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empowering creative people

LattePanda Alpha is Here!

December last year, we backed the kickstarter campaign for LattePanda Alpha. Granted, this device isn't the typical maker's cup of tea, though it does fill a gap where modern computing horse power is needed alongside the benefits of a microcontroller.

And today, our Alpha arrived! There were several delays throughout the project, most were around cooling factors. Still, we've got one to explore :)

The "Alpha" is LattePanda's king of the hill variant and has the best features of the new product line up. On paper it doesn't leave any gaps:

  • Intel 7th Gen CPU with more grunt than a Macbook M3
  • 8GB RAM
  • 64GB eMMC
  • 900Mhz Graphics Processor
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • WiFi 2.4Ghz & 5Ghz AC
  • Bluetooth 4.2
  • 3x USB 3.0
  • HDMI
  • and lots of hacker-friendly features.

Oh, and an onboard Arduino Leonardo for insta-boot and low-power control applications.

It's not available for sale just yet, though you can get that news by subscribing to our maker newsletter. We'll be diving into this hardware in the coming weeks, stay tuned.

LattePanda Alpha

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- By Graham

LoRaWAN Upgrade: Outdoor Antenna

Our LoRaWAN Gateway just got an upgrade: an outdoor antenna mounted nice and high. We've gone with a full wave antenna to get the most out of even the weakest of signals. Connecting the antenna to the Laird Sentrius RG191 LoRaWAN Gateway was straightforward; our antennas have a 5-meter low loss RF cable which is terminated with an RP-SMA connector. In short; they fit together without any fuss.

Outdoor LoRaWAN Antenna Upgrade

The Adamstown & Kotara area (where we're located) was in an RF shadow as it's surrounded by hills. The new outdoor antenna has more than doubled our contribution to the local LoRaWAN coverage, we had hits up to 6+KM away (which is impressive for an urban environment). 

After the antenna install I grabbed my trusty TTN Mapper and got to the streets for a drive. In the map below you can see the RF shadow I referred to - the whisps of blue that fly-in from the right and go right over the top of us. 

Our new setup caters for the entire Adamstown area, which is so refreshing to see!

LoRaWAN TTN Mapper Adamstown

If you're new to TTN or would like to learn more, here are some links:

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- By Graham

Next Level LoRaWAN Coverage in Newcastle and Lake Macquarie

Newcastle + Lake Macquarie are about to get next level LoRaWAN coverage. We're sponsoring 4x Laird LoRaWAN Gateways to be deployed around town. Time to unleash your IoT projects! New to LoRa, take a look at Pycom gear.

Laird Sentrius LoRaWAN Gateways

Update: How good is this coverage looking!

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- By Graham Mitchell

Raspberry Pi Beginners Workshop 19/9/18

We had a full house of keen new makers last night in our Beginners Raspberry Pi Workshop. After a quick tour of some popular Raspberry Pi operating systems and a not so short intro to Python our makers were using the pin to interact with switches and an LED. They had some great discussions about the possibilities of Python and the Raspberry Pi, like recursive programming and error catching to make programs that start themselves again if they get an error. 

If you are looking to get into the Raspberry Pi or some other maker skill and have free time on a weeknight in Newcastle come join us for one of our Local Workshops and take advantage of our awesome makerspace and skilled team of makers. If you aren’t able to make it to our Newcastle location we have tons of online courses and tutorials available.

Raspberry Pi Beginners Workshop 19/9/18

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- By Brenton

Arduino Beginners Workshop 12/9/18

Last night we held our Arduino Beginners Workshop in our Knowledge Factory! Participants learnt all about the fantastic world of Arduino by building some cool introductory circuits using the Uno R3 board. We spoke about what it means for a signal to be digital or analog and how we use certain signals to measure and interact with the real world! If you're interested in learning about this yourself, come to our next Arduino Beginners Workshop and visit our tutorial page for more.

Arduino Beginners Workshop 12/9/18

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- By Brenton

Arduino: Next Level Workshop 22/8/18

Last night we held the new and improved Arduino Next Level Workshop! We had a variety of skill levels and ages in attendance, all focused on learning about Object Oriented Programming and Libraries.  The Arduino platform makes it really easy to build and use libraries in easy and creative ways. If you're interested in exploring the topics we did, visit the Arduino Library Tutorial or book in for our next next-level course!

Arduino Next Level Workshop 22/8/18

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- By Brenton

3D Modelling Workshop 21/8/18

On Tuesday afternoon, we had another packed out room; this time for a 3D Modelling in Fusion 360 workshop. We had Makers of all ages present, in fact, we were so booked out that we had someone working on their laptop they had bought from home! We’re amazed by the community support we’re receiving, it seems the Makers in Newcastle can’t get enough. This workshop is a great way to skill-up on the basics of 3D Modelling, in a software package that’s easy to use and intuitive (once you get the hang of it). We focus on learning the tools and workflow required to create a simple keychain, then we later 3D Print it! As always, our participants really wanted their keychains printed but we were out of time. We hope to see them back during our 3D Printing Workshop in a few weeks to give it a go.

