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Robots in Strömberg Park 2017

Robots in Strömberg Park 2017

Small robots try to find their way in a maze and bump against walls. This is our annual robot race in nearby Strömberg Park, which was organized by last Saturday! (Or actually biannual, if you count in the indoors winter races organized in Hackerspace Tampere Hacklab)

The idea is to build robots in Hackerspaces all over Finland, and many spaces have their own copy of the “ standard robot maze” at their location. The track is 1×2 meter wooden box with corners that turn left and right. Although it’s a speed race, usually the best show starts when a robot has no idea of its next move.

This is the second time we have made our previously closed doors competition into a public event here in Helsinki, especially for families and children. New this year was a large and sturdy pop-up tent in case of bad weather, better marketing, posters, website, stickers, sound system and more better general idea how we should handle building the event site. This year all our robots were autonomous, and in total eight took part in the race. Robots from previous years were on display in the table and some of them (working ones) took laps on the track as well.

Most bizarre robot this year was thjt‘s Höyry robot, which consisted of a Wilesco steam engine, rotten plywood, bunch of old Legos and IR sensor electronics. It managed to go about ⅔ of a lap before literally running out of steam or dropping a pulley belt. Because it had difficulties to turn right, we gave it a special permission to run the track counterclockwise.

The race was dominated by robots from Kuopio, which took both first and third place. Second place went to Tampere with a robot that was controlled by external computer that monitored the course with hanging camera setup over the track.

Co-operation network is an attempt to have more interaction between Hackerspaces in Finland, in similar fashion as UK Hackspace Foundation etc. Robot competitions such as this one have been in our schedule once or twice a year since 2012 as a part of Hacklab Summit Finland, which gathers Finnish Hackerspaces together making the scene work more with each others. Making the robot competition a public event became more obvious as the competition became more established tradition and the number of robots started resemble a real competition. This year’s race was supported by Arts Promotion Centre Finland. Participants in Hacklab Summit Finland event came from cities Helsinki, Tampere, Kuopio, Vaasa, Turku and for the first time, the small town of Virrat, which might see its own hackerspace in near future.

Photos by Helsinki Hacklab
Photos by Tampere Hacklab
Photos by Kuopio Hacklab

Results page in Finnish:

Old Helsinki metro display

Old Helsinki metro display

This old metro display has resided in our hackerspace for years and has never been installed anywhere. These types of metro displays were used in Helsinki metro until 2013. Our display looks clean and unharmed, and it might have been a spare unit. Now that we redesigned our kitchen layout, we finally rolled up our sleeves and bolted the orange box below the counter table
metro display installedNext we should decide what content we should display on the screen. IRC? Train timetables? Twitter? Any ideas? We also have a matching clock that needs to find a good spot somewhere.

This Tuesday we also did robot building, woodworking, tried to repair a broken laptop and lot more.

Did you know we have robot building days every Saturday? Free and open for anyone!

More pictures from Tuesday in Flickr

If you want to know more about the metro station display, here’s a more detailed blog post from 2013:

Robotin rakentelua ryhmässä

Robotin rakentelua ryhmässä

Oletko aina halunnut tehdä jonkun projektin Hacklabilla, mutta ideat puuttuvat? Suunnittelemme opintopiiriä sokkelorobottien rakenteluun: tavoitteena on tehdä oma rakennelma seuraavaan Suomen Hacklabien yhteiseen kisaan, joka järjestetään kesällä Helsingissä.

Robotti soveltuu myös ensimmäiseksi projektiksi. Tammikuun kisasssa radan selvitti läpi yhdeksästä robotista seitsemän, joista vain kaksi ilman apukosketuksia – ensimmäisestä mutkasta selviävä robotti on siis jo pieni voitto! Ja jos projekti ei ehdi valmistua tähän kisaan, niin sitten seuraavaan.

Niillä opintopiiriin osallistuvilla, jotka eivät vielä ehkä tiedä mitä haluaisivat rakentaa, olisi hyvä olla alkeistason kokemusta esimerkiksi Arduinosta. Ideana on, että jokainen tekee omanlaisensa laitteen. Opastamme hankintojen tekemisessä, osien valitsemisessa ja niiden käytössä. Osallistujat hankkivat robotin osat itse, ja haastavuuden mukaan osina voi käyttää itse suunniteltuja ja rakennettuja tarvikkeita tai valmiita alustoja. Hacklabilta löytyviä erinäisiä satunnaisia osia voi käyttää.

