buildscc | 03 Feb 2011 | | projects


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 2011-02-02

buildscc | 02 Feb 2011 | | meeting-minutes


Kyle Brogle

  • It’s pretty cold out, so Lincoln Lab reps will be coming next week.
  • REMEMBER, the microsoft hackathon is NEXT weekend.
  • Kit, Robbie, George, Colin, et al are starting a new project: theyre writing an IRC server from scratch in C++

Valerie Young

  • Musical Stairs
    • Still blocking on software progress on John’s end
    • If you’re involved keep checking your email for future meetings

Kyle Brogle

  • LED Cube
    • 1000 LEDS have been ordered, and building will begin when they’re shipped.
    • If you’re interested, contact Kyle

Mikhail Andreev

  • Hoverbot
    • Meeting at 8pm today


  • If you’re having your first project meeting, don’t feel bad about emailing the BUILDS List

Chris Woodall

  • Diaspora Server
    • Open source social networking software
    • LOTS of security vunerabilities, so we want to run our own and FIND said vunerabilities and help with patches
    • Great to work on those security skills

Brian Hepler

  • Abstract Algebra lectures
  • Email hepler.brian@gmail.com if you’re interested. A doodle will be created

Monica Gribouski

  • Multitouch table
    • Meetings will be thursdays at 8:30pm

David House

  • Twitter Snitch (info warfare on Twitter/ the internet)

Meeting 6:52pm


buildscc | 28 Jan 2011 | | projects


This Project has been reported dead because the vacuum being used broke, and no one has had time to repair it.


Using a common household vacuum for suction, we will build a wearable device that will climb smooth walls. A house vacuum is actually very powerful and exerts a large pressure, but it uses a small area for its nozzle. By attaching a large area pad with a rubber sealant should create enough force to stick a person to a wall. With two pads and the ability to turn off one at a time, we could scale smooth walls.

To Do

  • Calculate necessary suction from a vacuum - check
    • capable of directly holding weight onto ceiling
    • generates enough friction to hold onto a wall
    • use large safety factor
  • Obtain Vacuum - check - Perform tests on vacuum
    • find way to get seal on vacuum to test weight without permanently attaching anything.
  • Draw designs for pads - Gather other materials
    • wood (or some other material to make pads with)
    • rubber for sealing pads
  • Build Pads - Design a way to use in the field and build - Use to either stop crime or destroy the world


Rough calculations have been finished. A copy is on the white board in builds. Once we have a vacuum with a known suction pressure, we can go forward.


Designs need to be made.


  • Russell Shomberg (Project Head)
  • Samir Ahmed
  • Patrick Ehrlicher

“Let me know if you are interested.” -Rusty

Builds Waste Vegetable Oil Car

buildscc | 28 Jan 2011 | | projects


This purpose of this project is to design a car that will run on vegetable oil supplied by the Boston University dining services.

Current Status

The project is being put on hold until the fall because it is cold, and the actual build of the car would be in Warren Parking Garage.

Key Updates

The parts from the previously built car are no longer available. 1-19-11 The proposal for the car is being created and will eventually be delivered to the director of Sustainability.

Project members

Ian John

Meeting Minutes for 2011-01-26

buildscc | 26 Jan 2011 | | meeting-minutes

BUILDS meeting 15


John-Nicholas Furst

  • Microsoft NERD Hackathon
    • Takes place on 2/11 to 2/12 from 6pm to 3am
    • Register online (so they know how much food to get (YES, THEY’RE FEEDING US)
    • Consists of CS and engineering students from all over boston and cambridge
    • There will be speakers from Windows Phone, Google, etc
    • NECH2011.com Go Register!

Kyle Brogle

  • LED Cube
    • It’s an 8x8x8 cube of LEDs
    • Great to develop your Electrical Engineering skills
    • The plan is for this project to serve as a companion to the “LED discoball”

Jeff Crowell

  • Laser-etch CNC
    • Contact Kyle/Jeff for more info

Valerie Young

  • Musical Stairs update
    • Progress is now well into the testing phase!
    • Blocking now on software updates and some final hardware tweaks

Kyle Brogle

  • Security CTF
    • Basically, it’s computer security capture the flag
    • You’re given a buggy server, and meet up with the other participants to protect your server from security attacks!
    • Run by MIT Lincoln Labs

John-Nicholas Furst

  • Projects
    • As stated before, BUILDS is about working on projects
    • The website has been updated so that you can create your own projects

BU Photon

  • Contact these guys for awesome physics-inspired projects
  • Current project idea is to construct an enormous foucault pendulum to hang from the roof of the science building.

Liam Wang/Monica Gribouski

  • MultiTouch Screen for BUILDS tables

Russell Shomberg

  • Blackhat Security talk @ PHO 309 10am-11am

Meeting ended 6:56pm

Meeting Minutes for 2011-01-19

buildscc | 19 Jan 2011 | | meeting-minutes

BUILDS Meeting


John-Nicholas Furst/Kyle Brogle

  • Greetings and Happy New Year!
    • If you didn’t see it already, check out the awesome new monitor on the door!

Valerie Young

  • Musical Stairs
    • First off, congrats/mucho thanks due to all those who arrived early in the year and did such an incredible job on the model.
    • Work will continue immediately after today’s meeting.

Kyle Brogle

  • There’s a course this semester, CS212, a sort of “introduction” to programming with an arduino
    • The entire course will be centered around building ROBOTS.
    • If you’re interested, talk to Kyle/ sign up for yourself.

Ian Felder

  • Vegetable Oil Car
    • Bad news, the parts from the previously built car are no longer available.
    • Also, the build would have to take place in the Warren Parking garage (it’s cold).
    • The build will most likely start in the fall.

Jeff Crowell

  • CNC drawbot
    • It’s like a 3D etch-a-sketch that you can use to draw awesome objects.

Kyle Brogle/John-Nicholas Furst

  • New policies
    • Starting this semester, we want EVERYBODY who uses the room regularly to GET INVOLVED in projects
    • The website will be updated soon to accomodate Project leaders keeping track of members who are, in fact, involved in their projects.
    • The point is that BUILDS was created as a project space. Over the course of the past year, however, it has become more study- oriented.
    • This is not a BAD thing, but it is not the purpose of this space.
    • People are still welcome to study at BUILDS, we just ask those that use the room regularly to be actively involved in the spirit of BUILDS.

Danny Cooper/Monica Gribouski/Liam Wang

  • OpenGL
    • All those interested should contact the above.
    • Meetings are Tuesday nights.

Valerie Young


Meeting ended 7:05 PM

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