Tag Archives: OSHUG

Teaching (Teaching with LilyPad, Raspberry Pi in education, MzTEK)

via OSHUG

The thirty-fourth OSHUG meeting will feature three talks that each explore approaches to teaching electronics and programming.

Teaching with the LilyPad Arduino

In this talk we will hear about experiences of teaching basic electronics and coding principles via wearable technology and e-textiles, using the LilyPad Arduino — a sewable microcontroller — in workshops with people of all ages at universities, schools at hackspaces.

Rain Ashford designs and constructs wearable technology, e-textiles and interactive artworks. A PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, where she is investigating the possibility that wearable technology can be used to augment new forms of non-verbal communication, particularly in the areas of body language and emotion, by the amplifying and visualising of physiological data. She has studied Fine Art, Multimedia, and Electronics Engineering, which has led to her work developing as a convergence of art, programming and electronics.

Raspberry Pi in education

Challenges, benefits and experiences with the Raspberry Pi as an educational tool.

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, Matthew plays music, invents puzzle boxes, practices martial arts and maintains bikes.

MzTEK: festivals, workshops and take away technologies

MzTEK is a non-profit organisation that aims to redress the imbalance of women artists working in the fields of new media, computer arts, electronics and technology. Based in London and supported by Hackney arts institution [ space ], and Centre for Creative Collaboration in Kings Cross, and hosting a range of workshops, talks and self-initiated tinker sessions.

In collaboration with partner organisations, MzTEK develop interesting, accessible and curiosity igniting workshops that can be delivered in short time frames and engage a wide audience with varying skills. Working with open source technologies and tools to help ensure that participants continue making and tinkering with the technologies they encounter long after workshops. Furthermore, doing this at festivals and events where the hope is to encounter a broad range of participants and unpredictable work environments! This talk will discuss some previous projects such as the Hacked Human Orchestra, a wearable electronics project devised in collaboration with Guerrilla Science, and suggest ways that thematic focus, together with a well balanced combination of skill acquisition, creativity and fun can enhance workshop delivery.

Shauna Concannon is an interdisciplinary researcher interested in communication spaces and constructive disagreement. She has been working with MzTEK for the past few years, developing and facilitating workshops in Processing, Arduino and wearable electronics. She is currently undertaking a PhD in Media and Arts Technology at Queen Mary University of London.

Note: Please aim to by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

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Radio Pt.2 (Networking Literacy Project, Everyone has a radio in them)

via OSHUG

The thirty-third OSHUG meeting will be the second on the theme of radio, with talks on a bold vision for a project that aims to increase understanding of personal networking, and on a toolkit that lets you build your own physical Internet radio.

The Networking Literacy Project

"Beep-BEEP!" - Some of us will remember the distinctive click when throwing the power switch of a BBC Micro, and the immediate gratifying sounds it made. Thirty years ago, public awareness of personal computing was low, and civil society acted to raise literacy in anticipation of the coming boom. Today, computers are pervasive in everyday life, and their function is increasingly to deliver distributed computing applications. Indeed, we are on the cusp of another era of personal technological progress and growth, this time for personal networking. Understanding and literacy about this is low, while importance and opportunity are high. This talk will explore some of the learning opportunities, and how the technology community could contribute to eliminating the widespread functional illiteracy in this important area of technology.

Martin Geddes is an authority on the future of the telecoms industry, ranging from emerging business models to new network technologies. He is a futurologist, writer, speaker, consultant, and technologist. Martin is currently writing a book, The Internet is Just a Prototype, on the future of distributed computing.

Everyone has a radio in them, it turns out

Inspired by the challenge of making a physical radio device that did anything interesting and web friendly, a small team within BBC R&D spent a few days building an Archers Avoider using off the shelf components and free software alongside BBC created custom services for controlling audio IP streams.

"Radiodan" is now at v2.0 and consists of open source web-developer-friendly software designed to work on a Raspberry Pi, used for controlling audio streams, getting a device on a wifi network, and controlling buttons, dials and leds, plus a kit of parts, a case and some instructions.

This talk will take a look at some of Radiodan's technology, in the context of our goal of making it something that anyone can start to build a radio with. It will also explore why it's important and interesting to widen the pool of people who can make radios, and how a new field for us has changed the way we work.