Ilmoita oma halukkuutesi osallistua, kysymyksesi ja muut tiedustelut opintopiirille kirjoittamalla tähän keskusteluun:

Always wanted to make something at the Hacklab, but don’t know what it could be?

We are planning co-learning meetings for those who want to build – possibly their first – maze solving robots. The idea is to build individual, different types of robots, which are all built by our members, and to encourage each others to complete their robots. You can buy a ready made chassis beforehand or design everything by yourself, depending on the challenge you want to take. The goal is to race in a competition this summer, which is held by Helsinki Hacklab for all hackerspaces in Finland. Some previous knowledge of Arduinos is preferred, but we don’t require any specific techniques.

Join the group by replying in this discussion thread:

HSF 2017

HSF 2017

Last weekend got together for the biannual Hacklab Summit Finland weekend at Tampere Hacklab. We usually try to make some plans together for the following year, so this time we made an easy decision to sign up for a shared Youtube account (will be announced later), had some talk about SHA2017 and shared thoughts how things are going on in different cities since we last met face to face.

20170128_hsf2017a20170128_hsf2017b.jpg20170128_hsf2017c has a tradition of robot competitions, and there are replicas of the standard maze course in Helsinki, Tampere and other cities too. This winter’s competition had eight autonomous robots that had never participated before in any previous races. As usual, strategies on the track varied: ultrasound sensors, color recognition, wheels, walking with legs, laser-cut plywood, Arduinos, Legos, 3D-printed parts and recycled materials – and also a logic-less build up with motors, wheels and batteries stick together with hot glue. Piispa by Vurpo @ Turku Hacklab won the race this time with fastest lap.

This years program included a visit to the recently started Finnish Museum of Games and to meet an association that does anything related to VR tech. A nearby band surprised us with an unplugged gig next to our trailer sauna at about 3 or 4 am. Turku Hacklab has restarted the LED party hat project, which has been in hiatus for too long, so we soldered few example boards to test out the new PCB layout. We flew FPV drones and also fixed some hackerspace management software problem.

Helsinki Hacklab got a excuse to dump donate excess components and materials to other labs, including our extra vending machine. We shortly met with some folks from Lahti, who are thinking about forming a new Hacklab in the city. hopes it can support Lahti with this project!

20170128_robokuvahsf2017Thanks to Tampere Hacklab for hosting us again, and see you all in Helsinki this summer for another HSF.

More photos in this Flickr album. 2017 2017

Shortly in English: co-operation network gathers at Tampere this weekend for robot competition, making plans for future and having a good time. Another similar event is organized in Helsinki Hacklab later this year.
We are looking for interested people to join us for SHA2017 camp in August. The event takes place in Netherlands and organizers expect about five thousand people across world to come there. Our IRC channel is @ IRCNet.

Hacklab Summit Finland 2017

HSF järjesteään Tampereella nyt viikonloppuna logo

Mistä on kyse? on Suomen hacklabien yhteinen verkosto, joka kokoontuu kaksi kertaa vuodessa säätämään kaikenlaista yhdessä, kisaamaan roboteilla ja tekemään suunnittelemia tulevasta.

Paikalle voi tulla myös vain pitämään hauskaa yhdessä, vaikka lennättämään quadkoptereita tai saunomaan. Tänä vuonna tehdään vierailu Suomen Pelimuseoon.

Kuvia vuodelta 2016

Kevään ja kesän tapahtumia

Helsinki Hacklab ja osallistuu tänäkin vuonna suunnitelmien mukaan seuraaviin tapahtumiin:

  • Model Expo 2017, 21.-23.4. – Tule tapaamaan Hacklabeja osastollamme. Expoon lähtee myös Suomen Avaruustutkimusseura.
  • Järjestämme Helsingissä kesällä vuoden toisen HSF:n. Ajankohta täsmentyy myöhemmin.
  • Assembly Summer


SHA2017 logoKeräämme porukkaa lähtemään elokuussa Alankomaihin SHA2017-leirille. Kyseessä on Keski-Euroopan tämän vuoden suurin maker/hack/yms. -kulttuurin tapahtuma, johon odotetaan osallistujia joka puolelta maailmaa. Esityksien, pääohjelman ja workshoppien lisäksi leiritunnelmaan kuuluu oleellisena osana osallistujien itse tuottama ohjelma ja tekeminen leirialueella – ja yliampuvat LED-valaistukset.

