Bus to DC Protest on Saturday

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We had a great discussion last night after our screening of the documentary Terms and Conditions May Apply. This is the first of several events we plan to hold about online surveillance and how you can protect your privacy, next one is coming up Nov. 6.

Most people at the screening expressed how they already knew much of their activity was being tracked, but were surprised by the extent of the tracking, and that it’s already been used to stop nonviolent protests before they even happen.

If you’re interested in taking action to preserve your 4th amendment rights, here’s some info about what you can do this Saturday:

On Saturday, October 26 — the 12th anniversary of the signing of the USA PATRIOT Act —  thousands of people from across the political spectrum will unite in Washington, D.C. to proclaim: Stop watching us. Read More »
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Program a Blink-tastic Costume, Saturday!

Here’s a story from Leslie Birch, designer of the award-winning FLORAbrella and electronic designer extraordinaire! She’s teaching our upcoming workshop, Program a Blink-tastic Costume: Intro to Lilypad, this Saturday, October 26, 10am-4pm. There’s a few spots still open, reserve yours today!

florabrellaI don’t think I will ever forget the first time I lit up LED’s. In fact, it was at one of The Hacktory’s first classes on simple circuits and we made little spiders that were so adorable. Now I’m lighting up 5 meters of LED strips and loving it! My recent project was part of the Adafruit/Element 14 Get Closer Challenge. The idea was to create something that would bring people together using the FLORA microcontroller. So, I decided to make an umbrella that would use LED strips and a color sensor, so that it could either match your clothing, or do fun patterns like a changing rainbow or random rain. I did a lot of research and planning, and I even learned how to do Fritzing — a drag-and-drop program that allows you to make circuit diagrams. In the end, the project really surprised me, and I still find myself laughing at how amazing it looks.

So, I feel like everyone needs to connect with their inner maker, and I want to help them do it. My “Program a Blink-tastic Costume” workshop offered the end of this month will teach people the basics of a circuit, give them creative freedom with LED colors and placement, and allow for awesome programming. It is so cool to make lights do what you command them to do, especially when it is on your own outfit! I can tell you just from walking around with my umbrella, that people are truly amazed by the magic of lights. So, expect an entourage with your blinking costume. The best part is that you can tell others the story of how you created it and spread the word about DIY electronics. Be emPowered!

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8static Festival – October 17, 18, 19

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8static is celebrating 5 years of amazing live chip music shows and, having outgrown their most recent venue at PhilaMoca, they are moving on to bigger and better things, including their own label. Their upcoming festival, which showcases around 30 artists over three days, is the perfect way to celebrate!

It all starts on Thursday, October 17th at 6:00 pm at the First Unitarian Church. You can view the incredible lineup and schedule here. Tickets

Keep track of updates on their site, where you can subscribe to their newsletter. Find them on Facebook and Twitter. And check out the latest release on their new label by Corset Lore, who is also performing on Thursday.

See you at the festival!

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Thank you, Adafruit!

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We’re excited to announce that Adafruit Industries has donated some excellent wearable electronics prizes for the raffle at our annual Masquerade Party on November 2! Tickets here.

Adafruit has tons of DIY electronics kits and components for sale, as well as a dedicated learning hub where you can find tutorials on everything from the Firewalker LED Sneakers you see here, to a DeLorean Time Circuit!
Subscribe to their YouTube channel and keep up-to-date on new products and projects.


Don’t forget about our wearable electronics workshop series leading up to the party. Not only will you learn a great deal, but you’ll also have the coolest Halloween costume ever. Search for ideas on Adafruit’s Electronic Halloween blog and we’ll help you make it happen!

October 6:  LED Masks, 1:00–4:00 pm
October 12:  Basic EL Wire costuming, 1:00–4:00 pm
October 22:  Crafting in the 21st Century: Lasercut Fabric, 6:00–8:00 pm
October 26:  Program a Blink-tastic Costume, 10:00 am–4:00 pm


We hope to see you there. Thanks again, Adafruit!

 

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Sewing With Circuits, Sunday!

Abby and I wanted to take a moment to write about our plan for next Sunday’s Sewing with Circuits workshop, which kicks off October’s series of costuming events here at The Hacktory! Here’s our plan to help folks get fabulous for our Galactic Gatsby Masquerade:

purpleLight-up fashion has been spreading over the past several years, working its way up from the hobbyist world to the runway, and now disseminating back into the community. Our class is designed to give beginners a crash course in circuits and sewing and a practical guide to working with e-textiles, including the LilyTiny, a pre-programmed sewable microcontroller. We’ll provide materials for attendees to make an LED mask or fascinator, or you can bring your own fabric and work on your own project. Whether you’re just dipping your toes into the world of soft circuits, or ready to add a professional polish to your skills, we hope you’ll join us for an afternoon of creativity and design!