Libby Miller is a producer and developer working in the BBC R&D Central Lab. She currently works on Radiodan, a project about cheap, rapid prototyping for radios. She also works on the VistaTV EU project on the use and visualisation of real-time IPTV statistics, and the MediaScape project, which is about developer-friendly standards for connected devices. Before that, she led the BBC's part of NoTube, including work on APIs to TV for second screens, resolution of broadcast metadata to web metadata, synchronised social experiences, and recommendations and serendipity.

Note: Please aim to by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

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Embedded Scripting (Lua, Espruino, Micro Python)

via OSHUG

The thirty-second OSHUG meeting will take a look at the use of scripting languages with deeply embedded computing platforms, which have much more constrained resources than the platforms which were originally targeted by the languages.

Programming a microcontroller with Lua

eLua is a full version of the Lua programming language for microcontrollers, running on bare metal. Lua provides a modern high level dynamicaly typed language, with first class functions, coroutines and an API for interacting with C code, and yet which is very small and can run in a memory constrained environment. This talk will cover the Lua language and microcontroller environment, and show it running on-off-the-shelf ARM Cortex boards as well as the Mizar32, an open hardware design built especially for eLua.

Justin Cormack is a software developer based in London. He previously worked at a startup that built LED displays and retains a fondness for hardware. He organizes the London Lua User Group, which hosts talks on the Lua programming language.

Bringing JavaScript to Microcontrollers

This talk will discuss the benefits and challenges of running a modern scripting language on microcontrollers with extremely limited resources. In particular we will take a look at the Espruino JavaScript interpreter and how it addresses these challenges and manages to run in less than 8kB of RAM.

Gordon Williams has developed software for companies such as Altera, Nokia, Microsoft and Lloyds Register, but has been working on the Espruino JavaScript interpreter for the last 18 months. In his free time he enjoys making things - from little gadgets to whole cars.

Micro Python — Python for microcontrollers

Microcontrollers have recently become powerful enough to host high-level scripting languages and run meaningful programs written in them. In this talk we will explore the software and hardware of the Micro Python project, an open source implementation of Python 3 which aims to be as compatible as possible with CPython, whilst still fitting within the RAM and ROM constraints of a microcontroller. Many tricks are employed to put as much as possible within ROM, and to use the least RAM and minimal heap allocations as is feasible. The project was successfully funded via a Kickstarter campaign at the end of 2013, and the hardware is currently being manufactured at Jaltek Systems UK.

Damien George is a theoretical physicist who likes to write compilers and build robots in his spare time.

Note: Please aim to by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

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Privacy and Security (Security protocols in constrained environments, RFIDler, Indie Phone)

via OSHUG

The thirty-first OSHUG meeting is dedicated to privacy and security, with talks on implementing security protocols in constrained environments, an SDR RFID reader/writer/emulator, and a new initiative that will use design thinking and open source to create a truly empowering mobile phone.

Security protocols in constrained environments

Implementation of security protocols such as TLS, SSH or IPsec come with a memory and compute overhead. Whilst this has become negligible in full scale environments it's still a real issue for hobbyist and embedded developers. This presentation will look at the sources of the overheads, what can be done to minimise them, and what sort of hardware platforms can be made to absorb them. The benefits and potential pitfalls of hardware specific implementations will also be examined.

Chris Swan is CTO at CohesiveFT where he helps build secure cloud based networks. He's previously been a security guy at large Swiss banks, and before that was a Weapon Engineering Officer in the Royal Navy. Chris has tinkered with electronics since pre-school, and these days has a desk littered with various dev boards and projects.

RFIDler: A Software Defined RFID Reader/Writer/Emulator

Software Defined Radio has been quietly revolutionising the world of RF. However, the same revolution has not yet taken place in RFID. The proliferation of RFID/NFC devices means that it is unlikely that you will not interact with one such device or another on a daily basis. Whether it’s your car key, door entry card, transport card, contactless credit card, passport, etc. you almost certainly have one in your pocket right now!

RFIDler is a new project, created by Aperture Labs, designed to bring the world of Software Defined Radio into the RFID spectrum. We have created a small, open source, cheap to build platform that allows any suitably powerful microprocessor access to the raw data created by the over-the-air conversation between tag and reader coil. The device can also act as a standalone ‘hacking’ platform for RFID manipulation/examination. The rest is up to you!

Adam “Major Malfunction” Laurie is a security consultant working in the field of electronic communications, and a Director of Aperture Labs Ltd., who specialise in reverse engineering of secure systems. He started in the computer industry in the late Seventies, and quickly became interested in the underlying network and data protocols.