Suomesta lähtevä joukko kerääntyy suunnittelemaan osallistumista IRCNetin kanavalla, jossa mm. pohditaan omalle leiritontille yhteistä isoa telttaa ja saunaa. Tähän mennessä listalle on saatu n. 20 henkilön lista kiinnostuneista lähtijöistä. Leirille odotetaan yhteensä 5 000 – 6 000 osallistujaa. Vastaavanlainen vuoden 2015 leiri Saksassa näytti tältä.

Loppuvuosi Hacklabilla

Loppuvuosi Hacklabilla

Shortly in English: no cancellations in Tuesday Open days in following weeks, but you might want to check on IRC if someone has opened the door yet.

Tänä vuonna joulu ja uusivuosi eivät aiheuta suurempia muutoksia viikkotoimintaan. Sekä tiistait 27.12. ja 3.1. ovat avointen ovien päiviä.

Paikalle saapuvien ihmisten määrää on hankala etukäteen arvailla, mutta jos sinulla ei ole omaa avainta, voit kysellä irkissä varmuuden vuoksi etukäteen, onko ovi jo auki ennen kuin saavut paikalle.

valoketju työtilassaHelsinki Hacklab toivottaa kaikille hyvää joulua!

Busy Saturday

Busy Saturday

All photos from Saturday available on Flickr!


24092016_vieraatThis Saturday morning we received a visit from Hong Kong Productivity Council. The group was on a tour learning about creative spaces in Finland, and they also wanted to see our hackerspace. Rambo was kind to wake up early (though he was CNC milling late on the previous night) so that our guests could also visit Espoo library makerspace and catch their returning flight. He also managed to get the front door open despite of some malfunction in the electronic lock. Thank you for the visit HK!

A new lathe

We have looked for a sturdier metal lathe for a long time. Earlier this week, I found a suitable candidate in Raisio, and Kremmen quickly arranged the deal after inspecting the machine and getting a group of donors for the buy. At 6 pm the lathe arrived at Hacklab front door. We had about ten volunteers carefully pushing, rolling and winching the heavy object – a true last mile problem. Front door was almost reached after two hours of work.

24092016_sorvi_siirrossaAfter getting over the doorstep and through our narrow corridor, the work became much faster. The space had been cleared clean earlier that day. For some reason, we managed accidentally open the oil plug and decided to release everything out after finding a bucket and some hand towels before making too much mess.

Our upstairs neighbours had got married that day, and they kindly gave us rest of their wedding cake. The project had taken some time, and not many of us had eaten anything in midst of it, so this was a very much appreciated and greeted gift. Congratulations!

24092016_viimeiset_metritAt 11 pm, after solving the oil spill and making more space by sawing some bits off the wall, the lathe was now on its final spot. There are not much tools for the lathe yet, so if you want to contribute to this purchase, see our discussion forum thread about how we bought the machine and what is needed for getting it to work. Big thanks to everyone who participated in the process!

Other projects

Lotta CNC was emptied of its excess milling material. It had collected a good amount of mostly aluminium chips inside, and it was time to get it all out. Now it’s looking much better.

24092016_majava_rajattuDepili had started making a beaver figure sign for the wood working room door. First, the picture was printed, then glued on a piece of wood, band sawed, filed and finally a wood finish layer was applied on the surface. I used Inkscape and our vinyl cutter to make a stencil mask, and after some airbrushing, the beaver now had some character.

Also, rambo was quick fixing the front door lock, before leaving the space among the last ones (again).

Uploading photos to Flickr from Eye-Fi card with Raspberry Pi

Uploading photos to Flickr from Eye-Fi card with Raspberry Pi

Helsinki Hacklab’s policy for photographing sometimes puzzles our guests which might come from other hackerspaces with limitedly allowed or strict rules for taking photos, for privacy reasons or some others. Back in 2014 we still had very scattered collection of photos by individual members, maybe hosted on their own homepage or somewhere else, until lost forever. To preserve our history better and and have more up-to-date content online, we decided to make both taking photos and publishing them as hassle-free as possible. So we bought then an Eye-Fi card along with our camera and configured it so that all photos are automatically published in Flickr anytime the shutter recloses. So far, no complaints.

kuva kamerastaBut now, Eye-Fi has announced shutting down its service, which we have used for uploading over 4000 photos during the last 18 months. The X2 product line (and some other models) that are affected by this shutdown have still been sold in 2015. First card we had, a 4GB SanDisk branded version, failed this summer, but luckily one member had an unused X2 Connect somewhere, so we were soon back posting more photos of our weekly activities and blurry accidental snapshots of our feet. But, to continue using this Wi-Fi SD card after the service shutdown, we needed a replacement solution for both getting the photos from the card and sending them into our Flickr photo albums – and maybe making some improvements too.