At the end of the Workshop, we had a typical wrap-up, but one of our Makers wanted more. Young learner, Nicholas, brought his school assignment along. He had set himself the goal of 3D Printing a prosthetic hand, but needed a gentle push in the right direction on how to print it to the right size! We sat down in our Makerspace and got Nicholas on-page. Now Nicholas is going to use our 3D Printing service to have his designs printed later this week. Sensational!

If you’re interested in learning about 3D Modelling, 3D Printing or other Maker related skills, come along to one of our free community workshops. If you aren’t local, we’ve made our workshops available as free online courses so you won’t miss out.

3D Modelling Workshop 21/8/18

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- By Brenton

Circuit Playground Workshop 15/8/18

This week's Circuit Playground workshop was a blast! The group made sound reactive lights and some beautiful music with the use of a capacitive touch controlled keyboard!

If you want to learn to use the Circuit Playground Express and learn the basics of coding come along to our next Circuit Playground Workshop! If you’re looking to learn about the Circuit Playground Express but couldn’t make it to this week’s workshop, check out our Circuit Playground Express Online Course. It contains everything we covered in the workshop and much more! We also have a bunch of Circuit Playground Tutorials that will walk you through many projects with multiple programming languages!

Circuit Playground Workshop 15-8-18

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- By Brenton

Arduino Beginners Workshop 14/8/18

At our last Arduino Workshop, we had a full house of Newcastle educators coding & building circuits, great times!

Arduino Beginners Workshop 14-8-18

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- By Brenton

Raspberry Pi Beginners Workshop 8/8/18

We introduced some new makers to the platform that many of us know and love with our Beginners Raspberry Pi Workshop last night. After a quick tour of several Raspberry Pi operating systems and a short intro to Python our new makers were turning on and off LEDs and planning new projects from automated model trains to an automated feedback system to help an unnamed telco receive more feedback from a customer. It's great fun to be there to help new makers into the world of digital technologies and hear about their ideas and plans.

If you are looking to get into the Raspberry Pi or some other maker skill and have free time on a weeknight in Newcastle come join us for one of our Local Workshops and take advantage of our awesome makerspace and skilled team of makers. If you aren’t able to make it to our Newcastle location we have tons of online courses and tutorials available.

Raspberry Pi Beginners Workshop 8/8/18

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- By Brenton

Internet Connected Projects Workshop 7/8/18

Gordon rolled up his sleeves and delivered his first workshop this week, introducing makers to the realm of IoT with Pycom’s WiPy. It’s great to see community support for our local workshops, and you can get the same educational value from our online courses from anywhere in the world.

Internet Connected Projects Workshop 7/8/18

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- By Brenton

Arduino Beginners Workshop 1/8/18

How to you pronounce “baud” – a topic well discussed at this weeks Arduino Workshop where we dive into all things Arduino! Book in today for our next community workshop or get started with our free online Arduino Course.

Arduino Beginners Workshop 1-8-18

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- By Brenton

3D Printing Workshop 31/7/18

We had a great turnout to our 3D Printing workshop this week with our Makerspace teeming with Newcastle locals. In fact, we had a few particularly inquisitive young minds turn up, sitting front and centre. They were asking all sorts of questions in regard to 3D Printing and ended up printing a Rocktopus in aromatic Coffee plastic on the Lulzbot Taz 6! It’s great to see the support of the local communities, coming down to enjoy our creative space and learn something they didn’t know yesterday!

If you’re a Newcastle local and have a weeknight free, come on down to our Makerspace and join in with one of our free Community Workshops. If not, we’ve got you covered with our free Online Courses that you can enjoy at your own pace.

3D Printing Workshop 31/7/18

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- By Brenton

Laser Cutting Workshop 24/7/18

At this week's Laser Cutting workshop we had multiple people come in with new materials to cut and experiment with. The laser cutter makes short work of natural textiles like cotton or denim. It’s great to see people coming to our workshops with a project in mind that just needs that one last bit of knowledge to complete.

Make a workshop booking if you are looking to learn about using a laser cutter. If you can’t make it in person, don’t worry! The material we cover in the workshop is available in our Getting Started Guide for Laser Cutting. If you have something you'd like to be laser cut, then take a look at our maker services or send us a message.

Laser Cutting Workshop 24th July 18

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- By Brenton

Raspberry Pi: Next Level Workshop 18/7/18

Yesterday we ran our Raspberry Pi: Next Level workshop! This workshop really opens peoples minds up to the possibilities of projects when working with the Raspberry Pi and the Internet of Things. It's really fantastic seeing our participants getting answers to questions that have been itching while working with a Pi, as well as learning a few brand new skills!

If you're looking for some deeper learning involving the Raspberry Pi, come along to our local Next Level workshop! If you can't make it down to us, have a look at our excellent online workshop and wealth of tutorials!

Raspberry Pi Next Level Workshop 18/7/18

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- By Ben Mildren

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