Hardware Freedom Day 2013

buildscc | 20 Apr 2013 | | events

Saturday, April 20, 2013 - Sunday April 21, 2013 in BUILDS

Info Section

When is Hardware Freedom Day?

April 20, 2013, exact times to be announced.

What is Hardware Freedom Day?

Hardware Freedom Day is a worldwide celebration of Open Hardware. Initiated in 2012 by the same organization behind Software Freedom Day it aims at educating the worldwide public about the benefits of using and promoting Open Hardware. It also provides an international day to serve as a platform to raise awareness to existing projects and communities around the world as well as encourage participation in local Open Hardware initiatives. The non-profit organization Digital Freedom Foundation coordinates HFD at a global level, providing support, giveaways and a point of collaboration, but volunteer teams around the world organize the local HFD events to impact their own communities. (from HFDay website).

How Will We Contribute?

We will hold a hackathon in the traditional BUILDS style, except with a focus on a topic related to hardware in some way.


Project Ideas

Base Materials List



BUILDS Shirts for Spring 2013

buildscc | 21 Feb 2013 | | projects

Shirts for Spring 2013



Order Statistics

Total Orders: 30

T-Shirts Orders

# of Shirts Size
5 XL
5 S
16 M
3 L

T-Shirts Orders w/ Extras

# of Shirts Size
7 XL
7 S
21 M
8 L

Meeting Minutes for 2013-02-20

buildscc | 20 Feb 2013 | | meeting-minutes


  • Architects are touring the room this week, so that BU can redo the MCS building. Azer thinks we’re a good representative of how the building should look. From 11-12 Thursday, next Tuesday, and the Thursday and Friday after this, they’ll be here.

  • Tomorrow at 5:30, RISCS is holding a recruiting and information session at the Hariri. There’s also free food.

  • Professor Goldberg is hosting a colloquium on security and privacy (Boston Freedom of Communications Day) on March 8th, and you guys should all go. If you want to go, you should register for planning purposes.

  • Chris, John and Dan are working on a laser-light display, which should be happening in the next few weeks.

  • BUILDS T-shirt orders are going out soon.

  • We should start thinking about officer elections for the end of the year.

  • CTF updates: We’ve talked to the PTHC (Northeastern Security Club, don’t Google though) people, and they’re going to help us make challenges and stuff. We’ve roughly pencilled in a date for early June, but that’s very preliminary. If you want to help create or test challenges, come talk to Allan, Jeff Crowell or me.

Laser Light Display

buildscc | 14 Feb 2013 | | projects


Phase 1: Pan-Tilt Style System

Document, when possible

Phase 2: Galvonometer-Based X-Y Scanner

Galvonometer Construction

Theory of Operation

Parts List


elmChan’s Laser Projector

Meeting Minutes for 2013-02-13

buildscc | 13 Feb 2013 | | meeting-minutes


  • Something about a CTF (info needed) Please correct?
  • Valerie Young: Thursday Feb 14, 2013 at 5:00pm Orran Krieger will give a talk on Mass Open Cloud
  • T-Shirt order forms will go out again.
  • John Aleman: gyroscope project proposal is written and clocks in around $200. If you want to join (jaleman@bu.edu)
  • Alessandro Gomez is making a MIDI controller, if you are interested feel free to contact him.
  • John Furst: server rack/cluster is mostly set up, but currently some problems with pixie booting due to DHCP implementation problems somewhere.
  • Monica Gribouski: We want to start a new lecture series of sort for faculty, students and cool people.

Portal Ceiling Tile/Hackerspace Communication Network

buildscc | 03 Feb 2013 | | projects

Portal is a screen in the ceiling that shows the contents of the door camera in ASCII art.


The hostname of the laptop is: builds-portal, and it’s IP address is

The portal is running Debian 6.0.3.

Startup sequence: There is no startup sequence.


  • Potentially reduce latency further.
  • Laptop screen dims after a while?


  • 3/31: Added new info about how to add new portals to the multiplexer.
  • 2/20: Changed method of streaming to use mpeg4 compressed video over raw udp. Decoding is now done on the laptop. Upon startup, rc.local runs the script /home/builds/portal.sh as root, which runs a vlc command that listens on udp port 5004 for incoming video. On the door, the following command must be run to start the video:
nice cvlc -I dummy -A dummy -V dummy v4l2:///dev/video0 --sout \
"#transcode{vcodec=mpeg4,width=640,height=480,vb=200,acodec=none}:std{mux=ts,dst=,access=udp}" \
--v4l2-caching=100 --sout-udp-caching=0
  • 2/20: Updated /etc/rc.local to automatically ssh into the door and connect to a screen to view VLC. Retries every 60 seconds.
su -c "while true; do ssh -t -C door@thingone.furstlabs.com 'screen -r portal; exit'; sleep 60; done;" builds
  • 2/20: Updated /etc/default/grub to include “vga=791” and “consoleblank=0”. This sets the proper TTY resolution and disable consoleblank timeout (aka TTY will always be on).
  • 2/19: Initial Installation.


Portal artwork by Anthony Inzero.

TO CREATE NEW ONES (updated 3/31/2012)

To create a new portal, install debian with base utils and sshd. Then install vlc, xorg, and sudo. Add builds to the sudo group. change the following files: /etc/X11/Xwrapper.config:



sudo -u builds startx &



nice cvlc -vv v4l2:///dev/video0 --sout \
rtp{dst=$TARGET,port=$PORT}" \
--v4l2-caching=60 -V dummy -I dummy -A dummy \
--v4l2-width=$WIDTH --v4l2-height=$HEIGHT --v4l2-fps=$FPS \
--sout-transcode-threads=2 --sout-rtp-caching=0 &

xset -dpms s off

nice vlc -A dummy -V xvideo --no-video-title-show \
--fullscreen --rtp-caching=100 rtp://@:$PORT