RaspberryPi 3 in our tele rackWe had just received a bunch of Raspberry Pi 3 boards and tried to figure out what we could do with them, and because model 3 had Wi-Fi capability, connecting to Eye-Fi card could be done using eyefiserver2 project. For Flickr upload, I chose using Flickraw library for Ruby, which seemed to be a well-maintained project, so that possible future changes in Flickr API should not be a problem.

First, eyefiserver2 process is started on startup, this gets the photos from the card into RasPi, then every 5 minutes a Ruby program is run, which uploads new photos and marks them published.

The project (or step by step tutorial) can be found in Github:

We previously had all our photos ordered in albums by their date. One thing I wanted to improve was to put photos taken between 0 am and 3 am in same album with photos taken on the previous day, which makes less time line discontinuation when viewing photos by start date of an event. The Ruby program also by default renames photo titles by their timestamps. See our Flickr page for results.

In our setup, the RasPi is connected to Internet using Ethernet, and only the Eye-Fi card’s internal network name and password are stored in known wireless networks. If the camera is used outside our Hackerspace, and there is an Ethernet port for the RasPi available (maybe shared from a computer), we should be able to keep publishing photos from ongoing events, happenings, fairs etc. as we usually do. This is different from Eye-Fi center we previously used, in which we configured the card to know new local Wi-Fi and its password. This task required someone (which is me) to have Eye-Fi Center program first installed, and was usually a dull and slow thing to do during ongoing event or buildup. Now we just have to remember to take the readily configured RasPi with us anywhere we go with the camera.

If you don’t have an Eye-Fi card and would like to build a similar auto-publish system, I can’t say if it’s a good idea to buy an aftermarket Eye-Fi card anymore. Configuring this setup requires user to obtain card specific information that might need Eye-Fi services to be available (you cannot login to or create a new Eye-Fi center account after Sep 16th). If you have the card, but don’t really know what to do with it after Sep 16th, go enable its internal wifi (direct mode network) and store the password and MAC address for possible later use while you still can. If I’ve understood correctly, also the current Eye-Fi product line does not offer Flickr publishing. Try googling “hacking transcend wifi sd” for more ideas. Check out FlashAir API guide

(2016-09-01) Yesterday Eye-Fi announced a new tool for older cards, which might help to get card Wifi and MAC information after Sep 16th, which are needed this for python server solution.

Kevätkokous 2016

Kevätkokous 2016

Helsinki Hacklab ry:n sääntömääräinen kevätkokous pidetään sunnuntaina 5.6.2016 klo 14 Hacklabin tiloissa Takkatie 18:ssa. Paikalle voi saapua jo kello 13 aikaan. Virallinen kokous aloitetaan kello 14, ja pyritään päättämään noin kello 16 mennessä.

Ennen ja jälkeen on epävirallista kokoontumista, tarjoilu nyyttikestiperiaatteella. Tervetuloa!
HKI Hacklab logo

Helsinki Hacklab holds its annual spring-meeting on Sunday 5.6.2016, 14:00, at our premises on Takkatie 18. You can arrive already at 13:00, the official part is hopefully handled by 16:00.

After the official part there is general hanging around and snacks with the potluck principle. Welcome!

HSF-ilmoittautumiset nyt käynnissä! Lisää tietoa tapahtumasta omalta sivultaan.

Hacklab Summit Finland -event registrations are ongoing! HSF is a biannual happening which gathers hackerspace and other DIY people together. We have a sauna, a robot competition, food, cooperation and more.

The weekend-long happening will be on 10.6. – 12.6.2016. We now have information about HSF in English on the event page. Ask on IRC or discourse for more information.

Puhelinnumeromme vaihtui

Puhelinnumeromme vaihtui

Kameran uusi säilytyspaikka puhelimen vieressä
Kameran uusi säilytyspaikka puhelimen vieressä

Our phone number has changed! Please update our new number in your phone.

Helsinki Hacklabin kerhotilan ja samalla myös Suomen Avaruustutkimusseuran yhteinen puhelinnumero on vaihtunut maaliskuussa.

Uusi numeromme / our new number: +358 44 912 9922

Lataa vCard / download vCard file: Helsinki Hacklab vCard