buildscc | 07 Feb 2011 | | projects

What is Derpnet?

Derpnet is intended to create a free and open source, secure, private method of communication. As communication is our primary goal, we will implement an IRC setup and increase security and privacy from there.

As our goals are different than those of a standard IRC setup, so too will our implementation differ in a few important ways. These include:

Other aspects of the traditional IRC will be implemented normally (for example, the channel-oriented setup, etc.). To accompany the IRC setup, Derpnet will also maintain a webpage (full of things like what it is, how to register, etc.) in the OpenNIC space (and possibly also in the normal webspace).

Why Derpnet?

The Derpnet project exists to fill the vacuum of secure, open source group communication. Currently the only such implementation is face-to-face conversation and while the release policy on that source may be debated the point is that it is rather inconvenient. The IRC protocol is an existing framework that allows for a variety of clients already implemented to be used with no additional modification.

Why C++?

C++ is a compiled language (which allows for fast execution) without being interpreted (I am looking at you right now, Java). In addition, its similarity to C allows it to be approachable by many programmers (unlike the other languages we wanted to use, Haskell and ATS).

Why git?

Due to our association with BUILDS, we are able to make use of BUILDS hosting. This requires us to use git, which although some view as more difficult to use, is functional and adequate for our current needs. Currently commits are restricted to project members. Our git repository is publicly accessible at for those interested in following along.

Who are we looking for?

Who are we?

The leader of this project is currently Robbie Harwood, who can be reached at rharwood at bu dot edu. Additionally, until our own server is operational, we will occupy channel #derpnet on foonetic.

Older · View Archive (146)



The purpose of this project is to create a toy, possibly-remote controlled car that will hover and fly through the air, and will have sensors mounted that will enable it to avoid walls and change trajectory.


The actual hovercar will be about 1.5 - 2 feet in length/width and will consist of the propulsion mechanism, the sensors, and the controls. For propulsion, we will probably use a quad copter setup, as it gives us the most stability and movement capability. In order to make it hover, we can make it keep a constant altitude, and then it will move by throttling the individual propellers. The sensors will be placed to allow the hovercar to understand how close it is to walls/obstructions, and be able to avoid them. Our final goal is to create something that can move around on its own without crashing. We will also want to be able to control its movement, with a controller, or a computer.

More stuff

If we manage to get all that to work an advanced feature would be to give the hovercar the capability to control its altitude, so it would sense how far it is away from the ground, and adjust output to get to a specified height. An add-on with that would be to give it the capability to remember the terrain under it, and so be able to change its motors automatically.


Our current meeting time is 8PM on Wed.

  • Multitouch Table


Meeting Minutes for 2011-02-09


Kyle Brogle

  • Microsoft hackathon THIS weekend (fri @6pm)
    • bring some project ideas!
  • New Speakers!
    • do NOT turn them up when classes are running.
  • Lincoln Labs CTF
    • Tim Leek (Cybersystems and security group)
    • Open to the boston community
    • Web application security capture the flag game
    • will be run in April…stay tuned for updates!

BUILDS Electronic Orchestra

  • Email, or contact Chris.


  • Musical Stairs Update
    • Blocking on improved software on John’s end
    • Home depot run this saturday

Kyle Brogle

  • Diaspora Server
    • “distributed open source “facebook equivalent””
    • Still buggy; the plan is to set up a server and try to help by contributing patches.

Drawbot Project

  • Still blocking on proposal acceptance

Russell Shomberg

  • Carpentry Extravaganza!
    • great way to learn to power-tool, contact Rusty

John-Nicholas Furst

  • New email lists
    • BUILDS project lists (great place to discuss project ideas)
    • BUILDS announce lists (great place for announcements, e.g. the room is on fire)

meeting ended 6:53pm