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Soft Robots

Soft Robots

Art Project with Soft Robots

Lately I have been working on an art project that will be shown in my solo exhibition at HAM-gallery, 5.8. – 17.9.2023
Together with Hacklab members we found the way to use vacuum pumps to get small amount of air inside the silicon robots.
The pumps will be programmed with Arduino.

Kesäkuu 2018

Kesäkuu 2018

Kesäkuussa hacklab tavallisesti hiljenee ja työtilaa voi käyttää vieläkin paremmin rauhalliseen omaan työskentelyyn. Alkukesällä järjestettiin HSF-kokoontuminen Suomen hacklabeille sekä robottikisa Strömbergin puistossa. Sitä ennen koko työtila sekä piha-alueet järjesteltiin parempaan kuntoon, ja takapihan alue onkin nyt siistimpi kuin koskaan ennen.

HSF:ssä aloitettiin avoimen standardin Matrix-viestinnän testaaminenäytössä. Tarkoituksena on kokeilla vaihtoehtoa nykyisin käytössä oleville erillisille Slackeille ja Telegram-ryhmille, joita on käytössä Helsingin lisäksi muidenkin kaupunkien hacklabeilla. Kaupunkien omien hacklabien keskustelujen lisäksi tällä voisimme saada lisää osallistujia yhteisille kanaville.

Robottikisaa oli mukana seuraamassa parhaimpina hetkinä noin 150 henkilöä ja robotteja oli tällä kertaa mukana varsinkin Helsingistä.

Uusia työvälineitä on taas hankittu yhteiseen käyttöön. Kesäkuussa ostettiin uusi monitoiminen yläjyrsin, ja metallilevyjen leikkuria on aloitettu korjaamaan takaisin käyttökuntoon. Puun työstöön tarkoitettua CNC-laitetta on aloitettu suunnittelemaan ja toteuttamaan. Materiaalina käytetään pääosin omasta varastosta löytyviä osia.

Finnish hackerspaces meet in Jyväskylä

Finnish hackerspaces meet in Jyväskylä

Ten participating hackerspaces must be a record for the biannual gathering of Finnish hacklabs! Hacklab Summit Finland 2018 was arranged in Jyväskylä, and despite the local hacklab was in charge of the event for the first time, they managed to make this happening one of the best in the history of HSF.

Our hangout place

The major theme for this year was planning the way how to formalise as an official organisation of hackerspaces in Finland. We now have initial idea how the organisation should work, based on opinions and votes of those, who took part in this meeting. Unanimous conclusion was, that the founding assembly is going to be the next HSF in Helsinki this summer. has a history of more or less informal co-operation between cities since 2012. The new organisation will be strictly for member-operated hackerspaces, supporting new groups to get started, offering web services, representing our local scene in events both in Finland and further away, and making all kinds of PR work to help people find their local hacklabs.

Jyväskylä Hacklab took the responsibility to arrange HSF in connection with Instanssi demoscene event. This enabled us to have more space, content and possibilities than before. As usual, the program was fixed weeks before the start, and a hourly timetable kept us on track with finishing robots ready for the competition, remembering to eat, presenting recent happenings in different hacklabs, doing something more than just sitting behind the laptop, going to a indoor trampoline park and of course, the sauna.

Staying active

Helsinki participated in the robot race track competition with two robots. The robot track is a 1 × 2 m box which has copies of itself in some of the member spaces. Joonamo found his robot from last summer still working, and I assembled hastily some LEGO robot that had code running just few minutes before the competition started. The program was written in Python from scratch, the robot did zero practicing on the track, and I only knew it could probably move forward when turned on. For my complete surprise, it actually managed to make one clean complete round on the track, and didn’t even finish last on the results list. Joonamo’s robot came 3rd in speed results and 4th in popular vote, and the host city Jyväskylä took the first place. Robot competition was also included in the Instanssi program, so we had a great audience supporting the bots on the racetrack.

