Toy Hacking Contest: Update on the cat from Severin!

August 20th, 2011 § Comments Off on Toy Hacking Contest: Update on the cat from Severin! § permalink

Severin reports on his progress:

Started working on the beckoning cat last night, so I wanted to give you
an update about the progress. Took the cat apart, and got as far as attaching the arm to one servo, so it should now be able to move back and forth, like it’s traditionally supposed to, just that we can control the motion. Took a whole bunch of pictures and I’ll start writing some step-by-step instructions in the next few days.

If anyone wants to help me on the project, let me know. More people, more
ideas, and a more awesome cat 😉

Two XinCheJian projects selected for the Seeedstudio Toy Hacking contest

August 19th, 2011 § 1 comment § permalink

XinCheJian Hackerspace, the first Hackerspace in China, is proud to announce that it has been accepted in the Seeedstudio Toy Hacking contest. We will receive two Grove kits for the purpose of hacking two toys from the OpenHardware company in Shenzhen. They are given us the opportunity of winning a 200$USD grand prize gift certificate and a 100$USD first prize certificate. Our entries to the contest will consist of two projects that will use as much as possible the various electronic components included in the kit.

The first project is the transformation of a beckoning cat (招財貓) that is often seen in store as a good-luck charm to attract business. We want to turn it into a fun and interactive experience. The project, led by Severin Schols (an experienced German hacker) will be done in collaboration with XinCheJian hackers out of the Shanghai Hackerspace. Our beckoning cyber-cat will have additional surprising abilities that will make them even cuter than usual. Such an iconic device transformed into something more will make a great impression on people seeing it.

The second project will consist in adding extra fun functions on one roboracing robot. We have many teams that have a robot or have started building their own through our weekend robo-racing workshops. The Grove kit will be made available to anyone that wants to add extra functions. We’ve noticed in our first two competitions (June and July) that fun but not necessarily useful features gave great pleasure to the audience: honking, flashing lights and more interactivity when handling the robot car. The Grove toy kits will make an awesome addition to these robot cars and we expect quite a few participants to be interested in using it.

Thanks to Hao Zhang ( we’ve already received the two kits with some additional parts for our specific projects (such as a mobile platform and servos). The parts are available to anyone who wants to work on a winning entry for XinCheJian! XinCheJian has until September 15th to send in our designs with step-by-step instructions for the two projects.

Hacking QR Code!

August 19th, 2011 § Comments Off on Hacking QR Code! § permalink

Inspired by this post on Hack A Day, I’ve decided to make one with XinCheJian’s logo.

I’ve tried a few different free online QR code generators, only this one so far can generate correct QR code with Chinese characters.

After generated the QR code with the message I want, I’ve opened it in Photoshop, added an overlay of XinCheJian logo on top, a bit of manipulation to remove overlapped areas of the QR code, save it again and voila!

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