On Tuesday evening I finally made it to the Toronto Hacklab, after meaning to make it over for weeks!
It’s a really interesting space. There are currently five 3D printers, lots of tools for playing with electronics, and a giant computer-driven laser in the bathroom for etching and cutting plastic or acrylic. (Actually, I should try to make an acrylic LakeHub logo to send back to Kenya….) According to Eric, who gave me a tour of the space, about a two thirds of the members come through to work on these sorts of projects, and a third are mainly software people who use it as a common work space.
A couple of my favorite toys that I saw on the tour were a giant LED pixel board and a ‘flip dot board’, both of which had been salvaged from the Toronto Transit Commission, which runs all the buses and subways. Members of the Hacklab built electronic interfaces to both of the devices: the LED board is run by an arduion and can be sent messages to display, and otherwise acts a clock. The flip-dot board looks like it’s run by some custom microcontrollers, and is hooked up to a joystick for playing ‘snake.’