Howduino?

Busy working on projects.
Busy working on projects.

Bridge Rectifier turned The Town Hall into a hackerspace at the weekend with great success.  Hackerspaces are community-operated spaces for people with an interest in electronics, computers, open source, amateur radio, science, technology, digital art and much more. This was the first event from Bridge Rectifier, a hackerspace group based in Hebden Bridge and it was the first hackerspace at The Town Hall.  This weekend long event was facilitated by Howduino, who focus on connecting the internet to the real world, breathing life into inanimate objects and creating new ways to interact with things. 40 people turned up to the weekend long event, with approximately 75% being complete beginners.  The group split into two with beginners building their own Shrimp computers, including building and programming the Persistence of Vision project, which blinked a row of LEDs on and off really fast so that when you waved it around in the air it would draw letters or a simple graphic.  They worked under the guidance of Cefn Holie, the creator of the Shrimp computer, inventor and PhD student.

Putting the LEDs in a "persistence of vision" project that draws text and graphics in the air.
Putting the LEDs in a "persistence of vision" project that draws text and graphics in the air.

The persistence of vision project in use!
The persistence of vision project in use!

Those interested in more advanced projects were supported by Adrian McEwen, a technology consultant that specialises in connecting physical objects to the real world (a.k.a "The Internet of Things"), and is currently writing a book about using Arduino to build the Internet of Things.  This room proved particularly popular with local artists; one brought a project using a small computer controlled robot carrying a pen to draw images, another working on a sound project, and another two working on new projects.  There was also a 13 year old girl who created a particularly complex project that involved writing code to run Conway's Game of Life on a laptop, which drove an 8x8 dot matrix LED display connected to the laptop via an Arduino.

A robot that drives around over paper and draws using a marker pen.
A robot that drives around over paper and draws using a marker pen.

A young participant programming Conway's Game of Life.
A young participant programming Conway's Game of Life.

"I thought I'd bring my children to the hackerspace for a couple of hours on the Saturday to see if they were interested," explains Jo.  "They enjoyed it so much we took part in the whole event and made robots together,  It was a brilliant weekend."

Participants preparing wires for the Shrimping workshop.
Participants preparing wires for the Shrimping workshop.