Author: ttongue

Do you have an interactive project?

Rensselaer’s School of Humanities, Arts and Sciences, Severino Center for Entrepreneurship, Design for America and TVCOG are teaming up to bring “Troy By Design” to the Center of Gravity on May 7th from noon to 4pm. We’re seeking interactive demos to show off great design projects from all the makers, engineers, artists and entrepreneurs in the region. Attached is the official call for demos, and you can register your interactive project at http://www.troybydesign.com/

So if you’ve been pecking away at a project, let this be the push to get it finished up and ready to show! Whether it’s a game or VR application you developed at the hackathon last weekend, or even back in January, or something you’ve been brewing for a while, come show it off! Sign up to demo at http://www.troybydesign.com/

Also, don’t forget about our Mini Maker Faire in August, and think about exhibiting there as well! The call for makers will be opening on the 29th during our town hall meeting from 5pm – 7pm — more details coming soon!

There is a ton of stuff going on at the COG over the next few weeks, from game development to brewing to 3D modelling. Please check our web site calendar (http://www.tvcog.net/my-calendar/) for complete details!

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Back before we moved to the Quackenbush building, I started working on a small forge with my boys that would melt aluminum cans, based on a design from a Youtube video and feedback from other sources. This evening we finally set it up in the back alley behind the TVCOG. Here are some photos to share the fun:IMG_8108

The forge, a galvanized pail with plaster of paris for the insulation, and a lid made from the same material with 2 U-bolts for handles.

 

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The crucible is placed in the forge, and charcoal surrounds it. Wrapping a few pieces of charcoal with cardboard and lighting that turns out to be an excellent way to get things started.

 

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The first can to be melted in the fires of the forge!

 

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The forge has a nice glow once the charcoal is burning hot. The blow dryer pushing air into the bottom of the forge makes the coals GLOW. The bottom of the crucible shows some of the melted aluminum.

 

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The forge crew wait for the latest additions to melt.

 

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Adding more charcoal to the forge, it goes through fuel quickly!

 

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Once we ran out of cans, we used up small scraps of aluminum from the metal shop!

 

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It’s dark by the time we pour the aluminum into the muffin tin to make ingots.

 

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And now we have aluminum pucks!

Now that we’ve gone through the process once, we’ll likely do it again in the future with some improvements… maybe during a social night!

 

–Tom Tongue, with Bob, Bridget, Ian, Calvin & Erica’s son (whose name escapes me at the moment).

 

When getting a startup off the ground, it’s critical to have a clear agreement amongst the founders around a handful of key issues that are essential to your ability to safeguard the future viability of your new enterprise and to raise venture money.  These key issues cover three really important areas: the roles and responsibilities of the founding team, equity ownership and vesting and IP ownership. 

Confused? 

As part of SPECTRVM Services, we’re hosting and organizing workshops and events to help entrepreneurs and startup teams gather the knowledge and resources to be successful. This coming Wednesday, March 9th from 5:30-6:30pm we will be hosting a legal workshop on founders agreements with Richard Honen and Emily Ekland.

Join us for a discussion about the legal significance of founders agreements and the items that should be discussed when arranging a founder’s agreement.

Please RSVP using Eventbrite so we have an accurate headcount for the event!

Questions, Comments or Concerns? Please contact Tom Tongue (ttongue@tvcog.net).

The next Zero to Maker event is on Saturday, March 12th from 10am – 1pm! What is Zero to Maker? It’s a great way to get started making things at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity!  Come sign up, get your ID card, and receive your new member initiation and Red/Yellow safety training on some of the power tools. You’ll also get an introduction to using the laser cutters and 3D printers, all in one morning.

The event will be starting promptly at 10am, so please be on-time or early.

There is no cost to attend, but to participate, you must have a Full Membership or higher. See membership options here.

Save time on the day of the event by filling out the form and paying for your membership online before you arrive. If you have an Associate Membership, you may upgrade it to Full Membership at this time as well. PLEASE BRING YOUR MEMBERSHIP NUMBER WITH YOU!

Please “Join” using the Eventbrite sign-up page at:

http://bit.ly/21aCuwQ

or RSVP to events-coordinator@techvalleycenterofgravity.com so we have some idea of how many to expect. Walk-ins will be accepted as space allows.

The countdown clock has started, and in less than 2 days we’ll be kicking off the IoT Hackathon at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity! Thank you for registering for the event, we’re in the final stages of prep before the hacking begins, and some last minute logistics and scheduling information included below.

