Project Proposals

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Drummer Robot

Yellow Drummer Robot

Cost to build: $120 Time to build: 20 hours URL to more information:


   * Actuators / output devices: sound sampler, 6 geared motors in total, 2 speakers
   * Control method: autonomous (very)
   * CPU: Picaxe 28
   * Operating system: Picaxe basic
   * Power source: 4 AA batteries
   * Programming language: Picaxe basic
   * Sensors / input devices: SRF05, microphone
   * Target environment: where ever there is something to play on

Wifi Antenna From old Satellite Dish

I just canceled my directv and they don't want the dish back. I've seen them used before to improve wifi signals. If there was any place near by with open wifi that we wanted to pick up we could build this to allow us access. Mehuman 20:27, 20 July 2009 (UTC)

Arduino Keg Meter/Barbot

Basically a way to measure how much beer has left a keg and the ability to log who drank how much beer. Similar project: We could place the keg on a scale and measure how much less a keg weighs after a user has finished pouring, place the glass on a scale zero out the reading and then measure how much the glass weighs afterwards, or find a food safe flow meter to measure how much beer passed through the hose. I would like to use RFID to recognize each user and log the results to a webpage or a projector display of the current standings. This would be a great way to run a fund raiser and once the initial hardware was built super cheap to order extra RFID tags. I have all the supplies needed to build a kegerator except for a fridge to cool it. Mehuman 19:03, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Here is a link to an NYC Resistor Barbot party. $20 all u can drink made by a barbot


   * Arduino or similar micro controller
   * Old fridge
   * Misc Keggerator Supplies - I have everything needed Mehuman 20:36, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
   * RFID Reader $40.00
   * RFID Tag $.99
   * A way to sense if the beer is flowing, a flow sensor?

Giant LED VU Meter

This i see as something we can assemble and sell to local clubs and maybe use for our own parties. I'm thinking large scale and go from green to yellow to red so there would be no need for RGB LEDs just wire a line of 4-5 leds and have that row display when the music reaches a certain volume.

Here is a link using a piezo to measure the volume of the music:

The LEDs would be fairly cheap. Using this image as a template: If we say on average $.6 per LED, which looks a bit high but bear with me. 8 rows of 5 green + 3 rows of 5 yellow + 3 rows of 5 red = 70 LEDs * $.6 = $42 per VU Meter + cost of microcontroller ~$30. So a set of working VU Meters to put in a club would cost us ~$114 and if sold for $200-$300 we could make a nice profit while still learning and teaching.

UAV Project(s)




  • 1x $25 board that connects to an arduino to control a plane, boat, or car via gps.
  • 1x GPS Module $60
  • 1x Optional board to make it compatible with R/C planes.



Bicycle POV LED



  • 1x ATMega328p / ATMega168 microcontroller
  • 1x TLC5940 / TLC5941, 16 PWM Ouput LED driver
  • 16x Superflux RGB LEDs
  • 1x A3213
  • 3x PN2222, NPN transistors
  • Assorted resistors, capacitors, tact switches and connectors (check schematic and board layout)

Guerrilla Marketing

What if we had a workshop where we made some sort of gorilla marketing device. One way to go would be some sort electronic apparel, like an ambient orb hat or some kind of musical shirt, etc. Or it could follow examples of other gorilla marketers like the printing bicycle or the Boston Aqua Teen Hunger Force flashing LED signs. Something simple, fun and easy to individualize. Why not tell people about the newly energized Baltimore maker/tinker/hacker/builder/breaker community?

  • go for it, any volunteers to organize? Abachman 23:25, 8 July 2009 (UTC)

Ambient Orb



Weather Instruments and Networks

Build weather instruments, assemble into a weather station using wifi, etc. Install around Inner Harbor, and "Northwest Harbor" (Canton). Especially wind and waves for sailors.