Posing before the race

The weekend ended in visiting Hacklab Jyväskylä, which is about to move to a larger location soon. Tampere Hacklab is  expanding its place with a new metal room and textile work section. There are also plans in other cities to look for larger workspaces and Nokia just started their own lab. This HSF had a very positive athmosphere where collaboration is taken for granted.

Definitely looking good for hacklab scene in Finland right now. A big thanks to Jyväskylä for hosting us!

Photos from weekend:
Helsinki Hacklab flickr
Tampere Hacklab flickr

Robot competition:
Twitch video

Blog posts in Finnish:
Jyväskylä Hacklab
Tampere Hacklab


Next time:
HSF18½ in Helsinki, 8.—10.6.2018

This was 2017

This was 2017

Year 2017 at Helsinki Hacklab had some remarkable moments. Most importantly, we made a major expansion in the workspace, adding more room space from 215 m² to somewhere around 370 m² effectively, when excluding rented out areas. We also got a grant from Arts Promotion Finland (Taike) for our yearly children’s event and other expenses. The unfortunate piping leak, which happened closer to the end of the year, meant that some areas had to be rebuilt completely. While this is still ongoing issue and the floors waiting for a new coat of paint, we can hopefully now say that the end result might become something way better than the original ever was. Next year we have a usable separate workroom for chemistry.

The expansion and our new woodworking area

The expansion plans – including figuring out how to finance everything – had to start quickly because our behind-the-wall neighbor was leaving the building, and letting anyone else seize this opportunity would stall our hopes of any expansion for years to come if staying in this address. A quick draft showed that with some active keyholder member recruiting and finding subtenants would make this a feasible plan. The old woodworking room was in pressure to grow larger, as it could not fit more users to meet the demand. It had no room for table saw or any other new tools. The quickly negotiated expansion plan reserved most of the new free space for woodworking alone, one third for a subtenant woodworker with his separate workshop, and the remaining part mostly for storage. The new areas include a back door, a lifting garage door and a second WC. At the end of this year, we seem to be doing okay and call it a success.

Robots racing on a track

Robots in Strömberg Park, a family event organized by the co-op network in Helsinki, was organized for the second time and is very very likely to happen in 2018 too. (How soon we can call it a tradition?). We had competitors from at least five other hackerspaces and a large new tent bought with Taike’s grant. The competition was preceded by weekly robot meetings, to prep the bots to be ready enough for the big day.

SHA2017 Finnish Village tent with sauna

The sauna we brought to SHA2017 hacker camp turned out to be a wildly popular, at least in number of photograph attention it got. Let’s say this was our contribution to Finland’s 100th year of independence festives. Greetings to all who were brave enough to try out the sauna and to all our Nordic fellow camping neighbors! We fear we have no other option but to try to bring a sauna for the next hacker camp too.

In organizational stuff: we started to have so much diverse discussion and many users on our IRC channel, that we tried using Slack and so far got stuck to it. The old IRC channel is available too, but many topics have now their own places in our Slack group. In the workspace, the layout of things got shuffled again. We switched all our tables for folding ones in the classroom – thanks to Stockholm Makerspace for the idea!

The FPGA course continues our many year long continuous tradition of digital technology Thursdays, which started sometime while still in our previous address. We again collaborated with visual artists and also helped a samba group building their costumes in our workspace.

Assembly Summer 2017

Some memorable member projects:
– steam powered maze robot, with Lego mechanics
– synced clock displays for broadcasts and event audiovisuals
– experiments with woodturning using our new lathe
– towable grill for bicycle
– large LED display matrix

2017 in numbers
– 2500 new uploaded Flickr photos
– 100% increase in rented floor area
– 128 member applications received
– 6 events visited and one organized by ourselves

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:

HSF17½ – ilmoittautuminen avattu

HSF17½ – ilmoittautuminen avattu

Helsinki Hacklabin ja järjestämä HSF17½-tapahtuma 9.–11.6.2017.