If you are unable to make it, please send us an email at hackathon@tvcog.net so we have a good headcount for food. Thanks!

Hackers Needed for Live TV Friday Morning

A local newscaster will be doing live television spots from the TVCOG this Friday morning to promote this weekend’s hackathon. The live TV spots will occur roughly once every half-hour, starting at 5 a.m. and going until 10:30 a.m. (Set up for the first spot is at 4:45 a.m., yikes!)

Our sponsors, mentors and staff will be on hand to talk to the reporter about hacking, the hackathon, TVCOG. But we would love to have some real live actual hackers to be present.

If any hackers out there would like to participate in these live broadcasts (to promote the culture of hacking and to help promote TVCOG) please contact our publicist, Duncan Crary (DCC@DuncanCrary.com) . He can tell you more about this opportunity and can answer any of your questions.

Social Night
Are you in Troy Friday night? Stop by The Ruck starting at 6:30pm to socialize with other hackers, mentors and judges. We’ll have tags at the door so we can find each other in the scrum of Troy Night Out.

Social Media
All throughout the weekend, follow #COGhacks and @TVCOG on twitter for all the latest updates and announcements. Also Instagram.

Information Updates
Please check in on the web site for the latest info on accommodations, schedule, sponsors and mentor info. Also, we are using DevPost for posting the projects and judging, so please create a DevPost account if you have not already done so!

Questions, comments or concerns?

Please let us know at hackathon@tvcog.net

Hackathon

We’re two weeks away from our first major Hackathon, and we already have 80 hackers registered! If you’re interested in learning more about it, and registering for the event, please check out the IoT Hackathon nexus at bit.ly/1VMFYVb

We are going to start having daily updates to the event information page, and also tweets as the event draws near, so now is a good time to follow us on Twitter @TVCOG
Discourse

There are several topics in the discourse forums that are soliciting feedback from the community, including posts on removing some clutter from the makerspace, forming groups in different zones of operations to manage and maintain equipment, and feedback on our web presence. Jump in! You can join Discourse at http://discourse.tvcog.net

Upcoming Events

A complete list of events is on our calendar, but I wanted to point out a few near-term highlights:

  • General Meeting – Tues, Jan 19th 7pm – 8pm: Robert Tait will share information from his trip to CES, and we’ll discuss Hackathon prep.
  • 3D Printing Syndicate – Thurs, Jan 21st – 6pm – 9pm: Hang out with the largest 3D printing meetup in the Capitol Region!
  • Intro To Laser Cutting & Engraving – Friday, Jan 22nd – 7pm – 10pm: Learn how to use Big Red for laser cutting & engraving. This class has sold out the last 3 times it was offered, so register now at http://bit.ly/1KhiDEx
Many of us start the New Year with a resolution or two, and it’s typically the usual litany of things we’d like to do differently. Maybe it’s to lose some weight, get organized, or spend less / save more… those are the top three statistically speaking. However, I’m adding one to my list, and I invite you to do the same: Make something every week.

Resolutions are about establishing new habits, and breaking bad ones. I know personally that I get caught up in so many other things that I often don’t take the time to be a maker (though Bob likes to give us an out by saying that we’re making a Makerspace…). So I’m going to make it a habit. Every week. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, it doesn’t have to save the world, but it does have to scratch that maker itch. I hope that others will do the same, and a little habit can become a BIG one!

Zero To Maker – Jan 9th, 2016: 10am – 12:30pm.

What better way to start the New Year Making Resolution than with Zero To Maker, our event to jump-start your skills and get you working in the makerspace! Come sign up, get your ID card, and receive your new member initiation and Red/Yellow safety training on some of the power tools. You’ll also get an introduction to using the laser cutters and 3D printers, all in one morning.

The event will be starting promptly at 10am, so please be on-time or early.

There is no cost to attend, but to participate, you must have a Full Membership or higher. See membership options here.

Save time on the day of the event by filling out the form and paying for your membership online before you arrive. If you have an Associate Membership, you may upgrade it to Full Membership at this time as well. PLEASE BRING YOUR MEMBERSHIP NUMBER WITH YOU!

Please RSVP using the Universe sign-up page or RSVP to events-coordinator@techvalleycenterofgravity.com so we have some idea of how many to expect. Walk-ins will be accepted as space allows.

Just a quick reminder that we have our December General Meeting on Tuesday, Dec 15th starting at 7pm! Bring some holiday snacks to share and enjoy:

  • Discussion on the upcoming hackathons of 2016!
  • An overview of the hover bike project Will Crowder is working on
  • More exciting news on upcoming events!