About the Instructors

Abigail Seligsohn has 13 years of design experience in the graphic and fashion fields. Her jewelry company AbiGrl has had international press recognition (Elle, British Elle, Teen Vogue, Nylon, and more) and celebrities such as Brandy and Jessica Alba have worn her work. Since finishing a program researching e-crafting at Penn, she’s been teaching workshops at The Hacktory and 3rd Ward, and currently does graphic design for Back on My Feet. She’s excited to teach people how to conceptualize their aesthetic and use technology to create it.

Christalee Bieber has been teaching electronics in various form factors (squishy, sewable, sensing) since joining The Hacktory last spring. She currently runs the fabrication shop and afterschool activities at the Workshop School in West Philadelphia. She’s looking forward to finally learning enough to make the fiber-optic RGB fascinator of her dreams.

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Bike Parade Tonight

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We have our last event for our Light Up the Crescent series tonight. In case you haven’t heard, all through September we’ve been working with Second Muse and the Schuylkill River Development Corporation to create a series to promote the Gray’s Ferry Crescent Park. Tonight is our last Bike Parade, leaving the SW corner of Rittenhouse around 7 pm, and heading to the Crescent to check out our swarm of robotic fireflies there. We’ve posted a map of the route before, but here’s a little more detail if you want to come, or know how to get to the crescent in the future. There are several entrances to the park, but we like the one off of Wharton street. Wharton becomes two-way west of 33rdd street (indicated with the arrow on this map), so we will take that route to the park. You can also turn onto Wharton from 34th street as well. Hope you can make it tonight!

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Project Night Recaps, August 22 & 29

We’ve fallen a bit behind on reporting on Project Night! Here’s a couple of notes from last month, from Kim B.

August 22, Technically Philly Meetup AND Project Night

Panel discussion: State of Collaborative Spaces in Philly
 
There are a lot of collaborative spaces in Philly, how do we get them to be more merged but still distinct?  How do we make the public aware of these spaces?
 
Panelists:
Georgia Guthrie, director of The Hacktory
Alex Hillman, co-founder of Indy Hall
Nic Esposito, founder of The Head & Head Press 

Panel coordinator:
Chris Wink, co-founder and editor of Technical.ly
 
The discussion centered around the collaborative/experimental spaces in our fair city of Philadelphia.  The turnout was great, about 50 people, and so was the beer, which had coffee in it! There definitely seems to be a strong case for Philadelphia existing as an up-and-coming (and in many ways, already there) metropolis for co-working, entrepreneurship, and start-ups. There were various interesting business models discussed, and on the whole the panel had a lot to share, as well as the people who attended. Read More »

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Firefly Swarm Postponed to Tonight

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We had a great day assembling more fireflies and holding our workshop as part of Camp Crescent yesterday at the Grays Ferry Crescent. Unfortunately the weather shifted later in the evening and was no longer friendly for the fireflies. We’ve rescheduled our swarm for tonight at 7 pm though, so be sure to come out and see them. This gives you one more chance before our last swarm this coming Friday after our bike parade.

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Firefly Prototyping

Firefly Prototyping from The Hacktory on Vimeo.

We did a whole lot of soldering this past weekend, in preparation for our series of events where we will Light Up the Grays Ferry Crescent. There’s quite a bit more to do, but we’re pretty excited about our fireflies. We put together this quick video to show how our electronic fireflies are built and how they look right now. There’s only 5 finished ones at the end – but we have many, many more, and will have a more complete housing for them as well. Hope you can make it out to see them!
Thanks to all of our awesome volunteers who came out to help solder!

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Seeking Contributors: Hacking the Gender Gap

A few weeks ago, Daniel and I were fortunate enough to attend the 3rd annual Philly Geek Awards. Last year, Geekadelphia named Hacktory director Georgia Guthrie Hacker of the Year; this year, the online visualization of our workshop Hacking the Gender Gap was nominated for Web Project of the Year. The award ended up going to AxisPhilly – congratulations to them!

We’re looking for people to help expand and improve the Timeline. We need volunteers to:

  • transcribe & tag stories from our workshops, currently in our Flickr stream
  • design & implement a responsive, attractive story visualization1
  • create a database and webform for people to add their own stories2
  • compile a guide for facilitators based on our notes, so people can Hack the Gender Gap on their own!

We’re also looking for partner organizations to adapt the workshop for other underrepresented groups in STEM. If you’d like to join us, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator Amy Guthrie or comment on this post!

I also want to publicly thank everyone who’s contributed to our project. Read More »

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