Tag: hackerspace

It has been a while since my last post. Lots of stuff going on. Here’s a quick summary.

Earlier in the year I was elected to the board of directors at SkullSpace. It is really great to see all the things people are doing there and to be a part of making that happen.

For a while now I’ve been working on a bit of a side business. The idea is that we will develop, manufacture, and sell open source electronics. Ultimately, we intend to sell them with a pay-what-you-want model (with minimums) as well as pay-who-you-want (ie. allow the customer to direct where they want some of the profits to go; designer, influential projects, charities, etc). If you are interested, you can sign up for our mailing list on our website.

One of the first products I’ll be posting is an RGB LED ring display for a rotary encoder. Additionally, it adds capacitive sensing to the encoder so it can tell when the user is touching the knob. The firmware is still a work in progress, but I made a simple demo video to showcase the basic features.

RGB Rotary Encoder Display Demo from Benjamin Bergman on Vimeo.


Photo "borrowed" from Leif Norman (click image for source)

This past Saturday was Nuit Blanche here in Winnipeg. Some 30,000 people went around the city checking out various exhibits of art and culture. One of the exhibits at the art gallery was ARTcadia. A bunch of displays setup with indie games and hacks. I had the NES-chuck out again and it saw a lot of use. Click here for some more pictures from the WAG.

While similar to Re:Play, the core difference for this event was that the games were setup as displays rather than booths. Because of this, there wasn’t someone around to provide instructions on how to start the game (ie. how to access the start and select buttons). We had a sign up with some instructions, but few people showed any interest in reading the signs. I may have to re-evaluate how this thing works for any future public displays.

CBC was running a contest called “Culture Vulture” where you have to go to cultural events and text in the posted word for an entry. SkullSpace must be getting some attention because the keyword posted at the WAG was “hacker”.


The Winnipeg Free Press ran an article today about SkullSpace. You can check it out here.


Picture by Brian Turchyn

Last weekend was SkullSpace hackathon 6 and it was a great time. This hackathon was a less structured hackathon than we have had in the past and so myself and another fellow hacker decided ta get a full hack in, start to finish. The idea we had was to turn a Wii nun-chuck into a controller for the classic NES gaming system, thus dubbed the NES-chuck. While largely intended to be for our own amusement, the nun-chuck as NES controller does allow for one handed play meaning it could be a useful controller for people with disabilities (or for those who want to play two player co-op games by themselves).

By the end of the hackathon I had a working prototype system. It has a few timing related bugs that should be pretty easy to iron out. My intention is to make a much cleaner version to display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery on June 11 as part of the Re:Play event, an exhibit focused on gaming art and culture. I will try to post some pics and videos of the prototype and final versions shortly (the current, rough code can be found here). In the meantime, you should check out Re:Play here (scroll down on that page), here, and here. If you come down, you will be able to try the NES-chuck first hand (no pun intended)!

UPDATE: I was up late working on this thing and thought I’d share a quick picture I snapped of it. I still have some kinks to work out. The nun-chuck is a knock off from deal extreme and is a bit peculiar. I am likely talking to it wrong, but right now the z button inverts the response of the c button. Also, the accelerometer data is not very stable. None of these things were a problem with an authentic nun-chuck, so I’m sure I just need to change the config a bit.


Today at the home of Les.net (an ISP) was the fourth SkullSpace hack-a-thon and there were a ton of people that came out. I didn’t count, but I would guess well over 40 people. There were people working on coding, microcontroller stuff, lock picking, RC stuff, DJing, some talks, a hacking contest, and an all around good time to get to know people of similar interests. There is a Flickr album up here. I’m really looking forward to the next one.

UPDATE: The official SkullSpace Flickr album for the day is here and blog post here.