In addition to the items above, we’ll also be talking about the revised volunteer training and get feedback on proposed changes to how volunteering works. Hope to see you there!

 

TECH VALLEY CENTER OF GRAVITY TO HOST JANUARY HACKATHON HARDWARE CHALLENGE POWERED BY AT&T

Jeff Branson of SparkFun to Mentor and Judge, More Than $1,000 in Prizes

TROY, N.Y. (Dec. 10, 2015) — The Tech Valley Center Of Gravity (TVCOG) is inviting “hackers” from near and far to a two-day “hackathon” hardware challenge in its newly opened downtown space this winter.

The “Internet of Things Hackathon, hosted by the Tech Valley Center of Gravity and Powered by AT&T,” will take place from Saturday Jan. 30 to Sunday Jan. 31.

“Hacking has a PR problem because of a few hackers who write malicious code to spread viruses or steal data,” said Erica Rinehart Iannotti TVCOG chair. “The act of hacking is really about making something do something that it wasn’t designed for in order to solve a problem.”

A hackathon is an event, usually lasting more than a day, where groups of computer programmers and other tech-oriented people collaborate intensely on projects using software. Hackers typically stay in the space the entire time working constantly.

“Hackathons are around-the-clock intense,” Iannotti said. “They sleep here. No showers. You’re living on Red Bull, Cheetos and adrenalin. At the end of the weekend we celebrate what they’ve produced.”

There will be a top prize of at least $1,000, as well as other giveaways including a free TVCOG membership. But Iannotti says most hackers will come for the camaraderie, the excitement of competition, the good food (in addition to Cheetos) , the bragging rights and, most of all, the opportunity to mess with hardware they cant afford to own themselves.

“Most hackathons focus on software, this one will combine software, hardware and the Internet,” Iannotti said. “Teams of hackers will spend the weekend at TVCOG making software to connect physical objects to the Internet in new and interesting ways.”

Jeff Branson, educational outreach coordinator for SparkFun Electronics, will be attending the hackathon to mentor the participants and judge their creations. SparkFun Electronics is an online retailer that sells the parts to make your project a reality. SparkFun has been a champion of open-source hardware and software since 2003 and remains a committed partner for education, professional development and technological literacy. Sparkfun provides educational resources, hookup guides and project tutorials for a range of ages and abilities from kindergarten to NASA.

“Sparkfun is always thrilled to support hackathons. The value for us is in working side by side with the people in our community to develop and deploy new solutions for a digital citizenry. We participate in hackathons across the country that focus on embedded systems, Internet of Things, Node.js and community-based problem solving,” Branson said. “It’s particularly fun for me to come back to the Capital District, where I grew up, and work with TVCOG!”

Kishor Bagul, entrepreneur and former chief technology officer of New York State and TVCOG board member, will also judge in the contest.

THE INTERNET OF THINGS

The hackathon’s theme is The Internet of Things (IoT) which is the network of physical objects or “things” embedded with electronics, software, sensors, and network connectivity, which enables these objects to collect and exchange data.

TVCOG has teamed with AT&T to power the Internet of Things Hackathon.

“As an industry leader in the Internet of Things, a technology transforming how we live, communicate and work, AT&T is proud to collaborate with the Tech Valley Center of Gravity to power this hackathon and we’re excited to see the innovation that is developed during the event,” said Marissa Shorenstein, New York president, AT&T. “Our continued investment in a robust mobile network, the backbone driving Internet of Things, as well as our activities with local organizations working to foster the resurgence of the local economy through technological innovation is evidence of our continued support of the Capital Region and the entire Tech Valley.”

INFO, REGISTRATION

Registration is required but participation is free in the Internet of Things Hackathon, hosted by the Tech Valley Center of Gravity and Powered by AT&T.

To register, visit: http://www.tvcog.net/index.php/hackathon/

Looking for a great gift for that creative innovator in your life? Wondering how to give the gift of the Tech Valley Center of Gravity and the great classes and events that are coming in 2016? After many requests, we’re finally offering gift certificates on our web site!

Gift Certificate Quick Facts:
  • Available in $25 increments
  • Can be redeemed for membership services, classes and events
  • Pick-up or USPS delivery
  • Processing time: 1-2 business days

Please contact Tom Tongue (president@techvalleycenterofgravity.com) if you have any questions or comments about the gift certificate options!