Hi all.

The FreakLabs Store will be shutdown from 6/28 to 7/18 for me to take a much needed vacation. I'll be heading to sunny California to hang out with my family, check out the hackermoms space, play with my nieces, and generally unwind. Sorry about the inconvenience.


The team at I Heart Engineering recently sent me this pic of a robotics project for a scientific expedition in an abandoned mind where the Freakduino was used. I was quite happy to hear that it was working properly and he was even using his custom mesh code on it :)

This was just a test, but the idea is to have a robot that can perform mapping and deploy a mesh network and communicate back information about the environment. Being able to detect Radon, Methane and other hazards underground could be really useful. - Bill Morris 


It's been a long time since I blogged on my site. I was burned out from the radiation monitoring buildout and having multiple things going on at the same time. The time away was good so that I could focus on projects I've been wanting to do for a long time. Since then, I've started on a lot of interesting projects and I've actually wanted to talk more about them. Posting bits and pieces on social media outlets is not the same. I've also had a lot of time to think about many different things. I guess this means that I'm going to restart blogging again. This post is mostly just to get things going so I don't have that huge mental barrier to overcome. More later :) 

I just released the latest version of the chibiArduino code. There are two main changes:

1) The code was modified and tested to be compatible with the Arduino v1.0 IDE as well as previous versions.

2) The code has been moved to github.

I think that's about it. Sorry I didn't make the changes for the Arduino 1.0 compatibility sooner. It was actually pretty painless. The move to github is nice too. Its much nicer to have the repo online rather than having to juggle the version control on my local computer. 

Here's the project link:

Link to chibiArduino Project

I recently got into an interesting discussion on Twitter with some other engineers regarding the parallels between dancing and engineering. I often get a surprised look from people when I tell them I used to be a professional dancer. Perhaps its because I look like a nerd, or perhaps its because I am one. In any case, its true and its something that I spent many years and countless hours doing. 

The strange thing is really that it's nothing different from engineering. Engineering is also something that I've spent many years and countless hours doing. In both cases, they started out mostly just for fun, and once you get good, you can make money off it. But that's not what I really want to talk about either. 

This is just a node testbed



 I'm happy to announce a new product today and it's kind of an interesting one. The idea for it didn't exactly come from me, and it will be used to do something wonderful. It's called the FredBoard (aka FreakLabs Breadboard) and it started its life as a learning tool inside Tokyo Hackerspace . We needed something that could be used to teach electronics and Arduino programming since the line between the two has gotten blurrier over time. I was discussing it with one of the workshop instructors (Emery Premaux) and he was using separate breadboards and Freakduinos to teach the class. I casually mentioned that we should combine the two, and like chocolate and peanut butter, it turned out quite nice. We've been using the FredBoard in Tokyo Hackerspace for about six months now for the classes and the occasional presents and they've gotten excellent reviews.

  That brings me to the second part of this story. I was visiting my sister (Sho SHo Smith) a few months ago in Oakland and we were having a conversation over some macaroni and cheese. I was talking about all the cool things that go on inside a hackerspace and she was complaining that being a mom means that you don't have any time to do things like that. She then casually mentioned that it'd be cool if there was a hackerspace specifically for moms since they have a lot of constraints they need to deal with. I thought that was a great idea. The next morning, my sister and I were having breakfast with her friends (a bunch of artist-parents) and we started talking about what it'd be like to have a hackerspace for moms. Some of the ideas were hilarious. One of the parents wanted to learn about Arduino to get revenge on drunk people peeing on their fence at night. It involved a temperature sensor and a water gun that returned fire. Another mom wanted to do graffiti on buildings with things that a mother would say like: "Eat your vegetables - your mom".  About two months ago, my sister actually started up the hackerspace and it's called Mothership HackerMoms. Its a bay area hackerspace specifically for moms and they meet every Thursday at one of the members' houses.