HackPittsburgh Featured in “Hack This” by John Baichtal

November 4, 2011

Hack This by John Baichtal

HackPittsburgh is proud to announce their inclusion in John Baichtal’s new book, “Hack This: 24 Incredible Hackerspace Projects from the DIY Movement”!

Highlights include two longstanding HackPittsburgh projects – the Near-Space Balloon (LEAD Balloon) Project and the Aerial Ping Pong Drop!

The HackPittsburgh LEAD Balloon project began in March 2010 as part of the Hackerspaces in Space contest.  HackPittsburgh LEAD Balloons are large latex balloons, filled with helium, hauling payloads with camera(s) and Ham Radio equipment to track (and retrieve!) via APRS.  Our first trial launch was July 3rd of 2010, and our official contest launch was held on August 8th of the same year!  We’ve launched 2 additional balloons since, with members and non-members always welcome to attend.  Read the amazing story and see photos of our first successful launch in Our Day in Space.  Our latest successful launch info can be found in LEAD Balloon Launch B1.

Not wanting to waste any precious helium, we used some of the leftovers from a previous LEAD Balloon launch to begin the Aerial Ping Pong Drop.  Using EggBots, HackPittsburgh members and visitors printed a tracking URL, ball number, logos and other info onto ping pong balls.  The balls (and some fun origami butterflies for extra find-ability) were attached to biodegradable balloons filled with helium, and launched into the winds to land where they would.  Anyone finding the balloons/ping pong balls was invited to visit the URL on the ball to record time found and landing position.  See the map of tracked balls here: Aerial Ping Pong Drop.  HackPittsburgh has done a total of 8 launches to date.

If you’d like to read all the book details – and more on HackPittsburgh and our projects – grab a copy at Amazon, or visit us for an open Friday night and browse the shop copy!

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