/ fullstack

Tessel hackathon at Fullstack

Fullstack did a hackathon for Tessel modules on Friday. I was mentoring two teams, and both won prizes. Congrats to them and all the participants.

If you haven’t heard of Tessel before, it’s an ecosystem of hardware modules for quickly prototyping products or experimenting with merging programming and real-world devices. It’s all plug-and-play, no soldering required.

The fun part is that Tessels run on Node.js, so if you have a Tessel and an accelerometer, you can write code like:

var tessel = require('tessel');
var accel = require('accel-mma84').use(tessel.port['A']);

// Initialize the accelerometer.
accel.on('ready', function () {
    // Stream accelerometer data
  accel.on('data', function (xyz) {
    console.log('x:', xyz[0].toFixed(2),
      'y:', xyz[1].toFixed(2),
      'z:', xyz[2].toFixed(2));


accel.on('error', function(err){
  console.log('Error:', err);

(Example code taken from the Tessel documentation.)

If you’re curious about the possibilities, below are the ideas my two teams built out over the afternoon.

One team used a plastic finger attached to a servo that would push the elevator button for you. Then they published an npm module that gives you a command line interface to call the elevator from your computer terminal as you are packing to leave the office.

In other words, in your terminal you type elevator-please (or whatever their command was) and an http call is made to the Tessel which activates the Tessel-powered finger to push the button.

The other team made a game in which you throw RF cards at a moving tank (which they built from Construx). If you hit the RF card reader, the Tessel makes an http request to a server which gives you a point. Your score is then updated on a website and you take turns with your opponent.

Those are pretty great outcomes for a multi-hour hackathon, don’t you think?