I3 Power Sports has completed another hugely successful season of PPPRS racing. We fielded two cars this year, and both collected a good number of medals, for 9 total. I3 was represented at all three races: Kansas City MO, Detroit, and Evanston IL. The I3 banner and name were on display, and there was a lot of contact with other maker-spaces and event-coordinators. That contact alone could define this as a successful endeavor for the space, but a big clutch of medals is nice too!
The season began in late June at Kansas City Maker Faire. Car #13, racing as SuperLuminal Racing, made the trip. As a brand new car and team, this was somewhat of a ‘shake-out’ race. Despite that, the car performed well, we qualified second, and we took home two bronze and a silver. It was also discovered that ‘SuperLuminal Racing’ is more syllables than the announcer likes to say, so we adjusted for future races.
The biggest race of the season took place at Detroit Maker Faire in July, and both i3 teams competed. #3 was freshly rebuilt before the Faire, and #13 (now “Tiger Hacker”) was running at half-power due to a controller issue. Despite this, we still represented. Our own Karen “Cannonball” Corbeill, on #3, took gold in the 15-lap races and the endurance race, finishing first for the weekend. Sean on #13 was handicapped on speed but buoyed by reliability, and managed to take bronze in the enduro.
The season finale took place at Evanston IL’s Mini-Maker Faire. Both of our teams made the trip, and the field was again large, with just a few less teams than Detroit’s race. The track was short and tight, which favored both of our teams. Sean was back to full speed on #13, and laid down the fastest qualifying lap. Even after multiple attempts by multiple teams to beat it, the time stood at 14.8 seconds. I3 took 3rd and 4th in the drag races, and then Cannonball cleaned up on #3, taking bronze in the 15-lap heats and gold in the endurance race, earning I3 2nd overall for the series!
Thanks to Jim Burke, Patrick Callahan, and the whole crew at PS:1 for putting on the races. And Thank You to Tom G. from Milwaukee Makerspace for loaning us an awesome controller for #13.
Last year, i3 Detroit did so well in all 3 phases of the Red Bull Creation challenge (the puzzle board, the Chronotune, and the final 72-hour build in New York City), that we automatically prequalified for the finals this year. But unlike last year’s 4-person teams, this year anyone can — and should — participate!
So who’s going to New York?
Nobody! This year, the Creation takes place at individual spaces across the country. Red Bull sent us some video equipment to stream our build. That means that anyone who walks into i3 Detroit this weekend is part of it!
What are we making?
We don’t know yet! The theme will be revealed at 9:00 tonight. Then the clock starts, and we have 72 hours to conceive and create … whatever!
What should I expect if I drop in?
Expect to be involved! Whatever skills you have, they might be useful, and the only way to find out is to show up and dive in..
Also, expect a bit of paperwork! In addition to i3′s guest waiver, Red Bull’s production company has a release/waiver form that must be signed by anyone who might appear in our video stream. Please review it before dropping in. Regardless, expect around-the-clock activity, as we design and build and scramble for parts. There may be food, there may be news crews, it’s anyone’s guess!
Guts, glory, and cash: The prize purse is $10,000. And for the same reason we do anything else — because it’s just plain fun!
What do you get when you mix an old 10/100 NIC, a handful of components, and a home server that goes off into the weeds once in a while? A network-connected reset button, and the ability to recover from the majority of mishaps! The concept is simple: Use a standalone NIC’s Wake-on-LAN capability to poke a different signal, specifically, the PC’s reset line. Best yet, the whole thing costs less than $3, and goes together in under an hour. Not too shabby, when you consider that comparable network-aware remote-reboot devices go for about $200!
The important realization behind the project is that a WoL-capable NIC can run standalone, given nothing but power. It seems so obvious in retrospect! This same concept could be easily used to drive an SSR for true cold-boot capability, interface with a UPS for output-disable, or other functions.
Lots and lots of detail after the break…
I got my isostick today! This is a cool project that I saw on Kickstarter and contributed to back in July. After months of development (and waiting!), the early-adopter beta-test units went in the mail Thursday, and because Elegant Invention is based in Indiana, shipping to Michigan was nice and quick. It’s now here at i3 Detroit, for anyone to tinker with (and file bug reports — it’s a beta unit, after all!).
So what’s an isostick? It’s a USB flash drive with a mind of its own. Or, it’s a USB CD drive without the CD part. Basically, it’s a mass-storage device that you drop an iso9660-image file onto. The stick then pretends to be a USB optical drive, and serves up the contents of that image as if a real CD had been burned and placed in the drive.
The idea isn’t a new one — the CNS iodd, later refreshed as the Zalman VE-200, does this with a laptop hard drive as the storage medium. Both of those products had a cool OLED or LCD screen on the unit, to select the active ISO. (The isostick uses a different method.) But it takes a lot of current to spin up a drive, and some USB ports were unhappy with that. CNS once mentioned a flash-based version, but it never came to fruition. And regardless of the hardware, firmware bugs took a long time to get fixed.
Since isostick is a kickstarter project, contacting the developer is easy — I’m on IRC with him right now. The beta-test period is a deliberate “shakedown cruise” before the product actually goes to market. And since the project was mostly funded by other techies, you can bet there’ll be plenty of edge-cases tested and fixed! Oh, and even cooler? The actual storage inside the isostick is a MicroSD card, so as flash prices continue to fall, the number of isos that can be stored on the unit only increases.
(Members: The isostick is currently in the electronics room, under the window, in the bin labeled “flash memory and adapters”. Preliminary docs and the support email address are in the kickstarter update. Discussion in the forum.)
That’s Open Shop Friday, the day each week when Metro Detroit’s oldest hackerspace explicitly invites non-members to come visit. (The rest of the time, it’s implicit, but some folks like a direct invitation. This is that.) We’re at 1481 Wordsworth, in Ferndale. Ring the doorbell if it’s not already open!
I hear talk of welding, and Power Wheels bodywork, and who knows what else. — there’s always something unexpected! Any time after 6-ish is probably good, or just wait for that box at the upper right to say “the space is open for guests”.
Also, did you see the photo essay over at MetroMode this week? It’s called “Where Metro Detroit Invents”, and features photos and members of OCD, TechShop, and i3 Detroit. A tip of the hat to our colleagues! (Look closely, and you’ll see that the majority of photos in the series were taken at i3.)
phone: (248) 906-8473
For tours, just drop in before a meeting (Tuesdays 5-7pm) or any Friday evening (5-9pm).
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