Weekend at Boris'
It has been a busy week for BeagleBoard.org, which has now been around for five years! Drew Fustini of Element14 was nice enough to bring cake to the Southeast Michigan Friends of Boris (the Beagle) meet-up. A notable point of discussion was the fact that BeagleBoard.org got its name from Gerald's dog Jake, but yet the cartoon mascot for BeagleBoard.org was named 'Boris' by Philip who paid to get the logo created. Seems like it is the little things that give character to a community.
Drew was hanging around to record some tutorials from the hands-on workshops on BeagleBone Black at Maker Faire Detroit. We estimate about 100 people went through the self-paced tutorials with help from Drew and volunteers from the local i3 Detroit hackerspace. The videos for the tutorials will eventually be posted at http://beagleboard.org/makerfairedetroit2013 .
A couple of BeagleBone-based projects won some awards at the show. Dr. Phil Polstra of the University of Dubuque Iowa was mentioned by Dale Dougherty as demonstrating one of the top 10 signs of hope for Detroit presented at the Faire with his Beagle in a Buzz Lightyear lunch box. I met Phil at Maker Faire a couple of years back and he's been doing some amazing things to teach people about computer security. As Dale mentions, Phil is a great example of what can be done when the open source software world meets the world of affordable open source hardware.
Another award winning project of note was Jeff McAlvay's open hardware pick-and-place machine that runs Node.JS on BeagleBone to process design files into GCode, providing for independent network-based operation. A pick-and-place machine will help you manufacture electronics by taking the tiny components and positioning them on the board for you. The machine in development is seeking to do a lot more than just place the components, including cutting out the routes on the board and adding the solder to it as well.
This week is also time for midterm evaluations for Google Summer of Code projects where students are paid by Google to work on open source software projects for the Summer, including 6 projects being mentored by BeagleBoard.org. All of the students have now provided some running code, including for running Arduino sketches on BeagleBone Black, booting BeagleBone from an Android phone, improved ADC driver support, adding I2C support to Minix (including EDID support), Robot Operating System (ROS) on Angstrom, and building soft peripherals with the PRU microcontrollers on BeagleBone Black.
Pre-release Angstrom images are already being impacted by these projects, including integration of ROS dependencies and ADC patches to provide for continuous sampling and triggers. Improvements are also occuring on the HDMI support, additional firmware for USB wifi devices, SD/MMC support, BeBoPr 3D printer cape support and even support to turn digital I/O pins controlled by the PRU into PWMs.
It is also now that projects by interns in the Texas Instruments Intern Design Challenge are being voted upon. Several of these projectes included BeagleBone Black this summer, including the BeagleBone Gaming Cape that turns a BeagleBone Black into a handheld gaming system capable of emulating other systems.
It's a very busy time and I can't wait until my next update with so much going on! In the meantime, I did to a bit of a blog post looking back through the eyes of Hack-a-Day.