Meeting Minutes for 2010-11-17

buildscc | 17 Nov 2010 | | meeting-minutes

BUILDS Meeting


Kyle Brogle

  • Everybody say hi to Jim!
    • Again, the room can get messy pretty fast. Please do your part to keep everything organized and clean.


  • Competition ran by Autism Speaks to develop tools/applications to aid people on the autism spectrum.
    • If you’re interested in helping (in conjunction with MIT Media Lab) work on open source software for the Project contact MC.

Valerie Young

* Musical Stairs
* All of the electronics are basically worked out (still working on arduino interfaces).
* The project group as of now is focusing mainly on mounting issues with hardware.
* Installation is planned for the Sunday prior to beginning of next semester.

John-Nicholas Furst / Patrick Ehrlicher

  • Tesla Coil
    • Progress is now blocking on wrapping the copper wire for the coil
    • The project needs people to help wrap a LOT of wire before it can feasibly get off the ground
    • If you love epic-ness, contact Patrick/John

Kyle Brogle

  • Microsoft Imagine Cup
    • Submission deadline for the fall has passed, so if you haven’t yet submitted, gear up for the spring.

Ian Felder

  • Veggie Car
    • Progress is blocking on the finished project proposal
  • Reinventing the Disco Ball
    • plan is to create a spherical shell of RGB LEDs (individually addressable)
    • maybe plans to create an 8 bit display?

Kyle Brogle

  • BU and Friends Faculty Presentations
    • Any ideas for faculty who do awesome things to come down and give presentations?

BUILDS Brain Dumps

* coming up spring semester, BUILDS folk with expertise in some area are welcome to give Lectures/ presenations with all of the bells and whistles


Meeting Minutes for 2010-11-10

buildscc | 10 Nov 2010 | | meeting-minutes

BUILDS meeting


Kyle Brogle

  • College puzzle challenge was last weekend
    • Great fun! if you’re interested in checking it out and weren’t there, check out the website for puzzles and solutions.

John-Nicholas Furst

  • Microsoft Imagine Cup
    • Remember, the deadline for round two is Nov. 15
    • Even if you don’t think you can make the deadline with a pretty product, submit what you have. You can always re-enter in the spring.

Valerie Young

  • Musical Stairs
    • Updates: primarily planning circuitry and working with the interface.
    • Basically, if anyone has any experience working with user interfaces, contact Val or Ian.

Russell Shomberg

  • Spidervac
    • Still in R&D phase. Contact Rusty if you have any ideas/ want to help.
    • Also, if anyone needs any welding done, contact Rusty/Patrick. –>

John-Nicholas Furst

  • Builds Veggie Car
    • Pending email/ chatting with director of Sustainability at BU.
    • Still working on details and logistics.


Meeting Minutes for 2010-10-27

buildscc | 27 Oct 2010 | | meeting-minutes

BUILDS meeting 8

10/27/2010 6:30pm

Valerie Young

  • Musical Staircase
    • Updates: sensors are working now and calibrated
    • Now working on installation

John-Nicholas Furst

  • Musical Stairs Admin Business
    • After a very fruitful meeting with Dean Elmore et al, plans are in the works to set up the pilot staircase in GSU
    • Note: we are saying PILOT staircase. This could turn into more awesomeness if done well.
  • Videogame collective
    • Status update: pausing on work with open GL to work with XNA (microsoft’s game making monster) that must be used for those working on the Microsoft Imagine Cup

Kyle Brogle

Brian Hepler

  • The Putnam Competition and Mathematics Brain dump
    • For all those looking to jack up your creative math skills, Brian will (tentatively) be holding meetings sundays at 12pm.
    • Primary goals will be mini lectures/ brain dumps on requested topics in mathematics/ advanced material not normally covered in undergraduate math classes *Email at if interested

Meeting ended 6:50pm

Tap Input

buildscc | 15 Oct 2010 | | projects

Tap Input is currently in research and will be on hold until Musical Stairs is nearing completion.

