Software Controlled Radio: Nerd Night 11/8/2017

That was AWESOME. Software defined radio blew my mind! But it really should not have, the fact that you can have a computer front-end to radio is kinda like the computer based oscilloscopes, and computer based phones, and computer based everything else…
Topics discussed:
– Annette shows us her “school girl motor” and how effective it is at blowing up power transistors.
– Ron tells us that a Blue Tooth “mesh” network is being developed.
-James has some Panstamps to play with. (panStamps are autonomous low-power wireless modules made for telemetry and control projects. Our modules communicate over the free 868-915 MHz bands available worldwide and are designed to last for years when powered from simple alkaline batteries.)
-Source of electronic parts:
– WPA2 reported to have been hacked (!)
– James mentioned inspirational Ted Talk on cybersecurity where presenter hacks audience.
– Brain waves are being used as device interface (see kids game)

Software defined radio discussion

Cameron showed us software controlled radio (SDR) which he used to draw plots of where CDF planes flew during last fire, intercepting baby monitor transmissions, how to trigger your garage door, the theory of hacking cell phone calls, how to change your mom’s sleep number bed setting in the middle of the night.
-Had “Baofeng” radio priced at $16 capable of everything my $300 Yaesu can do.
– He used “SDR Shark” to demo SDR.  Showed us the spectrum of the Baofeng radio in on the computer real-time –  appeared to be very leaky.
– Plane plots were made by 1) use SDR “dongle” ($20) to pick up plane’s transponder. 2)  Feed signal into “Virtual Radar Server” which incorporates a plotting system. Showed information about the plane on the right-side of screen including photos of the plane!
– Noted that people have used the Rasberry Pi to create a crude transmitter (!)  Some discussion about “smart meters” and speculation that they used zigbee protocol.
– ATSC is signal transmitted by trains & train infrastructure.  Cameron showed us a train map, like a train dispatcher would see, composed from served (or intercepted?) ATSC signals.

Attendence: Amy, Annette, Cameron, Lee, Rick, Craig, Ron, James, Aug, Thomas, Kyle



ACME Robotics: Nerd Night May 10, 2017

Thanks to the young geniuses from ACME Robotics who presented their award-winning work!    We look forward to having them continue projects once settled in our new digs.

Posted by ACME Robotics Inc. on Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Liam was particularly intrigued by the “Mecanum Wheels” that allow the robot to move in any direction by controlling speed and direction of rotation of the wheels without having to rotate the vehicle!