Hacking Together @ The Melbourne Raspberry Pi Hackers Meetup – Sep 19

Hacking Together @ The Melbourne Raspberry Pi Hackers Meetup – Sep 19

Another great hacking session – Thanks to everyone who turned up for the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Hackers meetup last Sunday (1st of Sep 2019). It was great to see each of you in person again. Also a big thanks to the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Meetup volunteers, speakers and everyone else who helped make it a great session, thank you folks!!!! It was a great hacking session packed with some really cool project demos, lightning talks including the opportunity to chit chat about all things electronics, robotics, DIY.

A big thank you to the Melbourne City Council, Docklands library & Makerspace for their support and on-going assistance. The Melbourne City Council, Docklands library and Makerspace has been supporting the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Hackers group for a while now. The library and makerspace supports the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Hackers Group by hosting the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Hackers Group at the Docklands Makerspace while also providing on-going funding, support in terms of equipment, etc. Thank you folks, we wouldn’t have been able to offer the community the services without your support.

Highlights of the Sep 19 Raspberry Pi Hackers meetup – We started the meetup as usual at 1200 Hrs AEST. Our speakers for the afternoon included Chris Gomersall and Harsh Talpada. Chris Gomersall introduced us to his pet robotic cat through an informative and educational talk combined with a small demo. Chris’s pet robotic cat is based on the robotic cat project called Petoi initially designed by Rongzhong Li. Rongzhong’s goal always was for Petoi to be open-source, so that it can be a teaching aid as much as it is a pet. And with his team’s crowdfunding campaign, he has made building your own robot cat even easier. The product was eventually launched through indiegogo as “Petoi Nybble” the robotic cat.

Chris with his robotic pet cat “Petoi”

From the indiegogo page, “Nybble is a light and fast robotic cat that really walks. Built on an open source platform, Nybble has endless possibilities in the way you can “teach” tricks, behaviors, and CAT-itude as you program it and help it grow. You can even mount a Raspberry Pi to help Nybble think! Nybble is also the first product of OpenCat, the most respected DIY project on Hackster.io. Check out how Nybble would grow up to, and make friends by communicating with other Nybble owners!

Nybble is not only a robotic cat that walks, it’s a new type of pet – an advanced robotic kitten that YOU bring to life with a small computer, customizable software, a basic components kit, and whatever upgrades you can imagine! Nybble’s motion is driven by an Arduino compatible micro-controller. It stores instinctive “muscle memory” to move around. An optional AI chip, such as Raspberry Pi can be mounted on top of Nybble’s back, to help Nybble with perception and decision. You can program in your favorite language, and direct Nybble walk around simply by sending short commands, such as “walk” or “turn left”!”

Head over to the indiegogo page if you would like to read more about the Petoi Nybble robot cat.

The Petoi Nybble Robot Cat

Nybble’s frame is an easily assemble-able puzzle. The wooden frame is a retro design in honor of its popstick framed ancestor. The wisdom of traditional Chinese woodwork was borrowed to make the major frame screw-free. Detailed assembling instructions are provided with the kit. The entire kit is based around a custom Arduino based board called the “Nyboard”. The image below provides a view of all the parts that make up the Petoi Nybble robotic cat kit.

Chris mentioned to us the work he was doing around upgrading the servos on his robotic cat and all the challenges he’s had putting the kit together. We got to see the Petoi Nybble robotic cat in action, performing some cat maneuvers and hopefully we’ll get to see it again once it’s gone through its servo overhaul. Best of luck Chris, keep us posted!!!!

Our second talk for the afternoon was by Harsh Talpada .Harsh spoke to the hackers present about the MicroPython project he had developed for the M5Stack Stick. The M5Stick-C is a mini M5Stack board, powered by ESP32 at its core. Its a portable, easy-to-use, open source, IoT development board which can be used to create various different IoT applications and interfaces.

Harsh showing us his M5stack stick with the micropython program running on it

The M5Stack Stick is part of the M5Stack ecosystem and comes packed with the following features –

  1. 5V DC power supply
  2. USB Type-C
  3. ESP32-based
  4. 4 MByte Flash + 520K RAM
  5. 6-Axis IMU MPU6886
  6. Red LED
  7. IR transmitter
  8. Microphone
  9. 2 Buttons, LCD(0.96 inch), 1 Reset
  10. 2.4G Antenna: Proant 440
  11. 80 mAh Lipo Battery
  12. Extendable Socket
  13. Grove Port
  14. Wearable & Wall mounted
  15. Development Platform UIFlowMicroPythonArduino
Harsh programmed the board to fetch weather info, AUD $ exchange rate and display on the screen
M5Stack Stick Closeup
M5Stack Stick Closeup – Based on the ESP32 with an LCD screen, two buttons and a battery

The M5Stack Stick is a powerful board with two on-board buttons that can be programmed to perform six different actions (in total) along with an on-board battery. Harsh programmed the M5Stack Stick to fetch weather data, Aussie $ current exchange rate from the internet and display it on the screen using a multi-menu interface. The use has the option to change the application at boot-up by selecting an item on the menu. The application was written in Micropython and was relatively easy to use. The board was super cute, given it’s small form factor combined with the LCD screen, 2 buttons and on-board battery. Overall we were very impressed with both Harsh’s creation and the capabilities of the M5Stack Stick.

Check out pictures from the Raspberry Pi Meetup at – <Sep 19 Melbourne Raspberry Pi Hackers Meetup>

What is the Melbourne Raspberry Pi Hackers Meetup all about – Melbourne Raspberry Pi Hackers is a platform that will meet once a month with the objective of sharing, collaborating on interesting Raspberry Pi, Arduino, ESP8266, ESP32, 3D printing, robotics, etc. related projects and hacking together on Open Source / Open Hardware platforms. From time to time Melbourne Raspberry Pi Hackers conducts tutorials/workshops to get folks started hacking with their Raspberry Pi, Arduinos, ESP32’s, etc.

Raspberry Pi Hackers Meetup – All ages, skill levels, interests are welcome.

The Melbourne Raspberry Pi Meetup is open to everyone, irrespective of age/gender/skill levels, etc. The meetup is a great opportunity to learn more about the fundamentals of electronics, robotics, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, ESP32, ESP8266, 3D modelling, 3D printing, etc.We regularly conduct sessions for folks just starting out and keen to dive into the world of electronics, robotics, coding, 3D modelling, 3d printing, etc. You can sign up here – Meetup.


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Hopefully you have enjoyed the article. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions for future tutorials drop us a note at – learning at hack2 dot live.

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