Instruments, compare with Ft. McHenry data and

Feed data to:

Installation locations:

  • at Baltimore Museum of Industry, Riverside/Locust Point.
  • Marinas
Display stations

Build a small display station with LCD display from salvaged laptop showing wind, waves, sever-weather/radar, etc. for the Inner Harbor. Install at marinas, etc.

AM Radio Transmitter

You don't need any sort of licensing to broadcast on AM frequencies if your transmitter is 100 milliwatts or less. A transmitter with a basic wire antenna can get 50 to 200 feet of range, however a more substantial outdoor antenna can transmit as far as two miles. I would be interested in setting up an internet radio station and then using multiple transmitters to broadcast that station over AM around Baltimore. The transmitter stations would require enough computing resources to connect to the internet in some way, decode an internet radio stream, and output an audio signal to the AM transmitter. The transmitters themselves can be purchased for about $75-100 dollars, but it's possible we could construct a transmitter from plans for much cheaper. Five to ten well placed transmitters could cover a significant amount Baltimore city.

  • Setup a stream
  • Build an Arduino/xbee that dials into the stream and outputs audio (I'm don't think an Arduino has the processing power to connect to the internet, decode an audio stream, and provide an analog output. An old laptop or eeepc, which already had network and audio interfaces might be cheap enough to work. Jonlesser 03:04, 2 July 2009 (UTC))
  • Connect audio with AM transmitter
  • Build a nice case with antennae(s)
  • Replicate and distribute
  • Broadcast to the masses
Hacker Radio Broadcast topics
  • Freeculture
  • DIY discussions
  • Copyright law
  • Opensource
  • Coverage of local events
  • Creative Commons music show?

Intervention at Baltimore Development Collective's geodesic dome

This dome is a finalist in the Sondheim Artscape Prize. It's located in front of the Baltimore Museum of Art. It is just begging for a techno-art intervention from the Baltimore Node.

RFID-tag City Landmarks

Enable self-guided walking tours.

Veteran's Transponders

Hardware and/or software that allows veterans to recognize each other when proximate based on war/battle/unit data.

Internet access in the inner city

Wireless mesh? Public Computer Centers (PDF) - Federal stimulus funds available. Application window is July 14-August 14.
(Is this a better link? PDF) I am definitely interested in developing this --Erich Steiger 03:19, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

Circuit Bending 101

All-ages introduction to hacking electronic toys and digital electronics.


  • Toys from salvation army and other thrift stores
  • Soldering iron and solid core wire
  • Continuity/Voltage/Current Tester
  • Heat Sink Tubing

Roof Top Garden

I know we have roof top access at the LoF. I have not seem the roof yet and we would have to ask Sherwin but i think it would be cool to build a roof top garden it would also help satisfy the sustainability aspect some people talked about. We could also make it nerdy and wire up some sensors to monitor the soil moisture and remind us to water.

Backyard Fish Farming

Now, a growing group of urban agriculture enthusiasts are translating the practice of land-based fish farming to a very local level. Their system of choice is called aquaponics -- a symbiotic setup in which plants and fish are raised simultaneously in recirculating water. The two "crops" are complementary: fish waste fertilizes the plants, which naturally filter the water so that it stays clean even when many fish are raised in close quarters (one might even call it a form of heavily engineered polyculture).

Sounds like more fun than urban chicken farming. What's the minimal sustainable size needed for a project like this?


Abachman 19:29, 17 July 2009 (UTC)

  • At the Robotfest, Jon and I talked to a guy from HacDC who does apartment aquaponics. I forget his name but we should try to track him down. I really want to try this. Sylviachi 02:54, 18 July 2009 (UTC)

Construction Assistance

If we have light shop tools and experienced folks on hand we might be able to offer open shop hours for drop-in fee based tool use. Similar to Beth's DIY Workshop, we're not going to do it for you (this isn't a cheap form of appliance repair), but we can help you do it. Abachman 19:32, 17 July 2009 (UTC)