Skip navigation

Another rip from the Edinburgh Hacklab archives (Definately go there if you get a chance!!!).


What do you do if you have a cheap Robot mechanism with all sorts of inaccuracy and slop but want

repeatable high levels of acuracy. Optical localisation is the answer work out where you are with a camera

on your hand ..simples



Tom et al did a good job of the article so I won't copy it all here ...take a look!


Ha good advice, the world is indeed NOT FLAT!!!


I've had this in my bookmarks for many years and I thought I'd share it with the few HAMs who have failed to spot it.

This Software makes a really good job at estimating the reception of yours or other person's signal based on

height, frequency,and a raft of terain variables! the end result is aset of highly coloured charts overlayed on

various map sources including the inevitable Google maps.

Diagrams galore



If this is for you then take alook at their site here

I'm an occasional visitor to the Hacklab, besides their own projects they also run a number of workshops such as this one on the Arduino.

Below is a copy of their post and the general HackLab link is here



On Saturday 22nd June 2013 the lab will running an Arduino workshop.

Photo by beraldoleal - Create Commons

Photo by beraldoleal – Creative Commons

Arduino is a micro-controller platform designed for ease of use and learning. It allows the creation of electronically controlled projects, whether it be simple blinking lights, a robot or a music generator.

This workshop is aimed at beginners. You don’t needs any previous electronics or programming knowledge or experience. Topics covered include:

  • An introduction to the Arduino
  • Using electronic components to build circuits
  • Input and output
  • Generating sound
  • Expanding your Arduino
  • And more!

Price: £45 including Ardunio, £25 excluding Ardunio.

All the electronic components will be provided. If you already have an Arduino you can bring that along and just purchase a kit.

Book now!

In the event that debit or credit cards aren’t your thing please email to arrange an alternative method of payment.


Byvac a small company in Yorkshire has produced this excellent little kit using the DIl varient of the PIC32 proessor which is programable in BASIC via it's on board serial port.


This is a kit of parts so that over 20 Projects can be carried out using the PIC32 IC with a BASIC like programming language on the IC can be purchased on its own if required but this kit includes the IC.

No programmer is needed as all the programs are compiled on the chip from text files. A serial interface is included.

Ideal for getting started using microcontrollers, the full tutorial is on line, see the link below. Learn about input / Output, multiplexing, interrupts, timers etc. Build a voltmeter and a real time clock. The IC is low cost and so can be built into a permanent project when finished (unlike development boards). No power supply required as this comes with the serial link.

Programs you write are initially loaded into the 32K RAM and then optionally saved to Flash to make the device run the project at start up.

So it looks like watching Animals is the next fashion for the PI.


The BBC have created a birdbox monitoring system based on the good ol' Pi


Analysing the information here:

BBC Blog POST here:

The Raspberry Pi has introduced a veritable Tsunami of Linux powered ARM SBCs.


The latest of which is the Marsboard which is a very spunky name for an Allwinner A10 SOC powered device

with 1GB of RAM and a Mali Graphics core. Also very usefully it has a SATA interface and a large number of I/O

Brought out  for our delight


The board is available here


For more information a WIKI is available


Happy hunting!

Just had the need to work on a remote lighting project and I was made aware of these rather nice modules from 8 Devices.

The Carambola2  is based on the Atheros AR9331 chipset with 64MBRAM WIFI,USB i2s,Ethernet and 23 GPIO all for 19Euros.


The Carambola2 runs OpenWRT as it's Linux distribution.


There's also a development board available which acts as a carrier /breakout board for the module

My nephew is totally addicted to minecraft and will continue to play until the wee small hours.

I figured that this single mindedness could and should be directed some where else at least to mitigate his

block bashing. To this end we bought a small soldering kit from CPC  for his birthday.

It comes with the Iron,base,solder,cutters and most impressively two small kits to work his magic on.


He was suitably impressed with the present and the fact that some fool trusted him with anything that

causes a fire .  For less than £10+VAT the kit has a lot going for it and is very well presented,

I can recomend it for kids around that 12 years old mark or those demonstrating suitable maturity.

I really didn't think the camera would be sensitive enough for a successful Astro camera and maybe for more distant objects the lack of lite/exposure time will be a problem but fear not some one has stopped talking about it and gone and done it  with some quite lovely results.

He's doing this on his Celestron NexStar 6" with a 20 second exposure using RaspiVid.


From here he converts the video back to seperat eimages and then uses standard astronomy software to "stack" the images.


What I wonder here is weither it would be better to take a sequence of images rather than an h264 stream in terms of quality.

The only problem I see here is that there's a significant lag between executing the userspace command and the image appearing so  you may be waiting quite a while


Any way Cristos's blog is here if you want the full low down

EdX is apparently celebrating their First Birthday and as part of the celebration brough out a new range of courses

Including One on Solar Energy from Delft university.



I've done the Electronics Course provided by MIT and another to learn Python in both cases I was truely amazed at the quality of the course and  as importantly the delivery

though the edX system.


If you are interested in trying it out this Autumn  then take a look at what's available here.

Just taken a look at Pat Kelly's blog it had a nice little entry about people been nice.

I like that we need more of this and less doom and gloom!!


I was reminded of a project a few years ago where students were given the problem of building a robot

to navigate New York. Obviously this is a rather daunting task especially as a student project.

The  project I loved was the simplest of all, the Tweenbot instead of technical means relied instead on

a big cardboard smile and a genuine manner and simply asked people to carry it accross roads and other






Any way the reason I put this here other than the positive mesage is that we can solve problems in our projects which would be

otherwise unsurmountable with that little bit of left field thinking. Remember that when you are stuck building the next big thing


QRP Computing

Posted by Problemchild Top Member Jun 5, 2013

With the Raspberry Pi and other SBCs been used to drive SDR radios of all varieties it's interesting to see that

this computing has also been used for  QRP (Low power) Ham Radio.


A rather interesting mailing list has popped up with  Specifically for QRP and Computing.

As you'd expect the bias is towards constructing and using your own equipment so has a nice

home brew feel about it ....If you have even a passing interest to computing & Radio try it out

I saw this some time ago and was quite taken with just how much crude wiring you can put in a parcel and still

not have the device detected on the X-Ray machine .


Basically  if you have ever wondered what happens to your parcelafter you take it to be posted then you are in

good company. Ruben obviously had a very strong urge to find out because he built all this

It looks a little crude but certainly works!


Here's his video of the escapade




Here's Ruben's site

Pitty I cant get the title read out in the same way as the famous Pigs In Space  but we're close


I was rather taken with LondonHacker Space's Starship Simulator, even more so now they built it into

a caravan and are driving it around the country .


There's even a rather fun video for it all



Link to their site here