Friday,February 12:Introductory Programming in Python: Free Course

February 2, 2016



This is an INTRODUCTORY class for people wanting to start learning how to program computers. It is intended for people who have never programmed anything before; we can’t cram an entire college-level programming class into one evening, but this class should leave you in a good place to keep learning on your own or attend one of our classes on more advanced topics.

The class will cover:

* Getting set up with a programming environment
* Basic input and output
* Logic, math and decision making
* Structured programming with functions
* How to make a basic calculator program

The class is taught in Python, an easy to learn but very powerful programming language, widely used in fields as diverse as scientific programming, web development, scripting, and video games. There will be follow-on classes dealing with more advanced programming, and on interfacing with the Raspberry Pi computer to control electronics systems such as robots.

You will need:

• A laptop! Or some other computer. Windows or Mac or Linux, anything will work.

• Python! Download it from and install it on your laptop ahead of time.

• A text editor! I recommend Sublime Text ( or Notepad++ (, both of which have functional free versions.

• Your brain!

Class begins at 7:30pm

HackPittsburgh is in the garage around back on Watson St


Saturday,January 30:Basic Electronics Class- Make your own Piano

January 4, 2016


Interested in Electronics? Want to build cool gadgets? Want to make your own Robot and take over the world? Come to HackPittsburgh and learn all about the basics of electronics, and build your own electronic piano!

Purchase tickets at Eventbrite. Cost is $30

10am-4pm (Lunch provided at 12pm)

HackPGH Members get a 10% discount. Email for the discount code.

Topics which will be covered include:

  • What is electricity?
  • Essential concepts like: Voltage,Current, Resistance, Power
  • Ohms Law
  • Series and parallel circuits
  • Capacitors and Inductors
  • Electronic Speakers
  • 555 timer IC chips
  • How to use a breadboard
  • How the electronic piano works.


This is a 4 hour course with lunch at noon (pizza provided). You get all the materials (including breadboard), and detailed instructions on how to build the piano. We will make sure that everyone has their piano working before you leave! Of course you get to keep the breadboard and everything you built.

Reccomended Age: 10 and older. Some very basic algebra will be covered. Kids must be accompanied by Adult (18+)

Prior knowledge: Basics of elementary school chemistry and physics, pre-algebra

This is part of a series of courses at HackPittsburgh designed to educate the general public about science and technology. The course series consists of:

  • Basic Electricity and Electronics
  • Learn to Solder
  • Basic Arduino Programming
  • Advanced Arduino Programming
  • Sensors Sensors Sensors
  • Motor Control

If you take all the courses, you will roughly have the knowledge to build your own 3D printer from a kit. Join our mechanical club to learn all the mechanical knowledge needed!

More courses may be added in the future. If you have an idea for one and want to learn something, let us know!


Monday,December14:IEEE Robotics and Automation Society Autonomous Power Wheels Talk

December 3, 2015

The Pittsburgh section of IEEE Robotics and Automation Society presents a technical session about HackPGH’s designing, building, and racing an Autonomous vehicle based on a Power Wheels toy.

Meeting will be held at the HackPGH shop 1937 Watson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 starting at 6:30 PM on 14 December 2015. Pizza/sandwiches will be provided.

Please register for this meeting at: 

Or send an email to

HackPGH’s Autonomous Power Wheels Racing Series Car

In September 2015, HackPittsburgh entered in the first ever autonomous racing division of the Power Racing Series ( at World Maker Faire in New York city. The power racing series challenges entrants to build ridiculously cheap, ridiculously small race cars based on children’s Power Wheels ride-on cars, then -until now- cram a full sized adult in the drive seat. This presentation will explain their build-from-scratch, self-driving car and the technology behind it.

The car borrows its drive train from a wheel chair and fuses information from a laser scanner, an inertial measurement unit (IMU), and wheel encoders to generate a map of the racetrack by means of a simultaneous localization and mapping algorithm. It then navigates through the established map while autonomously estimating the relative position within the map. The free, open-source, and community driven Robot Operating System (ROS) has been used as the underlying software platform and most software packages that were used for this project are freely available on the internet, making autonomous robots accessible to anyone.

The SLAMborghini and crew of HackPGH at MakerFaire New York.



Friday,November 20: Public Talk- Learn how to make your own video game! Talk 2 of 3

November 9, 2015


Since we ran out of time to advertise this talk last time, we are hosting it again for those who missed it.

This is a series of 3 talks on how to design your own video game for the personal computer. This is talk 2 of 3 “Game Architecture”

Talk 1: Game development tools
A programmer’s overview of what sorts of game development libraries and tools are out there, what they do, and how to choose ones that work for you.

Talk 2: Game architecture
The basics of what goes into a game, how to organize your code, what the entity-component model is and why it’s awesome.

Talk 3: Game performance
Keeping your frame-rate smooth, common mistakes and design patterns, and what to not worry about.

This is a free talk and demonstration open to the public. Event starts at 7pm. We are in the garage around back on Watson St. Look for our flag.


Thursday, October 29: “Holistic Brain” Inaugural meeting

October 29, 2015


“Pittsburgh is the most livable city, but is it the most workable? The region is known for “Eds & Meds”, but it has also been known as a place where you go to great schools, and then leave. What would it take to get people to not only stay, but to migrate to Pittsburgh for entrepreneurship and employment?

HackPittsburgh’s Scott^2 will present on his three month exploration on how this is a problem that can be fixed; a maker’s perspective on how to hack an entire geographic region”