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[DPRG] Embedded workshop group

Subject: [DPRG] Embedded workshop group
From: DeltaGraph at aol.com DeltaGraph at aol.com
Date: Fri Aug 28 06:15:23 CDT 2009

Bradley Metcalf forwarded the following to me.
Looks interesting. Maybe they would host a DPRG RBNO on a given  night???
Maybe someone will check them out on one of their "free days..." and report 
 back to us..
-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [NTLUG:Discuss] Announcement  of new Embedded computer group
Date: Thu, 27 Aug 2009 16:16:35 -0500
From:  Ralph Green <sfreader at sbcglobal.net>
Reply-To: severian at pobox.com,  NTLUG Discussion List <discuss at ntlug.org>
To: NTLUG Discussion List  <discuss at ntlug.org>

Proposed charter for Dallas  Embedded workshop group

The goal of the group is to share  knowledge and help people learn to
program embedded computers with open  source software.  Embedded
computers of interest range from  microcontrollers such as the ATMEL AVR
chips and Microchip PIC to boards that  are essentially standard PCs,
such as the products from Soekris and PC  Engines or a variety of Geode
based small board  computers.

Our first meeting will be at 6 PM, Sept 4,  2009 at 1701 North Collins
Boulevard Suite 2000, where we are graciously  being hosted by
CompanyDallas.  See details of the location at the  CompanyDallas website
of http://www.companydallas.com/.

First  meeting:
At the first meeting, we want to find out what experience  people have
and what they are most interested in working on.  For  example, the
Arduino is used by two of the people starting this group.   But, maybe 8
out of 10 people who join us use the Propeller or a Microchip  Pic.  In
that case, we will probably use that chip, instead.   Whatever we pick
needs to be inexpensive and have open source tools.   The idea is that we
want to plan on a common set of hardware and then we can  all work
through the first few projects together.  We can come up with  some parts
lists and maybe buy a few things in bulk.  Bright LEDs are  usually
cheaper in 100 lot units, for example.

Future  meetings:
We want to do a few basic workshop style meetings and then  branch out.
This can be an entertaining, and useful hobby and it does not  need to be
expensive.  We will be guided by what the participants are  interested in
and that means you need to come and be a part of it, if you  want to
guide our efforts.  The expectation is that there will be  more
divergence of tools later and people will show and train others in  the
tools they have chosen.

If you want to do some reading to prepare,  here are some pointers to
places we have found  interesting.

Interesting hardware:
Arduino home page
ModernDevice breadboardable  arduino clones
Bifferboard cheapest x86 board  we've seen
Kuro  box(hackable NAS box)
ET-STM32 Stamp Module
BeagleBoard  (high end embedded board, nice but expensive)
Wii Nunchuk to  Arduino
NES controller to Arduino
Is  your WRT54G hackable
Open  Linksys NSLU2 firmware

Interesting  software:
Denx embedded build system
Buildroot cross  compilation/build system
pfSense embedded FreeBSD
Lady Ada's tutorials and free  project designs
Free  hardware guides to lots of projects
Lots of project with much detail hidden  behind Flash

Project ideas  our members are working on:
1. DefCon each year produces badges that  have some interesting
electronics.  One member is working on a design of  something similar.
He initially wants to modulate multi-colored LEDs on a  badge based on
input from a microphone.
2. Toy ray guns are readily  available and cheap.  Most are pretty
boring.  One member wants to  add LEDs that light up in some controller
based patterns to make them more  interesting.  Stage 2 would be to add
3. One member  has a cat that takes another cat's food. He wants to have
the thief wear a  collar with an RFID tag.  A sensor near the food would
detect the tag  and shoot the cat with a water gun when it got too near.
4. One member  is designing a sign promoting the Python language.  It
uses a CNC carved  Python logo and is lit from behind in a hopefully
interesting  manner.
5. One member is helping design the software for a  firewall/router that
is focused around keeping young children from browsing  inappropriate
material.  The parents would control what is  inappropriate.

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