Kutsuttuina ovat aloittelevien ja toiminnassa olevien Hacklabien jäsenet koko Suomessa. Mukaan saavat tulla myös muut hack-, säätö-, radioamatööri- ja DIY-henkiset yhdistykset ja henkilöt ympäri Suomea. Osallistumista suositellaan erityisesti toimintaansa aloitteleville tai vasta suunnitteleville ryhmille.

Perjantai on varattu aikataulussa Kaivopuiston lentonäytökselle. Järjestämme ovet auki Hacklabilla niille, jotka eivät tule katsomaan näytöstä.

Robotit Strömbergin puistossa on lauantaina 10.6.2017. Rata on sama tuttu kuin aiempina vuosina.


Tapahtuman nettisivut, infot ja ilmoittautuminen:

Robottikisan omat nettisivut:

Perjantaina Kaivopuiston lentonäytös:

Tapahtuman järjestäjille voi esittää kysymksiä sekä irkkikanavalla että keskustelussa:

Pieni uutispäivitys

Pieni uutispäivitys

Yhdistyksen jäsenille on lähetetty sähköpostilistalla linkki jäsenkyselyyn. Muistathan vastata lomakkeeseen! Nyt on hyvä hetki vaikuttaa läbin tuleviin suunnitelmiin.

Robottilauantait jatkuvat toistaiseksi joka viikko. Ovet pyritään avaamaan n. klo 12 ja mukaan voi tuoda oman projektinsa. Teemme robotteja yhdessä toistemme kanssa samalla kun opettelemme niiden rakentamista. Jos et ole vielä koskaan keksinyt, minkä projektin haluaisit toteuttaa läbillä, tässä on hyvä mahdollisuus aloittaa. Robotin voi suunnitella liikkumaan HSF:n sokkeloradalla. Tiedotusta voit seurata täällä.

Maanantaina 20.3. on ensimmäinen CNC-kurssin kokoontuminen. Kurssista tiedotetaan lisää discoursessa.

Ensimmäinen robottitapaaminen

Ensimmäinen robottitapaaminen

Seuraavan kerran lauantaina 18.2. klo 12, tervetuloa!

Lauantaina starttasi valmistautuminen kesän robottikisaan, kun opintopiirin ensimmäinen tapaaminen kokoontui tekemään suunnitelmia, vertailemaan moottoreita, jakamaan osaamista, kannustamaan muita osallistujia ja toteuttamaan projekteja. Ihan aluksi kerrattiin kisan säännöt, radan mittausuhteet ja parhaiten muistiin jääneet viritelmät. Koska kyseessä on yleisölaji, robottia suunnitellessa pitää huomioida myös vilkkuvat valot, äänet ja värit. Paikalle saapui sekä ensi kertaa kisaan osallistumiseen aikovia rakentelijoita että aiemmin kisaan osallistuneita.

Jari toi näytille mukanaan laatikollisen aiempia robottiprojektejaan, moottoreita ja muita irto-osia. Kesän kisa on tarkoitus taas järjestää ulkoilmassa, mikä asettaa joitakin rajoitteita suunnittelulle. Auringonvalon vuoksi infrapuna-anturien käyttöä ei voi suositella, ja viime kesän kisassa Tampereen etäohjattu robotti joutui tämän vuoksi käyttämään kamerassaan aurinkolaseja. Lauantaina saatiin aikaan pieni yhteistilaus akuista, latureista ja muista osista. Pisimmälle rakentamisessa ehti Heikkkin tiimi.

Jos kiinnostuit osallistumaan ja rakentamaan ehkä ensimmäinen robottisi, kirjoita tähän keskusteluun discoursessa, jossa ilmoitetaan seuraavat kokoontumiset.

Lisää kuvia tapaamisesta Flickrissä.

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.