Global Hackerspace Challenge

We have been at it for a bit, we just haven’t told you about it. There is just too much going on down here—yet another reason to stop in for a visit!

But yes, S67 is one of thirty hacker/maker spaces throughout the world that has been participating in the Global Hackerspace Challenge. The challenge has three core criteria:

  1. Project must use a microcontroller.
  2. Project must have a portable power supply.
  3. Project must have some sort of educational function.

Some further questions of guidance are:

  • How reproducible is the final project?
  • How easily can the parts be sourced in locations around the world?
  • How low cost is the final output?
  • How well are the plans documented?
  • How relevant is the project to helping education today?
  • How inventive and creative is the design and build of the project?

Our entry into the competition is going to be weather station/data logger combo that can monitor and record light, humidity, barometric pressure, and temperature right out of the box, there will be more modular opportunities built into the design, and there will be documentation that gets the ball rolling. The central goals of our device are the following:

  • Facilitate the creation of data sets that have relatable meaning—everyone has weather!
  • Encourage further development of the device by the user via modular opportunities.
  • Develop skill at creating and analyzing data sets—a critical skill in the Information Age.

The modular opportunities will include, but are not limited to, the abilities to record rain fall and wind speed, VGA output to plug directly into a monitor, an audio speaker, and wireless abilities (and whatever else we can stuff into the thing, given the time). The hook is that whoever uses the device will have to make the wind sensor, rain sensor, and wireless antenna, source the monitor, and process the data as they see fit—the learning starts to emerge! There will be a small display on the device to allow some immediate gratification just to get the blood flowing, but ultimately we want to build a device that simply demands more exploration on the part of the user.

We plan to include some very concise instructions as to how one actualizes the modular capabilities of the device. As examples, one can make a wind sensor out of a plastic soda bottle and a wireless antenna out of styrofoam and a bit of wire. And as for data processing, the potential applications are endless: the data can be applied directly or visualized to provide an alternative view on what data can mean.

The energy level on the project has been tremendous as we have had 15+ people contributing at different levels (thanks to you all). The project really seems to embody the DIY spirit of learning and doing that is central to the hacker/maker milieu.

(Yeah, hackers have word power too.)

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