This is regarding the IITM Shaastra Arduino HackFest – http://www.shaastra.org/2011/main/events/Hackfest/. It got repetitive telling my friends what an Arduino is and what goes on at HackFest. This would be useful for anyone who wants to learn how to quickly connect do cool stuff like blink LEDs, read temperatures, design bots and toys.
What is HackFest ?
It is a 3 “night” event held during IITM Shaastra. It is one of the much awaited geek events in Chennai. A lot of students turn up to get started with programming and contributing to opensource. It is usually held near a weekend, so this year, it *might* be 30th, 1st and 2nd. The introductory talks explaining the basics might happen in the evening. But most of the “hacking” happens between 2200 to 0400. So it is a midnight workshop . Last year, I attended for a day and chickened out due to fatigue. Make sure you don’t return home on the first day or you will probably give up too.
The Arduino HackFest would be conducted by Priya Kuber – http://arduino.cc/blog/2011/08/26/introducing-priya/. Don’t be afraid
What is Arduino ?
Google has the best answers – http://www.google.com/search?q=what+is+arduino
An Arduino is simply an electronic board which is very simple and easy to work with. It provides a very user-friendly way to program micro-controllers. You can program an LED to blink at your command in a few minutes if you are familiar with *basic* C. The Arduino Uno board costs around Rs. 1500.
It has a HUGE online community and fan following. You can always look up the forums for help and ideas.
What can I use it for ?
You can use it to build a gajillion awesome electronic toys/pranks/devices.
These are some of the cool stuff students have made – http://hacknmod.com/hack/top-40-arduino-projects-of-the-web/
Apart from this, it will also come in useful for your final year project and any robotics related competition. Maybe next year, you can participate in http://www.shaastra.org/2011/main/events/Aerobotics/ and http://www.shaastra.org/2011/main/events/Robowars/.
You can also apply what is being thought in college. You can learn how servos work, try out logic gates, build your own virtual CRO, etc. The possibilities are limitless.
At Yahoo OpenHack 2011, Banglore, I built a TV remote controlled LED/bulb. Using just the Arduino, a resistor, an IR Photo detector module, Ken Shirriff’s IR library and a random TV remote, we built a circuit which switches ON LED if you press channel 1 and switches it OFF for 0. All this in just around half an hour. And I had ZERO previous experience. This is considered an extremely simple circuit !
How do I participate ?
Go to http://www.shaastra.org/2011/main/events/Hackfest/ -> “Event Format” -> Questionnaire_arduino.doc. Fill that up and save as a PDF and upload it according to instructions under “Registration”. Make sure you apply for accomodation… just in case.
The questions are fairly easy and google is your best friend. This isn’t a competitive event. No fixed number of seats and such. You just have to learn to google your questions in the correct words. HackFest is not school where they spoon-feed you. One single mentor cannot possibly go around and personally teach 60 participants. You’ll have to look up stuff online or discuss with friends… you know.. like *actual* college. So please don’t just rip off answers from a friend. Look around and find it. The deadline is 18th September so hurry !
The cost would be around Rs 1000 for the hardware. You can take the Arduino Board home. This is not a certificate course. Heck, I don’t even think they give out “participation certificates” so resume padders, FO.
And you will also get to meet Chennai’s GSoC-ers xD
A few guys from 2nd year VEC would definitely be attending it. Moar the merrier !