BreakIT

BreakIT is ITU's monthly hands-on workshop series about hacking, electronics, mechanics, alchemy, interface devices and dangerous things. A specific practical project is built every time.
(Nearly) all BreakIT sessions happen at ITU's Rough Lab, 5th floor (5A54) on the first Thursday of the month, afternoon. Students and staff are welcome.

Arduino Workshop (Nov 1, 2017)
Sebastian Büttrich, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Rosemary Lee
Get an introduction to *Arduino*, building simple and fun first projects, or bring your own more advanced projects to work on. We walk you through the basics and also give time for free experimentation. No experience necessary. No equipment necessary: Kits are provided.

Arduino Workshop Arduino Workshop Arduino Workshop
Arduino Workshop, Nov 2017

Preparing Culture Night Exhibits (Oct 5, 2017)
Sebastian Büttrich, Ben Cahill, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
ITU's Labs show what they have planned for Culture Night. We discuss logistics and potential attractions. This is also an open call for (high-quality, fully-functional) student projects for Culture Night. We also build a new version of the Kelvin Water Dropper.

Preparing Culture Night Exhibits Preparing Culture Night Exhibits Preparing Culture Night Exhibits Preparing Culture Night Exhibits
Preparing Culture Night Exhibits, Oct 2017

Kelvin Water Dropper (Aug 31, 2017)
Sebastian Büttrich
The Kelvin Water Dropper (1867) is one of the most fascinating experiments in the history of science - it generates power and creates sparks (high voltage!) out of nothing but the falling of water drops. The explanation is not easy - even Lord Kelvin himself might have been wrong. We are going to build a modern version, complete with sensors, webcam and social media stream!

Kelvin Water Dropper Kelvin Water Dropper Kelvin Water Dropper Kelvin Water Dropper
Kelvin Water Dropper, Aug 2017

Museum Projection Displays (Apr 6, 2017)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Nanna Holdgaard
In this session we build a prototype and experiment to integrate information projection and material artefact in a museum setting. We use a projector with the Pepper's ghost technique. The session is motivated by the observation that screens are regularly seen as intrusive elements that disrupt exhibition spaces. With modern technology, information display can be integrated rather than collide with the artefacts on display. One method to integrate display and artefact is to have the projection float in mid-air over the artefact. The projection can be text, or photos, or even animation.

Museum Projection Displays Museum Projection Displays Museum Projection Displays Museum Projection Displays
Museum Projection Displays, Apr 2017

Pickup Winding (Mar 2, 2017)
Sebastian Büttrich, Ben Cahill, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We build custom humbucker pickups from scratch with our revised and perfected Wonder Pickup Winder! The pickups can be immediately tested and compared, we have a guitar and amp on site. Please bring parts, e.g. old or defunct pickups, if you have. New parts (wire, magnets, bobbins, covers, etc.) are available at cost price or can be manufactured (e.g. 3D printed).

Pickup Winding Pickup Winding Pickup Winding
Pickup Winding, Mar 2017

Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips (Feb 2 and 9, 2017)
Ben Cahill
BreakIT kicks off the new season with a special two-part workshop on building noise-makers and synthesizers with digital logic chips. No prior knowledge is required, all are welcome, and there will be biscuits.
In the first part, we will assemble tabletop amplifiers so that we can hear what we are doing later when we start making noise. We will design and build enclosures, make front panels, do some basic soldering and perhaps do some painting/Plexi-bending/sewing. The goal is to make several battery/PSU-powered stereo amplifier with speakers built into a small enclosure.
In the second part, we will look at a few types of CMOS (digital logic) chips and how we can use them to make synthesizer elements with a handful of extra components. We will look at various types of input devices, and experiment with circuits on breadboards. If we have time, we will look at expanding our creations with; sequencing, noise, envelope shaping, filtering and novel interactions. If you want to bring something to hack for the controls and/or enclosure (e.g. a calculator, radio, toy, microwave oven, etc.) please do so. We have a variety of wood, plastics, components etc. in the lab that are free to use.

Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips
Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips
Noise-Making with Digital Logic Chips, Feb 2017

Printing Fabric (Dec 1, 2016)
Valeria Borsotti
Make a tshirt with your design or print on any type of textile with either regular fabric ink or conductive ink. We will have some second hand tees to play with, or just bring your own. Techniques used can vary from stencils made with old school x-acto knives and sticker paper, laser-cut stencils, hand-cut vinyl stamps. Embroidery with conductive thread is definitely an option too!

Printing Fabric Printing Fabric Printing Fabric Printing Fabric
Printing Fabric, Dec 2016

Winding Guitar Pickups (Nov 10, 2016)
Sebastian Büttrich, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We build custom humbuckers from scratch, using our Arduino-based home-made wonder winding machine! The pickups can be immediately tested, we have a guitar and amp on location. Please bring parts, e.g. old or defunct pickups, if you have. We have new parts (wire, magnets, bobbins, covers, etc.) available at cost price.

Winding Guitar Pickups Winding Guitar Pickups Winding Guitar Pickups Winding Guitar Pickups
Winding Guitar Pickups, Nov 2016

Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2016 Pre-Meet and Workshop (Sep 15 and 22, 2016)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Martin Pichlmair
The jam (altctrlgamejam.com) is about being creative with the controls of your game. So get out the duct tape, soldering iron, a development board, or any interesting hardware, and make the ultimate controller for your game.
BreakIT kicks off the jam with a session featuring an opening keynote, helping with group forming and showing you ITU's labs and tools. In the workshop a week later we can try, critique, and collaborate on each other's projects.

Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2016 Pre-Meet and Workshop Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2016 Pre-Meet and Workshop Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2016 Pre-Meet and Workshop Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2016 Pre-Meet and Workshop
Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2016 Pre-Meet and Workshop, Sep 2016

Slotcars - Race Day (May 6, 2016)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We build slotcars! We have a four-lane racing track, but not enough cars. So, of course, we build them. That means probably to lasercut them, because 3D printing takes too much time. By the end of the day, we should be able to have some races with our own cars. Please bring computers with software such as Illustrator and Corel Draw, if you have, to prepare files for the cutter.

Slotcars - Race Day Slotcars - Race Day Slotcars - Race Day Slotcars - Race Day
Slotcars - Race Day, May 2016

Building Audio/Guitar Pedals (Apr 7, 2016)
Cameline Bolbroe, Sebastian Büttrich and Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We build different kinds of audio effect pedals such as looping, fuzz and distortion. We have several designs prepared to be built and experimented with. Participants can also bring their own designs and components. Please bring a robust case if you have one.

Building Audio/Guitar Pedals Building Audio/Guitar Pedals Building Audio/Guitar Pedals Building Audio/Guitar Pedals
Building Audio/Guitar Pedals, Apr 2016

Building Geiger Counters (Mar 11, 2016)
Erich Berger, Simon Gjerløv-Christensen
We build four Geiger counters. If there are more participants, people can collaborate. We use the PCBs we made in the etching workshop last week. But we have also some boards prepared for participants who haven't done the etching.

Building Geiger Counters Building Geiger Counters Building Geiger Counters Building Geiger Counters
Building Geiger Counters, Mar 2016

Etching PCB Boards (Mar 4, 2016)
Erich Berger, Simon Gjerløv-Christensen, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We etch our own PCB boards. Mainly for building Geiger counters (next workshop). But anybody can come to etch a board for their own project, or just to learn how it is done.

Etching PCB Boards Etching PCB Boards Etching PCB Boards Etching PCB Boards
Etching PCB Boards, Mar 2016

3D Printing Headphones (Dec 3, 2015)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Hugo Mulder
In the December Special BreakIT session we aim to build headphones. Not those tiny in-ear plugs, but decent sized over-ear headphones. We will use some pre-made components such as plugs, cables and speakers, and 3D print, bend wood and assemble everything to provide you with the best imaginable Christmas gift. Please bring parts if you have them.