During this period, he successfully disproved the industry lie that music CDs could not be read by computers, and wrote the world’s first CD ripper, ‘CDGRAB’. He was also involved various early open source projects, including ‘Apache-SSL’ which went on to become the de-facto standard secure web server. Since the late Nineties he has focused his attention on security, and has been the author of various papers exposing flaws in Internet services and/or software, as well as pioneering the concept of re-using military data centres (housed in underground nuclear bunkers) as secure hosting facilities.

Andy Ritchie has been working in the computer and technology industry for over 20 years for major industry players such as ICL, Informix, British Airways and Motorola. Founding his first company, Point 4 Consulting at the age of 25, he built it into a multi-million pound technology design consultancy. Point 4 provided critical back end technology and management for major web sites such as The Electronic Telegraph, MTV, United Airlines, Interflora, Credit Suisse,BT, Littlewoods and Sony. Following Point 4 he went on to found Ablaise, a company that manages the considerable intellectual property generated by Point 4, and Aperture Labs. In his spare time he manages the worlds largest and longest running security conference, Defcon. Andy's research focuses on access control systems, biometric devices and embedded systems security, and he has spoken and trained at information security conferences in Europe and the US publicly and for private and governmental audiences. He is responsible for identifying major vulnerabilities in various access control and biometric systems, and has a passion for creating devices that emulate access control tokens either electronic physical or biometric. Andy has been responsible both directly and indirectly for changing access control guidelines for several western governments. Andy is currently a director of Aperture Labs Ltd, a company that specialises in reverse engineering and security evaluations of embedded systems.

Indie: a tale of privacy, civil liberties, and a phone

Can a phone really help protect our civil liberties? Aral Balkan thinks so. And he’s embarked on an audacious journey to make one. Join us to hear the introduction of a two-year story that is only just beginning.

Aral Balkan is is founder and designer of Indie Phone, a phone that empowers mere mortals to own their own data.

Note: Please aim to by 18:15 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.

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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.

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Production by the Proletariat (RepRap, TVRRUG)

via OSHUG

For the twenty-ninth meeting we will be joining forces with the BCS Open Source Specialist Group, to host talks from the creator of RepRap, Adrian Bowyer, and Alan Wood of Thames Valley RepRapUser Group.

The Ownership of the Means of Production by the Proletariat

Look at your computer setup. Imagine you hooked up a 3D printer. Instead of printing on bits of paper this 3D printer makes real, robust, mechanical parts. To give you an idea of how robust, think Lego bricks and you’re in the right area. You could make lots of useful stuff, but interestingly you could also make lots of the parts to make another 3D printer. That would be a machine that could copy itself.

This talk will be about RepRap – the Replicating Rapid-prototyper. This 3D printer builds the component up in layers of plastic. This technology already existed before RepRap, but the cheapest proprietary machine then would have set you back £15,000. And it wasn’t even designed so that it could make itself. So what the RepRap team have done is to develop and to give away the designs for a much cheaper machine with the novel capability of being able to self-copy (material costs are about £300). That way it’s accessible to small communities in the developing world as well as individuals in the developed world. The RepRap machine is being distributed entirely free to everyone using open-source – so, if you have one, you can make another and give it to a friend…

Adrian Bowyer holds a first degree and a PhD in engineering from Imperial College. He was an academic at the University of Bath for 35 years. He retired in 2012 to help to run the company RepRap Professional Ltd.

Adrian's areas of research are geometric modelling and geometric computing in general (he is one of the authors of the Bowyer-Watson algorithm for Voronoi diagrams), the application of computers to manufacturing, and biomimetics. In 2004 he created RepRap – humanity’s first self-replicating general-purpose manufacturing machine.

Experiences from the Thames Valley RepRap User Group

Thames Valley RepRap User Group (TVRRUG) was set up to provide support to those who wanted to build their own RepRap 3D printer, and to exchange information and ideas between those who had already successfully completed builds.

TVRRUG has now organised three group build rounds, sourcing and printing parts, and resulting in many working printers. Along the way the group has produced extensive documentation, and designed its own electronics and a variant of the Prusa Mendel design.

Alan Wood originally trained in systems engineering, and got lost in software engineering and F/OSS for a decade, before returning back to his hardware roots via the open source hardware and makers movement that has gathered momentum in recent years.

Note: Please aim to arrive for 17:30 - 18:20 as the first talk will start at 18:30 prompt.