Big Mix Night: Robotycs, Arduino, Car Hacks and the DDO!

November 05, 2015

Wed Nov 4, 2015. It was like a whole bunch of ylab events, shaken up, mixed together and served up with everyone wondering how on earth the unholy mess would taste.

Our friends at the David Dunlap Observatory somehow agreed to let us in to the darkest recesses of their basement for what was supposed to be a barely-announced Robotycs hands-on night. As if that wasn’t scary enough, the place was still littered with skeletons, corpses and other horrors from the DDO Haunted House .

As a test event, we limited the announcement to the fortunate people who attended our two first Robotycs meetings and our Arduino class.

The no-longer secret anti-static handshake.
The no-longer secret anti-static handshake.

The theme of the evening: Arduino Robotic Car Hacks. No, not the kind of cars from our August Car Hacks/OBD-2 Event.

Victims of the evening's activities.
Victims of the evening’s activities.



Instead of using robotic kits, we asked everyone to bring whatever old wired or R/C cars they had lying around their basements to modify for Arduino control.

There's an oscilloscope. This must be science.
There’s an oscilloscope. This must be science.

Ylab volunteers brought in oscilloscope, voltmeter, tools, soldering irons and other implements of toy destruction. Robot Ross gave the introductory lesson on how to work to work the motors with Arduino. Then the mayhem started.

Higher voltage makes it spin faster.
Higher voltage makes it spin faster.
Looks complicated... and they haven't done the software yet.
Looks complicated… and they haven’t done the software yet.
Arduino hardware transplant successful.
Arduino hardware transplant successful.

Formerly-abandoned toys started coming to life. What were previously single-speed cars were now controllable to run at different speeds.

Isn't this how Frankenstein was brought to life?
Isn’t this how Frankenstein was brought to life?

Some achieved  variable steering  instead of full-right or full-left. Humming, un-moving motors were explained (more power!). Beginners learned a heck of a lot. Our DDO friends looked on in… let’s say puzzled amazement and leave it at that.

Big thanks to the regular ylab volunteers (Richard, Ross, Jay, Pek), to Canada Robotix for the discount on the Arduino boards, to the DDO for hosting, and, above all, to all the attendees who came out and made the event a success.

BREAKING NEWS: MORE OF THE SAME NEXT WEEK! Look for the booking announcement in the next couple of days on this page (Over there! On the right side!) or by searching on Eventbrite. Same time – 7 PM Wednesday – and same place, which we’ve officially nicknamed the ylab DDOngeon.

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