3D Printing Headphones 3D Printing Headphones 3D Printing Headphones 3D Printing Headphones
3D Printing Headphones, Dec 2015

Building Slot Cars - Roll Out (Nov 5, 2015)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We build (3D print and/or lasercut) slot cars, and race them on a 4-track circuit. As you know, we have the 1/43 track, controllers, 6V power supplies, four motors, a 3mm axle and four rather large (25mm outer diameter) rubber wheels. Everything else will need to be manufactured! Jonas Jørgensen helps us with the 3D printing!

Building Crazy Controllers Building Crazy Controllers Building Crazy Controllers Building Crazy Controllers
Building Slot Cars - Roll Out, Nov 2015

Building Crazy Controllers for Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2015 (Sep 11 and 18, 2015)
Anne Clausen, Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Martin Pichlmair
BreakIT hosts a workshop for the Alt Ctrl Game Jam 2015 (altctrlgamejam.com). The jam is about being creative with the game controls. Most developers are limiting themselves to the most standard and common controls: Keyboard, mouse and gamepad. The aim of the jam is to experiment away from these standard boundaries. We have a lab featuring a laser cutter, 3D printers and other weird machines. Please bring your own parts to build your projects. We have some joystick and electronic parts available for experimentation. You can of course also build stuff independent of the game jam.

Building Crazy Controllers Building Crazy Controllers Building Crazy Controllers Building Crazy Controllers
Building Crazy Controllers, Sep 2015

Building Arcade Joysticks (Jun 4, 2015)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Martin Pichlmair
In the upcoming BreakIT workshop we'll be building *arcade joysticks*! We have a bunch of high-grade buttons, sticks and USB controllers and will assemble these, plus design and lasercut nice boxes. Participants can either help us or bring their own parts and build their own arcade/interface projects. This is the BreakIT Summer special semester end session.

Building Arcade Joysticks Building Arcade Joysticks Building Arcade Joysticks Building Arcade Joysticks
Building arcade joysticks, Jun 2015

Introduction to Physical Computing (May 7, 2015)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
Have your digital game interact with the real world! BreakIT features an introduction to Arduino. We connect buttons, LEDs and sensors (temperature, pressure, light etc.) to Arduino boards and interact with them using the Arduino language or Processing (Unity can also interface with Arduino, but we don't cover this at this point). Arduino boards can be used on their own or as interface devices to connect your custom-build game interfaces to your game or installation. No previous knowledge in anything is required, and we have the hardware. You can also bring your specific idea to work on it.

Introduction to Physical Computing Introduction to Physical Computing
Introduction to Physical Computing, May 2015

Hacking a Parking Meter (Apr 9, 2015)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
In March, BreakIT was invited by the Kommune to an event to pitch ideas how to hack parking meters. Our idea was accepted and we got a machine to hack into a participatory Public Musical Instrument in six weeks. There's a lot to do, and we could use some help. It's still early in the process, and we will be more specific, but presumably we'll need a sensor interface, Arduino code and a (Processing?) frontend that plays audio. If it works well the hack will go unto the streets!

Hacking a Parking Meter Hacking a Parking Meter Hacking a Parking Meter Hacking a Parking Meter
Hacking a parking meter, Apr 2015

Hacking the City's Parking Meters (Mar 12, 2015)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
BreakIT is invited by the Kommune to participate in hacking parking vending machines in March and April. The hack will run for 6 weeks with a kickoff Thursday March 12th and a presentation April 24th. The hack will be a combination of a traditional hack-a-thon and start-up-weekend: Because there is only a limited number of machines available, participants pitch their ideas and form groups at the kickoff. Existing collectives, labs, hack-spaces etc. are welcome to participate as groups but should be open for new playmates. Info

Hacking the City's Parking Meters Hacking the City's Parking Meters Hacking the City's Parking Meters Hacking the City's Parking Meters
Hacking the City's parking meters, Mar 2015

Field Trip to Santa's Workshop (Dec 4, 2014)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We go and help Santa make presents for people who otherwise would not have any for Christmas. Funnily enough, Santa's workshop is located at the 4th floor of Valby Kulturhus. They have a 3D printer and a lasercutter we can use, we only need to bring some ideas what to make (e.g. games, toys or models). We have been invited not by Santa but by the people running the place. Cookies and chocolate and liquorice are also welcome!

