on the RSGB Data Communications Committee, is an honorary member of SSETI, has been committee of Martlesham Radio Society for 7 years, and is presently involved in setting up a hackspace in Ipswich.

    How compiler optimisation helps you get the best out of your hardware

    This talk will give a high-level overview of compiler optimisation, covering general approaches used in both local and global optimisation, and also taking a look at the technique of superoptimization. The talk will conclude by looking at some of the 200+ optimisation passes used in GCC.

    The talk will be given by Jeremy Bennett, and he will be joined by Joern Rennecke and Simon Cook, who will take questions about optimisation in the compilers on which they are involved.

    Dr Jeremy Bennett is founder of Embecosm and an expert on debugging and silicon chip modeling. A former academic, Jeremy holds a MA and PhD from Cambridge University and is a Chartered Engineer, Chartered Information Technology Professional and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is the author of the standard textbook, "Introduction to Compiling Techniques" (McGraw-Hill 1990, 1996, 2003).

    Simon Cook leads Embecosm's work on LLVM and is author of the standard guide to the LLVM assembler. He is also an expert on low-energy compilation, being lead engineer on the MAGEEC project. Simon holds a double first class honors degree in Computer Science and Electronics from Bristol University.

    Jörn Rennecke is an expert on compiler back-end optimization and also leads Embecosm's work on GCC. Over 18 years he has become one of the all-time largest contributors to the compiler. During 2006-9, Jörn was a major contributor to the EU-funded MILEPOST project, which developed the first machine learning compiler optimization framework. He is currently maintainer for GCC for the Epiphany and Synopsys ARC architectures and a major contributor to GCC for Atmel AVR.

    Note: Please aim to arrive for 18:15 as the event will start at 18:30 prompt.

    Sponsored by: