PIFproject #2: Prototyping Workshop by Michael Page


When designing something an inevitable stage in its development is prototyping, making a physical version of the scribbles in your notebook. This can be both fun and frustrating! The workshop will be an opportunity to discuss and demonstrate practical prototyping techniques (deciphering schematics, using breadboard, prototype board and PCB design) and talk about strategies to evaluate a prototypes success.

After a bit of this, if we are feeling brave we can attempt
… from the mythical “bag of currently unfulfilled possibility” you pick a dusty old microchip.  Your quest is to research what the chip can do then design and build a creative device (possibly an audio application, but not necessarily). You might get something with an obvious use like a 555 for an oscillator. However you might get something fiendishly boring that you really have to struggle to make funky. You can use whatever other components you need but the IC you pick has to perform the main operation of the device. If enough of these little silicon embryo’s struggle into life we could assimilate them all together into a freaky lunetta system. Hopefully we will learn something about prototyping and how different ICs work.
I think the task would be all the more noble if the ICs come from the dankest corners of the worlds weirdest workshops, and so if you have time dig deep in your junk for those logic chips you have never used or op-amps or whatever you think might be fun. Oh and I have a prize for the most inventive device!

PIFproject #1 announced!


Peter Edwards (Casper Electronics) and Václav Pelousek (Bastl Instruments) join forces to bring modular synthesis out of the studio and into Trenta park for PIFcamp. This project will give participants access to a simple but powerful set of building blocks which can be used to create interactive systems that control sound, light, motors and more. Participants will learn about the basics of analog and digital engineering while creating unique interfaces and experiences to share with others and integrate into the PIFcommunity.

The focus of our joined workshops is to provide simple but solid (and cheap!) building blocks to interface electronics with the outside world. On one side we have input conditioning for various types of sensors and on the other we have motors and physical actuators to modify the physical world. All interfacing can be done in the methodology of modular synthesis since all building blocks use control voltage as a common language. The format we will be using to interact with the building blocks is the electronics breadboard. It will be used for configuring internal connections but also to provide a mechanical base for creating solid objects. We will both work with participants to help them build functional systems throughout the week while also a holding a few group exercises and open lectures on basic electrical theory and coding practice. Václav on his own would like to focus on creating mechanical sequencers to run musical circuits (river / wind sequencer etc.). Peter will be focusing on musical applications of this system but is also eager to explore how light and electromechanical objects can be utilized to create audio/visual installations.

Since our building block will be breadboard based it will be very easy to combine this project with any other electronics project at the PIFcamp. We are eager to see how this project can be integrated into and activated by the greater PIFcommunity.

PIFcamp 2016 is on!

We are happy to announce the dates for the second PIFcamp edition – we will return to the beautiful Soča Village between 25 and 31 of July for some proper geeky holidays! More info coming soon, until then feel free to enjoy the video from last year and plan your summer nerdish getaway accordingly!


PIFcamp is over

On Sunday the first PIFcamp has officially come to its end. We said our goodbyes with high hopes of meeting again. We are proud to mark the first PIFcamp as successful and can slowly start preparing for the next one. Until then ciao to everyone and loads of hacking for all!

_DSC5817 copy

_DSC5903 copy

_DSC5862 copy

_DSC5765 copy


_DSC5752 copy


PIFcamp day 5

Except for the mandatory walk to the river canals Thursday was all about work. Projects had to be finalized and the finishing touches of course took longest. But everyone was feeling the hype that often happens before the deadline. Everybody is ready for the opened Saturday and all the knowledge searching visitors. Werner’s speakers play music and charge phones, Tilen’s lamp is creating outer space in the neighbour’s garden, synthesisers are plucked the all sorts of devices, Marcs laboratory is waiting to be taken out to nature and to be used for basic analysis. We put together the schedule of Saturday’s presentations, so everyone is invited to take a look at it and join us with the afternoon activities. Melancholy that often accompanies goodbyes is starting to get a hold of the campers. So please come and we’ll make the PIFcamp closure even more grand and amiable.

_DSC5242 copy

_DSC5415 copy

_DSC5660 copy

_DSC5614 copy

_DSC5665 copy

Photos: Katja Goljat