Scope and aims

Current research

The Team

Similar Projects

  • [1] – PDF writeup of a similar project done at the CMU Comp Sci Department
  • [2] - Video of Scratch Input

Tesla Coil

buildscc | 06 Oct 2010 | | projects

What is a Tesla Coil?

On the technical side of things a Tesla coil is a pair of resonant RC circuits that operate at voltages high enough to create arcs. The idea is that there are two coils of wire called the primary and the secondary that act as inductors for their respective circuits. A large toroid acts as the capacitor for the secondary circuit as well as a site for the arcs to discharge. A large bank of capacitors connects to the primary coil forming the primary circuit. The primary and secondary circuits are designed so that they have the same resonance frequency and will transfer power between one and the other.

Project Goals

  • Construct a small working Tesla coil
  • Experiment with attaching a keyboard to Tesla coil
  • Build a large scale Tesla coil to amaze friends and crush enemies
  • profit

Build Order

There’s a lot of online documentation about how to put one together a coil. One site is linked below and it walks through design specs using a sensible progression from a desired arc length. Using this site I’ve done a few calculations for a coil designed around a 6 diameter secondary coil.


Most of the materials can be found easily on McMaster Carr, but the one thing thats holding up calculations is acquiring a high voltage transformer either from a microwave or a neon sign. Otherwise, major materials as follows:

  • copper wire (secondary coil)
  • aluminum ducting (toroid)
  • copper tubing (primary coil)
  • capacitors (primary circuit)
  • Hi V transformer
  • other assorted odds and ends to be accounted for

Walk-through mentioned above

Somewhere else

Some equations on a strangely religious site.


If you’re interested in helping out or want to lend expertise, sign up below or let me know.

Patrick Ehrlicher

Mikhail Andreev

Meeting Minutes for 2010-10-06

buildscc | 06 Oct 2010 | | meeting-minutes

Builds Meeting 5

10/06/2010 6:30pm


  • First thing on the Agenda - Yearbook Group Picture

Kyle Brogle

  • New members, Welcomes all around
    • again, we are trying to keep the room clean. It’s getting better, so keep it up

Valerie Young

  • Musical Stairs
    • progress is on hold for the moment while more work is being done on the electronics side
    • talk to Valerie and Dan

Russell Shomberg

  • Spidervac
    • Will be meeting Saturday 10/9 at 7pm in BUILDS
    • This week will be a brainstorm/planning meeting

John-Nicholas Furst

  • Videogame Collective
    • held every week on Tuesday at 9~930pm to whenever
    • Next on the agenda will be 2D platformers
    • If you’re interested, talk to John and join the mailing list.
  • NOMS list
    • Mailing list that informs people on free food events

Kyle Brogle

  • HackMe websites
    • Websites that set up insecure scenarios to practice security and penetration
    • Very fun, great way to buff up comp sci skills and security-mindedness.

Patrick Ehrlicher

  • Home Depot Runs
    • If anybody has a car, and is willing to drive BUILDS folk to get supplies, let the officers know

Kyle Brogle

  • Gutenbach
    • For the most part, the install is bug free
    • It will soon (hopefully) have capabilities to actually play youtube videos sent to it

Additional topics

  • Patrick Ehrlicher
    • Tesla Coil
    • parts have been ordered and much more work will be done pending Home Depot Field Trip

Chris Woodall

  • Setting up a Diaspora Server

John-Nicholas Furst

  • Party switch
    • Does anybody have access to strobe lights, lasers, etc? if so, talk to John and Monica
  • 24 hour programming competition on 10/22 put on by IEEE (Explore 2010 competition)
    • talk to John and Kyle

Kyle Brogle

  • Just a note to all BUILDS members: practice RESPONSIBLE DISCLOSURE.

Meeting Ended 7:06 pm

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