Santa's workshop Santa's workshop Santa's workshop
Santa's workshop, Dec 2014

(Un-) Folding and Parametric Design – Building Prototypes with FabLab-Technologies (Nov 13, 2014)
A worktalk by Bernard Robben
The new forms of postindustrial digital craftsmanship imply more than the renaissance of the traditional hand-making with high-tech machines. Typical for digital fabrication is the transformation from different representations of an object into another representation. And there are endless variations. Digital design has to focus more on the process than on the object which underlies continuous variations. Open-endedness and interactivity are inherent in the notion of digital variability. In addition an open design movement evolved following the open source example. The talk will discuss the potential of FabLab-technologies with a focus on education. The aim of the workshop is to create a parametric design artefact through laser-cutting.

Parametric design Parametric design Parametric design Parametric design
(Un-) Folding and parametric design, Nov 2014

Building Pong (Oct 2, 2014)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
In the workshop, participants are invited to program (code), design (interaction, graphics, sounds), construct (electronics) and laser cut (cabinet) a Pong machine. It can be a reconstruction of the classic Pong arcade machine, or it can be more quirky. The workshop is quite special: It is a joint session of the participants of the October BreakIT session and participants of the Swedish Design PhD School.

Pong Pong Pong Pong
Pong Pong
Building Pong, Oct 2014

Building Microscopes from Webcams (Aug 14-15, 2014)
Erich Berger, hosted by Laura Beloff and Kasper Støy

Microscopes from webcams Microscopes from webcams Microscopes from webcams Microscopes from webcams
Microscopes from webcams (photo: sh) Microscopes from webcams (photo: sh) Microscopes from webcams (photo: sh) Microscopes from webcams (photo: sh)
Microscopes from webcams, Aug 2014

Flying Things on Strings (June 13, 2014)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath, Emilie Møllenbach, Cameline Bolbroe
We build contraptions that fly by (electrical) propeller power and are tethered by strings. We anticipate three possible realisations: Putting a fan on top of something and lifting it up ('chopper model'), putting a stationary fan under something and pushing it up ('surf model') and putting a propeller on a plane on a string which then circles around a center point ('dog model'). We are open and hope for other interpretations and realisations.
More Flying Things workshops

Flying things on strings (photo: cb) Flying things on strings Flying things on strings Flying things on strings
Flying things on strings Flying things on strings Flying things on strings Flying things on strings
Flying things on strings, Jun 2014

Analog Mini Synths from Scratch (May 1, 2014)
Edit Emese Vizer
Participants design unique analog synthesizers from scratch. We explore principles of sound and experiment with simple, yet powerful battery-powered circuits. If time allows we experiment with paper-based sensors.

Analog mini synths Analog mini synths Analog mini synths Analog mini synths
Analog mini synths, May 2014

Cigar Box Guitars (Apr 3, 2014)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
We build *electric cigar box guitars*! To build one, please bring a piece of *hardwood* for the neck (c. 75x3x3cm), a (preferably large) cigar box (or similar), three or four guitar/banjo/ukulele tuners, nylon or light steel strings, (fret) wire; we have mics/speakers to be repurposed as pickups. We also have a few complete kits available.

Cigar box guitars Cigar box guitars Cigar box guitars Cigar box guitars
Cigar box guitars, Apr 2014

Keyboard Hacks (Mar 6, 2014)
Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath
The first project is a *keyboard hack*, which can be used as a custom interface for e.g. games. It is easy to integrate with various projects because the software sees only keystrokes.

Keyboard hacks Keyboard hacks Keyboard hacks
Keyboard hacks, Mar 2014

Daniel Cermak-Sassenrath et al. BreakIT. Workshop series. ITU, Copenhagen, DK, ongoing (since Mar 2014).