Hackspace Instrumentation

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Our Holly VM, on Collective, is used to collect data from the HackSpace and provide a number of interfaces for the presentation of that data. This will be for "the things we want to know about" and various interesting statistics. The end-data, or a subset thereof, should really be published to pachube to contribute to the Internet of Things. Internally we are using MQTT, powered by the Mosquito message broker, to communicate between nodes - see MQTT_Topics for information currently being published.

Whilst not exactly well defined, the hackspace instrumentation project probably includes:


  • Gatekeeper - The hackspace access control system. Also runs the studio door bell and the last man out switch. Publishes on the door being opened/closed, door bell being rang, and the state of the last man out switch changing.
  • LED Matrix - Large scrolling LED display in the comfy area. As well as displaying the topic of the latest google group email / twitter stuff and message set from IRC, it is also logging temperatures for the comfy area, studio and blue room
  • Mini-matrix - Similar to the LED Matrix, but smaller and in the blue room. Also logs the temperature of the Snackspace fridge, and displays the username of anyone coming in to the hackspace.
  • WorkshopMQTT - aka workshop doorbell. Also logs the temperature in the Workshop, and is likely to be connected to doorbell button on door at the back of the workshop at some point.
  • Network device count - Holly is also recording and graphing a count of the number of network devices currently connected to the hackspace network (with static devices excluded).
  • IRC bot - Outputs to IRC when the door is opened or the door bell rang. Essentially an MQTT to IRC bridge.
  • Cacti graphs. Currently hackspace temperature and stats for Holly.

Closely related

  • HMS - Hackspace Management System
  • JARVIS - VM on Collective that any member can log on to. Probably the easiest way of getting access to the above. Log in and run mosquitto_sub -v -t '#' to see events/readings as they are published. Use mosquitto_pub to send, e.g. to make the IRC bot, Nh-holly speak: mosquitto_pub -t nh/irc/tx -m "Hello World!". See the topic list for others.

In progress / ideas for the future

  • Light sensors - probably to be added the LED matrix & WorkshopMQTT node.
  • Lighting Automation - Sorting out the mess that is lighting in the hackspace. Significant progress has already been made, but the scope has since been reduced to not include the workshop.
  • Make use the PIR sensors already installed
  • There was a plan originally to add RFID access to the blue room and members storage, but I think this has pretty much been abandoned

Old ideas

Don't think these are being worked on

  • HAL 9000 [1] eye with webcam showing the spooky view!
  • GERTY from Moon [2] - a cheap colour LCD for the smiley face and what-have-you for the rest.
  • daily summary as RSS feed
  • more graphs

Old... miscellaneous

Crazy Cool Mobile Phone Hack

Every wanted to phone a server and tell it to do something? Or perhaps have the server phone or text you when something happens!

Inspired by some crazy phone hacks on Instructables, I'd like to involve some old mobile phones to act as inputs/outputs. I've started a page on my vebug.com webpage at [3] and I'll transcribe it here.

Michael Erskine 09:33, 15 February 2011 (GMT)

Matt's List

A quick copy of the big ToDo list that 'RepRap' Matt put together. With done stuff since removed by Daniel (talk) 19:08, 5 October 2013 (EST)

  • Hackspace instrumentation:-
  • Port mqtt to nanode
  • Status led's red green linked to mag relase
  • Add strobe light (for doorbell and ?beacons)
  • Clear board button? (big red one!!!)
  • Irc stats to cacti? London do it (nick there scripts from github)
  • Humidity sensor's?
  • Last man out switch
    • Can rest space occupancy if needed
    • Should turn off some plugs? Kettles, water heaters?
  • Occupancy counter
  • Nanode
  • Laser beams count in and out, embed in unsed door?
  • how to detect lasers. Photo diodes enough?
  • Two beams in entrance
  • Push to cacti
  • Query from irc
  • Own led counter? Similar to Power meter
  • Can use door magnetic contact and last man out switch to keep accuracy
  • Project box
  • Back door bell
  • RFID to blue office and members storage
  • Again monitor access
  • just one reader, opens both doors use magnetic contact to see which is opened
  • Push to cacti and log?
  • Don't really need to irc twitter
  • Sound meters??
  • Push to cacti
  • Pir's??
  • possibly add a magnetic lock to the fridge and have code's for fridge products unlock that once paid for
    • causes issue with milk access