Last Saturday I had the opportunity to spend some time with the good folks from Hack Pittsburgh, a local group of people from varying tech disciplines who pool their skills to come up with really interesting ideas and projects.
The group gets together weekly to try new things or work on projects. Recent activities included learning how to knit and a liquid nitrogen ice cream night. Folks mixed up ingredients for their favorite flavors and then dumped super-cooled nitrogen on the mix to freeze it in minutes. Definitely beats the old hand-crank version and probably didn't make anybody sore the following morning.
Taking their Arduino 101 class was a blast. We assembled them from raw parts (soldering irons rock!) and tried our hand at some simple programming to see what we could do with them. I've had a good bit of experience with these devices but it was fun to see the uninitiated in the room as the light bulbs went on over their heads. See more photos from the class here.
Matt Stultz, a founding member of the group, led the class step-by-step with the aid of a camera and projector. When we finished, we hooked the boards up to our laptops and downloaded some simple test code to see how they worked. Every one of them worked at the end of the class (even mine, and my soldering skills aren't very polished).
If you're interested in tinkering and meeting like-minded people, swing by their space at 1936 5th Avenue some Friday night and introduce yourself. Their membership is open to everyone but is typically comprised of inventors, "makers", hackers, tinkerers, artists, roboticists, and arts and crafts enthusiasts.